The GSD Family

German Shepherd Dog, West German Show (High Lines). This is the breed type most popular in Germany and in much of the world, and which at its best probably comes closest  to the Breed Standard. Representatives of this family can be successful show and breeding dogs, and still perform as herding, service, SAR and guide dogs, as well as reliable companions and sport dogs. They are shown world wide under the German SV system, which requires working titles of show and breeding dogs. They are redominantly black and red in colour, and exhibit a fluid, ground eating trot. Shortcomings which are most typical of this family are roached backs, cowhocks, fading pigmentation and weak temperament.

German Shepherd Dog, German Working Lines (also Belgian and Dutch lines, which are NOT related to Belgian or Dutch shepherds – see below). These dogs are bred primarily for sport and as service dogs. They excel as police, military, SAR and drug/bomb detection dogs. If you seriously want a working dog, or one that can be competitive in sport, these are the lines you would consider first. They are less likely to show the conformation typical of show lines, but many show excellent structure and are powerful and athletic. Sable, black and bicolour are typical, though black & tan also appears. Some show too much drive and aggression to be family or guide dogs, but many are suitable for any purpose.

German Shepherd Dog, East German Lines (DDR). This family was developed in East Germany from those dogs remaining in

the East after WW2. Those foundation dogs predated the  show/working split of post-war West Germany, and were not extreme in either conformation or drive. The DDR dogs tend to show solid working structure with heavy bone and massive heads, and strong temperament. Some dogs can show a degree of sharpness. Overall, they tend to be very sound. Some breeders are preserving the pure DDR lines but they are more commonly being bred into the German working lines with good success.

German Shepherd Dog, British Lines (Alsation). These dogs are descended from old lines imported into the British Isles prior to the modern, post-war German lines. They developed into a heavy boned, long bodied type with uniformly beautiful shoulders, showing generally soft temperament and variable drive. They did find usefulness as police service dogs and guide dogs, but with the relaxation of English quarantine laws, they are being supplanted in service by modern German working lines, and in the show ring by modern German show lines.

Crosses between types generally do not show the extremes of either parent’s type. Shown is a first generation DDR X Canadian show cross, from a Group winning show champion (Ch Corry Wiesental OVC TT) and a bitch of Kuhnhof breeding. He was my homebred male, Tim, and the most reliable dog I have ever known. He was living proof that a GSD can have high drive and hardness, and still be a wonderful companion, gentle with children and friendly with people. For 14 healthy years he made friends for the breed where ever he went.

Category: German dog

Similar articles: