GSDCA - Frequently Asked Questions and Information

Reprinted with the kind permission of the GSDCA Go to the GSDCA Web Page

GSDCA FAQ AND INFORMATION

The German Shepherd Dog Council of Australia and its affiliate member clubs receive many questions and requests for information from intending and new owners of German Shepherd Dogs. Over the years, many articles have been published in the GSDCA National Review Magazine to inform GSD enthusiasts on topical items of interest. From our records, we present hereunder the most frequently asked questions, categorized under headings of Purchasing, Rearing, General Information and Breed Improvement Schemes.


How to operate the Frequently Asked Questions:
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GSD PUPPY/DOG PURCHASING

- How do I obtain a puppy?
- Why should I buy a puppy through the local GSD Club?
- Should I buy a puppy from a Pet Shop or Market?
- What should I look for when purchasing a puppy?
- How much does a puppy cost?
- Why should I buy a puppy/dog with a Registered Pedigree?
- What is the difference between the 'Main Register' and 'Limited Register' Pedigrees?
- Should I be supplied with a Five (5) Generation Breeders Pedigree?

GSD PUPPY/DOG REARING

- What should I feed my puppy/dog?
- What is the correct weight for my puppy/dog?
- When should I vaccinate my puppy/dog?
- When do I treat my puppy/dog for intestinal worms?
- When do I treat my puppy/dog for heart worm?
- How much should I exercise my puppy/dog?
- Why is it important to socialise my puppy/dog?
- At what age can I take my puppy/dog to obedience training classes?
- Is obedience training important for my puppy/dog?
- Can the local GSD Club assist me with Schutzhund or Protection training for my puppy/dog?
- When can I treat my puppy more like an adult dog

GSD GENERAL INFORMATION

- How long does a German Shepherd Dog live
- What should the ideal character of my GSD be like?
- What is a Long Coat/Hair
- What is a Long Stock Coat/Hair?
- What is a Normal or Stock Coat/Hair?
- What colour should my GSD be?
- Should my pet bitch have a litter before she is speyed?
- At what minimum age should my GSD be mated?
- What is the GSDCA?

GSD BREED IMPROVEMENT SCHEMES

- What are the Breed Improvement Schemes?
- What is Tattooing and Microchipping?
- What is Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia?
- What is Haemophilia?
- What is Breed Survey?


GSD PUPPY/DOG PURCHASING:

