The German system for selecting breed-worthy dogs requires both health and character certifications. The system is mandatory in Germany, but voluntary for American German Shepherd Dog breeders. Breed worthy dogs–and their ancestors–have all met these requirements:
- Hip and elbow orthopedic screening, German “a” stamp or OFA.
- Begleithund (Companion Dog) tests for obedience, and a steady character around people, other dogs, as well as foot and vehicular traffic.
- Ausdauerprufung, a 12-mile endurance test run next to a bicycle.
- A minimum Schutzhund/IPO training title (Tracking, Obedience and Protection).
- A conformation show rating.
- A formal Koerung (Breed Survey). The breed survey consists of two parts. The first tests the dog’s training and ability to withstand the stresses of protection work. The second is a detailed critique of the dog’s anatomy, with careful evaluation of individual strengths and weaknesses. Dogs that are “Recommended for Breeding” receive a Class 1 rating (Koerklasse 1, abbreviated KKl 1). Dogs that are “Suitable for Breeding” receive a KKl 2 rating.
Once all of these requirements have been met, a dog is certified to breed for two years. The Breed Survey must be repeated at the end of the two year period to receive a Lifetime (Lebenzeit) breeding certification.