Fred Lanting

SV Breed Show Rules (Zuchtschauordnung) 2013 edition

Translation copyright Fred Lanting


I. Definitions and responsibilities

1. Distinctions

2. Local breed shows

3. Regional groups — Conformation shows

4. Specialty shows

5. The Sieger Show in Germany

II. Organization of Conformation Shows

1. Show catalogs

2. Division of classes

3. Judgments

4. Appraisals

III. Other Comments

The Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SV) e.V. (Inc.) is the parent club of the breed, recognized by the VDH [Germany’s all-breed organization] and the FCI [international breed standards organization]. To the purpose of the conserving and further developing the breed, and described in Section § 3, item 2 of the statutes of the SV (the breed’s controlling body), also to promote firm commitment to our goals generally, and particularly for the direction of the organization, the SV remits the following “breed show rules” indispensable for the breed. It has the effect of law.


I. Definitions and Responsibilities

The club promotes conformation shows for the German of Shepherd Dog in these two coat varieties: Stockhaar (straight, medium-length topcoat) and Langstockhaar mit Unterwolle (long hair with woolly undercoat). In conformation shows, the dogs compete (are exhibited) in separate classes according to their hair type.


1. These shows are distinguished as follows:

1.1  Local clubs’ conformation shows,

1.2  Regional groups’ conformation shows,

1.3  Specialty shows for the breed, which are incorporated as part of VDH all-breed shows,

1.4  The Sieger Show (in Germany, usually called the Bundessiegerzuchtschau).

2.  Shows Organized and Managed by Local Clubs (Ortsgruppe), but Responsible to the SV.

2.1  Local club conformation shows need to have their event (date) timeframes approved by the SV headquarters and the Landesgruppe (regional organizations).

2.2  The schedules for, and awards at, local conformation shows are accomplished through the respective Landesgruppe.

2.3  The securing of approved judges for local conformation shows is incumbent on the local club, which also must pay the expenses and reimbursement for the conformation judges.

2.4  The local club that puts on a conformation show has to show proof of insurance coverage.

2.5  The local club is responsible for running an organizationally flawless event, as well as for the observance of all applicable details involving the SV. For free and easy handling of the classes, this includes providing two sufficiently large rings [one for males, one for females], especially if at least two judges have been hired (exception to this requirement is indoor shows), and an area for the awarding of prizes.


3. Regional Conformation Shows

3.1  Each SV Landesgruppe (region) has to conduct an annual conformation show in their domain. It can authorize a local chapter in their region with complete or partial implementation.

3.2  The dates for these regional shows are determined by the Zuchtausschuss (breed committee) far in advance. These SV regional shows occur exclusively on Sundays. Three neighboring regional groups can reserve the three successive dates on a single weekend for local shows.

3.3  The choice of officiating judges is incumbent on the respective region. Each Landesgruppe proposes at least three judges for the Sieger Show, who would be available for judging on that weekend.

3.4  These regional groups need to reserve approved dates through the SV head office.

3.5  For insurance coverage of these Landesgruppe shows, section 2.4 applies.


4.  Specialty Shows, when Part of VDH All-breed Events

4.1  Local or regional GSD competitions can be incorporated as independent specialty shows at VDH events. The breed show regulations under I.2 and/or I.3 apply.

4.2  The appropriate breed show regulations of the VDH also apply.

4.3  Judges for such specialty shows must possess VDH judging credentials.


5. German Sieger Show — The SV arranges an annual Sieger Show each September.

5.1  The organizer is the SV headquarters, which authorizes a Landesgruppe location. Part of the implementation and management can be transferred to the regional organization.

5.2  The location and the establishment of dates come from the SV, with regional agreement.

5.3  The designation of judges is incumbent on the SV executive committee.

5.4  All dogs shown in the breed classes on Friday have to be present for judging on Sunday. Otherwise, the general directions given in the breed show rules apply under III. “Other Arrangements” (2.) See below.

5.5  In addition, special arrangements pertain, which are listed in published documents such as the SV Zeitung magazine, announcement flyers, and others.


II. Organization of the Conformation Shows

1. For the conformation shows as described in I.1, a printed show catalog is imperative. 

1.1  In the show catalog all dogs that are to take part in the event must be listed with names, studbook or registry supplement number, whelping date, proof of parentage, name and address of the breeder, and name and address of the owner.

1.2  The only dogs allowed at the event and listed in the show catalog as competing are:

1.2.1  listed in the SV studbook/supplement (SZ) or in equivalent records of an SV-recognized club and identifiable by a tattoo and/or chip number,

1.2.2  over 12 months are old,

1.2.3  free from indication of diseases are,

1.2.4  not covered by a progeny or registration ban,

1.2.5  the property of SV members,

1.2.6  not kept on the property of persons for whom a showing prohibition was decreed.

1.2.7  Bitches are not allowed to be shown after the 42nd day of gestation. Nursing bitches are first allowed in the show ring after the 42nd day following whelping of their puppies.

1.2.8  Closing date is, at the latest, 12:00noon on the last Monday before the event. The entries must be received in the SV headquarters (per fax, for example) for the breeding records preparations by, at the latest, 12:00noon on that Wednesday. Dogs not pre-entered, or entered late, may not participate in the event.

1.3  At conformation shows, only persons who can prove SV membership may enter dogs.


2.  Division of Classes

Dogs in conformation shows compete by coat-length variety classes: “Stockhaar” and “Langstockhaar mit Unterwolle.” At shows lasting more than one day, the first day of the event counts as the cut-off date for entries.

2.1  Youth (Jugend) classes are for dogs that have reached the 12-month birthdate, but are under 18 months.

2.2  Young dog (Junghund) classes are for dogs that have reached the 18-month birthdate, but are under 24 months.

2.3  Working dog (Gebrauchshund) classes are for dogs that have reached their 2-year birthdate.
[Note: they must have reached those ages by the first day of the show.]

2.4  Dogs covered by Section II.2.3 must have proof of a training degree: at least IPO-1 or an HGH, or is a certified search & rescue dog at Level B (in IPO-R-F, -FL, -T, -L or -W).

2.5  HGH (herding-titled dogs):

a) Dogs over 24 months must have the HGH training degree. This must have been acquired at a herding trial acknowledged by the SV.

b) Dogs in the HGH youth/young dog classes (Jugend-/Junghundklassen) can also be shown without training degrees, if the owners show proof that they work as shepherds or the shepherd-dog handler shows membership in his acknowledged sheep-breeder organization. Alternatively, the exhibitor can produce the working-dog number registered at the acknowledged regional business. A new certification is to be presented annually. This doesn’t apply for professional shepherds.

2.6  Breeders’ Groups

A breeders group (Zuchtgruppe) is composed of at least three, and at most five, animals of a kennel that also are shown in their classes at the same show, each having received the minimum quality evaluation of “Good” (G). The animals of a breeders group must have the same coat length variety. The breeder’s group is graded according to these judgment criteria: uniformity of the group (40%), quality of the individual animals (40%), and similarity to the parent (20%).

2.7  For the betterment of the breed, dogs between 9 and 12 months age that are entered in the progeny groups (classes) of the show but which do not have breed evaluations, are hindered [it counts against them in the eventual judgment]. They are given a ranking and placing, but no appraisal.
2.8  Dogs over six years are eligible to be shown in their own special class, “Veterans.” They are given no critique, but are given a ranking (placing) in the class.


3. Judgments

In puppy classes (see 2.7), the following judgments can be awarded:
vv (vielversprechend), “very promising” – dogs that correspond to the breed standard fully or with minor, insignificant shortcomings.

v (versprechend), “promising” – dogs that correspond to the standard, but display some recognizable anatomical or developmental limitations.

wv (weniger versprechend), “less promising” – dogs that have limitations in respect to more anatomical, character, or impartiality defects; these should not be given a public appraisal or critique in the ring.


4. Appraisals (See supplement chart between 4.1 and 4.2)

4.1  The following appraisals can be awarded at conformation shows in accord with I.1.1 to 1.3:

– Excellent (V, Vorzüglich): Dogs in the Open/working class, which fully correspond to strict application of the breed standard, are self-confident and stable, are indifferent to gunshots, have the ‘a’-stamp on the pedigree, as well as the ED stamp (indicating normal, almost-normal or still permitted) if born after 01.01.2004, and have completed a breed survey if they are over 3.5 years old. Double first premolars are permitted.

– Very Good (SG, Sehr Gut): This is the highest possible rating for dogs between one and two years of age that fully correspond to the breed standard. Also designated for animals in the Open/working-titled (Gebrauchshund) classes, which would otherwise correspond to the requirements for Excellent, except for minor limitations in anatomy. SG is also possible for otherwise anatomically flawless animals that, however, have slight (up to 1 cm) overbite or underbite, or lack one P-1 (first-premolar) or an incisor.

– Good (G, Gut): Dogs that generally correspond to the standard, but have clearly recognizable anatomical limitations. The absence of one P-2, or one P-1 plus an incisor, or one P-2, or one P-3, or 2 incisors, or one P-2 plus an incisor, or one P-2 plus one P-1, or two P-1s, is possible for “G.”

