Update on DNA and Registration
Programme. The first batches of DNA tests have been returned
from the lab and we are currently processing them, registering
the dogs on our database and issuing the documentation.
Some small but important points to highlight for your attention.
The dog must be clean and dry for the test to be effective.
Important to note here is that the dog’s coat must not have been
sprayed with any chemical, including pest medication, nor have
been recently washed with shampoo that has not been thoroughly
rinsed, better here to err on the safe side and not to have
washed the dog for at least fourteen days prior to the test.
Coat sprays used for showing should not be used before samples
All supporting documentation must be presented before the sample
can be sent to the lab. This includes a five generation pedigree
which will be retained, copy of the hip score documents, copy of
the Tattoo Register document, copy of the chip implant record
and copies of the work and or show record book. If the dog has a
recognised breed survey, a copy of the survey report should also
As we have already announced, at next years Sieger show and
subject to ratification,in order to participate in GSA Nationals
and be on the WUSV World Championship team, dogs will be
required to have taken a DNA test.
With regard to the Sieger show this will be a requirement for
all classes except the puppy and from year 2004 it will be a
requirement in order to achieve the V grade.
In addition all dogs regardless of age that are the resulting
progeny of tested animals will have to have the accuracy of the
presented pedigree authenticated by a successful test in order
to participate in GSA events.
Outlined here is the rationale behind the scheme, the procedure
that will be followed and an attempt to address some of the
queries raised to date.
What is DNA: Very basically, every living creature is
composed of cells.
Each of these cells consists of a chemical structure.This
chemical structure is Deoxyribonucleic Acid, DNA. A piece of
chromosome that dictates a particular trait is called a gene.
The structure of DNA is composed of a double helix of genetic
material spiralled around each other.
This helix is made up of four base chemicals that will only bond
with the chemical of the other helix in a particular and known
For instance chemical A will only bond with chemical T. Although
the chemical structure of every German Shepherd (and person) is
the same there are so many millions of combinations of sequences
that by using known sequences of repeating patterns scientists
can determine with a very high degree of certainty whether two
DNA samples are from the same dog, a related dog or an unrelated
This allows us the incredible advantage of being able to use DNA
sampling to identify any particular tested dog, prove beyond
reasonable doubt parentage accuracy and ensure dogs presented
for hip X-Ray or other genetically inherited problems are in
fact the dog presented. No more need for doubt.
From a very practical perspective, dogs who are taken abroad
have the added safe guard of having on record proof that the dog
complies with the requirements of the Pet Passport scheme (in
the unlikely event of the Micro Chip not been found) or in the
event of a dispute involving the return of a lost or stolen dog
scientific proof of identity and ownership.
Please do not be deterred by the detractors of this science.
Every DNA scheme must start somewhere. The controls we have put
in place for initial additions to our database are much more
stringent than anything that exists currently and once the
database is established we can be confident and proud of our
How Does it Work and Who Does it. GSA has secured the
services of an internationally accredited laboratory that will
carry out our testing.
This laboratory is regarded as one of the most technologically
advanced in the world and carries out this service for the
This laboratory is a member of “The International Society of
Animal Genetics” and has access to profile databases worldwide.
They will maintain the profile database for us.
GSA has set up a database and have acquired pedigree-generating
software and will record and maintain the information relevant
to our scheme.
Dogs presented will only be tested if the permanent
identification requirement is met. (See procedure below) When
the test result is returned we will issue a certificate
recording the fact that the animal has been tested, his/her I.D.
number, work and conformation record book number, working
qualification, conformation rating (notes to explain this will
be published in the near future), Hip status and Haemophilia
status and whether this information is supported by our quality
The certificate can also contain the dog’s breed survey report
and can be returned to GSA for updating as required.
The certificate will have a section to be signed and stamped by
the Vet when the dog is presented for X-Ray confirming that
he/she has checked the I.D. of the dog and that the I.D conforms
with the I.D on the certificate.
Our test is very simple. It requires only a hair root follicle
for testing and we are advised that this sample or sperm samples
are the best sources available for DNA for testing.
Initially the scheme administrator will be Bobby Behan and his
contact address is on our contacts page.
We will have many new and innovative systems in place built
around this scheme and details of these will be published here
G.S.A. Ireland DNA testing Scheme.
This document outlines the procedures to be implemented for the
DNA testing and recording of GSA registered German Shepherd
Dogs. This document should be read in conjunction with the GSA
documentation relevant to our registration and recording
Ø GSA will provide the designated person to carry out the test.
Only tests carried out by this person and complying with these
procedures will be valid for recording purposes.
Ø Animals to be tested must be tattooed by a recognised scheme
where the tattoo number is on record (National Tattoo Register/S.V.)
and produce documentation to support this, or have been micro
chipped with an ISO approved microchip. It will be the
responsibility of the owner of the dog to ensure the tattoo is
clearly legible and that the chip can be read. Dogs not meeting
this requirement cannot be tested.
