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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Does anyone on the forum have any experience with DNA testing on their German shepherds?

The woman who I purchased my GSD from is being sued by a customer who purchased two puppies from her. Their vet told them the dogs weren't German shepherds because they have long coats and they went back to the breeder to complain. She offered to take the dogs back (they are both from the same litter and 18 months old now) and refund their money, but the customers refused and wanted to keep the dogs AND get a full refund. When the breeder refused to refund and let them keep the dogs, they took her to court over dog #1, and they won, getting both their money and the dog. Now they are suing over dog #2.

The plaintiffs' DNA testing of the dog indicated it was about 75% GSD with Belgian Turveren in the 4th or 5th generation back on the bitch's side and "herding group" several generations back (no ID on the breed just group type). The breeder's DNA tests on the parent dogs indicated 87.5% GSD with the remaining 12.5% Belgian Turveren and "herding group" dogs.

My understanding is that no GSD tests "pure" because for many years after the first GSDs were bred they continued crossing in other herding dogs to improve the breed. Is this true?

Just a few facts...when I purchased my dog from this breeder, she invited me to her home to view the sire and the dam. She introduced me to the grandsire of the line who is 19 years old -- yes 19 and healthy with no joint or hip problems -- and explained that she breeds for health first, temperament second, and that all her dogs are pet quality family dogs. If I was looking for a fancy pedigree show dog, her dogs were not for me. They were not papered and neither parent dog was a registered GSD. She was candid about the whole thing and gave me the contact information for the veterinarian who sees her dogs and invited me to check with any of her other customers. She did the same for friends who recommended her to me (which is how I found her).

I'm looking for any information on DNA testing and GSDs to help her with her case. If you had your GSD DNA tested, what did it come up with? Do any GSDs test 100% GSD? I think that might be impossible for any dog breed.

Any insight you can share would be helpful and I will share with her.

This case just upsets me so much. She is a disabled US Army veteran who breeds GSDs for love of the dog and the breed, and she raises them all with love in her home. She was so generous with her time when I had questions when I first got my dog and her dogs are all lovely family pets. A few have gone on to be therapy dogs, guide dogs, and one is a police dog. They are just wonderful healthy animals and it is a shame she is having this trouble.

Thank you for any help you can provide or insight into German shepherd DNA testing.

Here is a picture of the dogs in question. I'm not sure if the ears on the one don't stand upright or it's just a lousy picture. They are from the same litter.
 

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I'm afraid that I can't answer what your questions; perhaps someone else will be able to. But, was there nothing about the following that gave you pause?

She introduced me to the grandsire of the line who is 19 years old -- yes 19 and healthy with no joint or hip problems -- and explained that she breeds for health first, temperament second, and that all her dogs are pet quality family dogs. If I was looking for a fancy pedigree show dog, her dogs were not for me. They were not papered and neither parent dog was a registered GSD.
 

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I've Embarked Steel - I'm waiting for the results now - mainly curious of the coat color he carries (though it's Sable/something for sure, thinking black. No coaties from him either).
I do believe the ones I've seen through Embark have came back 100% GSD if they were actually purebred.
 

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Yes, I know of 3 GSD (2 are board members) who have gotten results of 100% GSD using Embark.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm afraid that I can't answer what your questions; perhaps someone else will be able to. But, was there nothing about the following that gave you pause?
I'm sorry but I don't understand your point? Can you please explain what you mean?
 

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No registration on the sire and dam would give me pause. But then I'd want some sort of a title on each of them, too.



On the DNA thing -- I wouldn't DNA test my dogs. GSDs were developed as a "blend" of herding dogs. It would not be surprising to see a Belgian show up in a DNA test.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No registration on the sire and dam would give me pause. But then I'd want some sort of a title on each of them, too.



