WUSV guidelines - Breeding GSD

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Guidelines of the WUSV for the Breeding
German Shepherd Dogs


Breeding responsibly means not just maintaining a breed in its type, in its nature, but also improving it if possible. The ultimate aim must be to breed German shepherd dogs that are able to fulfil their tasks in today's world, due to both their hereditary dispositions and their upbringing. 

We must in particular endeavour to ensure their suitability as everyday family dogs, without however neglecting their heritage as a working dog. 

This entails taking various criteria into account in the breeding decisions: 

1. Aims 

Breeding does not mean increasing the number of the dogs, but instead improving their quality. The aim must be for as many healthy and high-quality dogs as possible to be produced from a litter.

These quality characteristics are particularly important for health and suitability as a working dog – readiness to work, self assurance, ability to work under pressure, character and disposition, and also anatomy, type and expression. 

2. Breeding Criteria 

2.1. Breeding Animals 

The fundamental requirements for breeding animals are anchored in the rules of the SV.  There, the requirements are set out according to which a German shepherd dog becomes a breeding animal. A checklist of the formal basic requirements for use in breeding is attached.


The selection of breeding animals is then the sole responsibility of the breeder. A good basis is the most important thing here and the breeder should only use the best breeding material. Not only the individual animal is to be taken into account but also the entire population behind it.

Bitches must have very good characters, because character is not only inherited but also learnt from the mother. As regards other characteristics, they should be from lines that are not conspicuous for negative reasons.

2.2. Approval for breeding is not everything 

Breeding does not mean simply pairing two animals that have been approved for breeding. Responsible breeders plan a pairing long before allocation. This  is very important because it is only through prior analysis of the animals that a basis can be formed for an optimal pairing. 

It is, however, necessary to assess the animals self-critically, honestly and neutrally. Visiting  dog shows, breed surveys and trials can be very helpful and a source of ideas for this.

The breed warden should help inexperienced breeders in the selection of breeding animals – e.g. looking through documents of possible partners. 

2.3. Breeding 

As well as the many requirements of the breeding and survey rules, and advice and information, the lineages form a further important selection criterion. 

It is hardly sensible to repeat a successful pairing several times, because then a large number of dogs with the same lineage (ancestors) will come into the breeding pool. In the long-term this narrows the gene-pool and the incidence of genetically caused illnesses is thereby substantially increased.  Furthermore, due to the extremely high number of hereditary factors and their combination, the repeating of a particular litter result is very unlikely. 

Because the whelps are after all the future basis of the breeding of the race, this breeding basis is drastically reduced in the event of excessive repetitions and close inbreeding. It is therefore advisable to carry out pairings with distant lines, even if it is not always 100% clear what negative hereditary factors will also be inherited. A residual risk always exists, but in each litter there are whelps who have the potential for use in breeding. 

Incorporating distant lines widens our breeding basis. A high degree of genetic diversity is an important basis for successful, healthy breeding.

Therefore, prevent inbreeding and always strive for the greatest possible genetic diversity. 

2.4. Important Aims of Breeding 

The most important aims must be: 

·                 Priority 1:   breed healthy dogs 

·                 Priority 2:   breed dogs suitable for work/use 

·                 Priority 3:   breed dogs that meet the standards 

·                 And, very important: ALWAYS stick to these priorities – in the order given 

2.4.1. Health 

Breeding healthy dogs should always be the highest priority, especially in the breeding of working dogs. 

Healthy and suitable for breeding means: good general constitution, free from hereditary illnesses, high life-expectancy of the ancestors, healthy litters of at least average size, healthy maternal instincts of the bitches and male dogs that are willing and able to produce offspring. 

The health of the dogs must be the most important and fundamental aspect of our breeding. 

In detail this means: 

Regarding HD 

·                 Always try to breed dogs that are as HD-free as possible. 

·        Only breed with HD-free dogs ("a" normal), and at the very least always with dogs in which HD can not be detected ("a" almost normal).  

·        Refrain from pairing with dogs that have slight HD ("a" still approved).  

·        Always try to achieve as low a pairing value as possible. A value of 80 or below should therefore be aimed for. Try to avoid a pairing value of 90 or above.  