How do I obtain a puppy?
We suggest that you contact your local GSDCA Affiliate Club Puppy Listings service, for Club Breeders who comply with the Breed Improvement Schemes. This gives a greater assurance that you are buying a quality puppy with a minimised chance of suffering defects and hereditary diseases.
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Why should I buy a puppy through the local GSD Club ?
A puppy that is purchased through the GSDCA Affiliate Club Puppy Listing service comes from a breeder who is a member of that local State GSD Club, and has complied with all of the Breed Improvement Schemes and Breeding Guidelines. This will provide a greater assurance that you are buying a quality puppy, that will have less chance of suffering from the hereditary diseases that may occur in the German Shepherd Dog.
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Should I buy a puppy from a Pet Shop or Market ?
No ! - It is against all the state/territories Kennel Controls and GSD Clubs rules for Breeders to sell puppies from Pet Shops or Markets. There is very good reason for this. Purchasing a puppy is a lifetime decision, and therefore should be carefully and seriously undertaken, not an impulse decision. You will also have no ability to view the parents or the environment in which the litter was reared, and therefore cannot be confident of the background of the puppies, especially if they are purebred.
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What should I look for when purchasing a puppy ?
The most important thing when purchasing a puppy is that you get a puppy that is healthy, physically sound, and of good temperament. A guide to assessing these things is that:
- the puppies must be clean, healthy (immunised), active, bright and outgoing (happy to see you),
- both parents must be Breed Surveyed (have PASSED all of the Breed Improvement Schemes),
- documentation (such as pedigree, vaccination, worming, diet sheet, etc.) must be available,
- the kennel/yard must be clean and tidy.
The GSDCA recommends that you purchase a puppy through its Affiliate Club Puppy Listing service as these Breeders have complied with all of these requirements.
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How much does a puppy cost ?
Quality puppies start from about 00 to 00.
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Why should I buy a puppy/dog with a Registered Pedigree ?
Pedigree registrations are controlled by the State/Territory Kennel Control and that body guarantees that the puppy/dog represented on that Pedigree is pure bred from the bloodlines of the sire and dam which are shown on the document. There are significant penalties for breeders that do not provide correct details of a mating and resultant puppies to their local Kennel Control.
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What is the difference between the 'Main Register' and 'Limited Register' Pedigrees ?
Pedigree registrations are issued by the State/Territory Kennel Control, after application by the Breeder. The 'Main Register' pedigrees are blue in colour, whilst the 'Limited Register' pedigrees are orange in colour, and are both A4 size. Dogs registered on the 'Limited Register' may not be exhibited in conformation shows, nor can they be bred with, but can still be entered in Obedience, Agility and Tracking Trials. Whilst dogs registered on the 'Main Register' are eligible to participate in all aspects of the Kennel Control sanctioned activities, ie breeding, showing, trialling and breed surveying, etc.
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Should I be supplied with a Five (5) Generation Breeders Pedigree ?
Yes ! - This type of pedigree is prepared and signed by the breeder and shows the preceding five generations from which the puppy/dog evolved. It should also contain details including linebreeding, tattoo number, coat colour and markings, and names/sex of litter mates (siblings). The Five Generation Breeders Pedigree is used to participate in the GSDCA Breed Improvement Schemes. Details on this pedigree should co-incide with those like details on the Registered Pedigree.
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GSD PUPPY/DOG REARING:

What should I feed my puppy/dog ?
There are many different diets suitable for feeding puppies. The breeder of your puppy should provide you with a recommended feeding program (diet chart) at the time you buy the puppy. This is a requirement of all Breeders who sell through the GSDCA Affiliate Club Puppy Listings service. Access to clean, fresh water is essential at all times. A good diet is complimented by proper exercise according to the age of the dog.
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What is the correct weight for my puppy/dog ?
This depends on many factors such as the sex of the dog, the age, the height, etc. As a guide an adult male should weigh between 30 and 40 Kg, whilst adult females should weigh between 22 and 32 Kg. Puppies/dogs that are overfed and become overweight can develop serious physical problems.
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When should I vaccinate my puppy/dog ?
Your puppy will have been vaccinated at 6 weeks of age (if you buy through the Puppy Listings service), and you will receive advice from the Breeder on further vaccination. As a guide your puppy will require the next vaccination at 12 weeks, with a 'booster' at 16 weeks. After this your dog must be vaccinated every 12 months. The GSDCA Affiliate Club Branches will need to sight your puppy/dog's up-to-date vaccination certificate if you are training at one of those Branches.
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When do I treat my puppy/dog for intestinal worms ?
Your puppy will have been wormed regularly prior to your buying it at 8 weeks. It is best to consult your local veterinarian who is aware of conditions in your area (as there are many types of worms), however as a basic guide: Puppies should be wormed at 12 weeks, 4 months and then bimonthly, and Adults (from 12 months) every 3 months.
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When do I treat my puppy/dog for heart worm ?
Heartworm is prevalent throughout most of Australia, and preventative treatment may be needed. Your puppy/dog may be on the daily tablet according to its weight or another form of regular treatment. Consult your puppy breeder and/or local veterinarian who are aware of conditions and requirements in your area.
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How much should I exercise my puppy/dog ?
There is a mistaken belief that a young puppy (up to 12 months of age) should have 'plenty' of exercise. That belief is incorrect ! As a general rule up to 12 months of age, 'on lead' exercise should be very limited. Natural free running is the best form of exercise for a youngster, because when they tire they can easily stop. Serious or extensive exercise should not occur until the dog has reached the age of twelve (12) months. When twelve (12) months of age, X-ray your dog's hips and elbows under the GSDCA Scheme to see what the status is. This may influence the type and extent of future exercise. It is important that extensive exercise should not occur within four (4) hours, either before or after, the puppy/dog has had a meal, food or lengthy drink.
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Why is it important to socialise my puppy/dog ?
A well bred puppy will have all the basics for the making of a sound, well adjusted puppy and adult dog, however this is just the foundation for the future. Once you take the puppy home it then becomes your responsibility to continue the development of the puppy. This means exposing and reassuring the puppy to and around people, other dogs, the home environment, and the community environment, so as it learns to be confident in all circumstances.
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At what age can I take my puppy/dog to obedience training classes ?
The GSDCA Affiliate Clubs encourage new owners to socialise their puppy from a very young age, and therefore hold puppy classes for puppies from 8 weeks of age. Please ensure you bring your puppy's up-to-date vaccination certificate with you.
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Is obedience training important for my puppy/dog ?
Yes ! - It is your responsibility as a dog owner, to ensure that your dog is a well behaved, accepted member of the community. Obedience Training will assist in teaching you how to work with your dog, and teaching him good habits, and if necessary overcoming undesirable behaviour. A well trained dog is a pleasure to own, and please always remember to be considerate of other people who may not be dog lovers like us.
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Can the GSD Club assist me with Schutzhund or Protection training for my puppy/dog ?
No ! - The GSDCA affiliated Clubs do not support the training of Schutzhund, or any form of Protection training and do not believe this form of training is necessary. It is a requirement of Victorian law that any dog that is trained to attack a person or animal must be reported to the authorities and will probably be declared a dangerous dog.
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When can I treat my puppy more like an adult dog ?
This varies, but generally 12 months of age is regarded as the end of puppyhood. By 12 months, your pup would have reached maximum height. The period between 12 months and 24 months is a transitional period of gradual muscular development filling the skeletal frame. More serious physical and mental training of your young dog can now gradually commence. Most experts agree that the GSD reaches, or should reach, adulthood at 2 years of age. Further physical and mental development can occur after this with full maturity being attained at about 4 years of age.
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GSD GENERAL INFORMATION:

