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Reading your Pedigree:

What do the initials on a pedigree stand for?


The colors and print on your pedigree

Black: Black is the most common color seen on a pedigree. Some breeders use bold face or italics for the dogs with champion status to differentiate them from dogs without.

Red: In North America, breeders commonly type dog's names in red if they are champions. Non-champion dogs are therefore in black.

Championship Titles

Ch: Champion. This dog has competed with other German Shepherds and was found to display more characteristics that define what a GSD looks like. To achieve the title in Canada, (Can Ch) the dog must have achieved 10 total points (designating the number of dogs against which it competed) and must have been awarded its points by 3 different judges in a minimum of 3 shows. (A dog cannot achieve more than 5 points at any one show.) In the United States, (Am Ch) the dog must have earned 15 points and have won over a specified number of dogs in 2 separate competitions. Every country has its own rules for achieving champion status. The name of the granting country usually precedes the CH. If a GSD has won in 3 or more countries it adds the title Int CH or International Champion.

Sel: Select refers to GSDs who have competed at the national level are considered to be among the best representatives of the breed at that annual specialty show. The number of Select bitches or dogs depends upon the judge but seldom exceeds 13 of each sex. The number of German Shepherd Dogs competing at this show is usually over 200.

GV: Grand Victor/Grand Victrix is the best male or female GSD at the annual national specialty show. He/she is awarded either the Best of Breed or Best Opposite Sex. GV means this is the dog or bitch that the judge considers the best representative of the breed and sex in the country on that day.

SGR: Sieger/Siegerin is the number one dog/bitch in Germany at the end of the annual national show. Looks are not as important to achieve this title. More important for the Germans is the working abilities of the dog/bitch as exemplified by the achievement of a Schutzhund III degree and litter productivity particularly for the male. The GSD also must have passed a hip x-ray with at least an "a" normal stamp. The GSD in Germany is first and foremost an athlete.

BIS/BISS: Best in Show and/or Best in Speciality Show winner.

Obedience Titles in North America

CD: Companion Dog is the first degree awarded a dog in obedience competition in North America. After a dog has completed its obedience classes, regardless of breed, and if it is a registered dog, the owner may compete with other owners to see which dog performs the exercises best. A passing score is 170 points. Maximum points is 200. The dog must have achieved a passing score three times, under three different judges, in order to achieve a CD.

CDX : Companion Dog Excellent must have an earned CD to be eligible to compete for this advanced obedience degree. The exercises are conducted off-leash.

UD: Utility Dog is the third in the series of North American obedience degrees requiring a certified CDX in order to compete. A dog may compete further and become a Utility Dog Excellent (UDX) which requires advanced off leash work.

HIT: High in Trial means that dog received the highest score for the day or for the show.

HIC: High in class means the dog had the higest score in the class in which it was entered (Novice, Open, Utility)

SchH I, II, III: Schutzhund I, II, III are the German working titles developed for the GSD including "bite work" or protection training, obedience and scent work. A GSD cannot become a Sieger or Siegerin without a SchH III degree.


Temperament Testing & Certification

TT/TC: Temperament tested/Temperament Certified refers to the fact that the GSD has been tested to determine if it has a sound temperament under a variety of sudden and unfamiliar experiences. The initials mean that the dog has passed the test and is certified to have the appropriate temperament for its breed. Dogs cannot be tested until they are at least one year of age. Dogs are not supposed to be tgrained to pass this test.


CGC: Canine Good Citizen award based upon passing a test and certified that the dog will behave well in public places accompanied by its owner. Generally the dog will have completed some form of obeience work in order to pass this examination.


Other titles

A registered dog may compete in a number of athletic activities such as herding, agility, police work, scent work and so on. Each has its own testing and certification programs. PART OF THE FUN OF OWNING A REGISTERED GSD IS THE ABILITY TO COMPETE IN ALL THE AVAILABLE SPORTING ACTIVITIES FOR DOGS SPONSORED BY THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS.


Health Certifications

OFA after a dog's name, whether or not a number follows the OFA, stands for "Orthopedic Foundation for Animals" and refers to the fact that the dog has had its hips x-rayed; the X-rays have been evaluated by 3 orthopedic veterinarians; and, has been certified as being free of hip dysplasia. The number indicates the breed of the dog (GS refers to the German Shepherd), the number given the dog evaluated, the gender of the dog (M for Male, F for Female), the age (in months) at the time of the dog's X-ray, and the rating given the hips (E for Excellent, G for Good, F for Fair). The OFA does not "certify" dogs under 24 months of age. If you see a T or an M with the number, this signifies that the dog has been identified by either a tattoo or a microchip. Since 2001, the OFA will be using PI after the OFA numbers to signify "permanent identification" as a result of microchip, tatoo or DNA testing.

If the dog has also had its elbows x-rayed, and has been found to have its elbows free of any orthopedic problems, a second set of number will appear preceded by an EL. If the dog/bitch does not have an OFA number, it has either not been x-rayd or has failed to pass the evaluation as having normal hips/elbows.

Anyone may access the OFA records to verify the status of any animal. Simply go to the web and look under either OFA or Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. There is a separate page for searching for OFA clearances. The searcher enters the breed of the dog, the gender of the dog and a year for the earliest possible search date. (OFA records begin in 1970.) Enter part of a name to find the specific animal. If you wanted to search the Vonderbrink records, for example, enter only Brink, as the OFA does not always spell names the way you do. If you received a pedigree of your dog from the breeder, you can search for all the names in the OFA data base to find which have been cleared.


OVC: Ontario Veterinary College is the certifying foundation in Canada for hips and elbows. One veterinary reads the x-rays and certifies the dog's hips and/or elbows. In this case an OVC is after the dog's name.


CERF: Canine Eye Registration Foundation. Only board certified Veterinary Ophthalmologists are qualified to examine a dog's eyes and certify that they are clear of any abnormalities. There are very few in North America. Eye clinics are frequently sponsored by breed clubs that have a genetic propensity for eye trouble. The certification is only good for one year and must be repeated annually for a dog that is to be bred.


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