5 Different Types Of German Shepherd Breeds & Their Features

5 Different Types Of German Shepherd Breeds & Their Features

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Do you want to know about the two major groups and five different types of German Shepherd breeds and their traits? You’re in the right place.

There are five main types of German Shepherds which have been further classified into two groups i.e. Show Line German Shepherds and Working Line German Shepherds.

The American Show Lines & West Show Lines are bred primarily for their appearance, showcasing a sloped back and distinct gait, making them frequent stars in dog shows. In contrast, European Working Lines are bred for their working capabilities rather than looks, excelling in tasks such as police work, search and rescue, and protection.

East German DDR Working Lines are known for their robust health, intelligence, and strong working drive, originally bred for patrolling the East German border. Lastly, the Czech Working Lines, developed from DDR lines, are distinguished by their dark pigmentation and are highly sought after for military and police work due to their exceptional working abilities and resilience.

Following topics will be covered in this article:

  1. Brief Introduction
  2. Show Line Vs Working Line German Shepherds
  3. Types Of German Shepherds

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01. Brief Introduction

German Shepherd is a modern, medium to large size dog breed originated in Germany. They were originally trained and popular for herding sheep and patrolling territory borders during wars. Beside petting, GSDs are also used for herding, search & rescue operations, building protection, grabbing criminals, etc..

  • Why So Popular? German Shepherd is considered as one of the best dog breeds because it is highly intelligent, protective, attractive, elegant, smart, obedient, working, and strong.
  • Names? Some of the other names of German Shepherds are: Alsatian wolf dog, Berger Allemand, Deutscher and Schäferhund.
  • Weight & Height? Their weight vary from 20Kg to 40Kg and height ranges from 55Cm to 605Cm.
  • How Many Puppies Does a Female give Birth to? At one birth German Shepherd female gives birth to 4-9 puppies.
  • GSD Price? The prices for world class purebred German Shepherd puppies with pedigree range from $2000 to $10,000 or more. In order to know more about the prices of German Shepherds and top-quality German Shepherd breeders in the US, read this article: 20+ Best German Shepherd Breeders In The United States.

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02. Show Line Vs Working Line German Shepherds

In this section, you will learn about the major differences between Show Line & Working Line German Shepherds.

Show Line German Shepherds

  • Show Line German Shepherds as from their name “Show Line” are used for dog shows.
  • In order to look excellent, these GSDs have to be perfect like their teeth have to be lineup perfectly, their ears have to be lineup, their hair should be proper, their length should be perfect, their height should be perfect, their weight should be perfect, angles of their bones should be perfect because the show always look for the perfect physical German Shepherds.
  • They  have an angulated back that slopes from high to low as you go from shoulders to rear end. | Related: Slant Back German Shepherds | Types of Showline GSDs
Showline German Shepherd Example

Working Line German Shepherds

  • Working Line German Shepherds have straight back and athletic type of figure, purely built to work all the time tirelessly. They have bigger heads & bigger bones | Related: Straight Back German Shepherds | Types of Working Line GSDs.
  • The Working Line German Shepherds don’t need to be perfect. Their tail just not need to be in the right angulation.
  • The Working Line GSDs as clearly evident from their name “Working Line”, always ready for work, work and work. They never get lazy, always active and desireful.
  • In short we can say that Show Line German Shepherds excel in the shows whereas Work Line German Shepherds excel in work.
Example of Working Line German Shepherd

03. Types Of German Shepherds

In this section, you will learn about 5 different types of German Shepherd breeds, their features, and traits.

  1. American Show Line German Shepherds
  2. West Show Line German Shepherds
  3. West Working Line German Shepherds
  4. East Working Line DDR German Shepherds
  5. Czech Working Line German Shepherds
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01. 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.
1) The American Show Line German Shepherds are also called the AKC Lines GSDs. This type of German Shepherds are generally taller and longer. 
2) 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.
  • Have lower drive, means they have less energy as compared to Working Line GSDs.
Black Color American Show line German Shepherd
  • Good pets for family.
  • Very obedient, tracking and good at herding sheep as compared to Working Lines GSDs.
  • They 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.
American Show line German Shepherds are Very obedient, tracking and good at herding sheep as compared to Working Lines GSDs.

02. West Show Line German Shepherds

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

03. West Working Line German Shepherds

  • The West Working Line German Shepherds have a very stable temperament and got stunning looks.
  • Have strong drives, excellent working ability, calmer attitude and perfect colors.
1) The West Working Line German Shepherds have a very stable temperament and got stunning looks.
2) Have strong drives, excellent working ability, calmer attitude and perfect colors.
  • The West Working Lines GSDs have different colors like sable, black, bi-color, and black and tan.
  • The back of West Working Line German Shepherds is bit more sloping than the East Working Line DDR German Shepherds.
  • Could counter more health issues than the East Working Line GSDs.
The back of West Working Line German Shepherds is bit more sloping than the East Working Line DDR German Shepherds.
  • West Working Line GSDs often excel at different sports and jobs such as search and rescue operations or guarding protection.
  • Though the West Working Line GSDs have a very strong desire, but they have such a cool temperament that they know when to become aggressive and when to sit calm. This fantastic trait make them ideal German Shepherd breed for an enthusiastic family.
West Working Line GSDs often excel at different sports and jobs such as search and rescue operations or guarding protection.

