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There are many organizations that award titles which can be found as part of the dog's name on pedigrees or other documents. Often this "alphabet soup" of prefixes and suffixes can be overwhelming.

Here are some of the more common titles you could find in a German Shepherd Dog’s pedigree:

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These are the ones found most commonly on "Import" bloodline dogs, either bred in a foreign country or in the United States. The SV is the parent club of the breed in Germany and is the organization responsible for the Breed Standard as recognized by the World Union of German Shepherd Dog Clubs (WUSV) and the FCI (international umbrella organization of breed registries). The SV is responsible for all GSD registrations, sponsors conformation shows, breed surveys, and various working/performance events specifically for German Shepherd dogs in Germany. USA is an organization in this country recognized by the WUSV to oversee working trials, conformation shows and breed surveys conducted under the rules of the SV. The GSDCA-WDA, offers trials, shows and surveys under SV rules. The GSDCA is also a member of the WUSV and is the AKC recognized breed club in this country.

There is an ever growing number of USA/GSDCA-WDA clubs in North America that offer a wide variety of shows and trials.

American Kennel Club

The American Kennel Club is the primary registry for dogs in this country. It has reciprocity with SV-FCI so dogs registered in one organization will be recognized by the other. All GSDs bred in the United States must be registered with the AKC first in order to be eligible for SV recognition. The AKC is an All-Breed registry and leaves the responsibility of maintaining the GSD Breed Standard to its member club, the German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA). Because the AKC maintains the registrations and registry rules must apply to all of the 200+ breeds registered, the GSDCA cannot make rules regarding breed surveys, working title requirements, or any other GSD-specific registration requirements. The AKC, by policy, does not approve of bite work. However, for the first time they approved a Schutzhund demonstration to be held in conjunction with the GSDCA's National Specialty. The GSDCA has a sister organization,

There are hundreds of AKC All-breed clubs offering a wide variety of All-breed Obedience, Conformation, Agility, Herding and Tracking events which any AKC registered German Shepherd Dog may take part in. There are also some 130 regional German Shepherd Dog Clubs licensed by the AKC to hold GSD-only events in conformation, obedience, tracking, herding, agility, where titles can be earned.

Canadian Kennel Club

The CKC is the Canadian version of the AKC. This all-breed registry offers a wide variety of Conformation, Obedience, Agility, Herding and Tracking events. The German Shepherd Dog Club of Canada is the Canadian version of the GSDCA.


There are a number of less common organizations in North America, each offering titling opportunities and a few being registering bodies, foremost among them is the ever growing number of Agility groups, each with similar, but not identical requirements.