Most of you have seen “Kkl” or "KKL" after the dog’s name, or in the list of the dog’s titles or mentioned somewhere in a dog’s description or pedigree. A “Kkl” stands for KörKlasse – a breed survey awarded to a dog at a Körung, a specialized event where breed surveys are done.
A Körung, is a German Shepherd Dog Breed Survey, an evaluation of the breed value of a dog for the improvement, preservation, and advancement of the breed. A Breed Survey report (Kör) is done listing the dog’s breeder, owner, and background. Line breeding and dominant lines are mentioned. The dog is measured and weighed and over or under sized dogs are not surveyed. An assessment of the dog is made both standing and in motion. Included are secondary sex characteristics, expression, bones, musculature, firmness of back and ligaments, trueness of gait, rear drive, front reach, head, strength of jaw, and dentition. All physical characteristics are listed as well as faults.
The dogs stability, temperament, alertness, hardness, courage, fighting drive, and gun sureness are evaluated. The dog must pass a courage test consisting of an attack by a helper. The Körmeister, a breed survey master, wants to see an immediate full bite with no hesitation. After the attack the helper runs off the field and just before the pursuing dog reaches the helper he turns on the dog and approaches in a threatening manner. The dog may not hesitate in the attack or they will be downgraded or fail.
Dogs are generally surveyed at two years old and then must be resurveyed two years later. Upon completion of the resurvey the dog is Köreklassed Lebenzeit (Lbz) or Surveyed "For life".
At the end of the survey report the Körmeister makes breeding recommendations on the dog which are helpful in future breedings.
In order for a dog to be allowed for a breed survey, it must minimally:
~ hold either an IGP 1 (IPO/SchH) or an HGH title
~ have completed the AD, the Ausdauerprüfung (a 12 mile endurance test)
~ have received at least a "SG" or better in a conformation show
~ have hips and elbows cleared by one of the overseeing organizations (the SV “a”-stamp program, OFA in the US, and others in each country).
These requirements make the dog eligible to enter a Koerung/ Breed Survey (qualify for breeding). At the Breed Survey the dog is carefully evaluated for correct structure, temperament and courage. When a dog passes a breed survey, which begins with a proscribed protection routine that a dog must pass first, then the Körmeister (a special certification held by only a few people) will use a specified form to fill out describing the dog. This report is known as a Kör report. These requirements are only guidelines for the breed, sometimes recommendations are given to who the dog should be bred with to produce excellent offspring, also sometimes certain bloodlines are not bred together as the two bloodlines do not work well together.
Not all GSDs are qualifying to participate in a Körung, and just because one participates does not mean the dog will pass automatically. If the dog fails the protection routine (that consisting of attack on handler out of the blind and the courage test, sometimes called the long bite), then the dog is immediately dismissed and must wait one year to try again.
Two classifications may be awarded by the Körmeister upon successful inspection: KKL1 and KKL2.
KKL1, stands for KörKlasse 1 a rating that is awarded to dogs that have been breed surveyed and are "recommended" for breeding; high breeding quality representatives of the breed.
KKL2, KörKlasse 2 is awarded to dogs that are "suitable" for breeding. Dog may have minor faults in structure or work, which can sometimes be compensated for by other bloodlines. Variations from the German Shepherd Dog Breed Standard in Conformation, such as too small or too large, a missing tooth, structural or protection work fault, and such, are some issues that can cause a dog to be Kkl2 rather than Kkl1. Maybe re-surveyed at a later date and if improved, upgraded to KörKlasse 1 (KKL1).
Often the difference between getting a KKL1 vs KKL2 is based on some minor fault, such as in dentition, or structure. Sometimes it is based on some other factor, including conformation that is not quite correct.