top of page

Checkpoints to consider

  • Is the breeder registered with a reputable breed registering authority?

  • Is the breeder a ethical breeder?

  • Does the breeder make extraordinary claims and promises?

  • Is the breeder open and upfront about the strengths and weaknesses of his/her breeding stock?

  • Is the breeder willing to assist when things go wrong?

  • Can the breeder provide references who can attest to the his/her integrity?

  • Do you actually like the breeder?

Reputable breed registering authority

A reputable breeder will be registered with a recognised and reputable breed registering authority. Such a breed registering authority will have requirements that have to be met before offspring can be registered. Not all breed registering authorities have breed requirements and many merely generate pedigrees based on unverifiable information that is submitted by the person applying for registration.


Reputable breeding practices

Reputable breeders breed with stock that are qualified to breed.“Qualified to breed” means that both the male and the female have met the breeding requirements that are set by the registering authority under which they are bred. Some breed registering authorities have stricter rules than others; obviously, the stricter the breed requirements are the more probable it will be that you will get a good specimen.


Breeding requirements of the German Shepherd Dog Federation of South Africa:


Minimum requirements:

Dogs accepted for breeding are dogs registered in the Federation’s Breed Register or a breed register recognized by the Federation. The following requirements apply:


  • Both sire and dam must have a show grading of at least ’G’ (Good) – breeding restrictions apply to dogs that have a ‘G’ grading.

  • Both sire and dam must have a hip X-ray grading that is acceptable for breeding according to the Federation hip X-ray scheme.

  • Are at least 20 months of age at the time of mating in the case of bitches and 24 months of age in the case of males.

  • The parentage of the breeding partners is proven through DNA testing.

  • Dogs that are identifiable by a Federation recognized identification system.


Dogs not accepted for breeding and whose offspring may not be registered on the Breed Register are dogs that do not fulfil the minimum requirements for breeding, are:


  • Dogs not registered on the Breed Register or a breed register that is recognized by the German Shepherd Dog Federation of South Africa.

  • Dogs with distinct long-coats that have no undercoat.

  • Dogs with long stock hair that also have undercoats may be bred from, provided that they are only mated to long stock hair dogs with undercoats. Dogs with long stock hair without undercoats are disqualified from breeding and showing

  • Dogs with serious lack of pigmentation, white dogs and brown dogs with no black pigmentation.

  • Dogs with nervous and shy temperaments.

  • Dogs with disqualifying ear or tail faults such as an ear that is not erect or a docked tail.

  • Dogs with serious teeth defects.

  • Dogs that have been operated on to mask or prevent the development of genetic defects.


Regularly participate in shows and enter their breeding stock in breed and training tests.


Breed tests


The Breed Survey

The objective of the Breed Survey is to identify the superior animals in the breed in order to promote the uniform development of the German Shepherd Dog; serve as a guideline for breeding decisions and to improve the inherent working qualities within the breed and to provide a complete and detailed record of each animal surveyed.


The Breed Survey consists of a(an):


  • test of temperament

  • gun-sure test

  • test of drive, self-assurance and stress tolerance (TSB)

  • anatomical evaluation



Reputable breeders measure their breeding stock against the breed standard and against other dogs. In order to do this, breeders have to show their dogs under different judges in order to get an objective rating of their dogs. It is better to show under a system where it is obligatory for the judge to give a public verbal critique of the dogs, and even better if the judge explains why he/she has placed one dog above the other. Kennel blindness is the biggest stumbling block in the path of breed improvement.

For more detailed information go to


Training tests 

(Please note that the names and requirements of these tests change from time to time. What follows is an overview of these tests.)


The AD (Ausdauerprüfung) - Endurance test

The endurance test provides evidence that the dog is able to perform physical exertion of a certain degree without afterwards manifesting substantial symptoms of fatigue. The required strain on the physical condition of the dog can only come from running exercises. This we know places increased demands on the inner organs, especially the heart and lungs and likewise on the organs of movement themselves. It also tests other characteristics, such as vitality and toughness. The ability to endure must be regarded as evidence of physical health and the presence of desired characteristics, both are desirable in breeding stock.


