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General Appearance
The first impression of a good German Shepherd Dog is that of a strong, agile, well muscled animal, alert and full of life. It is well balanced, with harmonious development of the forequarter and hindquarter. The dog is longer than tall, deep-bodied, and presents an outline of smooth curves rather than angles. It looks substantial and not spindly, giving the impression, both at rest and in motion, of muscular fitness and nimbleness without any look of clumsiness or soft living. The ideal dog is stamped with a look of quality and nobility--difficult to define, but unmistakable when present. Secondary sex characteristics are strongly marked, and every animal gives a definite impression of masculinity or femininity, according to its sex.

The breed has a distinct personality marked by direct and fearless, but not hostile, expression, self-confidence and a certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. The dog must be approachable, quietly standing its ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them. It is poised, but when the occasion demands, eager and alert; both fit and willing to serve in its capacity as companion, watchdog, blind leader, herding dog, or guardian, whichever the circumstances may demand. The dog must not be timid, shrinking behind its master or handler; it should not be nervous, looking about or upward with anxious expression or showing nervous reactions, such as tucking of tail, to strange sounds or sights. Lack of confidence under any surroundings is not typical of good character. Any of the above deficiencies in character which indicate shyness must be penalized as very serious faults and any dog exhibiting pronounced indications of these must be excused from the ring. It must be possible for the judge to observe the teeth and to determine that both testicles are descended. Any dog that attempts to bite the judge must be disqualified. The ideal dog is a working animal with an incorruptible character combined with body and gait suitable for the arduous work that constitutes its primary purpose.
Size, Proportion, Substance
The desired height for males at the top of the highest point of the shoulder blade is 24 to 26 inches; and for bitches, 22 to 24 inches.The German Shepherd Dog is longer than tall, with the most desirable proportion as 10 to 8½. The length is measured from the point of the prosternum or breastbone to the rear edge of the pelvis, the ischial tuberosity. The desirable long proportion is not derived from a long back, but from overall length with relation to height, which is achieved by length of forequarter and length of withers and hindquarter, viewed from the side.

The head is noble, cleanly chiseled, strong without coarseness, but above all not fine, and in proportion to the body. The head of the male is distinctly masculine, and that of the bitch distinctly feminine.

The expression keen, intelligent and composed. Eyes of medium size, almond shaped, set a little obliquely and not protruding. The color is as dark as possible. Ears are moderately pointed, in proportion to the skull, open toward the front, and carried erect when at attention, the ideal carriage being one in which the center lines of the ears, viewed from the front, are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. A dog with cropped or hanging ears must be disqualified.

Seen from the front the forehead is only moderately arched, and the skull slopes into the long, wedge-shaped muzzle without abrupt stop. The muzzle is long and strong, and its topline is parallel to the topline of the skull. Nose black. A dog with a nose that is not predominantly black must be disqualified. The lips are firmly fitted. Jaws are strongly developed. Teeth --42 in number--20 upper and 22 lower--are strongly developed and meet in a scissors bite in which part of the inner surface of the upper incisors meet and engage part of the outer surface of the lower incisors. An overshot jaw or a level bite is undesirable. An undershot jaw is a disqualifying fault. Complete dentition is to be preferred. Any missing teeth other than first premolars is a serious fault.

Neck, Topline, Body
The neck is strong and muscular, clean-cut and relatively long, proportionate in size to the head and without loose folds of skin. When the dog is at attention or excited, the head is raised and the neck carried high; otherwise typical carriage of the head is forward rather than up and but little higher than the top of the shoulders, particularly in motion.

Topline-- The withers are higher than and sloping into the level back. The back is straight, very strongly developed without sag or roach, and relatively short.

The whole structure of the body gives an impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness.