– Sufficient (Ausreichend): Dogs that on the day of the event are gun-shot-sensitive, or do not show impartiality to strangers (are people-shy), or in their over-all presentation including anatomical condition are not worthy of a higher appraisal.

– Insufficient (Ungenügend): Dogs that are gun-shy; dogs that do not have bold character but rather have some defect in regard to impartiality; dogs that have breed disqualifications. For dogs with over- or under-bites of more than 1 cm, the Ungenügend appraisal is combined with a progeny registration ban, which the acting conformation judge has to apply for (report and recommend to the SV main office).

Regulation of special cases is covered in Section III-2.

Addendum (chart inserted by the translator, Fred Lanting):

The Judging of Tooth Faults in Conformation Shows and Breed Surveys

(Rules allow for missing or broken teeth that are documented as being due to non-genetic causes.)

VA (Vorzüglich, select): Flawless bite, complete dentures, no defective teeth or large gaps, no extra (double) teeth.
V (Vorzüglich, excellent): Flawless bite, complete dentures, no large gaps;
(double P-1 premolars, and/or teeth broken accidentally are allowed).
SG (Sehr?Gut, very good): missing one P-1 premolar or an incisor; see 2013 note above & 2010 FCI rule below.
G (Gut, good) and eligible for Körung: missing: two P-1s, or

one P-1 and an incisor, or

one P-2, or

one P-3, or

two incisors. or

one P-2 plus one incisor, or

one P-2 plus one P-1, or

two P-2s;

Ausreichend, sufficient: other problems in addition to, or instead of, the above
“U” (Ungenügend, “Insufficient”)
and blocked from the registry:
absence of: one P-3 and any other tooth, or
one fang (canine), or

one P-4, or

one M-1 (1st molar), or

one M-2, or

a total of any three teeth.

FCI disqualifications as of 2010:

a)       Dogs with dental faults, with lack of:

 1 premolar 3 and another tooth, or

 1 canine tooth, or

 1 premolar 4, or

 1 molar 1 or molar 2, or

 a total of 3 teeth or more

b)       Dogs with jaw deficiencies:

 overshot by 2 mm and more,


 level bite in the entire incisor region

4.2      At the German Sieger Show, besides getting the appraisals described in 4.1, there is in addition the appraisal or award of “Excellent-select” (VA, Vorzüglich-Auslese), which presupposes evidence of additional criteria:

For the VA designation, the dog must have received at its breed survey the TSB appraisal of ausgeprägt (pronounced or outstanding), must have complete, flawless dentition, and must possess a training degree of at least the IPO-2. It must also have proof of normal or fast-normal (almost normal) in both HD and ED status, and have proof that it qualifies for breeding (in the Körung and Leistungszucht records.

4.3     Environmental (non-genetic) causes for damaged dentition or missing teeth, have no importance or consequences to the breed evaluation or awards. It is required, however, to show without doubt the former presence of healthy, robust teeth and a flawless scissors bite, such proof being confirmed on the official pedigree and/or the registry supplement. Such proof can be given to the acting conformation judge:

1. a) Proof of previously complete and healthy, robust dentition, and b) of previously recorded flawless scissors bite; this can be given by submitting to the judge the scorebook or the Ahnentafel (SV pedigree), or the registry supplement in which a conformation judge, after personal examination, has described and confirmed the dentition status, with the dog having been at least 12 months old, or

2. If a breed survey certificate (Körschein) is presented, in which the dentition and bite were shown to be normal at the time of the survey, or

3. If the pedigree or supplement has been presented earlier to the SV studbook office and describes the missing or damaged tooth. In every case, the studbook office must have proof such as in numbers 1 or 2 above, or else a certificate from a SV-approved veterinarian about the absence of a tooth together with the dental radiograph. On the x-ray picture, at least parts of the root or the tooth socket must be shown. The veterinarian must be one who is already approved by the SV or be an acknowledged veterinary dental specialist. This applies also in cases where teeth had been damaged or lost before the examination described above in 4.3.1 could have been arranged.


III. Other Regulations

1. The full entry fee is to be paid [and kept] even if dogs are entered, but not shown.

2. Dogs that were shown in the “standing exam” (individual exam) and then are taken out of further competition without explicit authorization from the acting breed judge, will receive a rating with the notation “Insufficient” (Ungenügend) and must be banned from showing for 6 months. With this notation of Insufficient, a ban on progeny registration is enacted, taking effect at the time of the violation and the notification of the judge to the SV main office.

3. A judge’s decision at a conformation show is definite and final. No objection against it is allowed.

4. The exhibitor is obligated to make true statements about his dog. Attempted deceptions lead to the introduction of criminal proceedings by the club.

5. The exhibitor is obligated to show sportsmanlike conduct. Offenses can lead to the disqualification of his dogs, to a reprimand, and/or the introduction of club criminal proceedings. Whoever intentionally makes wrong statements or fails to answer charges or demanded statements, or who makes or tolerates changes or surgical alteration of his dogs, with apparent intent to deceive the judge, will lose not only any award or show placing, but also, according to the gravity in the case, can be excluded from subsequent events or be assessed a penalty by the SV.

6. At conformation shows, it is not permissible to handle any dogs that are owned by the acting judge and/or his near relatives. Extreme reserve should be exercised with dogs that were trained by, or owned by the judge or any of his relatives. This also applies to anyone living, co-owning, or co-breeding with the judge or members of his household, etc.

7. At the individual exam (“standing presentation”) dogs are to be shown to the judge without substantial help in posing (they are to show a natural stance).

8. By entering dogs in an SV event, dog owners indicate their agreement to the removal of hair for tests, which can be done upon order of the acting judge, by any person authorized by him. The hair samples are to be sent in the HQ SV office. This action serves to grant leave for them to test the hair for dyes applied to the dogs. The owner/s are responsible. If the suspicion should confirm hair color manipulation, the costs of the investigative procedure are to be carried by the owner/s of the tested dogs. In such a case, any breed evaluation made in the show ring is cancelled, and for the dog in question there is an embargo from any entry in the studbook and supplement, for 12 months from the day of the determination. The SV immediately introduces a rules hearing against the owner/s. If the manipulation is not verified, the SV carries the costs of that investigation.

9. During the show and the judging, it is not allowed to use noisemakers or loudspeakers to stimulate or get the dogs’ attention, whether electrically or with gas or compressed air. It is likewise forbidden to employ pistols, whip-cracking sounds, Schutzhund sleeves, etc. Offenses can lead to the disqualification of the dogs, to the reprimand of the caller, and to the introduction of internal (SV) procedures against the owner and the caller.

10. Conformation shows can be held anytime during the year, but indoor shows are allowed only from 1 December to the end of February.



Addenda to the Breed (Conformation) Show Rules — 2012 Edition

To  II. Organization of Conformation Shows

To  1.1  Show catalogs

Dogs that are not printed in the catalog may not be judged or rated at the show. Subsequent revisions brought in through pasting-in etc. are not allowed.

To  1.2.5  Membership

Membership is not a requirement for owners who are residents of foreign countries.

To  1.3  Membership

Membership is not a requirement for handlers who are residents of foreign countries.

To  1.2.8  Closing date

Closing dates for conformation shows that occur on holidays other than on a weekend, are determined and disclosed by the studbook office at the beginning of the current calendar year.

To  2  Division of classes:

The sequence of conformation show classes is as follows:

1. Puppy class bitches and dogs

2. Youth class (12-18 month Jugendklasse) bitches and dogs

3. Young-dog class (18-24 month Junghundklasse) bitches and dogs

4. Open class (Gebrauchshundklasse) working-titled bitches and dogs over 24 months

To  2.4   Requirements for the Open/working (Gebrauchshund) Class

For dogs owned by residents of France, the appraisal “Brevet” suffices as training degree eligibility for the Open/working class.

To  4   Appraisals (Judges’ Evaluations)

All dogs must be measured by the acting conformation judge. The size factor is to be considered when making the placings.

To  III.  Other Arrangements and Revisions

Show chairmen: The acting show chairman may show his own dog, but while he is doing so, a substitute show chairman is to take his place.

Test (trial, breed survey, etc.) participation: A dog may participate in both a test and a conformation show on the same day, as long as the test does not interfere with the required participation in the conformation show portion of the event. A dog may participate on the same day in both a conformation show and a breed survey, as long as its participation in the breed survey does not interfere with the show evaluation.

Awarding or recognition of breed evaluations from foreign countries: Breed evaluations of VA can be awarded and acknowledged in foreign countries by SV judges, but a VA acquired in such foreign countries will be acknowledged only as V in the SV system.

Conformation shows for young dog handlers: Young dog handlers with valid membership in the SV are qualified to compete in such events. Girls and boys can show in such classes and events up to the calendar year in which they turn 21 years of age. There is no minimum age.

Other requirements for German conformation shows for junior showmanship: The regulations are established in the publication, “Rules for promotion of German junior showmanship in the SV.”

Prohibited resources: Electric shock devices and similar pieces of equipment are prohibited in all SV events.

Conclusion: Changes in these regulations are approved by the Breed Committee.


