United Schutzhund Clubs of America Inc. is a German
Shepherd Dog Breed Organization guided by the rules of
the organization of origin of the German Shepherd Dog,
the "Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SV)" in Germany
and is strongly devoted to create and promote the German
Shepherd Dog in its original breeding as a working dog.
The United Schutzhund Clubs of America Inc. is a member
of the "World Union of German Shepherd Dog Clubs" and
accepts the by-laws of this organization in regards to
the breeding rules of German Shepherd Dogs.
following translation of the German Shepherd Dog F.C.I.
Standard, MO. 166/23.03.1991/D translated from the SV
publication 1998 has been submitted by Johannes Grewe
and is recommended by the 1998 Breed Advisory Committee
for approval by the Executive Board at their meeting in
"Standard" is part of the USA By-laws.
following "Standard" has been approved by the Executive
Board at the meeting inBangor, Maine, on May 6, 1998.
Short Historical Overview
accordance with the official provisions of the German
Shepherd Dog Club (SV) e.V., located in Augsburg, a
member of the Federation of Dog Clubs in Germany (VDH)
is the founding organization of the German Shepherd Dog
and therefore, responsible for the breed standard. Work
on this document was begun at the first membership
meeting in Frankfurt/M on September 20, 1899 and is
based on proposals by A. Meyer and v. Stephanitz.
Additions and revisions to the standard were made as
follows: membership meeting on July 28, 1901; 23rd
membership meeting on September 17, 1909 in Koln; Board
and Executive Committee Meeting on September 5, 1930 in
Wiesbaden, and the Breeders Committee and Board Meeting
on March 25, 1961 in conjunction with the WUSV (World
Union of German Shepherd Clubs) and during the WUSV
Meeting on August 30, 1976 where the standard was agreed
upon, revised, and approved by the Board and Executive
Committee on March 23 and 24, 1991.
Planned breeding activities began after the inception of
the SV in 1899. The German Shepherd Dog was developed
from herding dogs in service during that time in Middle
and Southern Germany. The goal was to produce a
high-performance working dog. To accomplish this goal,
the Breed Standard of the German Shepherd Dog was
created. This document addresses both physical qualities
as well as character attributes.
German Shepherd Dog is medium sized, slightly longer
than tall, strong and well muscled, bone is dry, the
whole dog presenting a picture of firmness.
Height at the withers for males: 60 - 65 cm, bitches: 55
- 60 cm. Length of torso exceeds height at the withers
by 10 - 17%.
German Shepherd should appear poised, calm, self
confident, absolutely at ease, and (except when
agitated) good natured, but also attentive and willing
to serve. He must have courage, fighting drive, and
hardness in order to serve as companion, watchdog,
protection dog, service dog, and herding dog.
head is wedge-shaped and in harmony with the dog’s
size (length app. 40% of height at the withers) without
being coarse or overly long. The head should appear dry,
and moderately wide between the ears. Seen from the
front and side, the forehead is only slightly domed, the
center furrow is either absent or only slightly visible.
The length ratio of skull to face is 50 : 50%. Skull
width approximately equals skull length. Seen from
above, the skull slopes into a wedge-shaped muzzle. The
stop should not be pronounced. Upper and lower jaws are
strong, the bridge of the nose should be straight, not a
Roman nose or dish-faced nose. Lips are taut, well
closed and of dark color.
nose should be black.
teeth must be strong and complete in number (42 teeth as
per formula). The German Shepherd has a scissor bite,
where the upper incisors must meet the lower incisors in
a scissor grip. Level bite, overshot and undershot teeth
are faulty, as well as widely spaced teeth. A straight
incisor tooth line is also faulty. Jawbones must be well
developed, to permit deep rooting of the teeth in the
eyes are medium sized, almond-shaped, set slightly
oblique and not protruding. The color should be as dark
German Shepherd has medium-sized, upright ears which are
carried erect and perpendicular to one another, pointed
and open to the front. Tipped ears and hanging ears are
faulty. Laid-back ears are not faulty when the dog is in
motion or resting.
neck is strong, well-muscled, and clean cut (without
folds of loose skin). The angle of neck to torso is
approximately 45 degrees.
top line extends from the point where the neck meets the
skull past the well developed withers and the gently
downward sloping back to the slightly sloping croup
without a visible break. The back is firm, strong, and
well muscled. The loin is broad, well developed, and
strongly muscled. The croup should be long and have a
slight downward slope (approximately 23 degrees from
horizontal) and should merge smoothly into the tail set.
chest should be of moderate width, the underchest long
and pronounced. Chest depth should be approximately 45
to 48% of height at the withers. The ribs should be
moderately sprung. Barrel shaped or flat ribs are
tail reaches at least to the hock joint, but not past
the halfway point of the hock itself. The coat is
slightly longer on the underside of the tail. The tail
hangs in a soft, saber-like curve. When the dog is
excited or in motion, the tail is somewhat raised, but
should not reach past the horizontal line. Surgical
corrections are not permitted.
from all sides, the forelegs are straight and absolutely
parallel when viewed from the front.
