German Shepherds are one of the most popular breeds of dog in the country. They are renowned for their strength, agility, and fierceness, as well as their ability to protect their families. If you’re looking to adopt or purchase a German Shepherd puppy, you should know the right age at which to take them home and make them part of your family.

The best age to buy a German Shepherd puppy is around seven to eight weeks. This ensures that the pup is not taken from its mother too early, but still has enough time to integrate into being a part of your family.

It’s important to make sure that you’re working with a reputable adoption agency or breeder that knows their local laws and restrictions for when puppies can be taken away from their mothers. Read on for more tips on when the best age is to bring home your new German Shepherd pup.

Why Not Bring Home a German Shepherd Puppy Earlier Than Seven Weeks?

If you try to adopt or purchase a German Shepherd puppy earlier than seven weeks, you will likely encounter several problems. The first of these problems is like the legality of purchasing a dog at such a young age. Most states don’t allow potential dog owners to purchase puppies any earlier than eight weeks, let alone seven. The District of Columbia is the only state or district in the country that allows puppies to be sold at the age of six weeks.

The second problem that you will likely encounter if you try to buy a German Shepherd puppy earlier than that seven-week mark is a lack of puppy socialization. The American Kennel Club states that puppies begin their socialization period at the age of six weeks, while an article from Psychology Today written with help from a prestigious dog breeder suggests that socialization begins even earlier – as early as three weeks old in some breeds.

This socialization period is important because it allows puppies to learn essential behaviors from the other puppies in their litter as well as from their mother. When puppies begin to play and bite with their siblings and their mother, they will learn that these behaviors are not okay because their family members will bite at them or bark, which will teach the puppy that those behaviors are not okay.

If your puppy is rehomed too young, they will miss out on these important lessons and will be disobedient.

The final problem you will face when trying to bring home a German Shepherd puppy before the age of seven weeks is an unhealthy separation from the puppy’s mother. While the puppy will have to be separated from its mother, eventually, this process should not be allowed to happen too early. If pups are taken away from their mother too young, they will suffer from behavioral issues that are deeper than just poor socialization.

Due to factors such as lack of maternal soothing, premature weaning, and separation anxiety, puppies who are removed from their mothers too early are prone to fear and aggression.

In a study conducted in the journal Veterinary Record (as quoted in the Psychology Today article), it was determined that pups who were taken from their mothers before the age of 40 days (around 5.5 weeks) were likely to suffer from “destructiveness, excessive barking, fearfulness on walks, reactivity to noises,” and more.

It’s important that you set your dog up for a lifetime of success and good behavior, especially if they’re a German Shepherd. Since German Shepherd are already seen as an aggressive breed due to their reputation for use by law enforcement, it’s crucial to make sure that you train your Shepherd puppy as effectively as you can in order to break down the stigma of German Shepherd ownership.

But, Why Not Bring Home a German Shepherd Puppy Later Than Eight Weeks?

Finding the right timing to bring home a German Shepherd puppy can be tricky. It’s important not to bring them home before the age of seven weeks, but it’s just as important to bring them home before the age of eight weeks. There are a few factors that make it difficult to properly raise a German Shepherd puppy if you bring it home after that eight-week mark.

The first issue you’ll encounter when buying or adopting a puppy that’s more than eight weeks old is the fact that the pup will likely have a harder time assimilating to your home, your family, and your lifestyle. The reason that people buy puppies so young is that they want their dog to be able to become a well-socialized part of the family unit.

When you adopt a puppy that’s older than eight weeks, it becomes harder for them to adjust to your family and will be a more stressful experience. Though it’s still possible to properly train a dog after their puppy months, it makes life much easier in the long term for both you and your new canine if you’re able to get them started young. Commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come” can all be learned at a young age and will stick with the dog longer if they learn it from puppyhood.

The second reason you should get a German Shepherd puppy before it passes eight weeks old is that it makes obedience and work training much easier to accomplish. Since Shepherds are often used as service animals and police dogs that require advanced training, it’s important that this training is started young.

They will need to be able to perform commands and tasks through nudges, picking up items with their mouths, and calling for help or assistance in order to help their owner.

Much like the idea that it’s easier to teach a human child a new language when they’re just a toddler, it’s also easier to teach a dog skills and proper behavior when you start them off young. This is why training organizations teach puppies as young as possible so they can be competent service animals for people with disabilities. German Shepherds can easily be trained as seeing-eye dogs as well as animals that help people with epilepsy or neurological disorders.

The final reason that it’s crucial to adopt a German Shepherd puppy before that eight-week mark is because it may help prevent the development of a dominant personality. The author of the Psychology Today article believes that if puppies are left in the litter for too long, they will begin to build a sort of hierarchy or to peck order among themselves.

Because German Shepherds have that reputation for aggressive behavior, you want to mitigate this potential as quickly as possible.

Summary

The best age to adopt a German Shepherd puppy is between the ages of seven and eight weeks old. This is the age suggested by the American Kennel Club as well as psychological researchers. It is also illegal in most areas of the country to rehome a puppy before the age of seven weeks, save for the District of Columbia. No breeder should be selling a puppy younger than six weeks old.

It’s important to wait to rehome a puppy until it’s at least seven weeks old so it can develop some socialization skills within its litter, as well as have time to learn how to wean off its mother.

At the same time, you should not let the puppy remain with its litter after the age of eight weeks to avoid aggression and to make training easier.