What Is A German Shepherd
German Shepherds, also known as Alsatians , are one of the top dog breeds in the US! And its one of the most recognized dog breeds in the world. The breed was first developed as a working dog. They were bred to herd cattle for this reason, the German Shepherd breed is athletic, strong, and full of energy.
These beautiful dogs sport their famous upright ears, a broad head, with a tapered muzzle. The dogs ears are quite large and stand erect. The German Shepherd has a level back, a muscular body, and a bushy tail that curves down. The breeds coat is a little bristly and is a medium length however, there are long-haired German Shepherds, too. What about coat colors? Well get to that a bit later!
Top 5 Types Of German Shepherd Dogs
German Shepherd Show and Working Lines
The following breeds are all considered German shepherds, Each in his own way is his own line.
These lines usually indicate the Heritage of The Dog, How these dogs Were Bred and for what Purpose these dogs were bred.
While there are technically seven different lines, there are only two general lines: show lines and working lines.
Show lines, from America, Canada, and West Germany , were mainly bred for their glorious body type, color, and coloration pattern over health and personality.
While working lines as the name indicates were bred to be workaholics focusing on personality, health, and stamina instead of to achieve a specific look.
Here are the most recognizable types of German shepherd dogs, their defining features, traits, and characteristics:
East German Work Lines
Bred after World War 2 from the remnants of war dogs and controlled by the East German government, these lines tend to have a very uniform and standardized look. With large heads, a heavy bone structure and dark coloration, East German lines are favored because of solid genetic stock, exceptional temperament, and sound personality. Strong, aloof and heavily built, East German breeds make for exceptional guard and work dogs, but can still be good for families if you stay active.
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How Many Types Of German Shepherd Are There
While the medium and longhair varieties are the only recognized length of coat for purebred German Shepherds, the color of said coat can be varied. Not all will be allowed in competition, with some color variations being considered to be faults affecting their scoring. In terms of coat color, there are the following different types of German Shepherd:
It should be noted that not all types of German Shepherds are accepted by all breed associations such as the FCI . Similarly, there are dogs which look very similar to the German Shepherd, but are not considered part of the breed. We will discuss these breeds further below.
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.
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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Where Are German Shepherd Dogs From
Perhaps never in the history of any breed has such concerted effort been put into improving a dog, mostly due to the formation in 1899 of the Verein fur Deutsche Scharferhunde SV, an organization in Germany devoted to overseeing the breeding of the German Shepherd.
Breeders sought to develop not only a herding dog but also one that could excel at jobs requiring courage, athleticism, and intelligence.
During World War I, they were the obvious choice for a war sentry. At the same time, the AKC changed the breeds name from German Sheepdog to Shepherd Dog, and Britain changed it to Alsatian Wolfdog, both attempts to dissociate the dog from its unpopular German roots.
The Wolfdog was later dropped as it caused many people to fear the dogs. In 1931, the AKC restored the breeds name to German Shepherd Dog.
Saddle Back German Shepherd Dog
This by far the most common of all types of German Shepherd. While they are usually of two colors, it is the distinctiveness of their markings which gives them this name. The saddle part refers to a patch of black fur which lays over their back, resembling the shape of a saddle on a horse. Some people refer to this as a âblanketâ pattern, interpreting the shape as of a blanket were laid over their back.
The other color of Saddle Back German Shepherds are usually either tan or red. In many dog shows and competitions, the more vibrant the color, the better the scoring. Liver color is not welcomed and may be used to deduct points in German Shepherd show dogs. They usually also have a black muzzle which covers their snout and parts of their face. Other areas such as their tail may exhibit black coloration.
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Creating Different Types Of German Shepherds Through Mixed Breeding
Over the past three decades, weve seen an enormous rise in the number and popularity of designer dogs litters created by mating dogs from two different pedigrees.
Since German Shepherds are popular in their own right the 2nd most registered breed with the AKC in fact its hardly surprising that they frequently provide one half of a designer dog mix.
These mixes arent purebred dogs, so once again they cant technically be regarded as categories of German Shepherds.
But they are types of dogs which are likely to share very GSD-like looks and temperaments.
Lets take a look at some examples.
German Shepherd Dogs Mixed With Other Herding Breeds
German Shepherds belong to the herding group of dog breeds. These breeds instinctively try to round up other animals, and they make valuable livestock guardians.
German Shepherds mixed with other herding breeds are likely to act in a predictable way around other animals, but their behavior around people and their looks can be highly variable.
Examples of these mixes include
There are lots of things about these puppies which you wont find out until theyre grown up like what their coat will be like, how big theyll get, and what theyre personality will be like.
To read more about creating different types of dogs by mixed breeding, and its pros and cons, visit us here.
American Show Lines German Shepherds
- The American Show Line German Shepherds are also called the AKC Lines GSDs. This type of German Shepherds are generally taller and longer. They come in different colors like black and tan saddle, solid black, saddle sable and solid white.
- The coloring of American Show Line German Shepherds coat is typically lighter. This type of German Shepherd are generally more laid-back. American Show Lines GSDs have lower drive, means they have less energy as compared to Working Line GSDs.
- Americans Show Line German Shepherds are good pets for family. These GSDs are very obedient, tracking and good at herding sheep as compared to Working Lines GSDs.
- American Show Line GSDs are active but have low strength, and because of this weakness these GSDs do not really best for top personal protection or law enforcement, but some of them do reasonably good and are widely used.
