Many people ask me what the letters after a dog’s name mean. And what the hip ratings mean. This is a great question and requires a very lengthy answer. First, I must explain that each country like Germany, Czech, and Poland for example all have different working titles they use as well as different names and ratings for hips. Not to mention the fact that these are all done in the native language to that country. So needless to say that can mean a load of information that can overwhelm even the most diligent person. Therefore I am only listing the most common abbreviations. So we will start off with the most common hip and show/obedience ratings.

The two main hip rating systems used in the USA are the OFA, which is the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, and the Penn Hip, which is The University of Pennsylvania’s hip rating test. Both tests are good but each a bit different. The OFA is done by a panel of three judges who look over your dog’s x-ray’s done by a licensed veterinarian and decide unanimously on the score. The scores range from Excellent to Severe Dispylstic.

The Penn HIP is done also by a certified and licensed vet who sends the x-rays to the college who then determines the laxity or amount that the dog’s hip joint’s come out of the socket. Thus telling you the amount of displsia it currently has or will develop in the future. Each hip is given a score of .30 being excellent and .60 being displastic. That is a basic explanation of US hip ratings now we will move onto US American Kennel club obedience ratings. I have added only obedience titles below you can visit for titles explained in other events, such as Conformation and Rally.

  • OFA: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (Hip Certification in U.S.).
  • OVC: Ontario Veterinary College (Hip Certification in Canada).
  • CGC: The dog has a Canine Good Citizen certificate.
  • Penn HIP: Developed at University of Pennsylvania (USA)
  • Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde: (German Shepherd Dog Club) The original GSD breed club and breed registry, based in Germany.
  • SV: Schaferhund Verein, GSD Society of West Germany.
  • CKC: Canadian Kennel Club.

Obedience Titles for the American Kennel Club:

AKC titles can only be earned at an AKC-licensed or member club trial. The Novice (CD) title must be completed before an exhibitor can enter the Open class. The Open title (CDX) must be earned before an exhibitor can enter the Utility class.

Companion Dog (CD) – The letters CD may be added after a dog’s registered name when it has been certified by three different judges as receiving qualifying scores in classes at three licensed or member obedience trials.

Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) – The letters CDX may be added after a dog’s registered name after it has been certified by three different judges as receiving qualifying scores in Open classes at three licensed or member obedience trials.

Utility Dog (UD) – The letters UD may be added after a dog’s registered name after it has been certified by three different judges as receiving qualifying scores in Utility classes at three licensed or member obedience trials.

Utility Dog Excellent (UDX) – Dogs with UD titles must earn qualifying scores in both Open B and Utility B at 10 trials in order to add the UDX title after their registered names.

Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH) – Dogs with UD titles must win 100 points and a first-place in Utility B and Open B, plus a third first-place win in either class, under three different judges.

National Obedience Champion (NOC) – The AKC awards this prestigious title annually to the dog that wins the AKC National Obedience Invitational. The letters NOC are placed before the dog’s AKC-registered name and become part of the dog’s permanent title.

Tracking Degree (TD) – AKC tracking title- The TD track is from 440-to-500 yards long with 3-to-5 turns (or change in direction) and aged from a half-hour to two hours.A dog must indicate a glove or wallet placed at the end of the track.Tracks are plotted in an open field with uniform cover.There are no obstacles such as roads, ditches or woods.The start of the track will be marked with a flag.A second flag is placed 30 yards from the start flag to indicate the direction of the first leg of the track.There are no other flags in the field.

Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX) – The TDX track is 800-to-1000 yards long, with 5-to-7 turns and aged from 3-to-5 hours.The track also has two sets of cross (diversionary) tracks and has some of the aforementioned obstacles.The start is marked with a single flag and the dog must determine the direction of the first leg.There are four dissimilar articles for each track, one at the start and three more on the track.

Variable Surface Tracking (VST) – A VST track is from 600-to-800 yards long, with 4-to-8 turns, and aged from 3-to-5 hours.The articles must be one each of leather, cloth, plastic and metal.The VST track must also contain three different surfaces with one turn on a non-vegetated surface such as concrete.This test demonstrates the utility of the tracking dog to work in an urban environment.

Common German Working titles:

AD: Aus dauerprufing – 12 mile endurance test.
BH: Begleithunde – Temperment and traffic safe test.
WH: Watch Dog.
DH: Dienshund – Service dog.
HGH: Herdengebrauchshund, Herding Dog – a qualification of dogs working with flocks.
TD: Tracking Dog –  Qualification title for nose work.
FH: Fahrtenhund – Tracking qualification.
FH1: Advanced Tracking.
FH2: Superior Tracking Qualification.
UD: Utility Dog – Working Qualification.
ZH: Zollhund – Dog trained to work with customs police.
SchH1: Novice Schutzhund qualification in tracking, obedience, and protection.
SchH2: Intermediate Schutzhund qualification in tracking, obedience, and protection.
SchH3: Masters level of Schutzhund tracking, obedience, and protection.

IPO1: International Novice Schutzhund trial qualification.
IPO2: International Intermediate Schutzhund.
IPO3: International Masters level Schutzhund.

German Show and Hip Ratings

German Conformation titles:

ZB: Zuchtbewertung – Conformation Show Rating followed by:
VA: Vorzuglich Auslese – Excellent Select,the highest attainable award by a German show dog and granted only at the annual Sieger Show.
V: Vorzuglich – Excellent.
SG: Sehr Gut – Very Good; an official German show grade and the highest obtainable by dogs under two.
G: Gut – Good.
A: Austreichend – Sufficient.
M: Mangelhaft – Faulty.
U: Ungenugend – Insufficient.
Sieger or Siegerin: Title given to the top Male and Female at the German National Show, they will also receive the rating of VA-1
Weltsieger: World Seiger title awarded to the top dog at the FCI All Breed Show

German Hip Ratings:

“a” – Zuerkannt: Certified hips that fell within the following three categories:

“a” -1 Normal – Certified Normal Hips
“a” -2 Fast Normal – Certified Near Normal Hips
“a” – 3 Noch Zugelassen – Certified still permissible Hips

German Breed Survey:

Korung: German breed survey to select animals for breeding. Class 1 animals recommended, Class 2 animals suitable.


KKL1: Korklasse I – Breed surveyed recommended for breeding
KKLII: Korklasse II – Breed surveyed suitable for breeding.
Lbz: Lebenszeit – Lifetime rating.

ZW Zuchtwert: ZW-value — Zuchtwert evaluation — is a Breed Value Assessment – a number assigned that gives an indication of the genotype of the dog for breeding purposes.

Our statistics prove that individuals with an SV-Breed Value of around 85-95 do not improve anything. Improvement can only be expected when the parents show Breed Values of 75 and below.