Ø GSA will provide an ISO approved microchip reader,
documentation, and return the sample to the designated
Our designated Laboratory is Internationally accredited and a
member of “The International Society of Animal Genetics”. All
profiles taken by member laboratories are fully compatible with
each other and are bound to forward profiles on request to other
member labs on request, and free of charge. Dogs tested in other
Countries by member laboratories can easily be added to our
Ø The required sample is a hair root follicle. This sample will
be taken by the tester from the positively identified dog,
placed and sealed in the container by the tester in the presence
of the dog owner. The tester and owner of the dog will sign the
seal as testimony of compliance with this procedure.
Ø The cost of the test including a minimum administration fee
will be paid in full, in cash, before the test will be taken.
GSA will issue a receipt to this effect. In the unlikely event
of a dispute arising the test can/will be carried out again at
the owners expense. The designated laboratory has full
International accreditation and is one of the worlds most
Ø The Laboratory will maintain a database of all DNA
information. GSA will maintain a database recording all relevant
registration information. GSA will provide registration
documents and also “certification of breed worthiness” (see
relevant registration document).
GSA will update documentation as required. Owners are
responsible for submitting to GSA all documentation in their
possession for updating as required. Owners will return
documentation by registered post or by hand to the designated
GSA personnel. Records delivered by hand will be receipted. A
minimum administration fee and registered post costs will be
born by the dog owner.
Ø GSA will have the right to publish all registration
information and take DNA random samples at GSA events where this
stipulation has been included on the entry documentation.
Why Did we not Use the S.V. Scheme: The S.V were the
pioneers of DNA testing for German shepherd dogs.
GSA fully support this initiative but we feel that the testing
procedure we have put in place is much more practical and
relevant to Irish GSD enthusiast for a number of reasons.
The most important reason is that we want to legitimise showing,
breeding and screening here in Ireland. The S.V test is really
only relevant to those who wish to show or trial in Germany.
We understand that tests taken in Germany are compatible with
our scheme and so no advantage is gained. The S.V. test requires
a blood sample – ours does not.
This presents us with two additional advantages. One is cost; it
is not necessary to visit the Vet. The cost of our scheme
exclusive of the Vet fees is cheaper than those we have
compared, with the addition of a Vet fee the cost difference is
While we accept without reservation the integrity of the
Veterinary profession the fact that we take the sample ourselves
ensures with out doubt the procedures and protocols are fully
A vet dealing with a regular client may not be inclined to check
the I.D. as carefully as we would wish.
Additionally our scheme allows for random Q.C. checks. We can
easily take samples at any time or location without the need of
This would be difficult if not impractical using the S.V test.
Our test results are returned within 14 to 21 days.
It is important to note here, microchip I.D. is not acceptable
for the S.V. scheme, only tattoo number is acceptable. We are
not certain how the S.V. could control the relevance of the
number. Micro Chip will become the normal method if I.D for all
animals in the future, we believe this is the best method from
the point of view of accurately reading the number, and it is
less stressful for the animal.
How Does it Happen And How Much Does it Cost:
The designated GSA administrator will take samples at trials,
shows and by arrangement at GSA training grounds. Groups or
clubs who wish to have a reasonable number of dogs tested may
arrange with the administrator a visit to their event.
Dogs for testing must have an I.S.O. standard chip inserted or a
tattoo administered by The National Tattoo Register scheme or by
a scheme recognised by GSA/WUSV. It is advisable to have the
location of the chip checked before the test.
A chip that cannot be found or read will result in the dog not
being tested and owners should ensure the tattoo number is
clearly legible. Tattoo numbers that are not clear will not be
The dog owner must bring the documentation supporting the chip
number or Tattoo number and a copy of the dog’s pedigree. The
tester will wish to retain the pedigree copy. Following the
recording of the relevant information a hair sample will be
taken from the dog. This does not entail shaving or any
procedure of discomfort and no evidence of the removal remain on
The hair sample is placed in the container and a label with the
relevant numbers is used to seal this container. The
administrator and the dog owner sign the label and testimony of
The test sample is then sent to the lab and on receipt of the
test result GSA will issue to the dog owner a certificate with
the registration information.
This certificate has the facility to hold all information
relevant to the dog and will be used to authenticate a variety
Sample copies of the certificate are available as below.
Costs: The initial cost of the test and certificate issue
is €50. This cost covers the lab fees, a contribution to
the chip reader cost, pedigree generating software, postage,
stationary and administration.
In the event of a breeder wishing to record a litter there will
be a cost of €40 per puppy.
Updating recorded information, i.e., additional working
degree, show grade, hip score, breed survey etc €4.00
Change of ownership: The certificate is returned to GSA
with the addition of the new owner, name and address detail and
a stamped addressed envelope (or in the event of the new owner
from outside ROI a postal order to the value of 0.50 Cent). GSA
administrator will confirm the new ownership and issue an
amended cert. Cost €4.00. Sample registration certificate,
requires the receipt of a stamped addressed envelope (or 0.50
cent postal order outside ROI) and postal order value €1.00.
These costs have been kept to the absolute minimum. GSA are not
interested in profiting from this service.
We are fully committed to this initiative and it’s success or
failure is in the hands of the German Shepherd Dog owning
GSA will be arranging public meeting to explain and discuss the
scheme and issuing press releases in the near future.
Please feel free to contact us for information or if there is
any issue you wish to discuss or to arrange testing for your
club or group.