Chest--Commencing at the prosternum, it is well filled and carried well down between the legs. It is deep and capacious, never shallow, with ample room for lungs and heart, carried well forward, with the prosternum showing ahead of the shoulder in profile. Ribs well sprung and long, neither barrel-shaped nor too flat, and carried down to a sternum which reaches to the elbows. Correct ribbing allows the elbows to move back freely when the dog is at a trot. Too round causes interference and throws the elbows out; too flat or short causes pinched elbows. Ribbing is carried well back so that the loin is relatively short. Abdomen firmly held and not paunchy. The bottom line is only moderately tucked up in the loin.

Loin Viewed from the top, broad and strong. Undue length between the last rib and the thigh, when viewed from the side, is undesirable. Croup long and gradually sloping.

Tail bushy, with the last vertebra extended at least to the hock joint. It is set smoothly into the croup and low rather than high. At rest, the tail hangs in a slight curve like a saber. A slight hook- sometimes carried to one side-is faulty only to the extent that it mars general appearance. When the dog is excited or in motion, the curve is accentuated and the tail raised, but it should never be curled forward beyond a vertical line. Tails too short, or with clumpy ends due to ankylosis, are serious faults. A dog with a docked tail must be disqualified.

The shoulder blades are long and obliquely angled, laid on flat and not placed forward. The upper arm joins the shoulder blade at about a right angle. Both the upper arm and the shoulder blade are well muscled. The forelegs, viewed from all sides, are straight and the bone oval rather than round. The pasterns are strong and springy and angulated at approximately a 25-degree angle from the vertical. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed, but are normally left on. The feet are short, compact with toes well arched, pads thick and firm, nails short and dark.

The whole assembly of the thigh, viewed from the side, is broad, with both upper and lower thigh well muscled, forming as nearly as possible a right angle. The upper thigh bone parallels the shoulder blade while the lower thigh bone parallels the upper arm. The metatarsus (the unit between the hock joint and the foot) is short, strong and tightly articulated. The dewclaws, if any, should be removed from the hind legs. Feet as in front.

The ideal dog has a double coat of medium length. The outer coat should be as dense as possible, hair straight, harsh and lying close to the body. A slightly wavy outer coat, often of wiry texture, is permissible. The head, including the inner ear and foreface, and the legs and paws are covered with short hair, and the neck with longer and thicker hair. The rear of the forelegs and hind legs has somewhat longer hair extending to the pastern and hock, respectively. Faults in coat include soft, silky, too long outer coat, woolly, curly, and open coat.

********Color *******
The German Shepherd Dog varies in color, and most colors are permissible. Strong rich colors are preferred. Pale, washed-out colors and blues or livers are serious faults. A white dog must be disqualified ,White dogs are NOT show quality .They are good for pets.


Famous German Shepherd Dogs of the past that  played an important role role in the development of the breed.       

                Utz. vom Haus Schuetting - 1929 German Sieger.

For a  student of the history  of  the German Shepherd, an examination of important dogs of the past that exerted a tremendous influence on the development of the breed presents  a fascinating study.

One of the most influential dogs in the history of the breed was the controversial  1929 German Sieger - Utz. vom Haus Schuetting.  There are probably very few German Shepherd Dogs exhibited in the show rings of any part of the world today whose pedigrees  in which the name of "Utz" does not feature.

Because we are talking about the  history of the breed and the particular period of the late 1920' and early 1930's when there was an enormous increase in German Shepherd Dog interest, research into your dog's pedigree will obviously  involve delving back many generations. 

What was interesting about "Utz" is the fact that he was the subject of a great deal of controversy in the German Shepherd Dog world, whose virtues were extolled by some and  harshly criticized by others.     

"Utz" represented a completely departure from the long-legged, somewhat shelly   ype of Shepherd in vogue at the time.  He was born on the 12th March 1926, bred by Dr, Funk of the well-known "Haus Schuetting" kennels in Munich.   Dr. Funk became president of the S.V. from 1956 to 1971.

At the 1929 annual Champinship in Germany, "Utz" became the Grand Champion - "Sieger".    He was subsequently exported to the United States where he obtained his American and also his Canadian championship tittles.

