German Shepherds

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The battle lines are being drawn.

Recently USA (United Schutzhund Association) made amendments to their bylaws which will ripple throughout the German shepherd world. The changes seem simple in the beginning:

Bylaw amendments for 2009

(These amendments prohibit USA members residing in the United States from being members of, or being affiliated with, competing German Shepherd Dog organizations in the United States. Membership in more than one U.S.-based German Shepherd Dog club presents a conflict of interest when making decisions that affect USA.)
1. Article IV, Section 2. (Individual Membership/Rules for Individual Membership) – Submitted by Johannes Grewe
e. USA members may not be members of, or be affiliated with, any competing German Shepherd Dog organization in the United States.
2. Article III.4. (Performance and Breeding Regulations) – Submitted by Johannes Grewe
4. USA Judges may not be governing members or judges of competing U.S. German Shepherd Dog organizations.
3. Article V, Section 2. (Club Membership/Relationship Between USA and Local Clubs – Submitted by Johannes Grewe
c. Member clubs shall not be members of other Schutzhund type organizations. Individual members of the club, however, may be members of other organizations.
c. Member clubs may not be members of, or be affiliated with, any competing German Shepherd Dog organization in the United States.

In a nutshell, it was added that no member of USA can be a member of any competing German shepherd club in the United States – this includes the AKC backed GSDCA-WDA (German Shepherd Dog Club of America – Working Dog Association). This means members of both clubs need to decide which way they want to side with. Their choices are to either compete with Schutzhund or AKC dog shows.

While in the beginning this seems like a small incident nothing is as small as it seems.

First, any dog in USA will not be able to compete in the AKC show ring and vice versa. While I’ve admitted in the past that AKC tends to frown upon German lined dogs, there are a few out there who do well in the AKC show ring as well as out on the Schutzhund field. Both sides will see a drop in membership because of this.

Second , the German style fanciers enjoy going to Sieger shows here in the United States. Sieger style showing concentrates on working ability as well as physical appearance and build. This is traditionally run by the WUSV (World Union of German Shepherd Dog Associations). The WUSV recognizes the GSDCA-WDA as the GSD club in the United States.

WUSV will now have a decision ahead of them:
Stay with GSDCA-WDA and keep a much higher membership presence in the United States or switch over to the USA to keep with their strict code of ethics and breeding / showing standards. The decision that WUSV makes in regards to this could surely have serious repercussions in the United States German shepherd arena.

While AKC is an all-breed club, if WUSV sided with GSDCA then it would limit what USA registered German shepherds can compete in under most American shows (don’t forget the politics – most judges are GSDCA members). If the WUSV decides to stick with the FCI standards and side with USA then it would prevent American lined dogs (most of which are GSDCA-WDA members) from competing in Sieger style shows, and possibly even UKC and IKC dog shows in the United States.

I think this is the very first step to separate the American style German shepherd from the German style German shepherds.
Some people may say that I am over-reacting but similar has happened before. Until the late 1950s into the mid 1960s the Belgian shepherds were shown in AKC as one breed but later split into 3 breeds (Malinois, Groenendael, and Tervuren – the Laekenois has never officially been recognized by the AKC – they are currently in the “foundation stock services” status ). Source: The ABLA website.

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