Several hundred thousand dog lovers in 78 countries are members of the German Shepherd Associations of the World Union. There are approximately 250,000 purebred German Shepherds with papers from the German Shepherd Association SV right now in Germany. Every year, around 15,000 puppies are registered in the German stud book.
"The German Shepherd is medium-sized, slightly elongated, strong and well-muscled, with dry bones and firm overall structure. It has a strong, healthy and complete set of teeth with 42 teeth (carnassial). The pointed prick ears are mobile and can be positioned correspondingly by the dog, which, among other aspects, determines his quality as a guard dog.”
Breeding is a responsible and beautiful task in which one can collaborate in developing a dog breed in a goal-oriented way. Apart from idealism and the love for the animal, the breeding of German Shepherds primarily requires extensive expertise, clear goals and experience. Lots of space for a kennel site and an understanding neighbourhood are further basic preconditions. Apart from the breeding dogs’ training and their presentation at breeding shows, the small puppies in particular need to be constantly cared for and looked after.
The financial side of breeding also needs to be considered. Among the costs are, for instance, the costs for the facilities, food, the veterinarian and all costs connected with the registration of the dogs for breeding – i.e. training, HD, ED and DNA procedures, trials, breeding shows, examinations for breed licenses, the trip to the stud dog and the stud fee.
Planning leads to the goal: the right partner choice
The prerequisite for successful breeding is the quality of the parents and their ancestors. The choice for a suitable stud dog for the individual bitch depends on the advantages (and also the mistakes) of the breeding partners. Further criteria: degree of kinship, type, line, coat type, quality of already existing offspring and finally also the breeding willingness of the considered dog. It is recommended that you consult with experienced breeders and with the breed wardens of the Association for German Shepherds (SV) e. V.
Securing the quality of the breed
If two dogs are brought together for the purpose of breeding, the bitch generally travels to the stud. The mating fee must be agreed on beforehand in writing with the owner of the dog. Important: The bitch must be at least 20 months old before she can be covered for the first time. The SV has dictated the frequency of mating per stud in its breeding rules. Bitches may be covered up to 90 times, thereof maximum 60 times in Germany. These statutory provisions of the SV ensure the quality of the breed. Without an adequate rest period between mating, the rate of fertilization will worsen.
An important principle for every breeder: it must be ensured that the puppies that are subsequently sold are of better quality than their parents. That is the requirement behind the SV breeding philosophy. In its statutes, the SV ensures that this requirement is not infringed – and provides every help to fulfil it. Too many dog breeds have almost been destroyed in the last hundred years through unrestrained reproduction. The quality principle is therefore paramount for the SV.
Breeding is a responsible and beautiful task.
Dog breeders have a great responsibility. They form the foundation for the dog’s development during the first weeks of life. This imprinting by the breeder forms the basis for the subsequent human-dog relationship. They are also an irreplaceable consultant for the buyers.
SV members who earn special merits in the breeding of the German Shepherd are therefore awarded a bronze, silver or gold Breeder Badge.
Successful breeders with the gold SV Breeder Badge
Breeder Badges in bronze, silver or gold are awarded only to those members who have earned merits for breeding German Shepherds. The awarding follows a strict point system where every dog suitable for assessment is assessed only once. The awards take place ceremoniously at a main Association event. Only those breeders who demonstrate proper conduct in all aspects and who evidence flawless, clean dog and kennel maintenance will receive such a coveted badge.
„Breed certificate of authenticity“: this is the most important document a buyer of a German Shepherd must have. Only an association recognized by the World Canine Organization (FCI) and the German Kennel Club (VDH) can issue this certificate. No dog can be classified as a purebred German Shepherd without this verification. In contrast to the pedigree, which goes back four generations, the genealogical tree leads back to the origin of the breed – back to the progenitor.
The pedigree is drawn up and issued by the SV. This official extract of the stud book (over 2 million dogs are currently registered), records the 30 direct ancestors of the animal. The breed certificate of authenticity therefore leads back to the generation of the great-great-grandparents of the dog and also gives information about their qualities. This certificate lists the performance records, information about colors of the siblings, coat types, colours, as the results of training, exhibitions and licensing events for each of these 30 ancestors and their siblings. For the responsible breeder, the information compiled here offers the most important basis for future breeding plans.
