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Ask Otto: Inspections in Germany vs. the USA

German Stud Book Director Otto Schalter brings his expertise from judging keurings both in Germany and North America, and reveals some secrets about how to breed for success, and follow that up with a successful inspection day.

1). "I've heard a lot about what is the same about the Inspection and registration process in Europe as in America, but I'm curious about how it's different over there?"

The biggest difference in Germany is that the basic information about the foal is already all in the database. By September 15th of the previous year the stallion owner has sent his breeding certificates in to the office (or filled them out online already), showing every mare and stallion bred, and the dates. If a mare was bred to two different stallions, DNA paperwork is begun.

In January of the foal's birth year the breeders receive foal report paperwork with their annual bill. The breeder must fill out this foal report within 28 days of the foal's birth and return it to the office.

On inspection day the paperwork is ready - the judge must only fill in the markings, color, and whorls on the diagram, and from that point on the process is very similar to what you see at an inspection in the USA. The judging and criteria for scores is the same. At the end of the day, one more difference is that all foals must now get microchipped, and branding is optional. About 75% of foals in Germany now get branded.

Another difference that we see in Germany is that the foals are generally not named when they are inspected and registered. Names are given when they get registered for sport or breeding. At that time (usually at the age of three) the owner/breeder sends their passport to the FN (Federation Nationale) along with the name choice, and the papers are returned with the name recorded. Another interesting difference in Germany is that stallion names must be approved before they are given. Stallion names may be recycled - if a stallion has no more offspring in sport for 15 years, that name is free again.