What sort of dog was "Utz"?  From description and reports of well-known authorities at the time, it would appear that he was somewhat smaller than the the type of dog popular at time.  He was also described as being somewhat unimpressive due to a certain dullness in temperament.   Nevertheless, he was a beautifully constructed dog with excellent balance and he proved to be a remarkably prepotent sire.

Prior to his departure to America, "Utz" was extensively used at study in Germany and proved his worth as a Sire.  His most famous son in Germany was the 1932 "Sieger" "Hussan v. Haus Shuetting.   "Hussan" himself was the sire of two "Siegerins" - "Jamba v. Haus Schuetting" the 1933 winner and the winner of the 1935 title "Stella v. Haus Schuetting".

In the United States he sired a host of champions and also two Grand Victors. These were the 1935 Grand Victor "Nox of Ruthland" and the 1939 Grand Victor "Hugo of Cosalta" bred by Marie Leary.

In Great Britain his influence was also profound.   Mrs. Gwen Barrington's famous international Champion "Gerolf of Brittas" was sired by the imported dog "Voss v. Bern" a son of "Utz".

Another famous bloodlines though which Utz is perpetuated is that of "Ingosohn of Errol" who was sired by the famous  Utz descendant "Ingo v. Piastemdamm".   Since Ingosohn  was the grandsire of Champion Avon Prince of Alumvale, one of the most wide used studs of his time, the extent to which the blood of "Utz" has been spread  through the breed in Great Britain can be appreciated.

"Utz" has been widely criticised for being responsible for poor temperaments and fading collurs and it is an acknowledged fact that his Dam - "Donna zum Reurer" - was a particularly light coloured bitch.   However, it would appear that it was the indiscriminate "mis-use" of "Utz" rather the use of this important dog was the root of the trouble.

Mrs. Barrington of the well-known "|Brittas" kennels wrote in 1942..."the benefits of his blood far outweigh the disadvantages.  Most of the faults attributed to Utz are in fact due to strains of  blood allied to this though the bitches he was mated to..."

Colonel Baldwin, of the "Picardy" kennels, also a legendary figure in the development of the breed in Britain, made the following comments in an article published in the September  1946 issue of the American publication the "Shepherd Dog Review"..."It is quite common to hear people say that Utz bred, light washy colours, was very shy, bred shy stock, etc.   On the contrary he was lethargic and disinterested.  Looking at him I always thought: There is the shape and the type, but we must add nobility to it.   I am sure Utz blood his extremely valuable if it is used properly.  Use it to get shape and type and then add nobility..."

Finally a well-known American breeders, Mrs. Margaret  Horn, expressed similar comments in the April issue of the same magazine.   "I take nothing from the good Utz did to the breed, but I do say he has been overdone and with this comes the danger.  Utz was no villain.  We the American fancy are the villains in our over-use of him.  No one wants a cup of pepper in one's soup"

It would seem, therefore, that "Utz" must be definitely be regarded as one of the most important dogs in the development of the breed.  It is apparent however, that because of his own remarkable qualities and his rare ability to reproduce these qualities he was used indiscriminately.

Clearly there is a message to be learned. Today there is also a  tendency for breeders, keen to sell pups  sired by  well-known show winner, to mate their bitches to the dog, irrespective whether the animal is the most suitable.





Hip & Elbow Ratings


Hip Dysplasia


Elbow Dysplasia

“a” stamp

Actual stamps applied by the German SV to either the German Pink Papers of a dog or the AKC Certified 4 generation pedigree at the time a dog receives a passing hip and elbow rating. Be sure to ask to see proof of these stamps when purchasing a puppy from any breeder.

“a” 1

HD normal – the best hip or elbow rating possible from the German SV

“a” 2

HD fast normal – near normal – rating given to hips and/or elbows

“a” 3

HD noch zugelassen – still acceptable for breeding – rating given to hips and/or elbows


HD certification was passed in another country rather than Germany.