Translated by: Fred Lanting,  Mr.GSD(at)  or Mr.GSD(at)


Fred Lanting is an internationally respected show judge, approved by many registries as an all-breed judge, has judged numerous countries’ Sieger Shows and Landesgruppen events, and has many years experience as one of only two SV breed judges in the US.
He consults and presents seminars worldwide on such topics as Gait-&-Structure, HD & Other Orthopedic Disorders, and The GSD. Contact: All Things Canine, Phone 256-498-3319 or Mr.GSD @ for inquiries regarding judging or lecturing.

Canine HD and Other Orthopedic Disorders
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The Total German Shepherd Dog (Almost all chapters are suitable for any breed.)
This is the expanded and enlarged second edition, a “must” for every true GSD lover. It is also suitable for the novice, yet detailed to be indispensable for the reputable GSD breeder.
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2013 Requirements for Participation at Breed Surveys

Translation copyright Fred Lanting


  2013  Körordnung (SV Breed Survey Rules)

1. General

2. SV and the Nature of the Körung (Survey)

2.1 Köramt (HQ survey office)

2.2 The Körmeister (breed survey master)

2.3 Administration — regional club jurisdiction

2.4 Körzeit (calendar dates for survey)

2.5 Legal issues

3. Requirements for Breed Survey Participation

4. Activity & Conduct of the Local Clubs

4.1. Requirements for the local club

4.2. Equipment

4.3. Survey manager’s duties

5. Registering for the Breed Survey


6. At the Survey (Ankörung)

6.1 Temperament test

6.2 Gunsureness test

6.3 Protection [courage] test

6.4 Measurements: heights, weights, etc.

6.5 Standing exam and movement evaluation

6.6 Reports, Confirmations

7. Körung Timing

7.1 Re-survey for Final Rating

7.2 Postponing for One Year

7.3 Unsuitability

7.4 Lifetime or length of time Körung is effective

7.5 Completion of the Breed Survey

8. Survey Certificates and Record Book




1.      General

The Verein für Deutsche Shäferhunde (SV) e.V.[Club for GSDs Inc.] is the parent club for the breed, and has responsibility for it and its Standard, which is acknowledged by the German (VDH) and international (FCI) Kennel Clubs. The Körordnung [breed survey regulations] of the SV serve the advancement of the controlled breeding of the German Shepherd Dog breed in both varieties: the “Stockhaar” [straight-haired, medium length topcoat] and the “Langstockhaar” [longer topcoat but likewise with undercoat]. These regulations include the overall breed survey. They are a permanent part of the SV rules, and obligatory for all members. The purpose of theKörordnung is to select from the breed registry a number of dogs which in their character, performance, and anatomical construction appear to be suitable for the conservation and improvement of the breed.


2.      SV – Nature of the Survey

2.1  Köramt (Survey Office at SV Headquarters)

The Köramt [breed survey office at the SV headquarters in Augsburg] prepares the annual survey scheme (deadlines, subsidiary local clubs, activeKörmeisters (breed survey officials in Germany), survey regions, etc.). All evaluation reports from the various districts (called Ortsgruppe or Landesgruppe) are recorded in that office, and are examined and documented for form and accuracy. The Köramt produces the survey certificates (Körscheine) and annually publishes all surveyed dogs in the breed survey record book (Körbuch).

2.2  The Körmeister (SV’s Breed Survey Master/Official)

For the implementation of the breed survey the SV requires experienced conformation judges as Körmeisters. These judges have no legal right to annual employment in breed surveys. The choice and employment of theKörmeister is done by the respective Landesgruppen(regions). The jurisdiction of arranging for these teacher-helpers for the breed surveys lies with each Landesgruppe’s executive committee.

2.3  Survey Administration — Regional Club Jurisdiction

The regional and/or local jurisdiction of the breed survey shall be delegated by the SV headquarters to the regional and/or local-club personnel.

2.4  Time of Survey

The survey season [in Germany] extends from the 1st of March to the 30th of November each year. The presentation of a dog for the breed survey is possible once in this period, providing the regulations as to the courage test in section 6.3 are not affected.

2.5  Legal Issues

2.5.1     The owner of a dog scheduled for the survey’s tests must be a current member of the SV. This also applies for persons who present the dog for the survey. The eligibility of the dog ends if the owner’s SV membership status ends.

2.5.2  Survey Jurisdiction

The location of the dog’s residence determines which breed survey it participates in (where the Körung is performed); that is, in the owner’s region (Landesgruppe). Local club (Ortsgruppe) membership determines which region that is. If a person holds membership in several local clubs, regional membership is determined by the main place of residence. Members who belong to no local clubs are assigned to a region based on principal place of residence. Breed survey masters (Körmeisters) are free to choose or approve of Körung locations in all regional groups.

2.5.3    A dog that is the property of a person listed as being permanently barred/suspended from the studbook can neither be shown in a breed survey by him personally nor by any other person.

2.5.4   The decision of the acting Körmeister is final.  An objection against it is not permitted. 2.5.5   At the survey of a dog, any and all legal action by the party involved (owner) resulting from any decision regarding any dog at an Ankörungsentscheidung (breed survey decision) or anyAbkörungsentscheidung (performance test decision) will explicitly not be allowed.

2.5.6   Responsibility: The owner of a dog is responsible for any damage attributable to his dog.


3. Requirements for Participation at Breed Surveys
3.1 For the Dogs:

– The Körung is appropriate only for German Shepherd Dogs registered in the breed book of the SV, and which have coats classified as “Stockhaar” or “Langstockhaar mit Unterwolle” (translation: “straight topcoat hair” or “long straight topcoat” — both requiring wooly undercoat). In the year of the Körung they must be at least two years old;

– Proof of at least 80 points in section C of an IP-1 Prüfung(trial performance) under an SV Leistungsrichter(performance judge), or earned in a herding trial under an SV HGH judge, or in an RH-2 [advanced Rettungshundsearch-and-rescue dog] test. All of these will include a courage and protection phase;

– Proof of an AD examination under an SV judge;

– ‘a’-stamp for hips, shown in the Ahnentafel [certified SV pedigree. Translator’s note: an equivalent issued in another country where the dog resides is satisfactory];

– ED stamp for elbows also in the Ahnentafel (if born after 01.01.2004, was required, starting with the 2008 show season);

– Proof of a minimum quality evaluation of “Good” under an SV judge.

Further conditions:

– Sick dogs may not be shown;

– The Körmeister must be informed of bitches in season;this determines when that dog will participate;

– The dog must be identifiable in regard to a legible tattoo, microchip reading, etc. (only microchip data for dogs born after a certain date a few years ago)


4.  Activity of the Local Clubs

4.1 Requirements for the Local Club:

– Large training ground with ancillary premises and sanitary facilities

– Trained members in sufficient number

– Typewriter or word processor.

4.2 The Club Must Have or Obtain:

– Assistant (steward) and a secretary for the Körmeister

– Sufficiently large ring

– Public address system

– SV-approved measuring devices [for height at withers, depth of chest, etc.]

– Tape measure [for circumference of chest, etc.]

– Weight scale [and a firm flat surface for this and the above two]

– 2 starter’s pistols with sufficient ammunition

– Number vests for the dog handlers.

4.3 Duties and Responsibilities of the Kör (Survey) Manager:

– Timely delivery of the registration forms

– Examination of documents for completeness and accuracy

– Information given to the Körmeister regarding the receipt and standing of the entries

– Establishing a catalog-like list of contestants and their dogs and bitches, for repeat and new breed surveys

– Submission of the individual dogs’ examined documents to the Körmeister before the beginning of the breed survey

– Confirmation of entrants’ SV memberships


5.   Registering for the Breed Survey

The entry for the breed survey has to be received by the local Kör managers at least seven days before the scheduled survey as indicated in the survey announcement and entry form. By the day of the breed survey at the latest, the following documents are to be presented:

1. Original Ahnentafel [official SV pedigree and performance record]

2. Conformation show cards and scorebook

3. If at the repeat survey, the first survey’s certificate (Körschein)

4. Proof of completion of any specified requirements remaining from the first survey

The maximum number of dogs admitted for one breed survey day is 50. In case of an entry of more than 50 dogs a further survey day (or half-day) is to be added on the same weekend. [In practice, preference is normally given to dogs going for their Lebenzeit (second and lifetime) survey.]


6. At the Survey (Ankörung)

6.1  Temperament Test

Each dog is to be subjected a temperament test by the Körmeister. The examination of the dog’s character can be made during the over-all breed survey.  According to the Standard, the dog has stable character, i.e., in particular he is impartial and unaffected, self-assured, with firm nerves, and is amiable and peaceful.

6.2  Gunsureness Test

From a distance of at least 15 steps, at least two shots are to be fired from a 6 mm (or .22 caliber) starter’s pistol; the dog has to behave indifferently [is not bothered, cowed, or nervous because of it… joyfully expecting to do bitework, such as when a whip is cracked with similar sound, is O.K.].

6.3  Protection/Courage Test (valid since 2012)

For the judging of the protection phase of trials [the courage test], a trained breed survey master (Körmeister) is used. He is available as a teacher-assistant to help in the protection phase of trials [courage test] in hisLandesgruppe.


I. The Attack [Dog Protects Owner from Attack]

1. The handler reports with his accompanying dog to the Körmeister [who is acting as judge].

2. Upon an indication from the judge, the dog handler with his dog on leash walks 25 meters in the direction of the hiding-place, [and stops at] the designated starting place.

