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Are There Different Types Of German Shepherds

Saddleback Coat German Shepherd

What are the types of German Shepherds out there? Which one should you buy?

This is the most common variety of German Shepherds.

They come in two colors and it the distinct nature of the markings that give them their name. The saddle refers to the black patch of fur at their backs that is shaped like a saddle on a horse.

Some people may refer to this patch as a blanket pattern.

The colors that they most commonly have are either red or tan. When it comes to dog competitions, the more vibrant the colors are, the better you are going to score. You may be deducted points if your German Shepherd has a liver color which is not preferred.

These German Shepherds usually have a black muzzle that covers part of their face and their snout. Some tail areas may have black coloration.

Now that you learned the most important things about the different types of German Shepherds based on their lines and their colors it is time to ask yourself the most important question.

German Shepherd Mixed Lines

Mixing show and working lines is generally frowned upon by strict working line breeders. The idea of mixing the breeds is to get the calm temperament of a show line dog and the working drive of a working line German Shepherd dog.

If bred properly, these dogs can be handled more easily than working line German Shepherd dogs, but will still have the ability to protect and work in a time of need.

West Show Line German Shepherds

  • The West German Show Line German Shepherds are widely considered as the most beautiful GSD breed. They are very gracious in movement. They are very intelligent can be trained very easily.
  • The West Show Line German Shepherds also have a sloped body, but it is not as sloping as American Show Line German Shepherds.
  • The West Show Line German Shepherds tend to have black and red saddles, black and tan, sable, bi-colors and black. Every dog in the West Show Line German Shepherd breed is required to be fully fit with his health before he/she mate or pass their genes.
  • The West Show Line German Shepherds can do great both as protectors and family pets as compared to American Show Line GSDs. The West Show Lines GSDs are not lazy and in fact they need a lot of exercise and training.
  • They have better health and better drive than the American Show Line German Shepherds.

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German Shepherd Dog Care

German Shepherds can be a handle to care for. They have large grooming needs, a hungry appetite and need a lot of exercise to keep them entertained. However, its always worth it!

You should ensure that you are exercising your German Shepherd for 60 to 90 minutes a day. This includes walks, playing and mental games. Your doggie will want a big back yard to run around in too, so they will not be getting the exercise they need if you live in a small apartment. Without adequate exercise, they can develop unwanted and destructive behaviors due to frustration and boredom.

The German Shepherd is a very intelligent dog and is therefore very easy to train. Their ease of training means that they make a great family dog as well as a dog for couples or individuals. However, they can be a little stubborn, so you should never punish them or scold them.

If youre lucky and have a medium coated German Shepherd dog, you may be able to get away with brushing them twice a week. However, if your dog has long hair, then youre going to need to brush them daily to prevent knots and tangles forming. They can shed a lot too, so their grooming needs can be difficult.

Because the Shepherd is a large dog, their diet should also be large. It is recommended that you feed them a diet specially formulated for large dog breeds and you should always check the back of the dog food packet to see how much of a certain food you should be feeding your dog based on their weight.

Controversy Surrounds The Gsd Show Line Vs Working Types

The Different Types of German Shepherds Which One Should ...

We would be remiss not to discuss the great divergence of the show and working lines of German Shepherds.

Detrimental characteristics began to enter Shepherds of the Western world as breeders became fixated on appearance at the expense of the German Shepherds athleticism and utilitarianism.

Most everyone is familiar with the American Saddlebred horses with their exaggerated knee action that catches the eye as they stride out and prance.

Breeders discovered that highly angulated limbs and a steep pelvis would create a similarly flashy movement of the front legs in their Shepherds.

The high flying gait became desirable, and little attention was paid to the weakness that developed in the hindquarters or the detrimental effect such a slope in the back might cause.

Jean Mueller Wrote a telling article, published by Leeburg Dog Training, where she discussed how the highly-angled pelvis and resulting steep croup are valuable for dogs that move at great speeds like the Greyhound or Whippet with their double-suspension gallop.

However, she mentioned a steep pelvis is inappropriate for a working dog who is meant to travel mostly at a trot with short bursts of speed, turning on a dime, and accomplishing balanced lateral movements.

Mueller and others have received vehement criticism from the GSD show dog community who insist their dogs can still perform in the field.

The stance maintains the more angulation a dog the better her ability to propel herself.

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Grooming: Do German Shepherds Shed A Lot Are They Easy To Groom

About shedding….

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that German Shepherds have only one shedding period a year.

The bad news is…. their shedding period lasts for 365 days. In other words, German Shepherds shed constantly.

How is this different from most breeds?

