Understanding German Shepherd Words, Terms and Abbreviations

As a German Shepherd owner or enthusiast, you might have heard about different German Shepherd words, terms, and abbreviations that may or may not make sense to you. This post should help you determine the meaning of each term and better understand the breed.

General German Shepherd Words and Abbreviations

GSDGSD is the abbreviation for the breed’s name. It means German Shepherd Dog.

Deutsche Schäferhunde – German for German Shepherd Dog

vom  or von der – German for ”from the”.

WT or Wurftag  – German for “Date of birth”.

Z or Züchter – German term for “breeder”.

E or Eigentomer – German term for “owner”.

H or Halter – German term for “holder”.

Führer  – German term for “handler”.

Vater  – German term for “Sire” or “Father”.

Mutter  – German term for “Dam” or “Mother”.

SVShort term for Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde e. V. or Club for German Shepherd Dogs, Inc. The SV is the main and original German Shepherd Dog Club and breed registry founded by Captain Max von Stephanitz.

WUSV This stands for the World Union of German Shepherd Dog Clubs.

AWDF – AWDF stands for American Working Dog Federation. It is an organization that aims to strengthen the working breeds in the US. It was founded in 1989 and represents different working breeds such as German Shepherd Dogs, Belgian Malinois, Doberman Pinschers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Schnauzers, and more.

USA USCA – This is the acronym for the United Schutzhund Clubs of America. This organization is dedicated to protect & preserve the breed’s working history and heritage via Schutzhund training.

GSDCA-WDAThe German Shepherd Dog Club of America -Working Dog Association, Inc. The WDA provides enthusiasts a framework for activities in the United States patterned after those available to the worldwide GSD community. www.gsdca-wda.org

DVG or Verband der Gebrauchshundsportvereine – This is the world’s oldest and largest Schutzhund training organization. It was founded in 1903 and was Germany’s first police and service dog club.

FCI – FCI is the acronym for Federation Cynologique Internationale, a world dog organization.

AKC – AKC stands for American Kennel Club.

CKC – CKC stands for Canadian Kennel Club.

OFA – Orthopedic Foundation for Animals – an organization in the US that researches HD and other health problems and certifies hips and elbows for animals.

Temperament – This word refers to natural personality and characteristics of a dog.

Pedigree or Ahnentafel  This term refers to the record of descent of a dog – proving it is purebred. A dog’s pedigree contains details about his ancestors and may include data on health testing and titles they acquired. Basically, a pedigree is record a dog’s family tree.

NervesThe term nerves refer a dog’s mental stability and ability to handle stress well.

Threshold – Thresholds refer to the amount of stimulation the dog needs to activate his different drives. A dog’s threshold is evaluated in 3 levels: low, medium or high.

Drives Dogs are born with different levels of driving forces which motivate them to respond or take action to certain stimuli. Dog drives include ball, defense, fight, hunt, rank, prey, and more. A dog’s drive is commonly measured as low, medium or high.

  • Ball or Toy Drive – This refers to a dog’s desire to play, chase, or work for a toy or a ball.
  •  Prey Drive – This refers to a dog’s desire to chase a moving  animal or object to catch or kill it.
  • Rank Drive – A dog’s desire to acquire and retain his position as the dominant one or the pack leader.
  • Hunt Drive – A dog’s desire to focus and search for an object, animal, or even humans no matter what how long it takes, the environment, and the presence of distractions.
  • Defense Drive – This refers to a dog’s natural instinct to protect his or her self, his or her offspring or pack, food, humans, or territory from a threat.
  • Fight Drive – This refers to a dog’s desire to dominate other dogs, be in control and power.
  • Pack Drive – This refers to the desire of a dog to socialize and interact with other members of the pack. This means that a dog who prefers to be alone has a low pack drive while those who thrive on socializing have high pack drives.


Hardness – This term refers to a dog’s ability to manage stress and distraction well. This term also refers to a dog’s ability to recuperate after being corrected or having a bad experience.

Civil – This term refers to a dog who is willing to interact with humans or unfamiliar animals or objects without the help of any equipment such as a leash, bite suit, and more.

Social Aggression – This term refers to a dog’s likeliness to be suspicious towards people, dogs, or animals inside or outside his pack. This kind of aggression may also refer to a dog’s willingness to accept a fight.

Handler Aggression – This term refers to a dog’s likeliness to be aggressive towards his handler when he or she is corrected or pushed.

Reactivity – This term refers to a dog’s likeliness to have an abnormal response to a normal situation. This can come in varying degrees of intensity. This is a symptom of a potential issue with drives, nerves, temperament, thresholds, and/or more.


German Shepherd Breeding Acronyms

HD – HD stands for Hip Dysplasia, which is a common health issue in German Shepherds.