3. The leash is [removed and] draped around the handler or put in his pocket.

4. Upon another signal from the judge, the dog handler proceeds with his dog heeling off-lead, in the direction of the hidden helper.
5. The dog must heel closely to a mark that is found 7 meters before the hiding-place. Repeated verbal commands are allowed during this heeling, but touching is not allowed. If the handler has reached this mark with his off-leash heeling dog, the helper (upon signal from the judge) undertakes a running attack as if to drive away the handler-and-dog team. If the dog charges toward the blind [canvass hiding-place] before the signal [that the judge gives to the helper to show himself in attack mode], no attack on the helper is to be made [the helper will stand still]. The handler-and-dog team now are allowed up to two more attempts, starting again at the 7-meter mark. If the dog cannot be managed despite three attempts at heeling off-leash up to this point when the helper comes out of the blind to attack, the faulty courage test is interrupted (ended) for want of obedience. In such a case, the dog may subsequently participate (try again) in the same year at another breed survey after the SV returns the breed survey document to the owner. In such cases of lacking obedience, such a dog is allowed no more than three chances per calendar year to try again to pass the test.

6. The dog must avert the attack immediately, surely, and energetically, grabbing the attacker with a firm (steady), full-mouth bite.

7. When the dog has grasped, it receives from the helper two blows with a padded stick upon thighs, sides, or the area of the withers.
8. The dog handler is allowed to verbally encourage the dog in its defense of the attack.

9. Upon an order from the judge, the helper discontinues the attack and stands still.

10. At that point, the dog must let go of the sleeve independently or upon an audible signal from the handler to do so (“Aus!”) and stop the attack [but remain watchful].

11. The dog handler waits to get the order from the judge to approach his dog.

12. He leashes his dog and, upon signal or order from the judge, proceeds with his dog to another blind designated by the breed survey master [it is at the further end of the field].

II. Defense of an Attack (Ambush) withLauerstellung (liberally translated as the attacker running at the team from a distance):

1. The dog handler will be told by the judge to come out from that second blind and take an assigned position (at the center far end of the field). [The leash is removed and pocketed or looped around the handler.]

2. The dog is held off-leash, by the collar.

3. The dog has to hold this position, until it is directed, by the handler’s audible signal “Voran!” (“Forward!”), to defend with an attack.
4. Upon a signal from the judge, the helper leaves his hiding place at the other end of the field, takes approximately 70 to 80 normal steps, then turns toward the dog-handler team, still at a normal pace.

5. The handler demands that the helper stop by calling something like “You! Stop there!”

6.  The helper disregards this warning, and commences a [running, threatening] frontal attack on the dog and handler.

7. Immediately upon the helper starting his threatening charge toward the team, the judge gives the dog handler the signal to send his dog for their defense.

8. The dog handler immediately gives his dog the audible signal Voran!” again, while remaining in place himself.

9. The dog must run at the intruder, then very eagerly and energetically grab the attacker with firm, full, sure, and steady grip and thus avert the threat on his owner or handler.

10. If the dog has gripped, the helper must press (push toward and threaten) the dog without striking it this time. Then, as instructed by the judge, the helper discontinues the struggle.

11. Thereupon the dog has to let go independently and/or upon the audible signal “Aus! and must hold the helper by threat.
12.  Upon a signal from the judge, the dog handler approaches his dog at a normal pace and in a direct way, and attaches the leash.

13.  The dog handler heels his dog to the judge, to report to him [giving his and his dog’s names] before leaving the field.

III. Identity Control: Before the team departs from the field, a Körmeister or an assistant authorized by an SV judge must note the registered tattoo and/or microchip number.

IV. The Appraisal/Evaluation

1. The Release of the Bite/Grip
1.1. After discontinuance of the attack, the dog has to “let out” (release) independently.

1.2. The dog handler can independently give the first voice command, “Aus!” after an appropriate time.

1.3. If the dog did not release after the first voice command, the dog handler receives the order or signal from the judge for up to two further audible commands to let go of the sleeve.

1.4. When giving the “Aus!” command, the handler must stand steady, without otherwise directing the dog.

1.5. If the name of the dog is used, that will be considered as a separate command to release [let go of the sleeve].

1.6. If the dog independently releases [“outs”] when the handler approaches to retrieve it, this also can be considered as a legitimate release. The dog handler however must be at least five steps away from the dog.

1.7. If the dog, either independently or upon audible signals, properly outs in the first attack [from the blind] and also in the [long] attack “from ambush” it receives the official notation of lässt ab (“lets out”).

1.8. If this “out” does not happen, even if the dog in only a single instance does not receive the notation of “lässt ab.” Instead, the notation “lässt nicht ab” (does not out). The breed survey cannot be continued in this case. Such a dog may again participate at a breed survey in the same year, but only after return of theKörunterlagen (record of this day’s result) to the owner. After an incident of not “outing,” three additional attempts at most may be made in the calendar year, whether the dog fails the survey because of lacking obedience or not “outing.”

1.9. The Körmeister places himself near the dog handler during the entire courage test, and intensely observes the conduct of dog and handler up to the conclusion—the picking up of the dog at the end.

2.  Appraisal of Triebveranlung, Selbstsicherheit und Belastbarkeit (TSB) [Drive, Self-confidence and Ability to Handle Stress]

2.1 The overall rating awarded for the courage test will be one of these graded evaluations: “pronounced,” “sufficient,” or “insufficient.”

2.2  Pronounced (Ausgeprägt): Self-confident, very eager, purposeful, with sure grasp and retention of the grip; no negative reactions to the blows; close and attentive watching in the guarding phase.

2.3  Sufficient [or “present”] (Vorhanden): A little limitation [or less eagerness], such as in the areas of self-confidence, determination, the grip, and reaction to the stick, as well as in the guarding phase.

2.4. Insufficient [or “not good enough”] (Nicht genügend): Lacking in self-confidence, very limited concerning ability to handle stress, and/or lacking in focus on the helper.


Supplemental determinations for the courage test at the German Sieger Show (an addendum):

1. Assisting and at the disposal of the Körmeister orLeistungsrichter for the courage test at the Sieger Show in Germany (Bundessiegerzuchtschau) are teacher-assistants as aides.

2. Announcement of the respective results is to be given over the microphone directly after completion of each courage test.

3. Upon completion of the courage test, the tattoo number or scanned microchip is confirmed by a judge authorized by the SV office. The judge will be made available by theLandesgruppe having jurisdiction in the region where the Sieger Show is being held.


6.4    Measurements and Weights

The measurements for weight, depth of chest and chest diameter can be taken by the Körleiter [a person chosen by judge and club to be in charge of the process] or his authorized helper; the measurement of height at withers is taken by the Körmeister himself.

6.5   Standing Exam and Movement Evaluation

During this inspection the Körmeister prepares theKörbericht (breed survey report). The dog is to be presented to him for this exam without substantial help [hand-posing, etc.].
6.6   Reports, Confirmations

After the conclusion of the respective breed survey of each dog, the Körmeister gives his report on the loudspeaker. The owner of the dog will receive from the breed survey manager a confirmation signed by theKörmeister. This contains the results of the breed survey and the evidence that it and the pedigree and/orRegistrierbescheinigung (registry supplement) will have been sent to the SV headquarters.


7. The Breed Survey (Körung) Process

The breed survey is the supreme qualification process; that is, the method by which dogs are selected to carry on the breed. Breed surveys select dogs that correspond to ideal picture of the breed in the following respects:

a) in size, weight, and build according to the Standard with only minor anatomical limitations;

b) in character; that is, self-assured and good-natured. And in the areas of drive, desire, self-confidence and ability to handle stress, earn the rating of “pronounced” or “present” (ausgeprägt or vorhanden);

c) with withers height no more than 1 cm oversized or undersized;

d) having flawless, complete dentures; double first premolars are permissible, as is the absence of up to two first premolars, or one first premolar plus an incisor, or one second premolar, or a slight pincer bite of the two middle incisors [two in upper jaw meeting the two in the lower that way].

7.1 Re-survey for Final Rating

The possibility remains open for the owner of a dog in a breed survey (first or subsequent Körung) to try again—at the earliest, in the subsequent year—for a re-survey by the same Körmeister. An upgrade is only permissible with consent of the Körmeister, who determines that the dog has made the improvement for the second survey. The dog is allowed only one chance at a desired Körklasse upgrade from the previous survey.

7.2 The Deferment (Postponement) of One Year is Given:

a) if the body has not yet developed as expected in order to permit a re-survey;

b) if in the conduct of the dog, or during the examination for fighting drive, self-confidence, and hardness (TSB), a status of being qualified for breeding (meeting Körrequirements) has not yet been reached;

c) The postponement per 7.2 a) and b) is because a reevaluation is possible only once. A dog unsuccessful the second time is not suitable for the purpose of the survey (which is, to determine breed worthiness).

7.3  Unsuitability for the Körung (The following defects exclude a dog from the breed survey):

a) Considerable anatomical defects;

b) Oversize or undersize of more than 1 cm;

c) Testicle abnormality [missing, unequal size];

d) Any of the following dentition defects [also see chart at the end of this document]:

An absence of

one P-3 [third premolar] or

two incisors or

one P-2 plus one incisor or

one P-2 plus one P-1 or

two P-2s

e) Dogs with considerable pigment faults

f) Longcoated dogs (Langhaar or Langstockhaar) that are lacking undercoat.

