Types Of German Shepherd Dogs

As a versatile utility dog, the German Shepherd Dog breed has several different “types” that have their own origin, history and unique traits. These different types, although all of them are still German Shepherd dogs, can be better suited for different purposes and roles. Each type is valued and respected for what it brings to the breed.

  • AMERICAN / CANADIAN SHOW LINES
  • WEST GERMAN SHOW LINES
  • WEST GERMAN WORKING LINES
  • DDR / EAST GERMAN WORKING LINES
  • CZECH WORKING LINES

All of these types of German Shepherd dogs within the breed are unique for a variety of reasons. Physical appearance, drives, temperament and purpose varies among the lines, but all of them are German Shepherds equally.

AMERICAN / CANADIAN SHOW LINES

Popular in North America since the 1970’s, the American and Canadian show lines dominate the national kennel clubs and are intended to conform strictly to the standards set by each of the governing kennel clubs. Conformation and the side gait is what this type is passionately bred for.

WEST GERMAN SHOW LINES

The most popular type of GSD in Germany, the West German show lines are bred to conform to the SV standard which also requires the dog to gain health clearances for hips and elbows and a working title (often herding or IPO) along with their show title prior to being bred. The “look” of this type is very specific and typically very uniform, most commonly presented as a black and red saddle back.

WEST GERMAN WORKING LINES

The dogs of West German working blood are often said to be the closest of all types to the original dogs produced under Max von Stephanitz. Focus is given to correct working structure, solid temperament and especially to correct, strong working drives and ability. West German working line German Shepherds excel in many different sports, real working jobs and positions of service. Like every German Shepherd should, they also make phenomenal active family pets.

DDR / EAST GERMAN WORKING LINES

Developed after World War 2 from the remaining war dogs, the DDR / East German dogs were maintained strictly by the government of East Germany. Rigid control of the original DDR bloodlines resulted in a very distinct look. Best known for their typically correct working structure, large heads, large bone and dark pigment. The DDR bloodlines are also known for being very sound dogs, though working drives can vary. Older DDR bloodlines are valued for their phenomenal genetics and temperament.

CZECH WORKING LINES

Originating in the communist Czechoslovakia and built on a foundation of working dogs used primarily for border patrol work, the Czech bloodlines are dominated by dogs who have a foundation of popular border patrol dogs and Czech military dogs. Unique to the this type, the original breeding of Czech dogs revolved around the Czechoslovakian Army’s Pohranicni Straze kennel. Some of the czech bloodlines contain phenomenal working drives and tend to be intense, agile working dogs.

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