German Shepherd Terminology

Glossary of all the abbreviations and terminology you’ll need to know


Verein für deutsche Schäferhunde, which translates to The Society for German Shepherds

The SV is the governing body in Germany that oversees the regulations for titling, breeding etc. You’ll see “SV: HD Normal” on some of our dogs. This means that their hips were x-rayed in Germany and the results were approved by the SV to ensure a normal anatomy to prevent Hip Dysplasia (HD) in future generations. In the US, we generally use the OFA as the governing body for hip and elbow screening. Registration Papers from the SV in Germany are called “Pink Papers.”


 Orthopedic Foundation for Animals – US Health Testing Agency

The OFA is the gold standard for screening German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) Hips and Elbows as well as conducting other panels such as thyroid, cardiac and eye screenings. You might see OFA: HD Normal on our dog pages. This means that the hips were evaluated by the OFA and were found to be excellent. PennHip is another organization commonly used by American kennels.


American Kennel Club

The AKC is the governing body in the USA that issues certification for Pure Bred dogs with a verifiable pedigree. A pedigree is a record of the past five generations of sires and dams. When people say “papered,” in the US we’re talking about AKC registration. AKC registration is not an indication of the quality of the breeding, only that there is a record of past generations.


KörKlasse, the title that is given to a male or female that has been approved by the SV to be bred in Germany

Breeding of the German Shepherd dog is very strict in Germany. Any dog, male or female, that is to be bred must pass a rigorous series of tests and titling: BH (basic behavioral approval), IPG1 (Schutzhund agility, tracking and obedience titling), SG or better (Very good rating at a conformation show), complete the AD (a 12 mile endurance test) and receive an A stamp for Hips and Elbows.


Begleithund, which translates to Companion Dog, a test of a dog’s mental soundness

The BH test is a basic obedience test that shows the dog is capable of behaving in public, has a good temperament and can obey commands in a field environment. BH test is a pre-requisite to competing in IPG/IPO/Schutzhund trials.


Ausdauerprüfung, 12 Mile Endurance Test

The AD is required to obtain the KKL (breeding title). The dog trots alongside the handler, who is riding a bicycle. There are two 15 minute rest periods during which the judge examines the dogs paws for tender conditions and dismisses any dog who is too fatigued or in too poor condition to continue. After completing the 12 miles, a brief obedience test is conducted after a short break.

IPO / IPG / Schutzhund

Schutzhund translates to Protection Dog – IPG/IPO/SCHH are all terms for the same sport

Schutzhund is a competitive dog sport with the intention of evaluating a GSD’s working ability. It has three disciplines: Tracking, Obedience and Protection. A dog must excel in all three in order to receive his/her title. Currently, the sport is called IGP in titles. IGP1 is the first level of achievement. Once the IPG1 title is earned, the dog may move on to attempt IPG2 and IPG3 titles.

SG / V /VA

Seiger Show Breed Conformation Ratings

You’ll see letters in front of many of our Dogs names: these letters represent the title that the dog received at a conformation show. SG means “Very Good.” SG is the highest award that a dog under 2 years of age can achieve. V means “Excellent” and VA (Vorzuglisch Auslese) means “Excellent Select” and is is only awarded at the Annual Seiger Show. VA is the highest attainable award for Show Line Dogs. Often you’ll see numbers after the title. For example, SG1 means first place in the Very Good category. SG2 is second place and so on.

Sieger or BSZS

Bundessieger-Zuchtschau, The German World Championship Sieger Show

This is the world championship event for conformation. To score well in conformation, a dog must display the proper proportions that is considered ideal in the breed, including dimensions of their legs, slope of their back, no missing teeth, erect ears and many other qualifications. The dogs are also tested for bite work, obedience and the hailing hallmark of the breed: Bravery.


Hip Dysplasia (HD)

Hip Dysplasia an abnormal formation of the hip socket, causing the hip and femur to grind against each other rather than slide during movement. HD is a crippling disease that commonly affects German Shepherd Dogs, so good breeders always screen for excellent hips to ensure healthy progeny. On pedigrees, you will see HD: Normal or A-Normal. This is means that the hips have been screened, evaluated and have been found to be excellently formed. In Germany, they call this A Stamp. A-fast normal means less than perfect but still good. Any other hip score should not be bred to prevent Hip Dysplasia in future generations.


Elbow Dysplasia (ED)

Elbow Dysplasia very similar to HD, but instead of the hips ED an abnormal formation of the elbow joint, causing the humerus, radius and ulna to grind against each other rather than slide during movement. ED is a crippling disease that commonly affects German Shepherd Dogs, so good breeders always screen for excellent elbows as well. On pedigrees, you will see ED: Normal. This is means that the elbows have been screened, evaluated and have been found to be well formed.


Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

Degenerative Myelopathy is the most important genetic disease that we screen for in GSDs. It is a progressive degenerative disease of the spinal cord. The onset generally occurs at 5-6 years of age and starts with weakness in the hind limbs that progresses to the rest of the body and eventually leads to total paralysis of the Dog. A dog can be a genetic carrier of DM and not have the disease. Two carriers of DM should never be mated.