Reading a VDD Pedigree (Ahnentafel)

by Todd Hedenstrom


A pedigree as issued by the Verein Deutsch-Drahthaar is a wealth of information, but decoding it is something of a trick, especially for the newcomer. This article is intended to help you become a pedigree-reader, so that rather than it being a jumble of acronyms and numbers, it's a useful resource.

For this article, I'll refer to a box on a pedigree from one of my dogs, Bonnie vom Gottesacker. Bonnie's sire is Timo vom Richthof, whose pedigree information I'll be using as my example.

Before we get into the specific dog information, look at the format of the pedigree. It's a four-generation pedigree, beginning with the parents (Eltern) in the leftmost column, and continuing on through grandparents (Großeltern) and so on to the right. The mother's (Mutter) information is to the top, and the father's (Vater) to the bottom. Each box is met by two boxes on it's right edge- these two boxes are the mother and the father of the dog in the box, also set so that the mother is the uppermost of the two. pedigree example

Now look at the example box for Timo. The first line is 'Brsch'. This is Timo's coloration, which is braunschimmel, liver with white ticking. Other things you may see here are 'Schwsch' for schwarzschimmel (black with white ticking), or 'Braun' for braun (solid liver).

The next line down is the dog's name, Timo vom Richthof, and some odd punctuation marks. These marks tell a lot about a dog- there are four marks possible, and several combinations of the four basics. Here are the four individual marks:

/ - awarded Härtenachweis mark, a breeding requirement
\ - dog is loud on track of game, either sight (sichtlaut) or scent (spurlaut).
| - totverweiser, or 'dead game guide'.
- - totverbeller, or 'dead game bayer'.

Timo's pedigree shows a mark that is two of the above put together, the '/' and the '|'. Other marks are pushed together to form other odd characters, but they're pretty easy to spot, once you've got the basic four characters down. Also, pedigrees vary a bit, as the VDD has been changing from typewritten pedigrees to computer-generated, so the characters vary a bit.

Timo's name includes some information, as well. Each litter in the VDD must be named in a very specific way. The 'surname', which in this case is 'Richthof' is the kennel name of the litter. The first letter of the given name, Timo, corresponds to a litter number- in this case 20, since 'T' is the twentieth letter of the alphabet. So, Timo is from the twentieth litter from the Richthof kennel. This isn't perfect, since long-time kennels often have to start back again at the beginning of the alphabet.

The next line down begins with a six-digit number. This is the dog's registration number, which is also tattooed inside the dog's right ear. Next to that are the letters 'A.H.' This shows that Timo has earned the 'Ambruster Halt' award, for obedience in the presence of game. Other performance marks commonly found on this line are 'Vbr' (Retrieve of Wounded Game) and 'Btr' (Retrieving Reliablilty). The last part of this line is a number showing the Timo's 'studbook number'. This number is awarded when the dog has successfully passed the VGP utility test.

The next line starts with the letters 'ZR'- this line deals with conformation and coat. A dog is awarded a 'ZR' number when it has been judged in a 'breed show' by qualified VDD conformation judges. The ZR number is shown for Timo as '57/90', which means that Timo was the 57th dog born in the year 1990 to be awarded a ZR number. To the right of the ZR number is the cryptic 'sg/sg'. This is the conformation/coat score, which can be translated from the following:

v = hervorragend, or excellent
sg = sehr gut, or very good
g = gut, or good

There are other classifications used in testing, including genügend (satisfactory), mangelhaft (deficient), and ungenügend (unsatisfactory), but I don't know how they're abbreviated here, as I've never seen a ZR score with one of them in it.

The next line says 'HD frei', which means that the dog has been tested for hip dysplasia, and has been judged free from the problem. HD films for VDD dogs are judged in Germany, not by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or any other American group.

Next come the test scores for the JGHV tests that the VDD uses to evaluate performance. Timo ran the VJP twice, scoring 73 the first time, and 75 the second. He also ran the HZP twice, scoring 194 and 232. For the American VDD member, it's worthy noting that there is an optional hare track involved in the HZP, which is commonly run in Germany, yet rarely run in the USA. To get a score over 200, it's pretty much guaranteed the dog ran the hare track- Timo is a German import, so these scores were gained in Germany, with the hare track at least on the second score. If in doubt, ask the breeder- the 194 is a maybe, he may or may not have run the hare track on that test. The last score is the VGP, which is scored with a 'prize' category, and also a numerical score. Timo scored a prize 1, and also managed a perfect score, including optional blood tracking work for 'totverweiser' (look back at those funny punctuation marks in front of his name).

Finally, near the bottom of the dog's box is a designation for the dog's 'motherline', which traces the dog back to the beginnings of the line. The two characters at the end of the name designate which of the four foundation breeds the line was derived from:

DK - Deutsch Kurzhaar
ST - Stichelhaar
PP - Pudelpointer
GR - Griffon

There are a few other awards that are seen occasionally on pedigrees, though not often. One is 'Sw' followed by 'I', 'II', 'III'- this is a 20 hour specialty blood track, with a prize score similar to the VGP's prize categories. If the prize score on the Sw mark is preceded by a slash '/', like '/I', then the test was a 40 hour track, rather than a 20 hour track. I've been told about, but I've never seen, a 'Sch H.' designation- I'm told that this is a 'Schutzhund' protection training designation.

That's about the extent of it, with this you should be an expert pedigree-reader in no time. However, as with all other things, nothing really beats a conversation with the person who knows more than any pedigree can ever tell you- the breeder.


Last modified April 16, 1996. Copyright (c) 1996, Todd Hedenstrom

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