04. East Working Line DDR German Shepherds

  • The East Working Line DDR German Shepherds are very sturdy & graceful dogs particularly long coated.
  • Have really strong bones, large heads and expanded shoulders.
  • Use for military and search & rescue purposes, mainly for patrolling territory borders.
  • Excellent in tracking and attacking. DDR stands for Deutsche Demokratische Republik(East Germany).
1) The East Working Line DDR German Shepherds are very sturdy & graceful dogs particularly long coated.

2) Have really strong bones, large heads and expanded shoulders.
  • The East Working Line GSDs have darkest colored coats among all GSD Lines.
  • They are mostly black sable or sable, but some can be solid black, but it is very rare. Their backs are little sloped.
  • Can resist extreme harsh weather conditions and long working days.
  • More defensive and reserved in nature.
1) The East Working Line GSDs have darkest colored coats among all GSD Lines.
2) They are mostly black sable or sable, but some can be solid black, but it is very rare. Their backs are little sloped.
  • The East Working Line DDR German Shepherd have very strict breeding standards. These GSDs are only allowed to breed if they are fit and free of hip dysplasia.
  • Even puppies are tested for proper bone structure code quality temperament. If the bones in hip joint don’t fit together correctly, one can develop a condition called hip dysplasia.
The East Working Line DDR German Shepherd have very strict breeding standards. These GSDs are only allowed to breed if they are fit and free of hip dysplasia.

05. Czech Working Line German Shepherds

  • Czech Working Line GSDs originated from communist Czechoslovakia, that’s why they are called Czech Working Line German Shepherds.
  • Very loyal, graceful, agile, and got the most powerful desire among all other German Shepherd breeds.
  • Have extremely powerful jaws and broad shoulders.
1) Czech Working Line GSDs originated from communist Czechoslovakia, that’s why they are called Czech Working Line German Shepherds.
2) Very loyal, graceful, agile, and got the most powerful desire among all other German Shepherd breeds.
3) Have extremely powerful jaws and broad shoulders.
  • Their coats have dark coloring, can often be found by their darker coats and less sloping backs.
  • Have more uniform coloring like wolfish gray, dark brown to black.
  • Ears are slightly smaller than the other 4 GSD breeds.
1) Czech Working Line German Shepherds coats have dark coloring, can often be found by their darker coats and less sloping backs.
2) Have more uniform coloring like wolfish gray, dark brown to black.
3) Ears are slightly smaller than the other 4 GSD breeds.
  • These dogs also have very strict standards for breeding and that’s why they are very healthy like East Working Line DDR GSDs.
  • Have the least behavioral problems as compared to other four types of GSDs.
  • Best for chasing down criminals, patrolling border territories, protection jobs and search & rescue operations.
Black Color Czech Working Line German Shepherd

Conclusion

So it was all about 5 different types of German Shepherd breeds, their features, and traits. Hope, this article would have provided enough information about them. If you like this post then don’t forget to share with other people. Share your suggestions or feedback in the comments section below.

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Comments

11 responses to “5 Different Types Of German Shepherd Breeds & Their Features”

  1. Very good research and very imformative in identifying a good German shefard

  2. Now let's talk about how a good portion of the Czech dogs are descended from the East German DDR dogs.. saying they have less behavioural problems is a disservice to diligent breeders of all the working lines who strive for balanced temperaments. Showline dogs are all about the appearance and very little consideration is given to their nerves and temperament and health ergo they are not the best family pet.

  3. Avatar
    Anonymous

    Thank you so much for putting this list together, it is exactly what I was looking for. I have a West German show/Czech working cross who, at almost 3yrs old, is 25in shoulder, 90lbs, medium coat, black and tan blanket, flat back. He is an absolutely amazing dog. Medium prey drive, med/high desire, high protective nature, extremely active, but at home he's happy and sweet. We are looking to get another shep, possibly DDR, but after reading your article I don't know if they are the right dog for us. Always good to have the facts!

    1. You’re most welcome. Yes, DDRs are very powerful dogs they might not be the ideal choice for families. In Working Line Shep Categories, Czech Working Line German Shepherds could be better choice than DDRs because they have the least behavioral problems.

  4. i have found the DDR dogs are wonderful family dogs, very tolerant of children, in fact love kids.And while hey have great drives, they can also turn it off when asked. They are very protective of their families, and do have great strength. In fact, the czech dogs mostly come from the DDR lines, and if you research pedigrees, you will find that is actually true. In fact all of the named lines will trace back to a time when the German Shepherd was all of the same type, all were equally capable prior to breeders breeding in some traits and out other traits for their selected purpose. Every german shepherd should be capable of being dual purpose dogs.

    1. No doubt DDRs are wonderful dogs, but you can’t ignore their strength and strong desire. There have been cases where mixed breed GSD’s have attacked people particularly kids. When you allow dogs inside your home you need to take lot of precautions, a slight mistake could cost you big.

      You are true “Every German Shepherd should be capable of being dual purpose dogs.” & they are widely being used as dual purpose dogs.

  5. Totally untrue. The czech dogs have been bred priarily as sport dogs these days with over the top drives. that iswhy police like to use the czech dogs. the average person/family does not provide enough stimulation for a dog breed like that. the dog is set uo for failure in the hands of someone that dont utilize that energy.

  6. I have a DDR bitch who's 26" at the withers and a fit 110lbs. She's often mistaken for a male or a Malamute cross – which drives me crazy.

    1. You should be! How one can relate some xyz dog breed to a German Shepherd. & People who call her male tell them she is a wrestler 🙂

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