Before anyone calls me hypocritical I would like to get my story out of the way.
I have grown up with GSDs (standard black/tans) and have always said that when I am old enough for the responsibility I would love a black GSD. I had been pestering Sean for weeks, dropping subtle hints here and there, weighing up the pros and cons and in the end he surprised me. He found Sky on the internet. She was the last left in the litter, was all black (at the time) and cost £100. I jumped at it. I saw her gorgeous face and had to have her. Within an hour I had a puppy.
I do not advise anyone to do this. I was extremely lucky. Her breeders are wonderful and we are still in contact with them. Now that's out of the way I can move on...
If you don't know what breeder to go to or what questions to ask you could end up with a sick and/or dead puppy.
Just because a pup is registered with the Kennel Club does not mean the breeder is a responsible one. Registering just means more money in an irresponsible breeder's eyes. A good breeder will always have a waiting list for puppies - a healthy and happy puppy will be well worth you waiting a few months/year.
Obtain the breeder register from the KC or the AKC and see how many litters the breeder has had in one year. Remember quality is better than quantity. If they have a high number (a bitch should never be pregnant more than 6 times in her life) then they are out for the money.
Beware of a breeder trying to convince you that a pup is rare because of its colour. If the colour is registered by the KC or AKC it is not rare. These breeders are just trying to con money out of you.
On the flip side be prepared for the breeder to ask you lots of questions. If a good breeder feels that you cannot provide a stable home and adequate care no amount of money you throw at them will make them sell you a pup.
When buying a GSD you should be aware of the health problems it may have in later life such as hip/elbow dysplasia. A good breeder will always hip/elbow score your pup. Remember, the lower the number the better. If in doubt, take copies of the test to your vet to verify them. Always ask for the test results, don't settle for "They're okay".
Always ask to see the parents and their hip/elbow scores. Look for some obvious things: Can they breathe without making noises, can they run and jump easily, are there any deep folds of skin around the head and do the eyes look clean, bright and alert? If the parents are healthy, it is likely your pup will grow up healthy.
A good breeder will not let a pup go until 8 weeks and some wait until 12 weeks. When a pup comes to you they should be vaccinated, weaned, wormed, house trained and already began socialising. A breeder will not let you see the pups until at least 7-8 weeks; you could pass on infections onto the pups if you do.
The mum herself should be over one year old but not too old. She should not have had more than 6 litters in her lifetime.
Does the pup have clean eyes, ears and bottom? If they are a bit poorly collect them another day. If they continue to be poorly leave them and go to a different breeder.
If a health problem arises with your puppy or for some reason it does not fit into your family a good responsible breeder will take the pup back.