7.4 Lifetime (Length of time Körung is Effective)
The new breed survey and the survey after interruption [i.e., if the repeat is not done in time] are good for two years at most. By the end of the second calendar year (Kör season) of the time the survey is good for, the dog must be presented for the second survey.

7.4.2 The second survey results are for life (“Lebenzeit”).
7.4.3 Körklasse upgrade does not extend the original time limit.

7.5  Completion of the Breed Survey: If a surveyed dog does not make the second survey, the original breed survey ends with the conclusion of that calendar year. [Must start all over again.]

7.5.1  The breed survey ends if the surveyed dog is sold to a non-member, except that the buyer is given up to three months to join the SV.

7.5.2  The term for a breed survey of a dog whose owner is excluded from the SV as a result of a club’s criminal proceedings ends with the day on which the expulsion decree attains legal force.

7.5.3  The breed survey can be terminated—become invalid—through the process of revocation. This comes about through a recommendation made by a Körmeisteror conformation judge to the Köramt [survey office at SV HQ]. A “hold” can be put on the process of recording the survey results for whatever time is necessary to iron out any possible problems.


8.  Survey Certificates and Survey Record Book:

For a fee, a certificate (Körschein) for the breed-surveyed dog is prepared by the Köramt [survey office at the SV headquarters]. It will take some weeks for this and the original pedigree and/or registry supplement to be returned to the owner of the dog after the breed survey summary is added. The owners of dogs not successful at the survey likewise get back their original pedigree after the processing time. On the pedigree or supplement, the reason for the non-survey is noted.

These dogs are annually listed in the SV’s survey record book [Körbuch] by coat variety (NormalLanghaaror Langstockhaar) [detailed above] and by sex. TheKörbuch includes a statement about the dog’s classification, such as “recommended for breeding” or “suitable for breeding.” These concern anatomical construction as well as character.  With the statements by the Körmeisters about breeding recommendations, this makes an inclusive and indispensable reference book for the earnest breeder.


On the effective date of these survey rules (2013), all earlier versions become invalid.


This concludes the rules for the breed survey (Körung). This translation is prepared and copyrighted by Fred Lanting.  All rights reserved, but permission to reproduce will be granted if approved information re books or biography is appended to any such publication (See example below).




Fred Lanting is an internationally respected show judge, approved by many registries as an all-breed judge, has judged numerous countries’ Sieger Shows and Landesgruppen events, and has many years experience as one of only two SV breed judges in the US.
He consults and presents seminars worldwide on such topics as Gait-&-Structure, HD & Other Orthopedic Disorders, and The GSD. Contact: All Things Canine, Phone 256-498-3319 or Mr.GSD @ for inquiries regarding judging or lecturing.

Canine HD and Other Orthopedic Disorders
This highly-acclaimed book covers all joints plus many bone disorders and includes genetics, diagnostic methods, treatment options, environment, and more. It is a comprehensive (nearly 600 pages!), amply illustrated, annotated, monumental work suitable both as a coffee-table book, reference work vets, students, breeders, trainers, and owners of any breed.

The Total German Shepherd Dog (Almost all chapters are suitable for any breed.)
This is the expanded and enlarged second edition, a “must” for every true GSD lover. It is also suitable for the novice, yet detailed to be indispensable for the reputable GSD breeder.
Conflict – a “War and Peace”-size novel of love, war, joy, suffering, and the meaning of life. Ask about it.

Collected Poems – a lifetime of work in the realm of poetry; a large book with many styles and topics.

Puppyhood Diseases

Breeders’ responses to early puppy deaths vary. Some expend a great deal of effort, while others “let nature take its course” and stoically hope the next breeding will be more successful. Many have discovered that neonatal puppy mortality is preventable or call be reduced through scrupulous attention to prenatal and postnatal care. These breeders, who in the past may have accepted 20 to 25 percent mortality before weaning, have learned that such losses can be reduced dramatically by simple changes in management, including veterinary checkups. Continue reading

Anouncing the 2009 Sieger show tour!

General info on The Sieger Show Experience with tour guide Fred Lanting

The  SV Bundessieger-Zuchtschau (BSZS or Sieger Show) in Germany is generally held in the last week of August or first week in September at a different location each year, depending on stadiums available. (The cost of stadium for this one-weekend event, and the competition with soccer/football events that sign contracts for many per year, determine the choice.) For the past 20 years or so, I have offered my non-profit 6-7-day guided tour of the show and sightseeing, including visits to kennels and training clubs. Get an SV judge’s perspective of the bloodlines and procedures, along with experienced introductions to Germany’s culture and beauty. My groups come from all parts of the globe, so even just the companionship is like a world-travel experience.  We usually arrive on the Wed. or Thurs. before the show, and return the following Wednesday.

Looking for a great dog-related experience combined with seeing a different part of the world? Whatever your breed or activity in dogs, the annual Lanting guided show-and-sightseeing tour could be the experience of a lifetime. Read my annual “Impressions” articles on various websites for an idea of what we’ve seen in recent years. Tours centered on other countries’ Sieger Shows, the BSP, and world Schutzhund trials are also available if enough people sign up.

None of “my people” have ever been sorry, and all have wished they had done it earlier! You will see the best of the breed, meet important GSD people, sometimes see another country or two, and have the over-all greatest dog show experience of your life. I also include, if you decide to join us, a variety of travel tips. I offer an SV conformation judge’s perspective of the show (I also have AKC, UKC, and foreign judging experience). One year, when a travel-agency tour leader again deserted his group, they came to where my group was sitting and asked me questions. References available from previous tour participants. Testimonials are numerous. I hope you will join us and recommend this tour to your friends and acquaintances. As a judge with much experience in Schutzhund training and competition, and being very familiar with Western Europe, I am able to give the best tour possible.  People going it on their own cannot see the important parts of the country (sometimes we tour adjacent countries, too), and paying for your rental car is more than chipping in to pay for the van and my expenses. Read my “Impressions” on various websites for an idea of what we’ve seen in recent years.

There will be 3 long days of the big show, and about 3 to 4 days of sightseeing and visits. Please let me know as soon as you can, with a $400 (US) deposit, so I can start putting my notification list together and finalize (hold) hotel reservations for you. There is a lot of work involved in putting together such a tour! I will make the hotel plans based on your deposits, & arrange the visits and van(s). Easy, fun, educational and, for most — the unique trip of a lifetime. You will not be any younger next year, and if you don’t make the decision to get out there and smell the roses NOW, while you think of it, you’re more likely than not to lose the opportunity and desire.  Join the group! Tell others about it, too.

Common Sense Grooming Part 3 – Teeth and Nails

It always disappoints and dismays me as a dog-show judge to examine dogs in the ring and find some of them filthy (which very seldom happens) or many with neglected teeth (which happens regularly — even in the majority of cases, in some breeds such as the GSD). Without good, home dental care, they teeth may recede into swollen gums with gingivitis, or they may even fall out by the time the dog is nine or ten years old. It’s as if the owners think, “Well, the dog will only last that long or a little longer, so why bother?” While it is true that dogs wear down or break off their teeth by about the time they will soon no longer need them, there is no excuse for ignoring the dog’s need for regular cleaning to the point that we cause him to reach that stage years before the natural consummation of his life. To rely on dry dog food to scrape tartar off the teeth is no different than to rely on exercising your jaw muscles by eating only corn flakes with milk. Continue reading

Common Sense Grooming Part 2 – The Clean Dog

During or following the semi-annual major hair loss, you can bathe the dog, if he still needs washing, with a good pH-balanced shampoo especially formulated for dogs. Baby shampoo will do as well, and as long as you don’t wash him too frequently, plain old hand soap is good enough. Bathing will help loosen and remove much of the rest of the dead hair. This is especially helpful if you don’t take time for daily prolonged combing during these shedding periods. Have the dog lie on the concrete run or wooden porch, soak him with water from the hose, then work in shampoo or bar soap until you get a good lather, rolling him over to get the belly and other side, then the head and neck. Hold the head almost all the while, or the dog will struggle to get up and shake. After he is soaped from ears to tail tip, let him up to run around for about five minutes while the dirt is emulsified and any ectoparasites are drowned (fleas and ticks will survive under plain water, but cannot breathe in soapy water). By the way, I don’t believe the flea shampoos are any more effective than just letting the dog’s coat stay soapy for several minutes. Continue reading

A Small Problem: Dwarfism in Dogs – Part 3

Confusion Continues


Fred Lanting

This is a follow-up article to the one I wrote entitled “Osteochondrodysplasias” in February of 2004. While that was a rather long piece, it still did not address all that people want to know about the subject. Nor will this, but at least we can look at some other aspects, including a little deeper delving into the questions about the genetics of dwarfism.

