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I will be spending several months in Europe in the beginning of next year ('14) in a semi-working vacation. My girlfriend and I have been preparing to purchase two GSD's in the upcoming future, and likewise have prepared a very clear, and admittedly generous budget for our equally clear demands.

I've owned GSDs my entire life. My father is a life long shepherd enthusiast, and was a (very ethical) hobbyist breeder for a period that included my infancy. I bought my own first shepherd at 13, and have owned one ever since - though I must admit, a character-able bulldog found himself snuck into the gang for a funny 10 years as well. The first dog that I started working towards serious obedience training unfortunately developed a rare spinal infection (non-genetic) and had to be put down at an early 15 mo. My next shepherd, Shadow, despite being one of the best **** house dogs that someone could ask for, just wasn't cut out for serious obedience training or competitive work, and he unfortunately suffered from a mild case of dysplasia. I mention these things because even though this is a first post, I am intimately familiar with German Shepherds, as much through personal experience, as through study of literature.

I've come to post on the forum today with the hope that some of its members might be able to share their wisdom regarding the practicality of what I see as a happily-coincidental opportunity to find the perfect GSDs for my current needs. From what I've seen elsewhere on this board, flying to Germany simply to pick a puppy is grossly impractical, and quite likely, it's downright impossible, unless you can prove lineage to some sort of Baron. However, I am going to be spending significant time in many of the areas that produce some of the worlds finest german shepherds, (Germany, but Czech, Austria, Belgium, etc) and will have the availability of time and resources to search out the right breeder and the right puppy(s), if that proves a smart choice.

I understand that there are many fantastic American breeders and importers of the very best German lines. I've researched and considered purchasing at many of them. My dilemma is this, the end of my travels in Europe is meant to coincide with the start of my doctoral studies in the US. While my academic schedule allows plenty of free time for working the dogs, during the spring and summer months (when I will be in Europe) I will have the ability to devote the 10-12 hours a day that are oh so crucial with the 8wk and 10wk and 12wk old puppy. Starting my studies with a 6 mo juvenile, who's been established with a solid foundation of commands and an appreciation of his handler's demands is quite different than purchasing a puppy from an American breeder, after my return, where my time demands would so much more restricted than in the summer. Ultimately, if purchasing in Europe proves to be so excessively costly or bogged down by bureaucracy as to discourage me, I'll likely delay my purchase by another year, until the next summer, when a young puppy could be more readily attended to. Of course, it's quite likely that I will also spend that summer semi-vacationing in Europe, and so as I said earlier, it's a dilemma, and apparently a circular one at that.

What I'm (going to be) looking for is to purchase two, top working-quality Male dogs, and to be able to purchase them at the youngest, responsible age possible (I'm assuming 8-9wks, though I imagine that Europe might have a different standard). I do not require world class dogs from 'legendary' bloodlines, but solid, proven ones are a must. Likewise I have no intentions to show the dogs in confirmation events, but major faults are unacceptable. I'm not demanding the sort of jaw-dropping puppy that breeders do not want to see leave their country, but I do want dogs that they would be proud to have leave and serve as ambassadors for their country and it's bloodlines. That said, these dogs are intended to be titled in Schutzhund, and to be titled to as far an extent as it remains an enjoyable sport for all. As such, I want dogs whose lineage includes recognized titles in either obedience or herding work to at least the third generation prior, and preferably the fourth, for both the sire and dam. I also have great access to several herds of livestock, and am interested in testing my dogs abilities in competitive herding as well, should they show an exceptional keen-ness for that kind of work. These dogs are going to be worked for their health though, and at the end of the day, they will still be our slightly-spoiled pets, with occasional couch privileges, and a home at the foot of our bed. A well worked, and well trained german shepherd is simply a remarkable machine, and life's just seemed a bit different without one in it. I do intend on maintaining the option to breed my dogs, but am willing to sign a contract agreeing that I not do so until dogs have achieved a particular title, and been cleanly screened for any genetic conditions.

But to focus on my point, my question is this: in the opinions of those experienced in either or both methods, how do you see cost of procuring two puppies of the standard outlined above in Europe, and eventually transporting them back to the United States, as compared to the cost of procuring two pups of the exact same standards from US breeders? My estimates place the two as roughly comparable, and there is a considerable benefit to having the pup earlier, rather than later, such that more minor differences financially might be overcome. My knowledge of the breed is of no comparison though to some of those who frequent this board, and so I thought they might offer a more professional opinion.

With foremost thanks,

ChaseO
 

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Having seen the quality of what many breeders are producing right here in the U.S., and considering your goals are relatively modest, I don't see why you can't find exactly what you're looking for here in the U.S.

Having never imported a dog or puppy before, but having lived for a period of time with two adult dogs that had been imported (one as a puppy, the other as an already titled adult), there really isn't anything that makes the imported dogs any better than the dogs bred here, everything else being equal. Your work in purchasing a puppy is going to be finding the best breeder possible for the type of dog you want, regardless of which country you shop in.

But if you're going to be there anyway, why not look around.
Sheilah
 
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