·        In connection with the pairing values, pay attention to the x-ray findings rate of the parent animals. A low pairing value that is based only upon a low x-ray findings rate is less reliable and easily lead to false conclusions. 

Regarding ED 

·        Always try to breed dogs that are as ED-free as possible. 

·        Only breed with ED-free dogs (normal) and at the very least always with dogs in which ED cannot be detected for certain (almost normal).  

·        Refrain from pairing with dogs that have slight ED (still approved).  

2.4.2 Character and Readiness to Work 

In character, the German shepherd dog must be even-tempered, strong-nerved, confident, absolutely unselfconscious and good-natured - except when antagonised.

It must also be attentive and obedient. It must possess instinctive behaviour, ability to work under pressure and self-assurance, in order to be suitable for various tasks, e.g. as a family, companion, sports, guard and service dog. 

·        When selecting the pairing partners make sure that they possess working dog characteristics to a high degree.  

·        Do not just train breeding bitches to the required minimum extent but instead push the training of your breeding bitch.  

·        Give preference to stud dogs that have proven their readiness to work time after time, for different judges and if possible also at nationwide events. 

Especially as regards character, one must not forget that environment and external influences play a very major role here and that this process is by no means over when the whelps are old enough to be given away. The breeder can only try to provide as good a basis as possible.  

2.4.3. Anatomy and Outward Appearance 

The desired outer appearance is set out in the standard. It is important to interpret the standard without exaggerations.

The breeders should stick as closely as possible to the standard, but against the background of seeing the development of the race, and should therefore also interpret it in a present-day context. 

After health and character, it is decisive for the dog's breeding value that its anatomy be as correct as possible. The best possible anatomic pairing requires comprehensive knowledge and a good eye.  

·        The regular attendance of events providing technical training should go without saying, as should personal information on shows and winner shows.  

·        Particular attention is to be paid to dogs whose strength of heredity can be assessed on the basis of groups of offspring. 

3. Upbringing 

·        The breeding station (kennel, whelping box, whelp enclosure etc.) should be suited to being supervised as well as possible and should be in direct proximity to the dwelling.  

·        The keeping and upbringing of the dogs must be appropriate to their species and needs. 

·        It is advantageous for the whelps if they have enough things to occupy them. 

·        Lots of human affection and attention and positive environmental influences should go without saying for the responsible breeder and promote the whelp's trust in human beings and confidence in many everyday situations. 

·        It must always be possible for the mother bitch to withdraw. 

·        In the open air, the whelps should never be left unsupervised for several hours, even in large enclosures. They need to be occupied, e.g. toys for dogs, tunnels etc. and especially lets of contact to different people.  

4. Training of Breeders and Breeding Instructors 

Introductory courses – breeders' seminars – are a binding requirement of the SV, so that a new breeder receives appropriate information and knowledge. Further training courses are offered in the SV via the breed warden seminar and annually in the framework of the breeder seminar conference and other events. 

The SV tries, together with various universities and other institutions, to carry out various interesting training courses and projects, intended to impart race-specific knowledge and experience to breeders/regional group breed wardens and also to sports-people/dog owners. The conscientious breeder and regional group breed warden should also acquire further training in the framework of general conditions and keep informed of findings on heredity on an ongoing basis. 

Breeding is a responsible task that should not be directed by emotions but by objective knowledge. 

5. Aims and Visions 

Breeding is a very complex matter. Anyone who would like to make progress in breeding will find a fascinating area of activity that does however require a great deal of commitment and enthusiasm. Anyone who does not act extremely conscientiously will soon come up against their limits. 

Cooperation with other breeders with a common aim that can also be consistently pursued can be very helpful. Decisions are more broadly supported and can sometimes also be implemented more easily. Breeding is only successful if all the breeders are pursuing the same aim together. Our statutes and various rules are particular instruments for achieving this. 

It would be incorrect to want to "make" the dogs more and more beautiful, but one must endeavour to breed the race with its race-specific, phenotypical behavioural characteristics in such a way that they can sustainably fulfil the expectations held of them, which is to say of a healthy, robust, versatile family and working dog.

The aim must be the healthy German shepherd dog, with a strong character!! 

Produced by the National Breed Warden of the SVÖ, Mr Helmut Wehinger, and the President of the SVÖ and Vice President of the WUSV, Dr. Wolfgang Tauber


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