BH-VT (Companion dog and character test)


Part A






Part B

Consists of tests to evaluate the dog's ability to function in heavy traffic.

Controllability and behaviour in street traffic

More difficult traffic conditions

The behaviour of the dog left alone and towards other dogs.

IGP (Internationale Gebrauchshund Prüfung), formerly known as IPO/Schutzhund


An IGP title is evidence of the fact that a particular dog has the following traits:


  • Stamina and endurance

  • Agility

  • Temperament and nerves (how well the dog handles stress)

  • Courage

  • Intelligence

  • Handler Loyalty

  • Desire to Work


IGP is geared towards maintaining or increasing the health and working ability from generation to generation within a breeding program. It also helps to maintain and increase health and fitness. A working title is also considered proof of a dog’s breed worthiness.

The elements of IGP work are:


Obedience: The obedience work is of a high level that is designed to test the dog’s intelligence, desire to work and desire to please its handler, its ability to take directions from its handler, and its ability to work under stress (heeling around other people, during noises like gunshots, etc.) The obedience work includes heelwork, retrieval work (including over an A-frame obstacle), recalls, send outs, stay, along with position related obedience work such as sit and down.  It is important that the dog be a happy worker and interested in what he is doing.


Tracking: The depth of difficulty differs based on the title being worked towards, but tracking is all about testing a dog’s ability to not only scent but also about his ability to stay focused enough to follow the scent without distraction or frustration.  It is also a test of how confident a dog is and how well he works in front of his handler.  The dog will be required to properly identify articles (by alerting in some fashion such as lying down on or near the object) to his handler that have been left on the track by the tracklayer.


Protection: This is the most misunderstood of the three phases of training and is normally the one the general public focuses on.  During training and trialling, there must be a ‘helper’ to do protection work.  A helper is a person that will be wearing the padded bite sleeve.  This person will also be concealed behind a blind and at various points during the test will either attempt to escape or pretend to threaten/attack the dog or handler.  Initially, the dog is required to locate the helper when he is hidden and hold him there for the handler.  When the helper attempts to escape or threatens the dog or handler, the dog is to actively apprehend the helper by biting the bite sleeve.  A dog must be confident enough and strong enough mentally to handle this work, but he must also be sensitive to handler commands and release the sleeve when requested.  It is hard to call a dog off when he is working at a high, excited level (or in high drive mode) so it is imperative that he is trained well enough and is responsive to handler commands.


Taken from:

Reputable breeders do not make extraordinary claims or promises


Examples are:


  • Top police dogs

  • Huge and brave dogs

  • Healthy flatbacks

  • Love children

  • A tracking/obedience/protection dog

  • A show dog

  • A working dog

  • Home-reared for superb temperaments

  • Excellent imported show and working bloodlines

  • Puppies are dysplasia free

  • Etc.


Is the breeder open and upfront about the strengths and weaknesses of his/her breeding stock?

Breeders must be candid about the nature of the puppies that are offered for sale. If the breeder is able to talk openly about the puppies, it means that he/she has put some thought into what the possible outcome will be when breeding partners are decided. Things such as: ‘the puppy will most probably require a strong hand, the puppy might not be that feisty, the tan will get lighter or darker’, etc. Be cautious when everything about a puppy is portrayed as being flawless. The perfect dog does not exist.

Is the breeder willing to show you the parents of the puppy that you are considering to buy? (Of course, when an outside stud is used, it is impossible)

Is the breeder willing to assist when things go wrong?

Does the breeder have a sales agreement that spells out what the breeder will or will not do to assist or accommodate the buyer when things go wrong? 

Can the breeder provide references who can attest to his/her integrity?

Good breeders should have ample proof of satisfied puppy buyers. If a breeder is unable to provide references or makes feeble excuses as to why they cannot provide references, alarm bells should ring.

Do you actually like the breeder?

A good rapport with the breeder is essential. You should feel at ease to communicate with the breeder regarding any matter that concerns your dog. You should never get the feeling that you are intruding on the breeder's time. A breeder should make time to discuss anything that has to do with the wellbeing of your dog.

Breeding requirements
Breed tests
Training tests
Extraordinary claims
bottom of page