There are miniature and toy versions of “standard”-size breeds, but this is not the same as dwarfism, the latter being the result of an abnormality rather than a variation within normal limits in genes. People are always developing miniaturized strains by selectively breeding small examples to each other, and continuing to select until “regular” size individuals no longer appear. Some years ago, the heiress to a margarine fortune started to develop miniature Borzois. While some detractors accused her of using Whippets to jump-start the reduction in size, it really doesn’t matter much. Livestock breeders know that you can introduce a gene for some dominant characteristic such as color, but then keep breeding the other structural phenotypes back into in the original breed in such a way that the “new breed” (really a minor variation on the one they started with) will look and perform no differently, except for that color. Or whatever trait they want to introduce.

There is also no reason to believe she did not simply choose the smallest Borzoi from her extensive kennel and, in successive generations, bring down the size until the partners would “breed true”, in regard to that characteristic while not losing proportions or other qualities. Several years earlier, another woman developed a strain of Boxers that matured at 12 pounds body weight by selective, not cross-, breeding. While these examples never caught on, numerous such projects have, to some extent: the Shar-Pei, Australian Shepherd, Teacup Poodle, Bull Terrier, and numerous others. Miniatures do not have enough genetic change to classify their genes or body phenotypes as “abnormal” and, with the minor exception of a little difference in the head, miniatures have the same proportions.

There is a type of dwarfism that also produces proportional but suddenly smaller dogs. I say “suddenly” because unlike the “breeding down” through many generations, proportional dwarfs appear without successively smaller individuals in the line of descent. So far, I have found the particular type that I am thinking of, in only the German Shepherd Dog and in a breed with the GSD in its ancestry, the Karelian Bear Dog. Affected dogs are called Pituitary Dwarfs because the immediate cause, or at least the noticeable defect, appears in the hypophysis on the bottom of the brain. The anterior lobe of this endocrine organ is rightly called the “master gland” because of its governing or influential effect on other organs, specifically the glands. Minor abnormalities in this gland are what create the body types of Bulldogs, the acromegalic Saint Bernard, Dachshunds, and endless other examples of a departure from the more “normal” or “ancestral” types such as the GSD, sighthound, Pointer, etc. Anatomic and functional abnormalities in different parts of the hypophysis make for the difference between the Boston Terrier and other breeds intentionally selected for their abnormalities, for example.

Proportional dwarfism in the GSD is called “pituitary dwarfism” because an old name for the hypophysis, or part of it, is “pituitary gland”. Since this master gland controls much of the activity of other glands, it is not surprising to see abnormalities in thyroid function, and thus the inability to grow a normal coat. Most pituitary dwarfs look like Chinese Crested or other “hairless” breeds although by carefully dosing with thyroid hormones (and possibly the more expensive growth hormones), a normal coat can be maintained. See my article in the December 1984 issue of Dog World, which I may re-issue if there is enough interest. We can deduce that it is caused by a defect in a different part of the pars distalis of the hypophysis than different types of defects or in different gland parts in other breeds. We can make such deductions because such breed differences have been traced to such anatomic irregularities by Stockard and others at least as far back as the 1940s.

The non-proportional canine dwarfs, like their human counterparts, result from genetic defects that take root in other parts of this master gland, and therefore other endocrine glands and organs. But there is much confusion, disagreement, and lack of knowledge leading to frequently inadequate definitions. In my other article, which you might call Part One of a trilogy, I mentioned that various terms are used; I would like to here suggest that we settle on one umbrella word to cover all or most others: either chondrodysplasia or chondrodystrophy. The first simply means an abnormal development or shape (-plasia) of cartilage (chondr-). The latter is “translated” as poor (dys-) growth (troph-) of cartilage. Either would be a less cumbersome term than I used as the title of Part Two, osteochondrodysplasias, which includes the “osteo-” simply to emphasize that the bones are also abnormal. I think we do not need such a mouthful, and that readers will assume the inclusion of shortened bones in the term “chondrodystrophy”. A possible drawback to using chondrodysplasia is that it might someday be confused with enchondromatosis, a rare disease often involving tumors; these words are used interchangeably in human medicine. On the other hand, chondrodystrophy is sometimes used as part of a longer term for different disorders, also. Most of the time, though, it refers to a congenital defect in the formation of bone from cartilage.

Achondroplasia is one of those words that uses the prefix “a-” to denote or connote an absence or deficiency of something. In this case, it means a lack of (good) shape, growth, or form of the cartilage. Aplasia, for example, means “lack of development”, as illustrated in my 2004 book by the radiographic picture of an Airedale whose acetabulum and top portion of the femur did not develop at all from cartilage. The achondroplastic limbs of the Dachshund means that these extremities failed to elongate like the development in normal dogs. Achondroplasia of the skull is obvious in the Bulldog. In either example, the word refers to a disordered chondrification (and of course, later ossification) of the ends of bones. In most breeds, this is most obvious in the long bones (limbs). It is simply arbitrary preference that I use the words chondrodystrophy and chondrodysplasia more often.

But what about the genetics? To even attempt to delve into the mysteries of inheritance of various forms of dwarfism, one must be prepared to consider different genetic causes and expressions in what, on first glance, is easy to assume are the same conditions. Only by crossbreeding can we make better guesses. A couple of the most active researchers into inheritance of traits and practitioners of crossing breeds to get answers were Stockard in the 1920s to `40s, and Whitney in the `30s to `50s.

Basset breeders know that achondroplasia is dominant in their breed, and some think that this means the F1 progeny will always have the same leg length as the Basset. But in crosses between Bassets and GSDs, typically about half the legs (dogs) are intermediate in length, the other half being normal (long, GSD-type) in length. The same when a Bassett-Bloodhound with intermediate-length legs is crossed to a long-legged dog such as the GSD or any other breed.

Cocker Spaniels often have shorter-legged individuals, but the mutation to achondroplasia is not frequent, and is definitely recessive. Other races breed true every time, such as Corgis. It appears that “reverse mutation”, that is, a normal-leg-length offspring being produced by two typical Corgis, just does not happen. Yet we know that we can suddenly find Corgi-style legs in purebred pups of Cocker, German Shepherd, and other breeds. Corgis (and dogs with this mutation suddenly appearing) may have a slightly different genetic code and type of dwarfism than do Bassets and Dachshunds. English Bulldogs seem to have a type of dwarfism more like the Basset than the Corgi. The short legs of the Clumber Spaniel or the Beagle are almost certainly not examples of true dwarfism, as the shapes of the joints and bones are more like those of the normal-length breeds. Sometimes non-dwarf short legs are selected for by misguided breeders (and the judges who reward their dogs!), as in the cases of modern Golden Retrievers, and GSDs from American or “Alsatian-British” lines. There is still a great deal to be sorted out, when it comes to defining the genetic differences in the dwarf dogs. Only when breeders are open and honest, and share their experience and dogs with researchers, will we make progress in unraveling the rest of this riddle.

© All use of the above must be by prior permission, and carry this copyright notice. Fred Lanting, Canine Consulting. Seminars: Canine HD & Other Orthopedic Disorders; Gait & Structure (Analytical Approach); more. Fred is an international all-breed judge, and senior lecturer in anatomy and can be contacted at:
Articles can be found on many additional websites.

Osteochondrodysplasias, Leg Deformities, and Dwarfism in the Canine

Osteochondrodysplasias, Leg Deformities, and Dwarfism in the Canine

(Part 2 of a series on dwarfism)

© 2004, Fred Lanting

There has been renewed interest in the subject of “abnormal” bone lengths, joints, angles between limbs, and related phenotypic variations from what I have called “the ancestral type”. We need to establish some definitions of terms before entering into a discussion of the subject. The “ancestral” phenotype in my arbitrary definition (which, however, is in line with the views of many or most professionals in animal science) is one that comes to mind when one thinks of the Jackal, Northern Wolf, and descendants of the extinct Pale-footed Wolf (such as sighthounds). The head is neither brachycephalic (pushed-in/shortened) nor exaggeratedly long and narrow (the dolichocephalic Borzoi, etc.), the leg length is such that the total height at withers is roughly twice the distance from elbow or chest to the ground, and limbs give an impression of being straight. Typical examples of ancestral types are the German Shepherd Dog, Saluki, various Spitz breeds, and many pariah breeds such as found in every corner of the world.

“Abnormal” phenotypes (and this will rouse the ire of many people who love their dogs and think of them as being “normal”) include breeds specifically bred to produce the characteristics that would be agreed on as being “faults” in the ancestral types. Think of the (“English”) Bulldog, Pekingese, Corgis, Dachshunds/Teckels, and others. I have long maintained that there is a genetic defect affecting primarily the hypophysis or pituitary gland, the “master gland” that so greatly influences the functions of the others as well as developmental processes.

Some variation within normal parameters results from the tremendous plasticity of the canine genotype, but here we are more interested in the departure from those limits of normality. Whatever the combinations of defective DNA nucleotide pairs (adenine-thymine, cytosine-guanine, etc.), and which glands or organs they initiate the changes in, many of the irregularities we are discussing here manifest themselves in the cartilage that is on the ends of bones and “bone centers”. Bone centers are those hard, mineralized portions of a growing bone that become enlarged (almost entirely on their long-axis surfaces) and fused together to form the eventual limb, and the cartilage between most bone centers is called a “growth plate” or physis. It gradually “calcifies” into bone tissue, thus uniting epiphysis (called a cap or head, usually) and metaphysis (shaft); it disappears during maturation. But if there is an abnormal coding of the nucleotide pairs, there is an abnormal calcification process, a “growth-plate disturbance”.