How long does a German Shepherd Dog live ?
This varies greatly, but generally somewhere around 10 to 12 years of age. Some have been known to reach 15 years of age.
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What should the ideal character of my GSD be like ?
The GSD must be of well balanced temperament, steady of nerve, self assured, absolutely free and easy, and (unless provoked) completely good natured, as well as alert and tractable. He/she must have courage, combative instinct and hardness, in order to be suitable as companion, watch, protection, service and herding dog. Much of this is reflective of the way in which your pup/dog has been reared.
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What is a Long Coat/Hair ?
A 'long coat' has a long, wavy, soft top coat (not lying closely) without undercoat, usually with a parting down the back, flags on ears and legs and tail. The 'long coat' is a disqualifying fault within the Breed Standard, and as such is not suitable for Showing or Breeding. However this in no way detracts from its ability as a pet and companion, in fact many people have a preference for them. Long Coats will generally be sold on a 'Limited Register' Pedigree (see below).
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What is a Long Stock Coat/Hair ?
A 'long stock coat' has a long double coat (Long Stockhaar) with long, wavy, topcoat not lying closely, with undercoat, feathering on ears and legs, bushy breeches and bushy tail forming flags below.
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What is a Normal or Stock Coat/Hair ?
The correct coat of the GSD is a double coat (Stockhaar) with undercoat. The top coat should be as dense as possible, straight, harsh and close lying. It should be short on the head, including inside the ears, the front of the legs and on the feet and toes; it is a little longer and heavier coated on the neck. The hair lengthens on the back of the legs to the pastern or hock; on the back of the thighs it forms moderate breeching.
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What colour should my GSD be ?
Black with reddish tan, tan, gold to light grey markings. All black, and all grey; in greys with dark shadings, black saddle and mask. The nose must be black in all colour types. Lacking mask, light to piercing eyes, as well as whitish markings on chest and inner sides of legs, light nails and red tip of tail are to be rated as lacking in pigment. The undercoat is of a light grey toning. The colour white is not permitted.
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Should my pet bitch have a litter before she is speyed ?
No ! - It is a fallacy that a bitch should have a litter before they are speyed. Breeding is a serious responsibility, it is not simply a case of producing puppies. Breeders have a responsibility to breed quality, healthy puppies and to ensure all puppies can be found loving and suitable homes. It is the policy of all GSDCA Affiliate Clubs to only breed with animals that have successfully passed all the Breed Improvement Schemes, particularly Breed Survey.
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At what minimum age should my GSD be mated ?
Matings should only occur with adult dogs (over 18 months of age) after having successfully passed the GSDCA's hereditary disease schemes and Breed Survey. Only those males and females are deemed suitable and recommended for breeding by the GSDCA and its Affiliate State/Territory Clubs.
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What is the GSDCA ?
The acronym GSDCA stands for the German Shepherd Dog Council of Australia Inc. The GSDCA comprises all the Australian states/territories GSD Clubs. All GSD Breed Improvement Schemes have been developed and are controlled by the GSDCA.
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GSD BREED IMPROVEMENT SCHEMES:

What are the Breed Improvement Schemes ?
The German Shepherd Dog Council of Australia Inc. (GSDCA) has introduced Breed Surveying, Tattooing and a number of tests for screening of adult dogs for hereditary diseases. Those hereditary disease schemes are Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, and Haemophilia. Adult Dogs (over 18 months of age) after having successfully passed the hereditary disease schemes are encouraged to be presented to Breed Survey.
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What is Tattooing and Microchipping ?
Tattooing is the only acceptable means of identification for all of the German Shepherd Dog Breed Improvement Schemes. If you have purchased through the Puppy Listing service your puppy will already have a unique tattoo in its right ear. All puppies are tattooed at 7-8 weeks of age in the right ear with three letters and three numbers. The letters represent the breeders' prefix and the numbers represent the individual puppy in order of its litters breeding. Each tattoo is unique and is used as identification in all of our schemes. An added side benefit is that through the tattoo number and via the breeder a lost animal can be quickly reunited with its owner and no special equipment is required to read a tattoo.
Microchipping is not an acceptable identification for the Breed Improvement Schemes, however both Tattooing and Microchipping are permanent forms of identification of your puppy, and will aid in the identification and subsequent reuniting of you and your dog if it becomes lost.
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What is Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia ?
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia are 2 separate diseases that cause degeneration of the hip and elbows joints, and can only be diagnosed by X-ray. X-raying for the GSDCA Schemes must take place when the dog/bitch has attained 12 months of age or older. Evidence of passing the HD Scheme is an 'A' stamp for hips, and the ED Scheme is a 'Z' stamp for Elbows.
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What is Haemophilia ?
Haemophilia is a blood disorder that reduces the blood clotting factor thereby causing abnormal bleeding. At this time there is only a test available for Male dogs. Evidence of passing is an "H-neg" Certificate obtained from the GSDCA Haemophilia Scheme. This problem is no longer prevalent within Australian born German Shepherd Dogs, due to earlier identification of "problem" bloodlines, which have been removed from breeding programs.
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What is Breed Survey ?
Breed Survey is an assessment of a GSD's conformation (body structure), temperament, and worthiness for breeding for registered dogs/bitches that have attained 18 months of age. It is performed by highly qualified, trained and experienced GSDCA officers, known as Breed Surveyors. Evidence of passing Breed Survey is a Breed Survey Certificate with either a "Class I" or "Class II" classification. "Class I" is for dogs/bitches that are far above the breed average and "Class II" is for dogs/bitches that are above the breed average.
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For further specific information, please request same by contacting the GSDCA Honorary Secretary:
Mrs Val Moody: - Phone: 03 5426 3898 - Fax: 03 5426 3898 - E-mail: 'GSDCA Secretary' This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.