GSDCA vs USCA - Page 1

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by VonTrula on 09 September 2019 - 20:09

It seems like there's more politics and division among the German Shepherd breed than any other other breed I know of. I haven't been able to find a whole lot of helpful information online that explain things without being biased or insulting to the other side (as frustrating as the AKC's side is, trust me, I know, but I'm still trying to understand it with an open mind). Here are a few of my questions I have on the topic that I haven't found answers to. See if you can answer them for me, and help others out there understand the different GSD clubs, too. I WANT TO HEAR FROM BOTH SIDES! I will be so happy if I get all my questions answered. :)

There's the GSDCA (with the GSDCA-WDA) and the USCA. From what I understand, the GSDCA breed standard is to have the infamous sloped back, or angulation, that so many of us disagree with. Is the differing opinion in breed conformation the only main reason for two separate, seemingly opposing clubs?

Can you be a member of both GSDCA and USCA? Can you compete and title your dog in both GSDCA and USCA events? What are the pros and cons of each club?

Do the differing rules and regulations of each group make it impossible for a dog to compete in both GSDCA and USCA events? Or are they similar enough that you can do both?

Will GSDCA not accept your membership if you breed a straight backed dog? And vice versa, will the USCA not accept membership if you breed a slope backed dog?

What's the difference between GSDCA and GSDCA-WDA? Is WDA more open to dogs like DDR lines that have no angulation in their back?




by bantam7 on 09 September 2019 - 23:09

I can tell you they won't refuse membership or competition entry based on the shape of the dog you breed; it just has to be a purebred GSD and not a disqualifying color. Whether you will succeed in a given show ring is another question. I'll leave the rest for those with more club experience. 

You seem to have some common misunderstandings about backs on GSDs. The American show line dogs have perfectly straight backs (in contrast to the German show lines' curved). Straight, not level. They slope to varying degrees based upon A. the amount of rear angulation, which is created by the lengths of various bones in the rear legs -

An image

and B. a visual effect created by putting the dog in a "3-point stack" show pose -

An image

You can change the degree of slope by "deepening" the stack, pulling the far hock further forward. ASLs are often posed with one hock nearly flat on the ground. These are all the same dog (Marcato's 5 Cents for Advice):

An image

A working line example:

An image

The majority of working line GSDs also have some slope to their back, which you can see in the above dog. They have more rear angulation than most breeds, but less than the show lines. Dobermans and a few other breeds are similar.

If you would like to learn more about GSD structure and why they are built the way they are/how they should be built, Louis Donald's writings cannot be beat:

Linda Shaw's Illustrated Standard for the German Shepherd Dog, a book available to buy online, is also invaluable, and the reading is a little less dense. Preview here:


by VonTrula on 10 September 2019 - 00:09

Thank you, Bantam7, for this very informative explanation. My dog has just the same conformation as the last dog shown in the photos. That clarifies a lot for me on the conformation of GSDs. Thanks for the links, too!


by bantam7 on 10 September 2019 - 00:09

You're welcome!


by Cutaway on 10 September 2019 - 02:09

@VonTrula - A lot of great questions i hope i might be able to answer a few...

  1. WDA doesn't really exist anymore... They had a legal falling out with GSDCA and there was a split. GSDCA now offers an SV program in house meaning they have a hand full of working/sport clubs, have a few judges, host the USA Sieger show every other year; the show is split between UScA & GSDCA.
  2. You can be a member of both GSDCA & USCA. the "JA" Rule was overturned a few years back at the National UScA General meeting
  3. You can compete in both GSDCA & UScA events. However, if you're not a UScA member, there is an additional "Non-Member" entry fee of $50.00. The titles earned from either organization are accepted by one another.

A couple of things to keep in mind.

