Importing A German Shepherd: Important Things To Know + Checklist


Imported German Shepherds have been popular and continue to be popular in countries like the US, UK, Australia and other countries worldwide.

Yes, there are reputable and well respected German Shepherd breeders in these countries, but there are also some very high quality breeders in places like Germany, the Czech Republic & Slovakia that buyers want access to.

Whichever country you live in, if you are looking for a German Shepherd with kennels in another country, you’ll want to know all about how plane shipping and importation works.

Whether you looking for a family pet, or for a dog with show and working titles – we wanted to put together a quick guide with the important things to know about importing a German Shepherd from overseas.

This is an information and educational guide only – ultimately you are responsible for making the decision to import (along with the party who is exporting the dog), and consulting any necessary professionals, laws and regulatory guidelines for advice or requirements.

Let’s look at these things to know about importing German Shepherds now…


(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)


Importing A German Shepherd: Important Things To Know + Checklist


Domestic vs. International Dog Shipping

Yes, this a guide about international dog shipping, but in general there are less requirements for domestic shipping around one country.

Examples of extra requirements include things like booking international flights vs. one domestic flight, and organising pet passports + complying with importation regulations of bringing foreign animals into the country.

Domestic shipping also happens to be cheaper.


Risks Of Shipping Animals and Pets on A Plane

We don’t want to say that plane shipping dogs is dangerous, but there are risks compared to picking up a dog locally, or in your region.

We wrote a guide about dogs on planes which includes some statistics and general information on pet air travel.

Be aware of the common risks and dangers, and make the decision that makes most sense for you and the dogs from a safety perspective.


How Can You Minimise The Risks Of Harm To An Imported German Shepherd?

There are breeders that have a fantastic reputation as ethical and high quality breeders that report that every one of their dogs has arrived safely on both domestic and international flights.

It would definitely be worth checking with the breeder you are looking at buying from as to what their shipping record is.

Ask them if they can provide you with any evidence they may have of a safe shipping record.

They may also be able to provide a summary of their shipping and export/importation process, that you can crosscheck for quality and safety.

It’s highly likely that the safety record of experienced and good breeders (that care about their dogs) is significantly higher than backyard type breeders who have little knowledge and questionable ethics.


So, How Might You Find A Good Breeder To Import From With A Good Safety Record?

How would you identify a good breeder? You could look for some of the following things:

A long history in breeding quality German Shepherds – with good health and temperament records

A HIGHLY detailed shipping page on their website that lists every detail about how they ship their dogs – documentation, meeting airline requirements, safety, timeframes, knowledge of the law in different countries etc.

A guarantee on the dogs – in regards to health and temperament from when the dogs are shipped up to a number of years after you owning them (at least 3+ years guarantee)

Have information about their safety record in shipping dogs internationally


You can also read more in the following guides we put together on identifying good German Shepherd breeders where you might get some more information and ideas on what to look for when assessing a breeder from overseas when you can’t physically inspect the kennel or the dogs themselves:

What To Look For When Buying A German Shepherd Puppy: Ethical Step By Step Guide

Where To Find The Best German Shepherd Breeders Near You


What Does A Detailed Dog Shipping Page Look Like On A Breeder’s Website?

We don’t support one breeder over another and we also don’t tend to recommend breeders.

You as the owner/buyer should do your own due diligence in relation to which breeder you think best serves you, and the dogs.

However, we did find the following examples which we believe are good detailed pages about how these breeders ship their dogs:

Example Of Detailed Pet Shipping Page 1 of

Example of Detailed Pet Shipping Page 2 (click on the different shipping information links on the page). This page also has information on breeding locations and pet passports.


What Should A Breeder Tell You About Dog Shipping & Importing – What To Look For and Consider? A Checklist…

The following is a checklist of just SOME of the things that either should be included in the shipping process, or details you might look for that are outlined by the breeder about the shipping and importation (consult your vet and country specific laws and regulations for more):


How does the breeder do their exporting/importing?

Do they have employees in your country that will pick up your dog and deliver it to you? Or, are you expected to pick up your dog and clear it from customs in addition to resting your dog once it arrives?

If the second scenario, do they provide complete instructions on what you should do?

Does the breeder offer both domestic, AND international shipping?

You’ll obviously need international shipping for importing, and you’ll want to know they ship to your country


What vet checks, clearances and certifications does the dog get before shipping?

Usually vaccinations, complete health check, hip and elbow certifications, and clearance by a vet to fly


Does the dog get on one direct flight, or is he/she doing multiple flights?

One direct flight is preferred – multiple flights can increase the risk to the dog


How long will the dog spend in their crate in total, and per flight?

6 hours or less is preferred at a time, but could be up to 8. Dogs must be dropped off to most airlines a few hours before the flight takes off so they can check in and be safely placed on the plane

The longer a dog spends in the airline crate, the more they stress, fatigue and get bored


What are the requirements of the airlines the dog will be travelling on?

Has the breeder met all the requirements and got all clearances prior to shipping?


How will the dog travel on the plane?

Find out where on the plane the dog will be placed, what the conditions are like (air pressure, temperature, air flow etc.)


What sort of crate will the dog be travelling in? Is it safe and airline approved?

Each airline will have different air travel crate requirements. You’ll want to make sure the dog has access to water, a controlled temperature, controlled air pressure, has room and comfort in the crate, and their feeding schedule is considered

Find out the size of the crate and how well ventilated it is


What pet shipping company is the breeder using? 

What is the safety record of the pet shipping company if the breeder is using one. Ask them for the name and any safety records


What are the total costs of the shipping – should be listed by the breeder?

Usually you need to pay for a health certificate and exam from a vet from the country they are being exported from, an airline crate, the flights, any third party services like pet shipping companies and insurance, costs and time associated with clearing customs like filling in forms and pet passports


How does pickup and resting the dog work?

What are the processes in place for picking up the dog from the airport, clearing customs and resting the dog once they arrive to their new country?


Does the breeder know the laws and regulations in each country?

Mainly in relation to the laws for pet shipping on planes (e.g. some countries require the puppy to be at least 10 weeks old), and clearances such as pet passports

Can also include pet detail and health certificates, weather restrictions, live animal checklists, regulations about the kennels the dogs are coming from, animal importation forms, animals importation regulations etc.



Friendly Disclaimer are not veterinarians, or animal professionals/experts. Information provided is for informational purposes only – it is not a substitute for professional or qualified advice.

The information is based on either our own thorough research, and/or own experiences, as a means of free speech.

By consuming this information, you accept that do not have client or patient relationship with you, and are not advising you to act on anything you read.

You should always consult your own veterinarian, animal expert, or health care professional and follow their advice before making decisions on all matters.

You can find our full set of disclaimers and T & C’s in the footer of this site.


Enjoy your reading, and thank you for being here 



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