If one bone in a two-bone limb segment (such as the tibia/fibula or ulna/radius combinations) has more of a disturbance than the other, or if one end of the growing bone’s cartilage is disrupted during remodeling into bone tissue, there are unequal rates of growth and consequent bowing of that limb, with one part wanting to be longer than the other part does. In some dogs, disruption of normal cartilage-bone turnover at the ends can keep a single bone from growing in length, or if the disruption is laterally asymmetrical, the femur or humerus may also become slightly bowed. The pull of muscles and ligaments on different parts of such bones also has some effect on shape.

The general definition of “dysplasia” is poor or abnormal (dys-) shape or form (-plasia). Here, we are talking mostly about bone (osteo-) and cartilage (chondro-), and mostly about those tissues in joints. But just as the poet says, “no man is an island”, and genes that cause one thing can sometimes also cause something else. Some times it is a very obvious double influence, such as the gene that causes both deafness and white coat phenotypes in some breeds, or dwarfism and blood disorder in the Malamute. Most of the time, the influence of one gene or set of nucleotides is less obvious.

A couple more definitions would be helpful at this point, although you should realize that there are sometimes loose adherence to strict interpretation of such definitions:

chondrodysplasia: any growth plate (cartilage) disturbance resulting in canine dwarfism; in human pathology, it has a different meaning: enchondromatosis, a rare disorder marked by enlarged cartilage and tumors in joints.

chondrodystrophic: semantically similar to the above, but while –plasia refers to changeable shape, –trophic refers to growth. Thus, an abnormal cartilage growth pattern.

achondroplasia: that type which results in an individual with extremities shorter than the trunk. Examples in dogs include Basset Hound, Shih-Tsu, and others mentioned elsewhere. In humans, it usually is marked by stubby hands, large head with sunken nasal bridge and, frequently, spinal column deformities.



Several breeds are of a body type we call chondrodystrophic, such as the Dachshund and Corgi. They have shorter legs (often bowed) and other dwarf characteristics in parts of the body. Frequently, these breeds also have a shorter vertebral arch that tends to produce a smaller vertebral canal. The vertebral body centers of ossification unite with the arch prematurely, with the same type of dystrophic bone growth pattern that causes shorter “long bones” in those breeds. See Chapter 16 in my 2004 orthopedics book for more illustrations and discussion on dwarfism. In some chondrodystrophoid breeds such as the Basset, a premature closure of the distal metaphyseal plate of the ulna (near the wrist) was thought by Herron, Grüll, Henschel, and von Hitz to cause fracture of an already closed anconeal process at the other end of that limb. Kasström and colleagues (and later, Wind) thought that this condition in certain dwarfed breeds “was the result of an abnormal pressure on the anconeal process… by the shortened ulna.” This anomaly in the anconeal process is not the same as the failure to unite, and obviously has a different genetic origin. Dr. Wind, the eminent expert on elbows, has observed that many cases of elbow dysplasias include subluxations associated with dwarfism

There are many types of dwarfing related to slow endochondral bone formation (at the ends). Dwarfism can be proportionate or disproportionate, depending on the specific gene defects. Examples of the former include the pathological pituitary dwarfism of the German Shepherd Dog and the related Karelian Bear Dog. You can see GSD pituitary dwarfism in “The Total German Shepherd Dog” ( The non-pathologic selective miniaturization seen in Shar-Pei, Bull Terriers, Australian Shepherds, Poodles, and numerous other miniature and toy breeds and varieties probably should not be included in a discussion of dwarfism. Disproportionate dwarfs include Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, Pekingese, Dachshunds, Corgis, and many more that we see only in this form. While some would object to inclusion of their favorite breed here, it is still true that these are results of genetic defects. There are also “unnatural” occurrences of disproportionate dwarfism in breeds where you might not expect it: Malamutes, GSDs, and a few other “accidentals”. Of course, if one were to deliberately linebreed on these defects, a sub-population of short-legged representatives would be more common. That is what happened with a branch of the Parson Jack Russell Terrier, now known by several similar names in various show registries.

Some of these defects involve irregularities in the construction of the hypophysis (pituitary gland), as I have said; others may involve primary proteoglycans degradation that results in mucopolysaccharidoses, or other metabolic abnormalities. The various types of mucopolysaccharidoses involve enzyme deficiencies, incomplete fusion of the sacrum, incompletely developed vertebral end plates, short limbs, abnormal joint mobility, and other signs and deformities. Some osteochondrodysplasias (you now know how to break that word into segments, and what they mean) can be recognized at birth, others not until skeletal maturity approaches. The most common seen at birth is the achondroplasias of rabbits, mice, and humans, although some (erroneously?) apply that term to conditions in dogs, too. Some achondroplasia is from sporadic mutation, and most seem to be transmitted by a dominant gene. A few authorities have claimed that achondroplasia is not seen in the canine, but Aegerter and Kirkpatrick describe it as a genetic chondroblast (cartilage cell) disturbance in the epiphysis. Betts calls it “a symptom rather than a disease” and does not hesitate to apply the word to the “normal” condition seen in the Dachshund, Beagle, Basset Hound, French Bulldog, Pekingese, and similar breeds. He properly excludes pituitary dwarfs, miniaturized but proportionate breeds, Malamute dwarfism, and the dwarfism of Labs with retinal dysplasia. Various forms of chondrodysplasia affect Cocker Spaniels and German Shorthaired Pointers.

Miniature Poodles are occasionally found with a form of osteochondrodysplasia that has sometimes but properly erroneously referred to as “achondrodysplasia”. An increased collagen concentration and RNA content is often found in affected cartilage of such dwarfs, though DNA content is normal. There are differences in appearance between individuals because of modifier genes as well as environmental forces. Miniature Poodles with inherited epiphyseal chondrodysplasia are rhizomelic (it seems the shortness of their limbs comes primarily from the retardation of growth nearest the hips and shoulders) and often have ventrodorsal compression of the chest and enlarged joints. Occasionally a spontaneous mutation will produce symptoms similar to congenital spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia and “achondrodysplasia”, and variations on these are seen in many breeds, including multiple epiphyseal dysplasia in Miniature Poodles and Beagles.

Asynchronous (unequal) growth of the radius and ulna, that is, when these two bones’ growth rates are not coordinated, is found in non-dwarfs in a wide continuous “spectrum” of severity, often unnoticed by the average dog observer (and many a licensed dog-show judge!). Dwarfism is often an accompaniment to that asynchronous growth of the “double bones” in either front or rear limbs. Such dogs also have nearby limb segments shortened, such as the humerus or femur. The more extreme end of that range is considered by some to be “normal” in some breeds (to name some more: Corgis, Basset, Lhasa Apso, and Pekingese). However, elbow subluxation accompanied by pain has been reported in these dwarf breeds, and probably has a causal connection. While carpal valgus (turning out at the pasterns) and external rotation of the foot are “acceptable” within the descriptions of “breed type”, the occasional or perhaps frequent abnormalities of the ligaments and joints in the elbow that accompany this should be avoided or treated.




Chondrodysplasia in the most general sense is sometimes called a syndrome, other times part of a syndrome, the definition of that word being a collection of interconnected symptoms. Some dogs may have many, some a few, and others no readily observable symptoms. The clinical signs may be very mild, from almost undetectable bowing or shortening of the legs, to obvious skeletal deformity and the presence of several health problems. Chondrodysplasia Punctata is one name applied to a syndrome of multi-systemic disorders, and is so-called because of the “dots” of calcium phosphate deposits in the softer cartilage. It reminds me of the school of art made popular by Georges Seurat called “Pointillism”. This genetic-metabolic problem has various skeletal expressions. Depending on the particular variety, the mode of inheritance could be autosomal recessive or dominant, or X-chromosome-linked recessive or dominant, some with full penetrance, and some not.

Besides skeletal indications, there are eye disorders such as microphthalmia (smaller eyes than they should be), lens detachments, cataracts, glaucoma, retinal defects, and nystagmus (jerking or twitching of the eyeballs). Other occasionally reported symptoms are problems with internal organs, head and neck bone defects, partial deafness, alopecia, and luxated patellas (for more on this stifle problem, see my upcoming orthopedics book or some of the websites that carry my articles).




Premature closure of growth plates happens because, in some etiology (manner), the ossification process of endochondral cartilage is disturbed. Overfeeding and mineral supplementation are definitely contributors, but genetic susceptibility has to be taken into account, as well — probably much more. Ettinger mentions that “the most common cause of premature growth interference has been direct trauma to the growth plate area”, though HOD and achondroplasia have also been reported in association with it. But he and his sources may have been giving too much credit/blame to physical or mechanical damage. The distal (furthest part) radius and ulna seem to be the most frequently involved sites for these disturbances.

Growth disturbances in the radius and ulna can be related to an outward twisting of the top of the ulna away from a good fit with the humeral condyles, enough so that subluxation or even luxation takes place. This lateral rotation may also exist independently, with no observed growth plate disruptions in those bones. The radius head can also dislocate, and both may occur at the same time, so there is quite a variety of changes possible, although the disorder is rare.

