Hi Ulli! Thank you for the well wishes, and I trust that you and your family are well also. This year we had a wonderful summer that could not last forever, and autumn is now here. All of the dogs have just blown their undercoat to prepare for the new winter undercoat, so we are sweeping a lot of hair.
We are all doing well here - just getting older!
I just sterilized one of my younger females as she has never produced for me. It was not her fault; we have just been so busy the past three-and-one-half (3 1/2) moving and working there has not been time to make a litter the correct way. I do not know when we will ever produce another litter, but I do know this - when I do I must have a new breeding female.
I agree that the failure to obtain all data is the one problem with the ZW - all offspring are not examined or some are examined and the results are never sent to the S.V.. That might tell a very different story for some dogs, and our GSD as a whole. I know the O.F.A. has discussed using a system that is similar to the ZW, but of course it would have the same flaw of limited (and selective) data. I have not heard much about this during the past year, though. I agree that the ZW is but one (1) more tool used to make a breeding decision.
Stateside, the O.F.A. data says that our GSD is making very small but continual improvements with hip dysplasie. Are we really making these small improvements? I hope that we are, and that the gradual shift in the numbers over the past ten (10) years are not just "lucky" numbers. And just like the S.V., the O.F.A. examines only a fraction of the GSD's here. The cost for the veterinarian and the radiographic evaluation ranges from $200.00 to $300,00, so pet owners do not use the O.F.A. services unless they suspect a problem.
Some breeders offer to pay a portion of the O.F.A. costs in order to know more about their puppies. But that is rare, and of course it makes the puppy cost more. The O.F.A. will now make a preliminary evaluation for a very young puppy, but of course we know that this is not a guarantee either, and it costs as much as for a grown dog.
Anyway, again best wishes,