Haus Juris German Shepherds

For most people involved in the sport of Schutzhund, breeding is a secondary priority to training for and obtaining titles. Those with females may breed one litter a year, while the males may be used mainly for breeding to bitches within the same geographic area. Regardless of whether you are an active breeder producing multiple litters of German Shepherd puppies each year or an infrequent breeder, finding the perfect mate for your male or female can be a very challenging task. Click here for a list of words commonly used in a breed survey.

Fortunately, the SV system offers a valuable tool for breeders that is unavailable to Canadian and American German Shepherd Dog breeders: the Breed Survey. The Breed Survey is a detailed analysis of an individual dog performed by a "Koermeister" or Breed Survey Master. A Koermeister critiques each part of the dog including height at the withers, weight, circumference and depth of the chest, eye and nail colour, length and position of the croup, teeth, pasterns, and front and rear movement. In addition, the Koermeister may comment on special qualities of the dog as well as make specific breeding recommendations.

At the conclusion of each critique, the Koermeister places the dog in one of the following categories: Breed Survey Class 1 which means recommended for breeding, or Breed Survey Class 2 which is suitable for breeding. The Koermeister also has the option of deferring the breed survey one year for correctable problems such as insufficient fighting spirit, or placing the dog in the category of "not suitable for breeding". All of the information is prepared into a Breed Survey Report that is given to the owner of the dog.

Before a dog can be Breed Surveyed, it must meet the following eligibility requirements:

• Be at least 2 years of age during the year
• Have hips certified clear of dysplasia by a recognized body ("a" stamp, OFA, OVC)
• Have a minimum SchH1 degree under VDH rules (or a HGH herding degree)
• Have passed an AD (Endurance Test) under VDH rules
• Have a minimum "Good" show rating under SV rules

If, on the day of the Survey, the dog is OVER six years old, the requirement to have passed an AD is waived.

Photocopies confirming each of the above requirements as well as a copy of the registration certificate and 3 generation pedigree must be submitted with the Breed Survey entry form. On the day of the Breed Survey, owners must submit the original paperwork for the Koermeister to examine. Original paperwork is returned to the owner at the end of the day and only the photocopies are submitted to the GSSCC office for processing. (You must be a member of the GSSCC or other WUSV club to enter a dog in the Breed Survey.)

Dogs must be Breed Surveyed twice in their life to maintain their Breed Survey status: the first time for a period of two years, and the second time for life in the year in which the original survey expires. For example, if the dog is presented for a Breed Survey in July, 1998, the Koermeister may place the dog in either Breed Survey Class 1 or 2 for the period of 1999-2000. In this case, the owner must Re-Survey the dog for life during the year 2000. If the dog is not re-surveyed prior to the expiry of the current Breed Survey, then the dog must begin the Breed Survey process from the beginning. Under certain conditions such as bitches in whelp, an extension of one year may be granted to the current breed survey.

Each Koermeister seems to have their own preference for how to run the Breed Survey, but in general the process is similar. First, all dogs entered in the Breed Survey are brought onto the field with the handler and gaited in a very large circle to let the dogs settle down. Then the Koermeister divides the dogs into groups of 5 or 6 for the gun test. After the gun test, the dogs are put away and brought out one at a time for the bitework test.

In the bitework, the Koermeister looks for two things: determining the rating of the bitework as either pronounced, present, or insufficient, and observing to see if the dog releases on command. Whether or not the handler has control of the dog in the heeling or the bitework is not important in the Breed Survey.

After the bitework, the dogs are critiqued individually. Usually, dogs presented for Re-Survey for Life are handled first since a full critique is not required and therefore takes less time to complete.

From time to time, dogs are placed in Breed Survey Class 2 that should be in placed in Breed Survey Class 1. It could be that the dog was not presented in good condition on the day of the survey due to illness or the Koermeister had a bad day. These dogs may be presented for Breed Survey again in the following year for an "upgrade", at the Koermeister's discretion, from Breed Survey Class 2 to Breed Survey Class 1. (In Germany, an upgrade must be done by the same Koermeister who did the original survey, however, in Canada this requirement is waived.) The period for re-survey remains unchanged. It is also possible for a Koermeister to downgrade from Breed Survey Class 1 to Breed Survey Class 2 when the dog is presented for the Re-Survey for Life, although fortunately such cases are rare.

In Germany, only puppies born to parents who are breed surveyed receive "pink" registration papers. If one or both of the parents are not breed surveyed, then puppies receive "white" registration papers which are generally less desirable by those people involved in breeding, showing, and training.

All breed surveys completed during the year are published annually by GSSCC in a booklet available for purchase by clubs and individuals. When trying to find the perfect mate for breeding your German Shepherd Dog, the Breed Survey is a valuable tool to aid your search.

Reprinted from Shepherd Sports, Spring '98 Issue