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What Types Of German Shepherds Are There

Books By Michele Welton

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

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Types Of German Shepherd Dog

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. The American line dog is what you see most commonly here in the US, or a variation of it. Also referred to as the Canadian Shepherd, they have a common ancestor in the original shepherd, however they are really a breed of their own and are much different than shepherds found in the rest of the world. Typically they are large, heavy, have more angulation, thinner bones and significantly smaller heads. They do not have the required temperament to be a working dog, and most are not capable of protection work. Health issues such as hip issues and skin allergies are a concern which may result in a very expensive total cost of ownership or untimely death.

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 Armys Pohranicni Straze kennel. Some of the czech bloodlines contain phenomenal working drives and tend to be intense, agile working dogs.

Vom Geliebten Haus

How Old Should A 10 Year Old German Shepherd Be

10-year-old German Shepherd Unfortunately, a German Shepherds expected lifespan is between 9 and 13 years old, and their time left here is getting short. It is common for German Shepherds to face arthritis, skin problems, decreased activity, dental issues, weight gain or loss, or even cancer at this age and older.

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Different Types Of German Shepherds Supersized And Scaled Down

One of the ways breeders have sought to change and adapt the German Shepherd breed is by creating different types of German Shepherds which are larger or smaller.

Within any dog breed there is variation in size, and there are individuals who fall near the top, or the bottom, of the desired weight range.

Some pedigree breeders end up specializing in breeding lines of dogs which are consistently larger or smaller than the average GSD.

But other breeders have gone a step further, and used outcrossing to create new breeds which honor their favorite bits of the German Shepherd whilst changing others.

These dogs arent officially types of German Shepherd, because they are mixed breed dogs, bred to a different standard, and in some cases working towards recognition as a new breed in their own right.

Shiloh Shepherds

One such example is the Shiloh Shepherd.

Shiloh Shepherds were developed in the 1970s and 80s by a breeder named Tina Barber.

Barber wanted to produce a dog which looked like a large German Shepherd, but with lower rates of hip dysplasia, and a more placid temperament.

She sought to achieve this by outcrossing GSDs with Alaskan Malamutes and Canadian White Shepherds, amongst other breeds.

Shiloh Shepherds arent included on any of the major breed registries.

But they are recognized by the American Rare Breed Registry, a low profile organisation which champions lesser well known dog breeds.

King Shepherds

Another example is the King Shepherd.

Miniature German Shepherds

East German Ddr Working Line

Types of German Shepherds: A Dog Varieties Guide

This is the last working line. The reason why there are west and east German lines is because of the Berlin Wall. This separation made possible the preservation of each lineage without external influences. In comparison to Western German Shepherds:

  • They are smaller
  • Their color coat is darker, usually black or sable mottled with brown. Also, their back legs are longer and have a more stereotypical dog gait
  • They have strong bones, large heads, and broad shoulders
  • They have fewer health issues

The East German DDR working line was bred for military purposes. Thats why they are not only strong, loyal, and skilled but they can also endure extreme weather conditions and long working days.

They undergo difficult physical tests to belong to this line, which talks a lot about their quality. However, they can be also aloof and destructive if they dont receive constant training and physical activity.

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Ddr/east German Working Line

After World War II, the remaining war dogs were developed into what is known as the DDR / East German working line. They were maintained strictly by the government of East Germany. These German Shepherds were bred with a higher priority for athleticism and extraordinary work drive.

These dogs have a very distinct look because of their strict breeding. They have larger heads, darker coats, and a perfect working physique. The DDR is said to have better genetics and fewer health problems than its counterparts.

Different Types Of Shepherd Dog Breeds And Their Characteristics

You might find the terms shepherd and herding group dogs being used interchangeably in this article. And yes, as you might infer, these words are synonymous.

The breeds discussed in this section are all known for helping shepherds herd animals on their farms.

So without further ado, lets dive into this extensive list of the different types of shepherd dog breeds!

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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 dog’s 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.

Which Line Or Type Of German Shepherd Might You Have

The different types of GERMAN SHEPHERD

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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West German Show Line

The West German Show Line is similar to the American/Canadian lines, but their rear angulation is not as exaggerated. Additionally, this line focuses on both the appearance of the dog as well as their ability to work.

Another difference seen is in color West German lines are preferred red with a black saddle, while AKC and CKC require a tan coat with black saddle.

Further, the West German Show Line followed a hip and health certification system while the American / Canadian Line does not.

The Different Types Of German Shepherd In Terms Of Coat Color

Aside from having different lines within the German Shepherd breed, they also come in a fair few colors. Many assume that GSDs are only Black and Tan but that is far from the truth.

The Black and Tan is only prevalent in the media, thanks to the depiction of a GSD of that color during the Golden Years of Hollywood called Rin-Tin-Tin.

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Different Breeds Of German Shepherds: A Short History

With a lineage that only dates back just over 100 years, why is it that German Shepherds are the second most popular dog breed in the west today?

It all comes down to personality and versatility. Intelligent, hard working, dependable and obedient, German Shepherds are an exceptional breed that can be used in almost any working role, as well as having the placidity and protective nature that makes them a favorite amongst families. Originally bred as a working dog, shepherds were originally bred with a focus on work ethic and dependability. Its this attitude that carries over today into every variety, and its this reason why so many people adopted the breed across the world.

Are Shepherds Good Family Dogs

Types of German Shepherds: A Dog Varieties Guide

Shepherd dogs make good family dogs as much as they are great farm dogs because of their loyal and protective disposition. Once they are integrated with the family, they will remain devoted to each member for life.