Why Your German Shepherd’s Nose Turns Pink

a” 1 or HD normal – This the best hip rating the SV gives.

a” 2 or HD fast normal – This is the hip rating the SV gives for near normal hips

a” 3 or HD noch zugelassen – This is the hip rating the SV gives to German Shepherds with hips that are still acceptable for breeding.

a“-Ausland – This  means the HD certification was passed in another country instead Germany.

GZ – This refers to Utility Dog Breeding, which means both parents have working titles.

EZ or Einfache Zucht – This means the German Shepherd has only one parent with a working degree.

OFA – OFA stands for the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, a US organization that researches and studies Hip Dyplasia and other health issues. The organization also certifies hips and elbows for dogs and other animals.

ZW or Zuchtwert  – This refers to the assessment of Breed Value. This program helps breeders select the perfect breeding partners for their dogs with regards to their hip status. This is often rated by numbers with 100 being average. Ideal is under 100.

Körung This is a survey among German Shepherd breeds that helps breeders which animals to breed. Dogs are evaluated by testing the dog’s temperament, appearance, and performance; and if the dog has what they need for the improvement of the breed.

  • KKL1 or Körklasse 1 – This means the dog is especially recommended for breeding.
  • KKL2 or Körklasse 2 – This means the dog is suitable for breeding.
  • KLZ  or Kör– und Leistungszucht – Qualification and Performance Breeding. This means both parents have Körung and that all 4 grandparents have working titles.
  • Körbericht – Comments of the judge during Körung assessment.
  • KZ  or Körzucht Qualification Breeding. This means both of the dog’s parents have Körung.
  • Lbz or Lebenszeit – Breed surveyed for lifetime.
  • LZ or Leistungszucht – Performance Breeding. This means both parents and all 4 grandparents have working titles.
  • NZB  or Nachzucht Bewertung – This means progeny evaluation.


German Shepherd Show Terms and Acronyms

H or Hündin This means bitch or female dog.

R or RüdeThis means male dog.

German Shepherd Sieger Show Classifications

BSZS or Bundessieger-ZuchtSchau – SV National Breed Show (Conformation)

BSP or Bundessiegerprufung German National Working German Shepherd Dog Championship

BLH or BundesLeistungsHüten – German National Herding Trial

GebrauchshundklasseOpen Class at the Sieger Show for dogs older 2 years.

Jugendklasse –  Young dog class at the Sieger Show for dogs ages 12 to 18 months-old

JunghundklasseYoung dog class at the Sieger Show for dogs ages 18 to 24 months-old.


ZB or Zuchtbewertung  – This means show or conformation rating. See each rating acronym and their meaning below.

  • VA or Vorzuglich Auslese Excellent Select (This show rating given only at the Sieger show)
  • V or Vorzuglich Excellent
  • SG or  Sehr Gut – Very Good
  • G or Gut – Good
  • A or Ausreichend Sufficient
  • M or Mangelhaft Faulty
  • U – UngenügendInsufficient or Unsatisfactory
  • EZ or Entschuldigt zurückgezogen Not shown, excuse
  • T1 or Läßt nicht ab, ohne Bew. TSB  – Does not out, pronounced biting
  • T2 or TSB vorhanden Biting sufficient
  • T3 or TSB nicht genügend Biting insufficient
  • T4 or Abgebrochen wegen mangelnder Führigkeit – Pronounced biting but not under control, disobedient
  • Sieger (VA-1)) 1st place winner (male champion) or Grand Victor at the National Sieger Show “VA-1”
  • Siegerin (VA-1)1st place winner (female champion) Grand Victrix at the National Sieger Show “VA-1”
  • CACIB -European International Champion

SV Title Class Rating/Working Tests and Titles

BH or Begleitungshund – This is an important temperament and obedience examination needed to qualify for Schutzhund titles.  This test must be passed and completed before competing for SchH1.

SchH or Schutzhund –  This test combines the disciplines of tracking, obedience and protection. The Schutzhund title has 3 levels:  1, 2, and 3. These levels denote how advanced the training tests were. SchH1 or IPO1 is a pre-requisite for Körung.

IPO or International Prüfung – This title is comparable to a Schutzhund degree.

AD or Ausdauerpruefung – This means the dog has passed an endurance test by gaiting approximately 6 mi/hr for about 9 miles with a 10-minute rest at the middle. It also has a simple Obedience Test at the end.  The dog is also given a simple physical examination after this test.  Passing this test is also a requirement for the Breed Survey or Körung.

HGH or Herdengebrauchshund Herding Dog

PH or Polizei Hund Police Dog

FH or Fährten Hund Tracking Dog

BIH or Blindehund Guide dog for the blind.

DHDiensthund Service Dog

DPH or Dienstpolizeihund Service Police Dog

ZH or ZollhundCustoms Dog.

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  1. Heike Rich

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