The Glossary

If you are not familiar with the German system of breeding German Shepherd Dogs, there is a good chance that many of the terms you see used on this web site are new to you. In my effort to help you understand more about the true German Shepherd Dog I have compiled this glossary of terms to help you. Click to return to the main About page.

You may click on a letter below to jump to that section of the glossary or you may scroll through it.

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
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V
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Z

If you cannot find the term you are looking for or have other questions, please e-mail me.

*: You will see this in a dog's pedigree for each ancestor that was breed surveyed/KKl'ed (please see defintions below). For the dog's parents and grandparents it will be listed under the dog's name and working titles and be next to either a date or the word lebenszeit (please see definition below). If it is next to a date that means that the dog has passed an original breed survey, but has not been re-surveyed for life by the time the pedigree was generated. For the third and fourth generation ancestors, it will appear before the dog's name.

a: You will see the letter -a- in Apache's scorebook under the column for the Courage Test. The a designates that he has pronounced courage. Pronounced is the highest rating for courage.

"a" stamp: This is the indication on the dog's pedigree that the dog's hip x-rays have been certified in Germany. Click for top of page.

breed standard: You may think of this as the breed's "blueprint". The country that first develops a particular breed of dog is the country that decides what will be the standard for that breed. All other countries must abide by the standard set forth by the parent country.

breed survey: This is the final test a dog has to pass in order to be eligible for breeding under the German system and for the puppies to get pink registration papers. A dog must have already passed a 12 mile endurance test (the AD), passed hip certification, passed a working title of either at least a SchH 1 or a herding title (HGH), and been awarded a conformation rating of at least a G (Good) after the dog turned 12 months old. Assesssment of the dog on the day of the survey includes the following: Click for top of page.

I. Evaluation of general condition, size, overall structure, firmness of ligaments, gait, instinctive behavior, self-confidence and ability to cope with stress.
II. Height at withers, chest depth, chest circumference, weight, pigment, coat, testicles, and color/markings.
III. Temperament, nerves, gun sureness, instinctive behavior, self-confidence and ability to cope with stress.
IV. Assessment while standing and while in motion includes the following: secondary sex characteristics, constitution, expression, structural characteristics, bones, musculature, firmness of front ligaments while standing, firmness of rear ligaments while standing, back, tightness of elbows, firmness of pasterns, front view, croup, firmness of hocks, gait, front reach, rear drive, nails, feet, head, eye color, uppper jaw, lower jaw, dentition, dentition faults.
V. Speacial attributes/shortcomings are noted.
VI. Breeding recommendations, advice/warnings are also listed.

The first time a dog passes a breed survey, the rating is good for 2 calendar years. The dog must be presented for re-survey before the end of the second calendar year. If the dog passes the second breed survey they are considered breed surveyed for life. If the dog is not presented for re-survey before the first survey expires then the dog must be surveyed again as if it were the dog's first time in a breed survey.

BSP: You will see this listed in the pedigrees for some dogs. It stands for Bundessieger-Prufung which is the German national schutzhund 3 competition. It takes a very good dog to compete in that trial. These dogs had to first do very well at a regional trial before qualifying for the national trial.

BSZS: You will see this listed in the pedigree for some dogs. It stands for Bundessieger-Zuchtschau which is the German national conformation show. This is the largest German Shepherd dog show in the world. There are about 3,000 dogs aged 1 year old and older competing for top male and female in their age group. German Shepherd Dogs from all over the world compete in this show.

conformation rating: Dogs that are exhibited in a conformation show are given a rating according to how well the dog conforms to the standard for the breed. In the German style shows the following ratings are used:

DS: You will see this listed in the pedigree for some dogs. It means that the dog was registered in Austria. There will be a number after the DS which is the dog's registration number for that country.

FH: You will see this listed in the pedigree and scorebook for some dogs. It represents the abbreiviation for the advanced tracking degree that a dog can earn. There is now an FH and an FH 2. The FH 2 being the more difficult of the two tests.

G: This stands for Gut/Good. In a conformation show it is awarded to dogs that do conform to the breed's standard, but have distinct anatomical limitations. In a SchH (schutzhund) trial it is awarded to dogs that have a total score of 240 - 269 out of a total 300 possible points. Click for top of page.

gaiting: This is what is referred to when the dog is in motion, trotting. When a dog is gaiting, the legs on the same side of the body will move in opposite directions. As opposed to pacing when the dogs legs on the same side of the body move in the same direction. Dogs must gait when they are exhibited in a conformation show in order that the judge may properly see the movement of the dog in regards to the dogs structure.

HGH: You will see this listed in the pedigree and scorebook for some dogs. This is the abbreviation used for the herding title that a dog may earn. Herding is slowly beginning to gain popularity in this country so most of the dogs with this title earned it in Germany.

IP or IPO: You will see this listed in the pedigree and scorebook for some dogs. This is the abbreviation used for the international working titles that a dog may earn. There are 3 different levels and 3 phases just as in the schutzhund titles. There is a tremendous similarity in the SchH and IP titles. Click for top of page.

KKl: This is the abbreviation for the term koerklasse and is used to designate that the dog has passed a breed survey and been given a rating for breeding purposes. Dogs are either awarded a rating of KKl 1 or KKl 2. Dogs awarded KKL1 are recommended for breeding and have met the highest breed qualification. Dogs in this group have measurements, weight and anatomical structure that conforms with the standard. In their overall behavior, they are self-confident, good natured and show pronounced hardness, courage and fighting instinct. Dogs awarded KKl2 are approved for breeding and have small limitations in the anatomical part of their report. They may by up to 1 cm under or over the standard range given for height at the withers. Their evaluation of hardness, courage and fighting instinct may be sufficient. And/or they may have the following dental faults - missing one premolar 1 or one incisor; or missing two premolar 1's or one premolar 1 and one incisor; or one premolar 2; or have a slight even bite of the middle incisors. Click for top of page.

