The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is the most versatile breed of dog in the World, which is why it is a widely used service dog in very many different ways and a favorite for many canine sports but also is a much-loved companion dog. Its popularity is due to Its unique character, incorporating intelligence, loyalty, confidence, and determination. In any breed of dog, demand can lead to indiscriminate breeding and the erosion of crucial breed characteristics.
The core purpose of the SV (GSD Club in Germany, the World Governing Body) is the protection of the unique features of the GSD.
The objective is to ensure the GSD remains the outstanding companion dog and the working dog that it should always be. A program known as the Breed Harmonization Program was introduced in 2016 by the SV across the World through the WUSV (World Union of GSD Clubs) member clubs. A fundamental element of this program is the introduction of an assessment of the character of German Shepherd Puppies between the age of 9 and 13 months.
The evaluation looks at various aspects of the puppy’s temperament and comments on them so that the puppy’s owner can understand their puppy’s behavior better and have some information that will help when considering basic training requirements and methods. For those who are interested, it can give insight into suitability for activities such as obedience, tracking, agility, and breeding. The assessment is known as the ZAP Character Assessment (ZAP 1 for short)*
*note that ZAP1 is in its early stages, and as such, changes to terminology, procedures, etc. may occur.