You might have a Ben or a Thor in your family. I’m talking about different types of German shepherds But are they all the same?
Not really! German Shepherd dogs come in various types with significant differences from each other.
If you have raised a GSD, you probably know what type he is. But for those who have just started doing research for finding an appropriate GSD, there’s a lot to know about them.
If you are in the US, you probably know a thing or two about these loyal and super obedient beings.
These are some of the most loyal and heroic animals in the world. When it comes to guarding your home or the garden, there is no better dog than them. If you are new to this breed, read our article, German Shepherd?
By the end of this article, you will have a good idea about the different types of German Shepherd dogs and which should serve you best!
What are the factors that separate types of German Shepherd dogs?
As from my experience and research I have found 3 factors that differentiate German Shepherds from one another.
The specific colors of German Shepherds denote their type and ancestry. That also includes color patterns and the type of coat they have.
#2- Body Shape
Although not much can be differentiated from the shape of this breed. But if you are a keen observer, you will differences in their leg length, angulation, upper body, and lower body proportion, etc.
The Czech working can be differentiated easily from the American and German lines because of their slim upper bodies.
Let me assure you that all GSDs are intelligent. But then again some are bred only for intelligence.
Differences in loyalty, speed, and power are also important factors that help to make a difference.
Wait! Are there any German Shepherd breeds?
I have seen many dog enthusiasts looking for different types of German Shepherd breeds.
My dear friend!
German Shepherd dog itself is a breed. So, there are no sub-breeds in them. There are just different variations among this breed which we are going to talk about now!
Top Characteristics and purpose of different types of German Shepherd dogs in a glance.
|German Shepherd dog type||Characteristics||Purpose|
|American Show lines||● Rear angulation body.|
● Easy to train.
● Less energetic.
|Good for a family pet but not recommended for personal protection.|
|West German Show lines|| ● Bulkier and larger than American show lines.|
● Moderate level of energy.
|Good fit as pets as well as for personal protection.|
|West German working lines|| ● The purest form of German Shepherd.|
● The Body is more sloped than DDR/East German Working lines.
| ● For guarding, protecting and helping in rescue missions.|
● Suitable as pets if you can keep them active.
|East German DDR Working lines|| ● Strong bones, large heads, and shoulders, and agility|
● Can endure severe climates with long work hours
|● Best as guard dogs.|
|Czech working lines|| ● Intense and agile.|
● Health issues are the least among these dogs.
● High work drive with more intelligence.
|● Best as guard dogs or rescue dogs.|
Different types of German Shepherd dogs.
American Show lines.
The American show lines German Shepherds are the most known among all the other types out there. That’s because they are shown in the American and Canadian Kennel club competitions.
The first thing you should know about them is that they are specifically bred for shows. And hence their appearance is the prime focus that goes into breeding.
One particular feature of this line is their rear angulation. They have a downward sloping body from head to the rump.
American show lines are easy to train and have an easy temperament. But they are less energetic. Good for a family pet but not recommended for personal protection.
West German Show lines
Both German show lines and American Show lines compete in dog shows. So, how are they even different?
They are different because of the way they are bred and the personality they possess.
Going by the strict rules in Germany for breeding GSDs, all of them need to gain the Schutzhund competition title. This makes them pretty much similar to the working line. They also need a health clearance to be eligible to pass on genes.
These dogs are bulkier and larger than American show lines. One great differentiator is their level of energy being more and having higher intelligence.
So, they are a good fit as pets as well as for personal protection.
West German working lines
If you want the purest form of German Shepherd resembling the one developed by Max Von Stephanitz, then this is it!
The working ability of these dogs is unmatched. And bred specifically for their intelligence and strong drives.
For guarding, protecting and helping in rescue missions, these are the best.
They live a very active life, so you need to provide adequate exercise if you have no job for him now! Best for active families who love to walk around and go on adventure trips.
The Body is more sloped than DDR/East German Working lines. So, that’s a differentiation factor.
Yes, you can keep them as pets too! But only if you are able to feed them with activities.
East German DDR Working lines
The DDR/East German Working lines are originally military dogs. They are bred with strict breeding standards. The health examination is a major breeding standard for this line.
You can differentiate them with their strong bones, large heads and shoulders, and agility.
They are trained to endure severe climates with long work hours. Border patrolling was their purpose, hence more known as attack dogs.
Walking on a balance beam or jumping on a straight wall of 1.8 meters, you name it, they have to have these standards.
If you are looking for guard dogs, then these dogs should suit you best.
Czech working lines
The Czech working line is not much different from the East DDR German working line. They are just leaner and have uniform dark coats.
Originally bred in communist Czechoslovakia, they were used for border patrol. Intensity and agility are the traits that fit them best.
Health issues are the least among these dogs as they were bred widely. They have a high work drive with more intelligence. So, for a watchdog or guard dog that’s what you need.
Military and police favor them most for their agility and speed.
Difference between Working line and show German Shepherd dogs come in various types
As you might probably know by now, working line German Shepherd dogs are more energetic and loyal. As they require activities, they tend to have fewer health issues. It generally comes in Sable color.
So, if you have a good job for them to keep them active, then they are sure good as pets as well.
The show line German Shepherds are bred specifically for their appearance. So, you can’t rely heavily on them for protection or guarding. But then again they are very suited as pets.
Is there any difference between aggression among German Shepherds?
I don’t think so! The aggressive nature doesn’t depend on the type of animal. It’s just the way an individual dog is bred.
Poor breeding techniques can develop aggressive and bad-tempered dogs. Always get your German Shepherds from reputed breeders.
Any Differences in their food habits?
As we said earlier German Shepherds have only variations among them. As these variations all belong to the same breed, their food habits are also the same. The German Shepherd dog food includes high-quality animal proteins and minerals.
So which is the best German Shepherd dog?
If you ask me I would say all German shepherd dog is best. The purpose of using them greatly differentiates each type of GSD. For example, Amerian Show lines are best suited as house pets and the Czech working lines have always been regarded as good rescue dogs.
I think if you haven’t missed any point from the start to the end of this article, you probably can figure out which German Shepherd breed you need. If you still need to know more, it’s best to get connected with different breeders and German Shepherd owners.