I can get a bit confusing when going to purchase a German Shepherd Dog what all the V's and IPO's and better still SchH letters are before and after a dogs name.
Simply put the German Shepherd Dog in West Germany goes through a series of rigorous tests and evaluations to stretch each dog. The reason is to establish the quality of the dog to comply with the SV standard. This has to be achieved prior to breeding. These dogs are typically black and red saddle back. The German Show Line dogs are large, beautiful dogs. Most have deep, rich pigment. They have an excellent temperament, strong nerves, and are instinctively protective.
In Germany a dog cannot enter the standard Championship V rating Award - Vorzuglich - Excellent, unless he has passed a hip x-ray for Dysplasia and passed a Temperament Test. The dog must also have a Schutzhund (working title) level in Tracking, Obedience and Courage (Protection). In addition to this the dog must have passed a 12 mile Endurance test.
Only when the dog has accomplished all of the above criteria he may enter the show ring to be judged! V rating is awarded to the most outstanding GSD with exemplary dentitions and strong character.
A VA1 is a title that is earned at a particular show called a BSZS (National Breed Show). VA1 is the highest grade that a GSD can achieve and it is also known as 'World Champion.'
However, the highest award for excellence is the VA - Vorzuglich Auslese - known as Excellent Select Champion Title. This is only attainable and granted at an annual Seiger Show in Germany. Only a very few select dogs ever achieve this level.
So when you are considering your new puppy, look into his or her pedigree. These titles demand excellence and you know if an ancestor has achieved this level/rating your puppy is coming from some of the best breeding kennels in the world that have painstakingly taken decades to accomplish healthy, happy dogs and who strive to improve the breed.