Aside from being great companions, they are intelligent and quick learners. This allows them to easily adapt to a household environment.

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German Shepherd Show And Working Lines

While these are all considered the same breed, each is its own line. These lines usually indicate the heritage of the dog, and the differences between the types of German Shepherds usually stems from 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 bred for body type, color, and coloration pattern over healthy and personality, while working lines are more typically bred for personality and health, instead of to achieve a specific look.

Here are the most recognizable types of German Shepherd dogs and their defining features and characteristics:


List Of Types Of Shepherd Dogs

Types of shepherd dogs, which are variations of, similar to and/or often confused with the German Shepherd Dog.

Benny the tricolor Panda Shepherd with Mabry the black and tan German Shepherd.

“This is Shady and Nikki . They are both German Shepherds. Shady is 2 years old in this photo, has an aggression problem toward other dogs, but loves rubbing on me an slepping under the sheets with me. I rescued Nikki. She is 3 years old in this picture and is still skinny. She is very sweet and loves everyone and everything, she barks a lot. They are let out early in the morning and they run around my 4 acres. They are let in at dinner time. I love them and they mean everything to me!”

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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.

Are German Shepherds Easy To Train

How Many Types of German Shepherds | GSD | Are There? Which is Good

Some are easy to train, while others are more moderate.

As we’ve seen, different lines have different temperaments. German Shepherds from working lines are typically more assertive and stronger-willed. A “tougher” German Shepherd will be more challenging to train unless you pay closer attention to building the right Leader-Follower relationship with the dog.

That doesn’t mean “softer” German Shepherds are automatically easy to train. Some dogs with soft temperaments are skittish or shy, making them just as challenging as a strong-tempered dog.

In general, though, a sound-tempered German Shepherd who is a good fit for family life should be easy to train. Just establish the right Leader-Follower relationship and the dog will be happy to work with you.

This is taught in my puppy training book, Respect Training For Puppies .

Or see my advice on dog training

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Which Type Of German Shepherd Should You Choose

This will all depend on what you want you German shepherd to be doing.

Adopting the best show dog may not always be a great idea if you are just looking for a family pet.

These dogs were bred for show and they may have issues with fear and anxiety.

However, you may be looking for a show dog and in that case, then you need to consider the American, German, and Canadian show line GSDs and see what the best for you.

Also, make sure that the dog you are getting is from a responsible and reputable breeder.

You may be looking for a working dog that is tough and strong. You may also want him to be a family dog or give him the training to do certain tasks. It may be in your best interest to choose a German Shepherd that is from the working lines.

This is because these dogs were bred to be trainable, loyal, obedient, and intelligent at the same time.

With all these said it does not mean that you cannot get a show dog that can be used as a working dog.

They are still German Shepherds and getting one that can best fit what you want him to do is not hard.

There you Go WOOF!!!

Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

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Types Of German Shepherds By Hair Length

In the case of dogs, even the length of the hair is taken into account when talking about one variety or another. There are two types of German Shepherd taking this characteristic into account.

1. Short-haired German Shepherd

As their name suggests, they stand out for having a short coat. Likewise, they are very active dogs, therefore, they need to perform physical exercise daily.

In addition, it is noteworthy that the German Shepherd is among the most intelligent dog breeds, although they need training from puppies.

2. Long-haired German Shepherd

In this case, the opposite of the above happens â the animal boasts of having its long coat. This characteristic gives them great beauty and, for this reason, they attract even more attention.

The fur can measure up to 60 centimeters, making it very soft and shiny if it is cared for well. Thus, it is important to brush their hair twice a week with a metal brush.

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What Colors Do German Shepherds Come In

The most common colors are black and tan, black and red, black and cream, or black and silver. These colors cover the dog in one of these three patterns:

  • Saddleback the black overlays the dog’s back and sides . The rest of the dog is tan, red, cream, or silver. Usually there’s some black on the face, as well.
  • Blanketback the black extends further down the shoulders and hips.
  • Bicolor like a Doberman or Rottweiler, which is mostly black with small tan/red/cream markings specifically confined to the head, chest, and legs. Honestly I don’t know why this pattern is called bicolor, which simply means two colors. As we’ve just seen, the other two patterns also have just two colors.

Another common color is sable, which is an overall shade of gray, golden, or red, with black-tipped hairs that create a “dusted with black” effect.

A less common, but perfectly acceptable, color is solid black.

“Faulty” colors

Then there are two controversial colors: blue and liver:

  • Blue German Shepherds have inherited a color-modifying gene that changes their black pigment to smoky gray. Many blue dogs look as though they’ve been dusted with flour.
  • Liver German Shepherds have inherited a color-modifying gene that changes their black pigment to brown .

Blue and liver are considered serious faults by the official German Shepherd clubs and breeders who show their dogs in the conformation ring. But you can still register these dogs and compete with them in activities such as obedience and agility.

Red Sable German Shepherd

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

The red sable German Shepherd color is another variation on their sable coat which is due to the dominant agouti gene.

These genes however are not diluted like in the gray Shepherd, in this coat, a deep reddish-brown replaces the usual tan in the sable pattern.

This coat coloration has intermingling of red and black over most areas of their body.

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Are There Different Types Of German Shepherds

The American Kennel Club and the Kennel Club in the UK each only have one type of German Shepherd Dog on their registries.

This is also true of the Federation Cynologique Internationale a European registry which serves dog owners internationally.

The Australian National Kennel Club takes a slightly different approach however, and well come to that in a moment.

But first lets look at some of the criteria we can use to separate German Shepherds into informal groups:

  • Purpose
  • Size


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