German Shepherds are the most popular breed of dogs in the world. They are also commonly known as Alsatians. They came in to existence in 1899 and the breed is not over 100 years old but managed to become the second most popular breed in the world.
People from all over the world who love dogs want to adopt German shepherds at least once in their lifetime because of their massive popularity and stardom, which is typically because of the excellent character and personality of these dogs that make them stand out.
Their intelligence, reliability, intellectual capability, energy, smartness, versatility, adaptability, sensitivity, agility, obedience, easy-going nature, kindness, protective nature and loyalty make them man’s best friend and the best companion one could ever ask for. Once you get close to them and take care of them, they will never forget it and will always love and regard you. The special thing about them is that they never forget. They feel that it’s their responsibility to protect and guard their owners at all times, which again makes them wonderful companions.
They are highly adaptable and learn quickly, which makes it easy to train them. These dogs may seem very aggressive to the strangers and other pets if they are not trained properly. But with sufficient training their aggression and anger can be controlled and minimized.
A male German shepherd is not more than 24-26 inches, and a female German shepherd is usually 22-24 inches. These dogs have a life of maximum 10 years and weigh 65-90 pounds (male) and 50-70 pounds (female). Although they look very agile and aggressive, they are very soft and kind from the inside once you get close to them, love them, take care of them and provide them all the mental and physical stimulation that they need.
Since they are so versatile and intellectual; People love German Shepherds of all types and breeds and desire to adopt them. Over the several years numerous breeds of German Shepherds have been developed and each have their own unique skills, traits, features and capabilities that make each one of them very appealing and desirable by the dog lovers. When adopting a German shepherd it is very important to be aware of all the types and categories of this breed to ensure that the one you choose suits you and your lifestyle.
Let’s now look at the various types of this breed to help you make a better choice and decision when getting a German shepherd.
German Shepherd breed types
Below are the 5 unique types of German shepherd dogs that have been developed over the years, have been bred for different purposes and have been produced in different geographical, historical and time zones.
American Show Lines
American show lines are the lines of German Shepherds that are not bred in the same way as a standard German shepherd dog. The main purpose of the breeders in this category is to produce an obedient dog that is more submissive than an average German shepherd.
These dogs are mainly bred for their outward looks and appearance and that is why they look significantly different from the standard German shepherd dogs with more of an angular face, a narrow head and a heavier but lighter bone structure.
As compared to the traditional standard German shepherd, American Show lines are less aggressive and temperamental and are more suitable to be kept as pets in a family as they can prove to be great companions and kids love them they are very playful and kind and extremely suitable as a family pet.
These dogs have relatively low energy levels and do not demand high amounts of physical activity and physical stimulation making them suitable for someone who has a low to moderately active lifestyle. They are calmer in nature but still require some small amounts of physical activity for better health and better mood of the dog.
Mixed German Shepherds
There are many different types of mixed breed German shepherds. Each breed is based on the dog the German shepherd mate with. It is known that German shepherds can breed with almost all other breeds of dogs and because of this you can find many different cross breeds of German shepherds all over the world.
The traits and appearance of German Shepherds can vary according to the dog breed they mate with. As German Shepherd Dogs can breed with almost all other types of dogs, you can find unique traits in all of their crossbreeds. These crossbreeds are however as strong as the German Shepherds. Their traits are based on the traits of the German shepherd dogs and the dog that they breed with. This makes for a unique combination of traits in dogs.
East European Shepherd
This breed was developed for a military purpose. This breed was based on the German shepherd dog. It is one of the most important dog breeds in Russia. This breed is known to be owned by high officials in the Soviet Union.
King Shepherd is a crossbreed between the Shiloh Shepherd Dog and the German shepherd dog. The dog is known for its majestic size and strongly built. These qualities give it the name King Shepherd. It is one of the most popular crossbreeds of German Shepherd Dogs.
One of the more unique entries on the list. This is a crossbreed of Carpathian wolves with German shepherd dogs. These dogs were specifically bred so that the world could have a dog that had the qualities and characteristics of both a Carpathian wolf and a German shepherd dog. It was mostly used as a military dog. It is known as an attack dog.
This is a relatively new breed. It is still under study and under development. They are known to be more intelligent and have more stable temperament as compared to other breeds of German shepherd dogs.
Berger Blanc Suisse
Berger Blanc Suisse or white Swiss shepherd dog is considered a separate breed, however it is known to have genetic elements of German shepherd dogs as well. It is thought that these dogs are very closely related to the white German shepherds that are native to North America.
West German Show Lines
These dogs are particularly famous for their looks and are regarded as handsome and energetic. They need a lot of physical stimulation and exercise on a regular basis to have a clear mind and a good health. They need to be trained in order to behave better and need a lot of socialization with people and other dogs. They are also bred for their looks and appearance and require less energy drive than the working lines. They have more of sloped body than the standard German shepherd breed however; it’s less sloppy than the American show lines.
As these dogs are mainly bred for their breed the do not have high levels of work drives and are calmer in nature. Their nature and appearance is in harmony and they usually have very attractive and appealing coat colors. These dogs are excellent to be kept as pet in the families.
They are larger and softer in structure and there is a minimal amount of difference in the appearance of the two genders. The Male dogs have less of masculine features and bodies than the standard German shepherd dog. These dogs are also not so aggressive and temperamental so they make great pets and companions.
West German Working Lines
West German working lines are bred for working purposes and not for their looks. It is for this reason they have high working drive and are very energetic. Even though they have high work drive and are energetic they know when to calm down and relax. They are excellent at sports and can indulge in various physical activities.