Description of the dog in the pedigree
If already available, the pedigree also contains the dog’s breeding license report. The description of the dog in this report is essential. The dog’s virtues and disadvantages, the good and less good qualities are listed here. The ownership status is also registered in the pedigree. Every seller of a German Shepherd must hand over the pedigree, registering and confirming the new owner in the pedigree when selling the dog. The date must also be included.
Admission in the annex register
The SV offers all dog owners of German Shepherds without a pedigree or with pedigrees not recognised by the VDH or the FCI, the option of registering their dogs in the SV annex register. The dogs then receive a registration certificate. Dogs registered in the SV annex register can:
- Participate in VDH exhibitions and tests (no SV membership required)
- Participate in SV breeding shows (SV membership required)
- German Shepherds breeds with long coats and undercoats can also be used for breeding (SV membership required). The puppies from this breeding will also be registered in the annex register. From the fourth generation without any gaps, the descendants will then be accepted in the Breed Book of the SV.
The breed licensing is reserved exclusively to animals registered in the stud book of the German Shepherd Association (SV) e. V. Further preconditions are listed in the licensing rules. Sick animals and animals that cannot be identified through their tattoo/microchip number are not admitted to the initial licensing (“Ankörung”). The breeding animals have to demonstrate that, with regards to character, performance and anatomy, they are capable of promoting “the preservation and advancement of the breed as far as is possible”. A breed licensing document is thereby a rating which is awarded exclusively by the licensing inspectors who have performed special services as breeding judges for the SV.
At the beginning is the character test
The four-legged candidate needs to demonstrate himself as unbiased, well-balanced, self-confident and good-natured. The dog is exposed to different stimuli situations, the mastering of which shows his characteristic traits. The dog must be controlled by his handler at all times. After this, the dog is measured, weighed and assessed in standing and movement by the licensing inspector. The initial licensing and the initial licensing after interruption are valid for a period of two years. A licensing improvement does not extend the original licensing period. In the final year before the expiration of this period, the dog can be presented again for a lifetime license.
Around 3,000 – 4,000 German Shepherds take this test every year. All presented animals are published once a year in the licensing book of the SV.
A breeding show at the SV is the moment of truth for every dog.
German shepherds are a healthy breed. Nevertheless, the “hereditary diseases” problem has also reached their breeding. Hip dysplasia (HD), feared by breeders of all big dog breeds, is a development disorder in the formation of the hip joint socket which only occurs during the growth period. This also applies to elbow dysplasia which has been observed over the past few years. This causes an abnormal development in a certain area of the elbow joint.
Genetic predisposition plays an important role. HD troubles afflict our four-legged friends immensely. Many dogs have, for example, problems when getting up. Other characteristics are a wobbling walk, difficulties in climbing stairs or jumping. It is clear: Genetic predisposition plays a decisive role in the development of these diseases. However, influences due to feeding and rearing are also of importance. Medical treatments with pain relievers or cortisone often have severe side effects. Only an operation can offer real help.
Elbow dysplasia is probably also genetically determined. The results: During growth, a small bone section does not join with the rest of the bone. The result is an instable elbow joint, with related pain right up to lameness. Only an operation will help in this case as well.
Initiatives for combating this issue
The German Shepherd Association (Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SV)) already took the initiative for the systematic reduction of HD back in 1966. Since 2002, it is also evaluating ED, initiating X-ray checks for the breeding license. This set up a procedure where breeders, veterinarians and the SV Pedigree Office work together. In this procedure, the X-ray photographs of dogs that were at least twelve months old at the time of the examination are initially evaluated. In the central appraisal body at the SV, experts then assess the X-ray images. A final HD and ED report is determined according to the results in the individual points. The Pedigree Office registers this report in the relevant pedigree. Dogs that have been diagnosed with medium or serious HD or ED may not be used for breeding anymore. The pedigree is created and issued by the SV.
Breeders whose kennels are authorised by the SV advertise in this category.