Most breeds shed a few hairs here and there throughout the year. But the vast bulk of their shedding occurs only twice a year for three weeks in the spring as their thicker winter coat switches over to a cooler summer coat, and for three weeks in the fall as the summer coat switches over to a winter coat.

Not German Shepherds. They shed a TON during those spring and fall coat-switching seasons. Plus they shed moderately the rest of the year.

So year-round, you’ll find hair on your clothing, on your carpets, and under your refrigerator. Frequent vaccuming will become a way of life.

You might be wondering, “How can a shorthaired dog shed so much?” The answer is that German Shepherds have a double coat. They have a short outer coat , plus a woolly undercoat . Breeds with a double coat always shed more than breeds who simply have an outer coat but no undercoat.

German Shepherds come in a long coat, as well as a short coat. Both coats shed heavily.

Now, about grooming….

How much grooming is required depends on whether a German Shepherd is shorthaired or longhaired.

Longhaired dogs need trimming

Along with brushing and combing, longhaired German Shepherds need trimming every few months.

About German Shepherd Dog Breed:

The German Shepherd is a breed of working dog originally from Germany. Originally named Alsatian Wolf Dog in the UK, its name changes to German Shepherd in 1977.

The German shepherd is a working dog developed for herding sheep. But in modern days it is used for many types of work, including disability assistance, search-and-rescue, police and military roles, and acting.

The German Shepherd is the second-most registered breed by the American Kennel Club and the seventh-most registered breed by The Kennel Club in the United Kingdom.

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History Of The German Shepherd

The German shepherd dog as his name hints originated in Germany. They were bred by local folk for their abilities in herding and guarding sheep and their keen sense of smell, this worked well except there was no similarities in their appearance and ability.

Captain Max von Stephanitz, a former student of the Berlin Veterinary and an ex cavalry captain, created the German Shepherd Dog breed. Max von Stephanitz believed the dogs should be bred for working and found the first sire of the breed Horand von Grafrath.

The Dwarf German Shepherd: Fact Or Myth

The different types of GERMAN SHEPHERD

There is nothing called a dwarf German Shepherd in its pure form. There is however a condition that affects a few German Shepherds called pituitary dwarfism which can give the otherwise large dogs a distinct appearance.

This is a medical condition caused by a parasite called giardia.

While dwarf German Shepherds, or rangers as they are commonly called, are cute to look at, ultimately they are not completely healthy.

The parasite makes the dog prone to infections, hair loss and flaky skin.

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Which Dogs Are Confused As German Shepherds But Are Not Part Of The Breed

King German Shepherd

Many of the Shepherd breeds and variations can be confused as being part of the German Shepherd breed.

One such example of this is the King German Shepherd.

This is a mix breed that was created by mixing Shiloh Shepherds , American Line German Shepherds and Great Pyrenees dogs.

Miniature German Shepherd

The miniature German Shepherd is most likely either a mix, or is a German Shepherd with dwarfism.

German Shepherd Mix Breeds

Other mix breeds are sometimes confused as being part of the German Shepherd breed too, such as the German Shepherd Husky Mix.

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Home » Breed Info » How Many Different Types Of German Shepherds Are There?

East German Shepherd / Ddr German Shepherd

East German Shepherds hail from East Germany, which once used to be a separate country called Deutsche Demokratische Republik, shortened as DDR. While you dont have to figure out how to pronounce Demokratische or Deutsche, you need to learn how to handle these high-energy dogs.

Read More:DDR German Shepherd: Rarity, Guarding, Protection, & More!

With cappuccino and tan swapped with sober grey, East German Shepherds have a darker appearance with prominent black fur across their backs. They are smaller than Show Line GSDs but not by too much. At least height-wise, the bigger DDR Shepherds match smaller show line shepherds.

Their backs alongside their fur color give away the difference, though. There will be no arch or slope in an East German Shepherds back because they were literally bred for patrol, and asymmetry between front and back limbs would be disadvantageous for such work.

Though working line German Shepherds are relatively cheaper than show line shepherds, East German GSDs might be an exception as their prices can come pretty close to the top tier show variety.

Thats because pure DDRs are hard to find and live healthier due to genetic predisposition to the illness being ruthlessly bred out at the stud-selection stage back in the days of Deutsche Demokratische Republik.

Aside from living longer, these dogs work better due to discipline and work readiness being factored in by the DDRs breeding program that led to the breeds creation.

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How Much Exercise Do German Shepherds Need

German Shepherd puppies and adolescents should have moderate exercise only multiple walks, fetch games, or playing with another dog.

