While I was working on a third part to my articles about the different lines of the German Shepherd dog breed, I diverted my attention to another topic when I joined a some forums dedicated to the German Shepherd dog and after commenting that German Shepherds had to be tattooed and getting so many responses from owners of GSDs, breeders and fans of the breed which had doubts about my comment, I decided I had to write about this before I continued with the other article.
First let’s make something very clear. It is a fact that GSDs born in the United States on or after January 1st 2005 must be tattooed or they must have a microchip identification. Normally the tattoo goes in the right ear. These tattoos should be at least five numbers or 5 letters; or a combination of numbers and letters. They may be a unique tattoo number chosen by the owner, or the breeder may obtain a seven digit tattoo from the American organizations. The tattoo has to be verified by a licensed veterinarian. Another important point is that the tattoo or microchip number has to be certified on the original four generation pedigree. The main reason for this is to record a permanent identification of all GSDs born in the USA.
In most countries in the world, with the exception of the United States and very few other countries, national registries obey the rules that the Fédération Cynologique Internationale sets. The FCI is a world canine organization which is dedicated to promote and preserve purebred dogs. It also links all dog clubs around the world with the intention of having uniform breed standards.
The Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde, or the German Shepherd Dog Club in Germany, also called the SV, is the parent club of this breed and it is also the most extensive and most diligent club dedicated to a specific breed in the world. The SV is an active member of the World Union of SV’s, also known as the WUSV. The WUSV in is a member of the FCI. The main function of the WUSV is to serve as a link to the SV (in Germany) and to connect German Shepherd clubs worldwide to the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.
The American Kennel Club doesn’t follow the rules set by the FCI. Because of this, the United Schutzhund Clubs of America, known as the USA, is the main social organization in the United States dedicated to the protection and preservation of this breed. The USA, being a member of the WUSV, has established itself as the only GSD breed registry in the United States that abides by the international rules of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale and promotes an SV-USA registry. The United Schutzhund Clubs of America demands that all German Shepherd dogs be tattooed between the age of six and eight weeks.
I believe if a GSD is only registered in the American Kennel Club, it probably doesn’t require a tattoo. However, as I have mentioned in other articles, GSDs which are not registered in a national registry that obeys the rules of the FCI have probably not been bred in accordance to the breed’s standard dictated by the SV. Because of this, it is my belief that German Shepherds of American lines shouldn’t really be called German Shepherds.
The main reason why the German Shepherd dog breed is one of the most popular breeds in the world still, after more than one hundred years, is because of these Clubs and their rules. These rules ensure that all German Shepherds are bred according to the standard of the breed.