Dog Organizations (clubs)

By Martin Wahl

There are two basic types of dog clubs (organizations). The most widely known are the National registries, such as AKC, CKC, UKC, etc. Their function is very limited and simple: to issue a certificate for a fee.

The lesser known type are the working/training/sporting/Schutzhund clubs. These clubs do not register dogs. However, they have an influence on the breeding of working dogs by providing Schutzhund training facilities and by organizing Schutzhund trials, competitions and similar dog sport events for all working dog breeds, including German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Giant Schnauzers, Boxers, Dobermans, etc. In Germany, they have to be members in, and are bound by the rules of the German "Dog Sport Club" (DHV dhv_logo.jpg (2109 bytes)Deutscher Hundesport Verein), which is the "National" or the "Union of" the Dog Sport Clubs of Germany. One of the dog sport clubs you may have encountered in the past is the DVG DVG_LOGO.jpg (2118 bytes)(Deutscher Verband der Gebrauchshundsportvereine e.V.). It is one of the larger members of the DHV and has some branches in the US and Canada (unlike the SV which is linked to US and other (SV-like) clubs through the WUSV, described below).

To complicate things a little, either type of club can be a "national", or an "international" organization with different purposes, plus, some of the clubs combine both functions, registry and training/sport, such as Schutzhund USA.

National and international dog registry organizations

The SV and similar "breed-specific registry clubs" in Germany are members in, and bound by the rules of, the "Dog Society of Germany" VDH Vdh_logo.gif (423 bytes)(Verband für das Deutsche Hundewesen e.V.). It is the "national" or "parent" or "main" dog club of Germany, which in turn is a member in, and bound by the rules of, the international or "World Dog Club" Fcilogo.jpg (3096 bytes)FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale, with it's head office in Belgium), thus linking all dog clubs internationally in the interest of world wide uniformity of breed standards. Most national clubs of many countries in the world, including all of continental Europe, part of Asia, the middle East, Africa, and most of south America are members of the FCI. Even most former east-block countries have now joined the FCI since the fall of the iron certain. The only notable exceptions in the "western hemisphere" or "non third world countries" are England, Canada and America.

The WUSV Wusv.jpg (8442 bytes)(World Union of SV’s) is a special GSD link club established in 1974 with the aim of bringing all GSD clubs world wide (currently over 60 countries) closer together through a direct link with the SV in Germany. The WUSV is a member of the FCI, thus linking clubs like the "United Schutzhund Clubs of America" with the SV and FCI, which, of course, binds them to SV and FCI rules.

Usamarch.jpg (14394 bytes)

If the function of the SV among all those dog clubs is a bit confusing, there are several reasons for that. First, because of the immense popularity of the German Shepherd, the SV is not only the largest breed specific registry in the world, it’s also the most active of all clubs, thus overshadowing many of it’s "parent" or "national" organizations by it's size. Second, besides being a breed registry club, the SV also strongly promotes working dog activities of all kinds, thus having a dual function and therefore ties to both, breeding as well as sporting organizations. Third, due to it’s rapid growth and outstanding leadership, the SV has been a driving force and a trend setter from the beginning and therefore is sometimes being mistaken as a large international organization.

One example is that of Schutzhund. It was the SV under Max von Stephanitz that started to test dogs for suitability to do police work, which later evolved into Schutzhund. But in 1956, several of the breed-specific clubs (led by the SV) and several of the working dog sport associations (such as the DVG, described above) formed the "Association of breed registry and working dog sport clubs" AZG (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Zuchtvereine und Gebrauchshundeverbände). The AZG has the purpose of administrating uniform international Schutzhund rules via the FCI, to assure inter-club and international conformity, making it possible to hold international trials and competitions in many countries. However, some people still think the SV is an international Schutzhund administrator.