How to Be a Better Pet Owner

Terminology To Know As You Shop For A German Shepherd Puppy

Bringing home a German shepherd puppy can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable moves you make! But before you drive home with that puppy in your lap, you're going to have to do some shopping around and looking at different German shepherd puppies for sale to find the one that's right for you. Understanding the terms below will help you do so smartly.

Deutsche Schäferhunde

This is obviously a German term, and you may see it when looking at ads for puppies who are the first or second generation from parents imported from Germany. It's just the name of the breed in German. A Deutsche Schäferhunde is a German shepherd. 


You may see puppies listed as "SV" or as "SV registered." The abbreviation stands for Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde, which is the German registry for German shepherd dogs. Puppies registered with this club tend to be very well bred and suited to work.


You may see other puppies listed as AWDF or "AWDF registered." This is an American foundation called the American Working Dog Foundation. The registry accepts dogs of multiple breeds, including German Shepherds, Dobermans, and Staffordshire Terriers. Puppies who do not have such close ties to pure German bloodlines are often registered with this organization, rather than with SV.


The breeder may talk about or write about the puppy's nerves. This may seem like odd terminology, but it just refers to the dog's personality. Is the dog nervous or confident? Is it friendly or independent? 


Some puppies might be described as having a low threshold. Others might have a medium or high threshold. This simply refers to the amount of stimulation a puppy needs to react. In the case of German shepherds, that reaction might be barking or acting against the handler. If you are buying a German shepherd puppy as a working dog, you may want one with a low threshold, whereas a high threshold is more ideal for a family dog.


Hardness refers to the dog's ability to manage stress. Most German shepherds have a high hardness, which means they thrive in demanding situations and recover quickly when corrected in training.

Understanding these terms can help you make more sense of the puppy ads you see and have more productive conversations with the breeders of German shepherd puppies. It's a lovely breed, but you should take the time to learn before buying.