If the dislocations are not accompanied by (or secondary to) such asynchronous growth manifestations as seen in the ulna and/or radius, they are called congenital elbow dislocations. The premature closure of physes in ulna or radius, retained cartilage, chondrodysplasia or achondrodysplasia, and synostosis are separate problems. A condition of missing digits called ectrodactyly and another abnormality called cleft hand deformity have been seen in conjunction with congenital luxations and subluxations (also called arthrodysplasia) in the elbow.



Cholesterol has had a bad name among fad-diet promoters and people too lazy or busy to physically work off their calories. It is a product of the liver, necessary for the synthesis of Vitamin D as well as the assimilation of it, essential fatty acids, and Vitamins A, E, and K, but in sedentary people and those with genetic inability to metabolize it correctly, it can build up in the blood vessels and contribute to heart disease and stroke risk. At least some chondrodysplasias involve an error in the coding for biosynthesis of cholesterol. Since in the Havanese, a miniature Cuban breed, those who evidenced this dwarfism tested as having abnormal levels of several cholesterol-related sterols, a program of blood serum testing was undertaken. It was found that Havanese with normal straight legs had no such metabolic abnormality. in the body. These vitamins are needed for calcium utilization, bone development, and healthy eyes. The appearance of congenital defects, including osteochondrodysplasias, can often be blamed on inability to use these chemicals. Tracing a structural defect to its headwaters of a genetic defect expressed in a metabolic disorder along the route, is akin to finding the source of the Nile or Amazon.




Pleiotropy is the phenomenon of having more than one phenotypic expression (often in grossly different manifestations) caused by the same gene — the same genetic defect. Alaskan Malamutes’ dwarfism is a pleiotropic genetic defect that shows up as both dwarfism of their particular type and a blood disorder. It has been fairly extensively studied, and while one dog may vary in appearance considerably from the other, the disorder is a simple autosomal (not sex-linked) recessive trait with complete penetrance. Asynchronous growth of the radius and ulna (one at a different rate or completion than the other, remember) is part of the deformity in this breed. The chondrodysplasia in this breed has at times been mistaken for the Vitamin D deficiency called rickets, but only the tubular bones are affected, other than retarded ossification of the lateral tarsal (cuboid) bone. The head, spine, and other bones are not stunted or changed, and body length is normal. The gene that causes this chondrodysplasia also creates a macrocytic hypochromic anemia; the discovery of this being indicative of the way carriers may be found. A third effect of this one gene, by the way, is a different ability to bind certain trace minerals in the liver.

While on a judging assignment in Alaska in the early 1980s, I was presented with a Malamute from show lines, which had from an early age walked flat on its wrists. Because the forearm did not appear bowed I initially thought it might have been a case of carpal luxation syndrome that I had been seeing with increasing frequency in American German Shepherd Dogs. I lost track of the owner and did not see any radiographs or blood analysis. Later, after seeing more Malamute Chondrodysplasia, I reconsidered my tentative “diagnosis”. I think now that it could possibly have been both disorders occurring concurrently in the same dog, but more likely the carpal luxation was a result of the chondrodysplasia gene. Unfortunately my photographs of that dog were lost, but I later obtained pictures of other Malamutes, though without the extreme flat carpus.

A few other problems are similar, in that one gene (or gene pair, really) can cause ocular-skeletal dysplasia in Labrador Retrievers and possibly Samoyeds, for example. In this disorder, several defects in the eyeball, iris, and arteries serving the eyes are found in the same dogs that have short, thick leg bones (micromelia), prominent carpi (wrists) and elbows, and east-west stance in front. Hind legs usually are hyperextended (straight in stifle) yet still very short.

Great Pyrenees have their own style of micromelic dwarfism, too, as do a few other breeds. It is a simple recessive genetic trait, showing some similarities to Malamute dwarfism, and is marked by short curved ribs, underdeveloped rear limbs, all legs shortened, and abnormalities in the cartilage and bone of the vertebrae. Endochondral ossification disturbance can usually be seen on radiographs by 8 weeks. Often, ossification of the vertebral bodies, especially in the neck, is delayed right from the beginning, and visible on radiographs taken at 8 weeks of age. The metaphyses of the radius, ulna, and tibia are usually flared like the bell-bottom trousers of the hippies in the early 1970s or the sailors of a generation earlier. The condition does not automatically result in DJD (degenerative joint disease).

Norwegian Elkhound chondrodysplasia is similar to the other canine dwarfisms as well as to human spondylometaphyseal dysplasia; it is widespread in the breed, and may be associated with glycosuria (sugar in the blood), although in one study this was not found. Some curvature of the front legs may be noticed as early as 5 weeks of age, and all limbs are short in proportion to the body. It is also a simple recessive trait.

A disorder almost identical to the chondrodysplasia in two of the above-named breeds has recently been found in Akitas. Knowing how such reports usually lead to the identification of the same disease in other breeds (as has happened in panosteitis, GSD myelopathy, etc.), it is not very risky to predict that more will be added to this list in the future, though not at a high rate, given the very obvious nature of dwarfism and most breeders’ desires to sweep it under the rug or eliminate it.

On an excellent website called, there was a good description and illustrations of dwarfism in the Havanese breed, and an ancillary discussion of dwarfism in the GSD, even though the site owner did not want to use that word for the condition. Havanese with dwarfism display ocular abnormalities as do a few other breeds. The front legs grow crooked or bowed, and all four legs are shortened, giving the height-to-length ratio an undesirably short aspect. Some Havanese breeders have reported that all cases of early-onset cataracts leading to premature blindness, and nearly all “other serious health problems reported in Havanese within the past few years, have been in dogs that also exhibit the symptoms [of chondrodysplasia]”. In Havanese, it also has been noted that some dogs have such subtle signs — that they appear to have a straight leg on one side but not the other — asymmetric. Furthermore, one breeder asserts, such asymmetrical dogs, if they are also diagnosed as having cataracts, will have the cataract in the eye that is on the same side as the crooked leg! The Rhosyn website mentioned says, “To date, no Havanese with straight legs have been diagnosed with early onset cataracts!” It must be added, however, that other long-time Havanese breeders deny any connection. It could well be merely coincidence. In fact, unless pleiotropy can be established, it would be best not to put much stock in the Rhosyn observation.

Many other dysplasias considered as a subcategory under osteochondrodysplasias result from disturbed ossification along the periphery (outer edge) of the growth plates in various bones such as the ribs, vertebral processes, skull, and elsewhere. Certain dwarfism characteristics have been made part of the breeds’ show standards and are not much covered here, but even some breeds that are not normal skeletally, anyway, such as Dachshunds and French Bulldogs, sometimes are even more afflicted with chondrodysplasia than their artificially-considered “normal” compatriots. In many cases, dwarfisms with partial penetrance or expression may go unrecognized, with the breeder considering the mildly affected pup to be simply a “runt”.

Recently, some cases of chondrodysplasia/chondrodystrophy of the sort found in the Corgi have been reported in German Shepherd Dogs in Australia. The German Shepherd Dog Council of Australia website, , has some more details on the investigation there. Some of the bitches whelping such dwarfs are daughters of popular showdogs such as Hammer v Waterkant, Lindendale Strike Force, Leitungen Prince Rowdy, and the highly-respected German export Iwan v Lechtal. Cases have been reported all across the country: in Canberra, South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia. One cryptic comment from Downunder was, “The common denominator in all cases has been the Stud Dog.” I found this dog is Aimsway Abacus, a son of German import Balou v Eppelin and a local-bred bitch, Rakishka Ali; Abacus linebreeding is: Eiko-Vasall Kirschental (5-5). Most people are reluctant to `fess up to genetic problems for fear of losing face — or stud fees. Fortunately, there is a move for openness in Australia concerning this appearance of achondroplastic dwarf GSDs, even though at this time it appears the incidence is considerably less than the incidence of pituitary (proportionate) dwarfism in the GSD that I reported on several years ago. Some examples of the latter are shown in my GSD book.

SV Standard – translated by Fred Lanting

FCI Standard #166; Adopted 1997; replaces 23 March, 1991 edition

(Dentition change added January 2002)

FCI Classification: Group 1 – Guardian and Driving dogs;

Section 1 – Shepherds’ dogs with working titles.

Versatile use: Guardian and Service (Working) Dog

Short historic overview:

Since the official establishment in Augsburg, within the German Canine Association known as the VDH (German “Kennel Club”), the parent club of the breed, the Club for German Shepherd Dogs (SV), is responsible for the breed Standard of the German Shepherd Dog. The Standard was set up in the first membership meeting in Frankfurt on 20 September 1899, upon the suggestions of A. Meyer and M. von Stephanitz, and then revised at the 6th membership gathering on 28 July 1901, the 23rd meeting in Köln on 17 September 1909, the conference of the executive committee and board in Wiesbaden on 5 September 1930, and the breed committee and board of directors meeting on 25 March 1961. As part of that one, the World Union of German Shepherd Dog Clubs (WUSV), was involved with the work. At the WUSV conference on 30 August 1976 they agreed on another revision, and on 23/24 March 1991 assumed full powers by way of resolution of the executive and advisory committees. [The current version was adopted in 1997.] Continue reading


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