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What Are The 5 Types of German Shepherds?

When people think of a German Shepherd, many first think of the classic black and brown patterned coat that is very common. 

However, there are so many other types of German Shepherds, all with their own looks. 

Specifically, there are 5 types of German Shepherds.

What Are The 5 Types of German Shepherds?

The 5 types of German Shepherds include American show line German Shepherds, West show line, West working line, East working line, and Czech working line. Each kind of German Shepherd has been specifically bred for certain traits and certain looks. Let’s look at all these different types in more detail.

One of the main differences between some of the types of German Shepherds is that they are either show dogs or working dogs.

Throughout time, breeders all over the world want to create dogs with certain traits.

Since German Shepherds are popular amongst many dog shows, breeders want to create German Shepherds that are show ready from birth.

Show line German Shepherds are bred for their physical traits and look instead of their ability to work. 

Breeders are prioritizing the beauty of the function with show line dogs. 

Working line German Shepherds are bred for their skills.

Strength, agility, and size are more of a priority to these breeders. 

There are also different types of German Shepherds because breeders in different parts of the world want different things. 

Breeders in the East and West may breed for different specific traits because that is what will work best in the climate that they live in. 

This is the same for Czech breeders as they have to breed German Shepherds that work best for the place that they live in. 

Over time, all these different needs and attributes have created 5 specifically different types of German Shepherds. 

What Is the History of German Shepherds?

While the American German Shepherd is one of the more common and popular types today, these dogs didn’t originate in America. 

Instead, these dogs were first bred in Germany, as their name entails. 

German Shepherd breeding was first started by Captain Von Stephanitz who wanted to create the perfect working dog to herd sheep and other livestock. 

He started his journey at a dog show, where he was met with a dog named Hektor. 

Stephanitz found that this dog was exactly what he was looking for in a working dog and bought Hektor right away. 

He changed the dog’s name to Horand, and this dog became the first known German Shepherd. 

Horand showed many physical features that were similar to the physical features of wolves. 

This is because German Shepherds are actually close descendants of wolves, so they share many physical traits. 

Stephanitz continued to breed Horand and created more German Shepherds. 

It is also said that Stephanitz cross-bred German Shepherds and wolves in his breeding programs. 

Over a lot of time, we have gotten the German Shepherds of today. 

They aren’t as closely tied to their wolve ancestors, but they still share many similar qualities even after going to different countries.

American Show Line German Shepherds

American show line German Shepherds are one the more common and popular types of German Shepherds. 

These dogs have become quite different from the original German Shepherds from Germany due to being bred with American dogs over the years. 

These kinds of German Shepherds are taller and longer than other types of German Shepherds. 

They also have these main coat color types: black and tan saddle, black, saddle sable, and white. 

Black and tan saddle is the most common type that people normally see.

Since this type of German Shepherd is show line, obedience is one of their main traits. 

They have been bred for obedience so that they can learn plenty of tricks and commands for shows. 

You can also adopt show line German Shepherds and their obedience makes them good as pets. 

These German Shepherds are a lot more laid back than their working counterparts. 

Sometimes, they can be seen as lazy and having a lower drive.

They typically have less energy than working German Shepherds as they are bred for show and not work. 

However, these German Shepherds still are very agile as agility is one of their strengths.

American show line German Shepherds are bred to have a narrow head and an exaggerated rear angulation. 

This is so that the German Shepherds that go into shows can have a specific look that is desired in judging. 

West Show Line German Shepherds

It is said the West show line German Shepherds are the most beautiful type of German Shepherd. 

These dogs are an amazing combination of beauty and strength. 

They may be bred for beauty, but these dogs are still very intelligent and can be amazing protectors. 

These German Shepherds have a slightly sloped body and have some different color patterns than American show line German Shepherds. 

The different color patterns include red and black saddle, black and tan, sable, bi-color, and black. 

Another physical feature that these dogs share is that they have fuller faces.

Due to their beauty and show line requirements, West show line German Shepherds have many health requirements to pass to be able to breed.

They have to have perfect health without any genetic health problems (such as hip and elbow dysplasia, which German Shepherds are prone to have) to breed.

West show line German Shepherds have an even temperament and protective qualities that make them great pets.

These dogs are a lot more energetic than American show line German Shepherds and they do need a lot more exercise. 

Overall, West show line German Shepherds may be considered the “perfect German Shepherd” to many dog owners out there. 

West Working Line German Shepherds

These German Shepherds come the closest to the working dog ideal that Von Stephanitz had. 

West Working Line German Shepherds have an even temperament, high intelligence, calm attitude, high energy, and are a very beautiful breed. 

These dogs have lots of agility, energy, and strength which make them amazing working dogs. 

They are protective and would make great service dogs due to their strength and skills.

These German Shepherds are good at high-intensity sports.

The color patterns that these shepherds have include sable, black, bi-color, and black and tan. 

While these German Shepherds are beautiful, they do encounter more health issues than some other types of German Shepherds.

East Working Line German Shepherds

East working line German Shepherds have origins that take place right after WW2. 

This has led to their looks being very controlled as their breeding was usually taken care of under tight requirements and standards. 

With this, they are considered to be the purest German Shepherd as they have the closest ties to the original German Shepherd.

These German Shepherds have a very even temperament and are very obedient.

They are also more defensive and reserved. They are great partners for working in service work. 

With their strict breeding standards, they have developed the ability to handle harsher weather conditions.

Most of these kinds of German Shepherds are black sable or just sable. 

There are some solid black East working line shepherds, but they are a lot rarer.  

Czech Working Line German Shepherds

Finally, we have Czech Working Line German Shepherds. 

These are the most powerful German Shepherds as they have the highest energy drive out of all the other types. 

They are extremely strong, graceful, agile, and loyal. 

These dogs make amazing service partners due to their powerful qualities.

Czech working line shepherds have strong jaws, broad shoulders, and darker coat coloring. 

The colors of their coat are the closest in similarity to wolves such as gray, dark brown, and black. 

There are very strict breeding protocols for these German Shepherds as they are required to have zero health problems to breed. 

These dogs are extremely healthy and are a lot stronger than other German Shepherd types.

Czech working line German Shepherds wouldn’t make good pets because of their defensiveness and extreme strength.

These dogs are the best for working with law enforcement or other types of service. 

Final Thoughts

There are many types of German Shepherds and while they may be the same breed, they are so many differences between the types. 

To recap, there are American show line German Shepherds, West show line, West working line, East working line, and Czech working line. 

Show line German Shepherds are the best to have as pets as they are less energetic and usually gentler than their working line counterparts. 

American and west show lines are the best German Shepherds to have as pets. 

American show line German Shepherds are what most people think of when they think of a German Shepherd and West show line may be the most beautiful German Shepherd.

While each German Shepherd has their own unique qualities, none of them is better than the other. 

Each type has its pros and cons that make them amazing in its own way.