Animal Welfare-Dog Ordinance

The new Animal Protection Dog Ordinance (Tierschutzhundeverodnung) has been in force since 1 January 2022. Among other regulations, it provides for a ban on showing certain dogs:

§ 10 Prohibition of exhibition

It is prohibited to show dogs or to organize exhibitions with dogs,

  1. in which parts of the body, in particular ears or tail, have been completely or partially amputated in a manner contrary to the protection of the animal, or
  2. in which for hereditary reasons

    a) body parts or organs are missing or unsuitable for the proper use of the species or have been altered, resulting in pain, suffering or damage,

    b) behavioural disorders associated with suffering occur,

    c) any species-appropriate contact with conspecifics causes them or a conspecific pain or avoidable suffering or harm; or

    d) the keeping is only possible with pain or avoidable suffering or leads to harm.


The VDH supports the aim to prevent dogs with hereditary health problems from participating in dog shows and other events. Still, there are currently no specifications for the implementation of these rules, which has in some cases led to unjustified and exaggerated application in the past, including general, undifferentiated requirements for veterinary examinations and examinations which are potentially harmful for the animals. Contrary to these cases, the VDH advocates a sensible, targeted implementation of these rules, which is in fact the case at the vast majority of dog events.

Relevant exclusion characteristics can be found here. The specific rules for the implementation of § 10 Animal Welfare-Dog Ordinance can be found on the homepages of the respective shows and sports events. For additional information please contact info[@]vdh[.]de.


Characteristics relevant for the exclusion of dogs

Dogs with the following characteristics (heredity is assumed) are not allowed to participate in VDH events:

  1. Problems in breathing, including problems with thermoregulation, pathologic respiratory
  2. Eyes, including eyelids:
    • Disorders of the eyelids like entropion, ectropium (if relevant clinical signs are present), exophthalmos
    • Blindness
    • Strabismus
  3. Neurological symptoms
  4. Deformation of the skull, coupled with clinical symptoms, e.g. open fontanelles, disproportionate shortening of the mandible or maxilla, visibility of teeth or tongue when the mouth is closed, brachycephalic obstructive airway Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS).
  5. Dwarfism (pituitary form)
  6. Skin and hair
    Pigmentation-related traits:
    • Whiteheadedness/extreme spotting associated with deafness and/or UV-related skin damage (Note: Audiometric measurement is too invasive (anaesthesia) for show approval. The potentially problematic gene does not lead to a show ban, special attention should be paid to clinical signs during entry inspections).
    • Merle markings plus predominant white markings in the head area, especially unpigmented ears: Show only with genetic test (All genotypes which, according to the current state of knowledge, are associated with a significant risk of developing impairments of the sensory organs, lead to exclusion).
    • Colour Dilution Alopecia (Note on Colour Dilution: There is still a need for research to differentiate healthy dilute (e.g. "classic" Weimaraner) from diseased dilute (dogs with Colour Dilution Alopecia).
    Other characteristics in the skin/hair area:
    • Albinism
    • Dermoid cysts
    • ectodermal dysplasia: hairless animals of the naked dog breeds with clinical signs such as comedones, hypodontia (see below), dental defects or malocclusions
    • Excessive formation of skin wrinkles (wrinkles affecting sensory organs and/or body orifices; wrinkles that impair movement and/or behaviour typical of the species), skin fold dermatitis
    • Missing or shortened vibrissae, even after shearing
  7. Teeth:
    • Exclusion in case of hereditary absence of canini (canine or fang teeth), P4/upper jaw or M1/lower jaw (fangs, together they form the crushing scissors) or if more than two other teeth are missing; except P1 (upper and lower jaw) and M3 (lower jaw). The exhibitor has the option to prove with a veterinary certificate that the missing teeth are due to accident or non-hereditary disease.
    • Misaligned teeth, which are associated with injuries/irritation of the mucous membrane of the mouth or loss of tooth substance.
  8. Lameness
  9. Shortened/misshapen tail in association with clinical signs (dermatitis dermatitis on the underside of the tail, neurological deficits, restrictions in hygiene and bodily functions due to lack of mobility of the tail, etc.).

Breed specific instructions

The VDH Board has put into effect the Breed Specific Instructions (BSI) for all shows. The BSI contain recommendations to the judge to observe the breed specific risk areas and to consider problems and functionality in these areas. They are a supplement to the breed standard, which describes breed-specific characteristics and behavior.

One of the tasks of a judge is to prevent over-typing and health-endangering effects in breeds. This must be taken into account in the show ring, where high awards for appropriate breed representatives are avoided and instead specimens with the optimal combination of breed type and health and functionality are awarded.

The breeds listed in the BSI were selected based on the estimated risk of health-threatening exaggerations of breed characteristics and possible misleading interpretation of the standard.

It is not a static guide to the listed evaluation criteria and breed selection. Rather, the BSI are a dynamic tool that we would like to constantly develop together. Suggestions from the judges, the breed clubs and the Scientific Advisory Board are very welcome and will be incorporated into the BSI. The judges have to fill out a questionnaire for the breeds listed in the BSI after the evaluation and submit it to the VDH via the Ringsteward.

Our goal with the BSI is to continue to see healthy purebred dogs in the show ring without health-threatening exaggerations and thus to ensure the future existence of our breeds.