German breeding requirements for German Shepherd Dogs

German Shepherd puppies offered for sale in England do not in general meet the breeding standards which are internationally recognised for the breed. In order to obtain the German pedigree known as ‘pink papers’ the following breeding requirements must be met for each parent

1. They must be tattooed and microchipped for identification.
2. They must be DNA tested to ensure that the parents are who they are said to be.
3. They must be X-rayed not before 12 months of age and have results acceptable for breeding for hips (HD) and elbows (ED).
4. Not before 16 months of age they must pass an endurance and fitness test of running for 20 kilometres (an AD test).
5. Not before 15 months of age they must pass a comprehensive test of obedience, sureness with people, other animals and traffic and a temperament test (a BH test).
6. Not before 18 months of age they must gain at a public trial a schutzhund title of at least Schutzhund 1 (SchH 1). For politically correct reasons the term schutzhund has now fallen out of use and it has been replaced by what is called an IPO title which is much the same. The trial has three parts, namely, (1) obedience, (2) tracking and (3) protection. The dog must pass all three parts which also include a temperament test and a gunshot test of steadiness. The protection phase of the trial is an exacting test of the dog’s character.
7. Not before 12 months the dog must be awarded at a public show a grade of at least ‘G’ (‘good’). The grades of ‘SG’ (‘very good’) or ‘V’ (‘excellent’) are also acceptable. So is ‘VA’ (‘excellent select’) but a dog is likely to passed a breed survey long before receiving this much prized title.
8. Finally the dog must pass a Breed Survey conducted by an experienced judge appointed by the Breed organisation and must receive either Körklasse 1 (‘recommended for breeding’) or Körklasse 2 (‘suitable for breeding’). In order to be eligible to take part in the breed survey the dog must have satisfied requirements 1 to 7 inclusive above. Satisfying requirements 1 to 7 does not entitle the dog to pass the breed survey. That is independently assessed. The character of the dog as well as its physical characteristics are assessed at a breed survey. In particular its courage is tested. Dogs which do not pass the Breed Survey with either Körklasse 1 or 2 are not regarded as suitable for breeding and their progeny will not be granted the pink pedigree papers. Here is an example of a German Breed Survey.

This system has been in use in Germany in some form since the beginning of the breed. As a result of this system operated over many generations German Shepherds which are not fit for breeding are eliminated from the gene pool as are the faults of those dogs. That is why German bred German Shepherds with pink pedigree papers are not in any way comparable to a German Shepherd in the UK which only has a Kennel Club ‘pedigree’. And please note this applies no matter how many shows a KC registered a dog may have won. For a dog to gain the title ‘Champion’ in the UK does not mean that any of these breeding requirements have been met. It is a shameful truth that in the UK the Kennel Club title of ‘Champion’ can be awarded to dogs with no health tests whatever. Because they have received the title ‘Champion’ these dogs are then often extensively used for breeding.

For more details of any of the German breeding requirements do please click on the relevant links above. You will soon realise how comprehensive and detailed these requirements are. So, what should you do to make sure you get a fit and healthy GSD if you are in the UK rather than Germany? Do continue in order to find out.

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