Koerklasse: Please see the definition for KKl above.

Koerung: The German term for breed survey. Please see the definition for breed survey.

lebenszeit: The is the German term designating that the dog has been breed surveyed for life. (Please see the end of the definition for breed survey for more clarification.)

NHSB: You will find this on some dogs' pedigrees. This is the abbreviation used before the registration number for a dog that is registered in the Neitherlands.

OFA: This is the abbreviation used for the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Inc. This is the hip certification organization in America. Click for top of page.

pacing: In movement, when a dog is moving the legs that are on the same side of the body in the same direction. It is the opposite of gaiting. When a dog is pacing at a conformation show, the judge is not able to clearly see the dog's structure while moving.

Sieger: This is the name given to the male dog that places first in the working class (dogs that are 2+ years and have a SchH or other working title) at a national level conformation show. The male with the show rating of VA 1 is the Sieger (champion) that year.

Siegerin: This is the female version of the Sieger.

SchH: This is the abbreviation used for the word schutzhund. Click for top of page.

Schutzhund: This means "protection dog". It was originally developed to test the breed suitability of the German Shepherd Dog and to make sure that the breed remains a working breed. It has since become a very popular dog sport for many different breeds of dogs and their handlers. There are 3 levels of schutzhund. The titles earned by the dog are SchH 1, SchH 2, and SchH 3. With each level progressivly more difficult than the previous level. There are 3 phases to each level. There is a tracking phase, an obedience phase, and a protection phase. The emphasis in on control over the dog at all times. Handlers may compete with their dogs at the club (or local) level, regional level, national level and world level. You can think of the world SchH 3 competition as the Olympics for the German Shepherd Dog. Currently, there are only 12 dogs from America that may compete at the world competition. There are 6 dogs from the USA (United Schutzhund Club of America) team and 6 dogs from the GSDCA-WDA (German Shepherd Dog Club of America -Working Dog Association) team. No other country is allowed to have 2 teams and in the near future America will be allowed to send only one team with 3 dogs from each organization. The American teams have consistently placed very well over the years with the USA team taking first place twice in the 1990's.

SG: This stands for Sehr Gut/Very Good. In a conformation show, it is the highest rating given in the 12 - 18 month, 18 - 24 month, and 24+ month without working title classes. It is awarded to animals that fully comply with the breed standard. In the 24+ months with working title classes, it is awarded to dogs that comply with the prerequisites for excellent with slight limitations in their anatomy. It is also awarded to dogs in the working class that are faultless in their anatomical structure, but have a wither height of either over or under up to 1 cm. of the allowed range. In a SchH (schutzhund) trial it is awarded to dogs that have a total score of 270 - 285 out of a total 300 possible points. Click for top of page.

stand exam: This is done at a conformation show and at a breed survey. The dog is placed in a stance such that the judge can see the correct anatomical structure of the dog. The dog's front legs are placed even with each other and perpendicular to the ground. The rear leg closest to the judge is pulled back so that the hock (the bone from the paw to the ankle) is perpendicular to the ground. The other rear leg is placed under the dog so that the dog is comfortably balanced on its paw, usually even with the dog's knee.

SV: The abbreviation used for the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde (the German Shepherd Dog club in Germany). It is the organization responsible for the German Shepherd Dog in Germany. For more information please visit their web site. Most of the web site is in German, but there are some areas that are in English.

SZ: You will see this on a dog's pedigree. It is the abbreviation used before the registration number for dogs that are registered in Germany. Click for top of page.

USA: This is the abbreviation used for the United Schutzhund Clubs of America. This is the American organization that follows the rules and regulations set forth by the SV. You can learn more about USA by visiting their web site.

V: This stands for Vorzüglich/Excellent. In a conformation show, it is the highest rating given in the 24+ month with working title classes at the local (club) and regional levels. It is awarded to animals that by establishment of a rigorous criterion completely conform to the breed standard, exhibit themselves as self-confident, impartial, are indifferent to gun fire, have hip certification, and if the dog is over 3 1/2 years of age have passed a breed survey. In a SchH (schutzhund) trial it is awarded to dogs that have a total score of 286 - 300 out of a total 300 possible points. Click for top of page.

VA: This stands for Vorzüglich Auslese/Excellent Select. This rating is reserved for use only at the national conformation show. It is awarded to dogs that meet the qualifications for the V rating and also have faultless dentation, at least a SchH 2 or equivalent working title, and have a breed survey rating of KKl 1. In order for the dog to be awarded VA a second time, they must possess a SchH 3.

VH: This is the abbreviation used for the working titles awarded in the Neitherlands. It is equivalent to the SchH titles. There is a VH 1, VH 2, and VH 3. Click for top of page.

WDA: The is the abbreviation used for the Working Dog Association branch of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America. For more information visit their web site.

WUSV: This is the abbreviation used to represent the World Union of Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde (World Union of German Shepherd Dog Clubs).

ZB: You will see this on dogs' pedigrees. It is the German abbreviation for Show Rating. It will be followed by whatever conformation rating the dog had at the time the pedigree was generated. Click for top of page.

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