About Us

The Upstate German Shepherds Team

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Experienced Breeders

Upstate German Shepherds founder, Don Spear, has been breeding dogs over a 40-year span, 20 of those breeding the mighty German Shepherds of European fame.

Don discovered the longhair variant Shepherd when his reproduction veterinarian introduced him to Jodi Hartman. They bred Rommel to Mishka and the pups proved to be extraordinarily beautiful, more importantly, superior companions. A few years later, Don and Jodi merged their small kennels and housed the dogs on Jodi’s 14-acre property in Canisteo, NY.

Jodi has 20-years of dog breeding experience and an invaluable instinct with German Shepherds. Breeding and daily care are her duties in the partnership along with new acquisitions, usually direct from Europe. She is the ideal “dog person”. Together they decide on the match between sire and dam to produce the traits they want in each litter. Jodi assists our buyers in pup selection based on individual personality.

We emphasize the well-bred, “flat back” German, Czech and Low Country bloodlines popularized after WWII. We do NOT deal in the American or European branch characterized by the sharp downward angle of the back and the squat rear. Ours are working lines and are NOT show dogs. What’s the difference? We breed for flawless disposition with unparalleled steady nature and courage and character. Our dogs are accidentally beautiful!


All of our adult dogs are companion dogs living in someone’s household. The European German Shepherd is much too evolved to languish in a kennel. GSD’s need regular human interaction. Their intuitive nature thrives on companionship. All of our females are at our home in Canisteo, NY near Bath and due south of Rochester which we refer to as our kennel. It is actually our modest house. This commitment to having no kennel dogs is the reason we are a small breeder.

What Makes A Great Dog?

The European breeds were always superior, but with the fall of the Berlin Wall, East(DDR) and West Germany were reunited. An entirely separate line of GSD was integrated into the DNA mix. Strong stock became mighty! Our dogs are impossible to make unsure with a rock-solid steady nerve base. They have great bone strength and great working ability. They are relaxed and perfectly behaved inside the home. They are especially gentle with small children and are able to concentrate and focus on task. Conversely, they are highly determined in protection. Our dogs have a great willingness to be obedient showing reliable responses to the obedience commands.

Our Adult Dogs Are DM Clear With Certified Healthy Hips and Elbows

Our Number 1 objective is good health. Next is the perfect home pet disposition. Along with that comes the desire to be trained and to follow commands that leads to such a satisfying relationship between dog and master. Finally, should you want a personal protection dog, you have the correct stock to achieve this goal. To accomplish this, we must and do follow the exacting standards of the German breed.

Meet Our Pups

Ask About Our Available Pups

Based on 19 reviews
Ryan Bierley
Ryan Bierley
Ivan turned 2 this week. He has amazing bone structure, head size and calm temperament. Our family couldn't be happier with our decision to work w Jodi and purchase a pup. It is very comforting to know that any issue/question I may have, no matter how small, she will be there to answer and help me out. This has helped us raise Ivan with the best care possible. Thank you so much!!!
Ting Cai
Ting Cai
Our baby Hemi, Anoshi and Chewy’s boy, turning 2 next March. Only here to show how beautiful Hemi is. Enjoy.
Diana Anderson
Diana Anderson
Looking into getting a pup, soon !
Edurne Alvarez
Edurne Alvarez
I have been in the market for the best bred Shepherd for a while and contacted a specialized GS group on Reddit for a breeder in the Northeast, which is how I found UGS. I have never experienced better customer service, or such knowledgeable, as from Jodi and Don. Every question I have had along the way has been replied to in such a friendly manner, and when I decided to wait for a bit longer with getting my puppy due to personal life events they were really cooperative and helpful, and I cannot wait till I can get back to them to get my puppy. The dames and sires are impressive stock - I have experience dealing with the best breeders in Scandinavia. I wholeheartedly recommend UGS for anyone considering a top of the line GS. Thank you Jodi and Don!!
Spoke with the breeder. Very knowledgeable of the GSD breed. I would recommend this breeder to anyone in the market for a well balanced GSD.
Yarri Soteros
Yarri Soteros
I called Don out of the blue after hours and he graciously took the call and answered all my questions. Having 50 years experience with large breed dogs, I could tell straight away Don was knowledgeable. We lost our beloved old man last year at age 14 and we're not quite ready for a new family member just yet. When the time is right, I'll be sending a deposit for my puppy from Upstate.

Reserve Your New Friend!

Our babies are adopted quickly, so reach out to reserve your forever friend or to ask any questions.

Call Us

(315) 406-3783

Schedule A Visit

Canisteo, New York

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