On the DNA thing -- I wouldn't DNA test my dogs. GSDs were developed as a "blend" of herding dogs. It would not be surprising to see a Belgian show up in a DNA test.
Okay, I understand what you mean. Registration wasn't important to me and the breeder made it quite clear from my first phone call with her that the sire and dam weren't registered.


On the DNA thing -- I wouldn't DNA test my dogs. GSDs were developed as a "blend" of herding dogs. It would not be surprising to see a Belgian show up in a DNA test.[/QUOTE] --- this is what I believe too yet I'm seeing people say that they did get 100% GDS on Embark DNA tests. The Belgian and herding group are showing up way back in the DNA test -- 5th generation or more.

My own dog, which I purchased from her, shares the same sire and a different dam. Dam wasn't registered either. He looks like 100% GSD and sure acts like one LOL.
 

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I'm sorry but I don't understand your point? Can you please explain what you mean?
Certainly. Individuals may differ, but I would not have gotten a pup/dog from this 'breeder.' Frankly, I’d also be very hesitant about helping this ‘breeder’ (veteran or no) in the current situation. There are far too many red flags. For example, the odds of encountering a 19 yo 'grandsire,' without pedigree and in "good health" are fairly remote. If none of the dogs are papered/registered how does one know what the age actually is? If none of the dogs are papered/ registered how does one know what they actually are? A Belgian Turveren 4/5 generations back suggests a possibly creative (careless?) approach to breeding that’s more than just the coincidental overlap with other herding group representatives, generally speaking. Further, if a hypothesized shepherd only tests 75% GSD, what’s the remaining 25%? A Tuveren 4-5 generations back isn’t likely to account for the remaining 25% unless the ‘breeder’ is actively continuing the cross — in which case it isn’t a GSD.

If you have questions about the efficacy/ reliability of Embark (or Wisdom Panel) DNA tests for GSDs, you’d do better to write the test developers/manufacturers directly and request statistics and other information concerning the development of said tests and how accurate/robust they are. Surveying anonymous forum members about their successes (or lack thereof) in DNA testing isn’t likely to prove helpful and is unlikely to stand up in Court in any event. Further, the ‘breeder’ has already lost Round 1; based on what you’ve posted, she seems highly likely to lose Round 2 — as well any other cases that may be in the pipeline.

Sometimes the best help one can provide to people we care for is to suggest a different (more accurate) approach to how they represent themselves and how they market the dogs they breed.

ETA. You might want to read up on the history/development of GSDs. Some of your assertions strike me as a little odd. Personally, I'd be very anxious to stay far away from this situation if any of those assertions originated with the breeder.
 

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On the DNA thing -- I wouldn't DNA test my dogs. GSDs were developed as a "blend" of herding dogs. It would not be surprising to see a Belgian show up in a DNA test.
That was more than 100 years ago and I don't believe Belgians were anywhere in that mix. This statement is just so mind boggling. No way will a DNA test show Belgian DNA in a GSD test unless there is recent Belgian.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I like the idea of writing to the test makers and asking about their verification data. Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

All I can tell you is that when I was looking for a GSD, several local people recommended her for her outstanding healthy family pets. They may not be registered or papered but they look and behave like GSDs. We go to the same veterinary practice and the people there also raved about her dogs. I'm delighted with my GSD and he's growing into a great dog.

To answer the question about breeds -- 5th generation popped up 1 Belgian Turveren shepherd in the dam's lineage, and one or two generations before that was a generic "herding group" without breed identification. I don't know the company that did either test(they had 2 done) but it wasn't Embark.

Would this still make the current dog NOT a GSD if it had less than 12-15% other herding/shepherd that far back in the DNA?

I'm sorry if my questions are stupid. I'm new to this. I've only owned shelter rescues, including a rescued GSD, before I got my current dog. I absolutely love my (non registered, non papered) GSD and he's the right dog for me. I love learning about pedigrees and breeding but am new to the GSD world. And I hate the fact that the plaintiffs were able to get their money and keep the dog even though they had nothing in writing promising a "pure" GSD, they saw the parent dogs, they had the same opportunity to check references etc....but now suddenly, 18 months later, they sue and get to keep dogs and get money back. That doesn't seem right to me.
 