Shoulder and upper arms are of equal length. Both are
held snugly to the body by strong muscles. Angulation of
shoulder blade to the upper arm ideally is 90 degrees,
but up to 110 degrees is permissible.
Elbows may not turn out when the dog is standing or in
motion or be pinched inward. The lower legs viewed from
all sides are straight and absolutely parallel, dry, and
well muscled. The pastern measures about 1/3 of the
forearm length and is angled 20-22 degrees to the
foreleg. Pasterns with an angle of more than 22 degrees
or very steep pasterns (less than 20 degrees) reduce
working capability especially, endurance.
paws are rounded, tight, and arched. The soles are hard,
but not brittle. The nails are strong and dark.
rear legs have a pronounced rounded knee or turn of
stifle which projects the dog's rear quarter well behind
the point of the pelvis. Seen from the rear, the hind
legs are parallel to one another. Upper and lower thighs
are of approximately the same length and form an angle
of 120 degrees. Thighs are strong and well muscled.
hock joint is strong and dry and the hock stands upright
under the joint.
paws are tight, slightly arched, the balls of the feet
are hard and dark, nails strong, arched, and dark.
German Shepherd is a trotting dog. Length and angulation
of front and rear legs must be in proper proportion to
one another to permit the dog to move the rear leg
underneath the body, matching the reach of the rear legs
with that of the front legs and at the same time,
keeping the topline over the back relatively
undisturbed. Any tendency for over-angulation of the
rear reduces firmness and endurance of the dog and
therefore, working capability. Correct body proportions
and angulation result in a ground-covering gait which
moves close to the ground and conveys the impression of
effortless movement. With the head held slightly forward
and the tail slightly lifted, the dog trotting evenly
and smoothly, we see a softly moving topline which flows
without interruption from neck to tail tip.
skin covers the body loosely, but without folds.
correct coat for the German Shepherd is a stock coat
(outer and under coat). The top coat should be as tight
as possible, straight, coarse, and clinging closely to
the undercoat. The head, including the inside of the
ears, the front of the legs, the paws, and toes have
short hair. Neck hair is longer and thicker. On the rear
side of the legs, hair length increases downward to the
pastern and hock. The rear of the thighs is covered show
Black with reddish brown, brown, tan to light-grey
markings. Solid black, grey with darker overcast, black
saddle and mask. Inconspicuous small white chest
markings, as well as lighter pigment on the inside of
the legs is permitted, but not desirable. All dogs, no
matter what their color, must have black noses.
Missing mask, light to white markings on the chest and
inner leg sides, light toenails, and a red tail tip are
signs of faulty pigmentation. Undercoat has a slight
grey cast. White is not permissible.
Males: Height at the wither 60 cm to 65 cm
Weight 30 kg to 40 kg.
Females: Height at the wither 55 cm to 60 cm
Weight 22 kg - 32 kg
Visual inspection must show two normally developed
testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
deviations from the above listed points are considered
faults. Points deducted must be in accordance with
severity of the deviation.
Deviations from the breed characteristics described
above which compromise the working ability of the
Faults: ears set too low, tipped ears, overset ears, and
Considerable lack of pigment.
Firmness strongly compromised.
Faults of Dentition:
deviation from scissor bite and number of teeth, unless
they are disqualifying faults.
a) Character weakness,
nervous biters, and dogs with a weak nervous system;
b) Dogs with documented
"severe hip dysplasia";
c) Monorchids and
cryptorchids as well as dogs with testicles of visibly
uneven size or shrunken testicles;
d) Dogs with disfiguring
ears and/or tails;
e) Malformed dogs;
f) Tooth faults as
1. Missing 1 #3 premolar
and one additional tooth;
2. Missing 1 canine tooth
3. Missing 1 #4 premolar,
4. Missing 1 molar #1 or
5. Missing a total number
of 3 teeth and/or more;
g) Dogs with bite faults:
overbite of 2 mm or more, or undershot; level bite;
h) Dogs that measure more
than 1 cm over or under regulation size;
j) White coat (incl.
those with dark eyes and nails);
k) Long stock coat (long,
soft loosely fitting outer coat with undercoat, flags on
ears and legs, bushy pants and bushy tail with flag on
Long coat (long, soft outer coat without undercoat).
This coat type frequently is parted along the center
line of the back, has flags on ears, legs, and tail.