The German Shepherd Dog (GSD) is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. But what many people don’t know is that there are show line and working line German Shepherds. A show line German Shepherd is bred for its looks and to compete in the show ring, whereas a working line German Shepherd is bred for its working abilities and versatility as a true working dog.
Furthermore, there are several different lines associated with each type of German Shepherd (show line and working line). These types are:
American show lines
Canadian show lines
West German show lines
West German working lines
DDR / East German working lines
Czech working line German Shepherds
And Various mixes of lines
West German Show Line German Shepherds
Referred to as WGSL, West German Show Lines are the most popular in Germany where the dogs are bred to conform to the SV standard prior to being bred. The look for these dogs is very uniform and typically presented as a black and red saddle back.
Sadly these dogs lack drive and have roach backs. They are bred for looks rather than working abilities and many have titles that were bought “under the table” in Europe. The emphasis has moved away from versatility and working abilities in an effort to win in the show ring for breeding purposes.
American / Canadian Show Line German Shepherds
Popular in North America since the 1970’s, these lines dominate the national kennel clubs. The focus with these dogs is conformation and a side gait.
Unfortunately it is difficult to find a well-bred American Line German Shepherd nowadays. Since the breed was popularized by the show Rin Tin Tin, German Shepherds have flooded the market. And with such rapid popularity comes breeders who are breeding for quantity and not quality. Many American shepherds here in the States are poorly bred with incorrect structure, weak nerves and little to no working abilities. Oversized shepherds and shepherds with bad hips run rampant in these lines.
West German Working Line German Shepherds
WGWL dogs are said to be the closest bloodlines to the original dogs produced under founder Max von Stephanitz. The focus with these dogs was originally correct working structure, solid temperaments and strong drives.
However, over the years breeder of WGWL dogs have prioritized prey drive over defense and soft dogs in order to ensure compatibility with protection dog sports like IPO/Schutzhund (now called IGP). Dogs with high prey and low defense may compete well on a trial field, where the routine is standard and predictable, but they tend to be house pets rather than guard dogs at home. There are WGWL dogs who excel in sports and have real working jobs as well, but the majority do not possess the necessary balance of prey and defense drives to do hard jobs.
DDR / East German Working Line German Shepherds
Developed during World War II, these lines were formed under the rigid control of East Germany where they created their own breeding program to have war dogs on hand for varied uses. These dogs have a distinct look with stocky bodies, large heads, thick bone and dark pigment. DDR dogs typically have sound temperaments due to the limited gene pool from which they originate.
It is difficult to find 100 percent DDR dogs these days. Fortunately many of the popular stud dogs from the DDR era have frozen semen on file which is still being used in breeding programs. Oftentimes the downside with DDR dogs is that they tend to be overly territorial and aloof or aggressive with strangers, so they require an abundance of early socialization to be balanced and clear-headed as adult dogs.
Czech Working Line German Shepherds
Originating in the communist Czechoslavakia, Czechoslovakian shepherd bloodlines are built on a foundation of working dogs used primarily for border patrol work and the military. The original breeding of Czech dogs revolved around the Czechoslovakian Army’s Pohranicni Straze kennel and later, Jinopo Kennels. These dogs are the perfect balanced of prey drive and defense drive. They have phenomenal temperaments, are extremely loyal and tend to be intense, agile working dogs. Czech shepherds are clear-headed and have wonderful on-off switches making them excellent Family Protection Dogs.
There are few breeders who focus on Czech lines, so finding a well-bred Czech Working Line German Shepherd dog can be difficult. Many kennels use Pohranicni Straze dogs in their lines, but lack the understanding of each individual dog’s strengths and weaknesses to make correct pairings for optimal success in outcome.
Our Family Protection Dogs
Here at Valor Protection Dogs, we are passionate about producing high quality family protection dogs who double as excellent and safe protection trained guard dogs. For this reason, we only import German Shepherd puppies who have top pedigrees from primarily Czechoslovakia and East Germany. We will talk more about why we chose Czech Shepherds in a future article! Thank you for reading. View our Czech Working Line German Shepherd Dogs For Sale.