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Without registration papers and pedigrees it's anyone's guess whether or not the pups were purebred. If the breeder has no information about her breeding dogs (no registration papers, no traceable pedigrees etc.) but claimed the pups were purebred she misled the buyers. Having said that, I am surprised the court allowed DNA test results from Embark or whoever to be used as evidence because the AKC, FCI registries etc. do not use this kind of testing to determine whether or not a dog is purebred.

Major registries only require a dog to have 3 generations of pure breed behind it before calling the 4th generation a "purebred" dog. FCI registries use an appendix, the AKC uses conditional registration for this purpose. DNA testing is only used to determine parentage, not breed. Granted most established breeds will have test results (Embark etc.) that come back as the breed we think they are, but having other breeds pop up doesn't mean the dog being tested isn't considered a purebred dog. It's all about registrations and pedigrees.

Bottom line...you can't go around telling people you have purebred puppies to sell when you have no idea whether they're purebred or not. It's dishonest.
 

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All I can tell you is that when I was looking for a GSD, several local people recommended her for her outstanding healthy family pets. They may not be registered or papered but they look and behave like GSDs. We go to the same veterinary practice and the people there also raved about her dogs. I'm delighted with my GSD and he's growing into a great dog.
Here's the thing...this isn't about what kind of dogs she's producing. They could be wonderful dogs, wonderful pets, healthy as all get out. The problem is she appears to be selling them under false pretense. She's claiming they're purebred GSD's when they may not be.

And I hate the fact that the plaintiffs were able to get their money and keep the dog even though they had nothing in writing promising a "pure" GSD, they saw the parent dogs, they had the same opportunity to check references etc....but now suddenly, 18 months later, they sue and get to keep dogs and get money back. That doesn't seem right to me.
Maybe a case of believing they paid pure breed price for mixed breed puppies?
 

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I like the idea of writing to the test makers and asking about their verification data. Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

All I can tell you is that when I was looking for a GSD, several local people recommended her for her outstanding healthy family pets. They may not be registered or papered but they look and behave like GSDs. We go to the same veterinary practice and the people there also raved about her dogs. I'm delighted with my GSD and he's growing into a great dog.

To answer the question about breeds -- 5th generation popped up 1 Belgian Turveren shepherd in the dam's lineage, and one or two generations before that was a generic "herding group" without breed identification. I don't know the company that did either test(they had 2 done) but it wasn't Embark.

Would this still make the current dog NOT a GSD if it had less than 12-15% other herding/shepherd that far back in the DNA?

I'm sorry if my questions are stupid. I'm new to this. I've only owned shelter rescues, including a rescued GSD, before I got my current dog. I absolutely love my (non registered, non papered) GSD and he's the right dog for me. I love learning about pedigrees and breeding but am new to the GSD world. And I hate the fact that the plaintiffs were able to get their money and keep the dog even though they had nothing in writing promising a "pure" GSD, they saw the parent dogs, they had the same opportunity to check references etc....but now suddenly, 18 months later, they sue and get to keep dogs and get money back. That doesn't seem right to me.
I don't know where you live. In Canada it is a violation of the Animal Pedigree Act to sell or represent an animal as purebred if it is not eligible for registration.
https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/stat/rsc-1985-c-8-4th-supp/latest/rsc-1985-c-8-4th-supp.html#Offences__102528
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yes, you hit the nail on the head. She never tells people they are getting 'purebred German shepherds' and she doesn't advertise. I think the people believed that is what they were getting. I've never heard or seen anything to indicate she pushes them as purebreds etc.
 

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Well, if she says German Shepherd puppies, anyone will believe they are not mutts, but purebred dogs.
How much is she charging?
 
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