But the growing bones and ligaments in a young dog can be irreparably damaged by too much exercise or the wrong kind of exercise. At this age, there should be no forced running . Restrict jumping as much as possible.

Once the dog is mature, the amount of exercise needed will vary according to the dogs energy level. But all German Shepherds, to maintain fitness, need brisk walking every day and all-out running in a safe, enclosed area as often as possible.

Dogs from working lines typically want a lot more exercise.

Mental exercise is even more important for German Shepherds. Mental exercise means the dog gets to participate in interesting activities that keep his intelligent mind stimulated.

This might be a dog sport such as agility, rally obedience, musical freestyle, tracking, flyball, herding, or schutzhund. It might be interactive dog toys, or a homemade obstacle course, or learning tricks, or playing games such as Hide n Seek.

Some of these activities are included in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

Handsome black German Shepherd, attentively awaiting your next words.

How Many Types Of Shepherd Dogs Are There

Different Types German Shepherd Breeds

These cute yet ferocious little bodyguards are categorized into two breeding types, the working line and Show Line. You would be surprised to know that there are 5 different types of show line German Shepherd Dogs that you can find. The most popular distinction that separates them among their different types is the colour of their coats.

German Shepherd is also sometimes differentiated by the length of their hair and coat, but that is generally done only for purebred German Shepherds. Apart from being characterized based on their looks, they are also differentiated based on their personality and health, which is known as working lines.

Notewe wont talk about the mixed breed of a german shepherd like wolfdog or any other type of mixed German Shepherd with other dogs. because it not considered as an original type of german shepherd dogs.

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Types Of German Shepherd

Developed by Max von Stephanitz, the German Shepherd is a medium to large-sized working dog breed. Bred to possess extraordinary working abilities, German Shepherds are versatile workers and are often used for search and rescue tasks, but are also amazing family pets.

Please note, show line German Shepherds are bred to reign supreme in show rings, so they are bred for their looks, not work ethic. On the other hand, working line German Shepherds would never win in a ring, since they are bred for working, not showing.

Here are the five different types of German Shepherd based on coat color and pattern:

Working And Show Lines Of German Shepherds

In addition to the length of their coat and its coloring, the German Shepherd is also sometimes categorized by its body type. This body can be more or less stylized, tending to be more or less muscular. The more muscular the dogs are considered to be working lines and the less muscular are show lines. They are not officially different types of German Shepherd dogs, but they do exhibit small differences.

Focusing on working dog lines, they tend to have larger muscle mass and a more structured body. This means they are more commonly used by police or security forces. There are differing opinions on whether temperament differs between working and show breeds. While both types will require training and education, some believe working dog lines can tend to be more aggressive and better suited for security. Conversely, show dogs are thought to have a more docile temperament.

Whether a working or show dog, German Shepherds are not ideal dogs for first-time owners. These dogs need a lot of attention, proper socialization and careful training. Without it, they are prone to behavioral disorders. They can be wonderful and loving companion animals, but their need for attention and structure does not suit every temperament.

Not all types of German Shepherd are show dogs, but even within this category there are variations. Show dogs can be either:

  • West German working lines
  • East German working lines
  • Czech working lines

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Is There A Dwarf German Shepherd

There is no recognized Dwarf German Shepherd breed. As with humans, German Shepherds can have genetic mutations which lead to conditions such as dwarfism. Unfortunately, dwarfism in German Shepherds negatively affects their heath in a very serious way, causing many problems and even resulting in pain. They have a much lower life expectancy and are not believed to live past 5 years. For this reason, breeding of these dogs is discouraged, being considered cruel.

If you want to read similar articles to Types of German Shepherd – All Breed Variations, we recommend you visit our Comparisons category.

Which Line Or Type Of German Shepherd Might You Have

Different Kinds of German Shepherds with GSM and Sergeant

It could be hard to say. The breed has been bred across the lines a lot since its origin in the 1890s both within Germany and Europe, and across the US and the world. Most German Shepherds that are family pets are thought to have come from any one or a mix of the West German Working and Show lines, or the American/Canadian Show Lines. The East German and Czech German Shepherds tend to be less common due to their isolated breeding, but also make family pets in the right environment.

What Breed Standard Does Australia Follow For The German Shepherd?Per the ANKC website, Australia adopted the German FCI breed standard in 1994.

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Is There Such A Thing As A Black German Shepherd

Commonly known as a black German Shepherd, the black color variation is definitely striking. Just like the classic GSD, this breed may exhibit either a medium length or a long length coat. The coloration of this German Shepherd is solid black. If a dog has any other colors located in their fur, then they are a bi-colored German Shepherd.


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