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Solid Color German Shepherd Dog
The solid color German Shepherd dog is less common than the Saddle Back, but they shouldn’t have any other differentiating characteristics. Their health status and temperament should not be informed by color. It is possible to have powder blue colors in the dog’s coat, but it is unlikely this will be solid. While a GSD may be accepted in competition, they will likely be marked down for both this color and liver. However, for solid colors, you tend to only get solid black or solid white German Shepherds.
Solid black German Shepherds are accepted in competition. However, solid white German Shepherds are one of the few color variations which tend to be immediately disqualified. While black GSDs are due to a recessive gene, white GSDs are thanks to a dominant gene which exists in some litters. It should not be confused with albinism. Neither should it be confused with the Berger Blanc Suisse, also known as a White Swiss Shepherd. Perhaps partly due to their disqualification from competition, solid white Germans Shepherds are not very common.
How Many Types Of Shepherd Dogs Are There
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 Dogs
- American show lines
- DDR / East German working lines
- Czech working lines
- Various mixes of lines
WEST GERMAN SHOW LINESAMERICAN / CANADIAN SHOW LINESWEST GERMAN WORKING LINESDDR / EAST GERMAN WORKINGLINESCZECH WORKING LINES– The following section was written by Christine Kemper of Blackthorn Kennel.
Would They Make A Good Pet
Due to the calm, loyal, and patient nature of German Shepherd dogs, easy adaptability, they are considered good as house dogs. They have a caring temperament, high intelligence level, loyalty for their owners, the perfect qualities one needs in a pet dog. These dogs respect their owners and would protect them with their lives as seen in many life instances. They make wonderful, energetic companions and can be taught to do almost anything. Female German Shepherds may have less tolerance than male German Shepherds towards other family dogs.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as apotential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner isvery rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with thelegislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat.Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list,and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
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Understanding The Original Breed Standard For German Shepherds
If you ask those who want to maintain the breed as it was originally bred, they will say all German Shepherds should only be bred to breed standard.
This means they should have a strict set of breeding criteria including but not limited to having a certain appearance, a certain temperament, certain drives + more.
What Does A German Look Like According To Breed Standard?
For the German Shepherd purists, what does a German Shepherd who is bred to standard look like?
The ideal dog has a double coat of medium lengthvaries in color, and most colors are permissible. Strong rich colors are preferred. Pale, washed-out colors and blues or livers are serious faults. A white dog must be disqualified.
American GSD standards dont regulate hip and elbow certification.
As a comparison, you can compare the AKC american breed standard with the FCI European breed standard .
As you can see, the FCI/SV standard puts more of an emphasis on the history of the German Shepherd, stricter health requirements and its utilisation as a working type dog + working titles .
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.
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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:
West German Show Lines Types Of German Shepherds
The West German Show lines are known as the handsome ones.
They have astonishingly stunning looks, but that does not mean that they were bred only for beauty and conformation.
This dog is governed by the club for german shepherd dogs inc that is the original German Shepherd Club and registry of the World.
Just like their American and Canadian counterparts, they are bred to have a specific appearance.
Despite all these, they are required to prove that they can also perform as working dogs.
Although many dogs barely pass the obedience and agility tests, there is usually a good number of dogs that are loyal, obedient, and intelligent with the right looks.
West German Show lines are similar to the American Show lines in many ways, but they are preferably red with a black saddle rather than being tan.
Every dog in this line is required to have a working title and a hip and elbow health clearance before being allowed to pass their genes.
If you are looking for an amazingly adorable dog that can be a protector and a family pet then this is the right type of German Shepherd for you.
These are not lazy dogs and they will need a lot of training, exercise, and socialization.
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West German Working Line German Shepherd
West German Working Lines come in various colors, but youll find most of them to have strong, rich colors. Many can appear almost entirely black with hints of cappuccino shade closer to the mid-limb region. Black and tan colors are common.
However, this description is expansive enough to cover many working variety GSDs and shouldnt be taken as the sole identifying indicator of West German Working Lines. In addition to being visibly darker, these dogs are also more compact than their show-line counterparts.
Their smaller bodies make them more athletic, which means they demand more stimulation. But if you actually want a dog that can engage your family with high energy, then a Working Line GSD is perfect. This perfection also comes on a budget.
Show Line dogs are usually more expensive than the working variety, and you can expect to purchase a West German Working Line GSD for $1500 to $1800. Some breeders release working line puppies for as little as $700, while others charge over $2000 for a similar dog. Ultimately many business factors like supply, demand, experience, reputation, and cost of doing business need to be factored in.
One might think that with working line dogs, standard best practices like visiting the stud do not apply. Thats not true. You must always ask the breeder to show you the puppys parents, and you must observe the breeding conditions.
Characteristics Of The German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is a breed of German Shepherd or Shepherd dog, as the name suggests. Its origin dates back to 1899, when the breed was developed by Maximilian von Stephanitz to serve as a companion in field work, especially in the task of protecting and guiding flocks of sheep.
It is a breed characterized by its flexible, muscular and strong body, so the German Shepherd is considered an excellent guard dog, which is why he is also currently trained as a police dog.
The German Shepherd has a life expectancy of 15 years and is generally identified by its black fur with brown areas. However, did you know that there are several types of German Shepherd? The breed has been developed in different parts of the world over the years, which has resulted in the appearance of varieties that are now recognized as types of German Shepherd. Find out what they are next!
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