  • GSDCA does not offer near as many conformation shows or working events as UScA. BUT depending on where you live this may not be an issue
  • the SV program within GSDCA is very small. 98% of ALL GSDCA shows will be AKC style shows which is significantly different in how they are run, the way they are judged and mostly American shepherds are represented at these shows. the SV/WUSV does not recognize AKC style shows and will not accept your results unless the judge is an SV Judge (you will be hard pressed to ever see an SV Judge in a AKC style show).
  • Currently the WUSV wants to and has petitioned to rejoin the FCI. However, the FCI has stated that in order for this to happen, the WUSV has to limit foreign country registries to only ONE per country. Here in the US we currently have two: AKC and UScA. If the WUSV complies (which they have till the end of Sept to respond back to the FCI) one of the two registries will no longer be void in the US; most likely UScA. All GSDCA registries thru the AKC will be considered "American" Shepherds and the SV/WUSV will not recognize or allow SV Registration. This has to do with Breeding practices i.e. breeding to the standard. This is where most people are getting confused, the standard they are referring to is not the conformational standard but the SV Breed Standard of qualifications - SV Recognized: Working Title; Show Title; "A" Stamp (OFA is no longer recognized). AKC does not enforce any of this


by GSCat on 10 September 2019 - 06:09

Didn't know this was happening... thanks for the thread.

What happens to AKC-registered GSD if WUSV goes with UScA? Regardless of which way WUSV goes, what happens to AKC-registered GSD with SV rating? A stamp? What about AKC-registered GSD that came through all Czech or German working lines with no American (and provable all the way back to FCI countries)? Or that were bred in an FCI country from FCI parents and shipped to the US and registered through AKC? Would it make a difference if the litter were whelped in the U.S. or the FCI country?

Can a dog be registered on more than one registry? If so, do we have to hurry up and do it before this stuff happens?

Will this affect Canadian Kennel Club-registered GSD in the U.S.?

Not trying to derail, but now I'm worried/concerned/overwhelmed.


by Hundmutter on 10 September 2019 - 07:09

@Cutaway, just to complicate matters and because this thred seems to present the opportunity : any chance you could also give us non-Americans a run-down on how SV style shows / competitions are run, by each of the GSDCA(working section), and the USCA ? It would be interesting to compare them to what happens elsewhere in more detail than is usually available.

E.G. Are they both 'just like' a show in Germany ? Siegerschau, or OG or LG ? With conformation alongside IPG ? Do dogs have to comply before they can be entered in either, by : having been Surveyed (Koerung);  or medically tested ?; chipped or tattooed ? Is there a full 'conformation' element ? Age-related classes ? Progeny classes ? Kennel groups ? Any overlap with shows/ recognition of awards of AKC [ /comparison to  VDH (Germany's Kennel Club)] ? Has America ever adopted the "top (e.g. twelve) dogs are VA but not further placed numerically" business ? How about judges qualifications ? Verbal or written critiques ?


If somebody, bringing a German showdog, moved in tomorrow from abroad, the first point of call would presumably be to join USCA or GSDCA - or both ! - ... and then what does s/he do ?



by Hundmutter on 10 September 2019 - 07:09

I note that the UK has two WUSV Clubs also - but we are in no danger of actually joining the FCI ! So presumably we will be able to keep ours.


by Cutaway on 10 September 2019 - 17:09

@Hundmutter - The SV Style shows here in the US are run the same way as in Germany... Same Classes, Same Ratings and VA's can only be achieved at National, Same exercises, Same ring size requirements (based on Dog Entry). Same paperwork requirements.... With that said, there are a couple of allowed deviations from the rules... UScA offers their own breed survey which requires either a: SchH 1 or an IPO 1; UScA does not recognize IGP1 for the breed survey. And AD's issued by any other judge other than an SV judge does apply towards the breed survey.




by benzi on 10 September 2019 - 18:09

Thanks Cutaway, clear as mud nowWhat Smile. Yikes, seems it's harder to find IPO trials, I see most are IGP, wonder if they will change that rule.  Since you have to have an AD to get breed survey, I assume that the USA judges that have their SV rating? (don't know what you call it,) will suffice?  You really have to know your rules these days.  Thanks


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