I joined a Schutzhund club with my mixed breed. After seeing and being around different GSDs for a year, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted and didn't want in my next dog. I joined this forum and read everything faithfully for two more years, learning a lot about temperament, responsible breeding, health issues, titles, pedigrees, history, working drives, balance, the different lines, and the ever so famous "off" switch. Then I started emailing breeders introducing myself, giving a bit of my dog owning background, and laying a bit of groundwork for a possible future puppy. Did more research by contacting people that had dogs from some of the breeders I was considering and asking questions.
Settled on a breeder and waited a year for my first pup.
BH, OB1, TR1, AD
Rottweiler/Hairy Dog mix?? Shelter rescue
Gryffon Vom Wildhaus