Orthopedic Foundation for Animals- an organization in the USA that researches HD and other health problems and certifies hips and elbows for animals with the ratings of EXCELLENT, GOOD or FAIR.


Degenerative Myelopathy- Degenerative Myelopathy is a devastating disease causing progressive paralysis in a large number of dog breeds. New research has identified a gene that is associated with a major increase in risk of the disease.

Show Ratings


Vorzüglich Auslese = Excellent Select – Show rating only awarded at the Sieger show in the Working Classes (Males & Females over 24 months must have Working Titles to show in the Working Class)


Vorzüglich = Excellent – Show rating awarded in working class only. Also a SchH rating awarded to dogs who score 96 points or more out of 100 in SchH trial/competition.


Sehr Gut = Very Good – Is the highest possible show rating a dog can obtain in Youth Class (12-18 mos.) or Young Dog Class (18-24 mos.) Also a SchH rating awarded to dogs who score 90-95 points out of 100 in SchH trial/competition.


Gut = Good – Show or working rating


Unsatisfactory - Show or working rating


VP – Very Promising – the highest rating awarded to dogs under 12 months of age in the Puppy Classes (3-6 mos., 6-9 mos., 9-12 mos.)


Promising- awarded in Puppy Classes


Not Promising- awarded in Puppy Classes

Working Titles


Schutzhund = Protection Dog. There are 3 levels: SchH I, SchH II, SchH III.


International title, equivalent to Schutzhund. There are 3 levels: IPO I, IPO II, IPO III.


Ausdauerprüfung- an endurance test performed by gaiting approximately six – ten miles per hour for about 12 miles with a ten minute rest halfway and a simple obedience test at the end. AD is a prerequisite for a Korung evaluation.


Begleithunde- Prerequisite for Schutzhund. Consists of an obedience test and a traffic/temperament test.


Herdengebrauchshund  = Herding Dog


Polizei Hund = Police Dog


Fährten Hund = Tracking Dog – Advanced tracking title


Search and rescue


SV Breed survey- The purpose of breed survey is to select from the breeding registry a number of dogs that in their character, performance, and anatomical construction appear suitable for the conservation and improvement of the breed.


Körklasse- Breed Survey class (Kkl1 or Kkl2) In order to be breed-surveyed a dog must have a SchH, HGH or IPO title, must also have approved hips, pass an AD, and have a show-rating of G or better.


Kkl1 – the dog is especially recommended for breeding


Kkl2 – the dog is still suitable for breeding (Variations from the breed standard in conformation, such as too small or too large, a missing tooth, structural or protection work fault, etc., are issues that can cause a dog to be Kkl2 rather than Kkl1).


Lebenzeit = for life – The result of a Breed Survey (Körklasse) is for life (normally after the second Survey)


Triebveranlung, Selbstsicherheit und Belastbarkeit = drive, self-confidence, and ability to handle stress – in a courage test. Ratings are “pronounced,” “sufficient” or “insufficient.”

T1, T2, T3 or T4

The dog is removed from farther participation in the Sieger show due to TSB failings. Each number indicates the reason for removal.


Is indicating that even though the dog has demonstrated “pronounced” TSB, the dog did not release on command during the courage test. (Did not “Out”). 


TSB vorhanden = TSB “sufficient” – not enough to continue on in the competition.


TSB nicht genuegend = TSB “insufficient”

  T4The dog removed from farther participation due to lack of obedience or control (the dog failed all three allowed attempts to heal to the blind).

German Commands

HeelFuss (Fooss)
StandSteh (Shtay)
Retrieve/FetchBring (Brrring)
Go OutVoraus
TrackSuch (Suuk)
GuardPass auf
BitePacken, stell
Out/Let GoAus (Ows)
Speak/BarkGib laut (Geblout)
Building/Blind SearchVoran or Revier