VDH or not VDH….that is the question
About 1000 Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies are whelped every year under VDH/FCI regulations. But that is only one third of all Ridgeback puppies born in Germany every year which means, that the majority – two thirds! – is bred outside of the VDH/FCI.
The VDH is associated with the FCI which means that puppies bred by members of one of the three German VDH Ridgeback Clubs (Club ELSA, DZRR and RRCD) receive VDH/FCI pedigrees. Breeders who don’t comply with the strict rules of FCI/VDH are organized in various other clubs or not organized at all. After all, today it is not a big problem to just print fancy pedigrees at home and puppy buyers are often not able to tell the difference to official pedigrees.
Another problem is the fact, that some breeders have found a legal loophole to get FCI papers for their puppies without actually complying with the rules. They just register a second residence in another FCI country and simply apply for pedigrees in this country, even though the puppies are whelped and also raised in Germany. As a matter of fact, this practice is not permitted – the problem is that the Kennel clubs don’t verify these breeders.
Extract from the INTERNATIONAL BREEDING RULES OF THE F.C.I:
STUD BOOK REGISTRATION OF A LITTER
18. ……A litter is registered with the stud book of the country where the owner of the bitch has his/her legal residence. The litter will bear his/her kennel name. Should the owner of the kennel name move to another FCI member country for a (un)determined period, it is up to him/her to transfer his/her kennel name in due time before the litter is born. He/she has to apply for the transfer to the new national canine organization and this organization has to inform, then, the FCI. Further to this transfer, the owner of the kennel name is allowed to breed exclusively in the country where he/she transferred his/her kennel name.
Exceptions are granted in cases where the breeder of dogs resides in a country which does not have an FCI recognised stud book. This breeder may register the litter in a country which keeps a stud book recognised by the FCI. --> which is clearly not the case in Germany.
In some countries it is common practice that the breeder simply applies in writing for his puppies’ pedigrees. Unfortunately, there is no kennel inspection of any sorts and also no verification if the litter is actually raised in this country or not. It would seem that no one really cares about this or else it wouldn’t be as easy to obtain these papers.
It is no coincidence that German breeders sell their puppies with pedigrees from Poland, Spain, Ireland or Montenegro, even though these puppies were bred and raised in Germany. According to FCI regulations, these breeders ought to be members of one of the three VDH clubs, because their main residence is in Germany.
The dogs they use in breeding often don’t meet the breed standard, e.g. they are too tall or have major dentition or other faults – issues that would regularly result in disqualification in Germany. Of course, these dogs never passed a breeding examination with behaviour test either, but many puppy buyers seem much more interested in the price than anything else anyway. True to the motto “The cheaper the better” people go about looking for a puppy the same way they would about buying a moped.
The situation is aggravated by the fact that also some stud dog owners seemingly don’t care about this issue at all. There may be the unlikely event that a stud dog from abroad was mated to a female outside the VDH simply because the owner of the dog didn’t know better. However, we sadly know about some cases where studs were made available even though the owners had been informed about the problem beforehand. The only goal here seems to be that the dogs are mated as often as possible, where or to whom some stud dog owners obviously don’t care about the slightest bit. We also have to take into account the financial aspect. If breeders from outside the VDH pay the same stud fee as the VDH breeders, it often doesn’t matter to the stud dog owners where the money comes from
We can do little more than inform stud dog owners and of course also puppy buyers and stress the issue that a puppy that was bred in Germany also has to have a VDH pedigree and not papers from Montenegro, Spain or God knows where. FCI recognized breeders in Germany have to be members of one of the three RR clubs mentioned above which are associated with the VDH.
As mentioned before, the majority of Ridgeback puppies in Germany are bred outside the VDH. The high puppy prices and the sad fact that owning a Ridgeback has become an outright trend result in a considerable increase in breeder numbers (many of which we should call “producers” rather). We don’t know how long this boom will last. In any case this development is a disaster for our breed.