They are also capable of performing actual work tasks such as rescue, search, protect and guard. The look like dogs in their appearance and were produced by Max von Stephanitz. These dogs are very suitable for a family that has a very active lifestyle. In terms of appearance they are not as good as the show lines and are much smaller with fewer angulations in their appearance.
These dogs are comparatively more aggressive and that’s why they require proper training and need to be carefully taken care of. They need to be monitored closely when left with children as they have a very high prey drive and consider every fast moving thing as a prey. This could include a running cat, a running child or a moving bicycle. The dog will immediately run towards the moving object to catch and attack the moving thing considering it as a prey.
However, with proper training their anger levels and aggression can be controlled to a great extent.
East German DDR working lines
This breed came in to existence during the World War 2 when Germany was divided in to two east and west and Berlin was formed. The main intention behind breeding this dog was to produce a dog that has all the necessary characteristics and that could stand out and prove to be better than the dogs bred in west. They were bred to have all the variety of characteristics such as ability to withstand extreme weather conditions, ability to run and walk for miles and ability to climb at high altitudes.
All this effort was done to make sure these dogs could be used at the border police and posses better and more characteristics than the eastern German Shepherds.
These dogs are extremely strong, muscular and athletic. They have good muscles with broad shoulders and their backs are mostly slopping. These dogs are mostly very dark in color with a lot of pigment in their skins and are very powerful and intelligent with high levels of work drive and energy that requires a lot of mental and physical stimulation. However, in today’s time it is hard to find the pure DDR breed because the wall between the east and West Germany created during the World War 2 has been removed and now these dogs are mixed with the western Germany ones .
In 1989 when the wall was removed there was no longer any need for these dogs for guarding the borders so the breeders started mixing them with the dogs from the west Germany and others to have other desirable characteristics. It is for this reason it is hard to find a pure and original DDR German Shepherd in the today’s world.
Czech Working Lines
These dogs were produced in Czechoslovakia as government dogs before the two countries split and became independent countries. The most interesting fact about these dogs is that they were bred in a single kennel which was under the control of Czechoslovakian army. The main purpose of creating these dogs was to protect the borders and so these dogs have strong work drives and high levels of energy making them perfect for use in government and other sorts of works.
These dogs are different from the DDR working lines in terms of the appearance as the DDR are darker colored and pigmented than the Czech working lines. Another significant difference is in the area where they were bred as The Czech working lines were produced on the Czech/ German border and DDR were produced in the East Germany.
This category of German shepherd has a high working drive and needs plenty of physical and mental stimulation as it likes to indulge in different types of works and sports. It is for this reason this category of dog may be suitable for a person who has a fast and active lifestyle. As these dogs were originally bred for working in government, if they are not provided with the appropriate levels of physical stimulation they may get aggressive and destructive making them dangerous to be left around kids.
Modern Breed of German Shepherd Dogs
The modern breed of German shepherd dogs faces a lot of controversy. A lot of experts believe that the modern breed of German shepherd dogs does not follow the true ideology of original German shepherd dogs. Some experts believe it to be a mixed breed instead of a full German shepherd breed. However, there are as many experts who believe that the modern breed of German shepherd dogs is 100 full breed as they have the same traits that are traditionally found in German shepherd dogs.
Classes of German Shepherd Dogs
In addition to the different breeds based on the bloodlines there are also different classes of German Shepherd Dogs. These classes include;
- Black German Shepherd Dogs
- White German Shepherd Dogs
- Sable German Shepherd Dogs
- Saddle Coat German Shepherd Dog
- Panda German Shepherd Dogs
Black German Shepherd Dogs
This dog is the same breed as the German shepherd however it is known as black German shepherd due to its completely black color. German Shepherds belonging to this class are sometimes larger and have a more straightened back. A unique thing to note is that Black German Shepherds aren’t always born black. They can be born gray or even white and change color as they grow up.
White German Shepherd Dogs
Same as black German shepherds, these dogs are the same breed as German shepherds however they are considered white German shepherds because of their white snowy color.
They are also known as white shepherds. They are mostly found in North America. Their white color happens due to a genetic mutation. There have been lots of controversies surrounding the white German shepherd dogs. Few years back they were considered as albinos however more research about them showed that they have the same features as a German shepherd dog.
Sable German Shepherd Dogs
These German shepherd dogs are known as Agoutis. This class of German shepherd dogs has multi color hair patches on their body which give them a unique and different outlook. Their colors can change as they grow older. The colors usually get darker with age. So it is qu
ite common for a sable German shepherd dogs to be born with light colors and then change into darker colors overtime.
Saddle Coat German Shepherd Dog
This class is considered the most common class of German Shepherd Dogs. Saddle Coat German Shepherd Dogs get their name from the fact that there is a patch of a unique color
on their back. Similar to the shape of a saddle, you can see a patch of color on the dog’s back. The patch can be found in many different colors however the most common color is black. It can also be found in red or tan color.
Panda German Shepherd Dog
This class of German shepherds is very rare. They are the same breed as German shepherd dogs however they are sometimes confused to be a mixed breed. They have unique black and white color patches on their body which resemble the patches found er they are known to have comparatively weaker health as compared to other German shepherd dog classes.
In the light of above mentioned information we can conclude that German shepherd offers the dog lovers with 5 different and amazing breed types that are all very unique and distinctive in their own ways and have traits and characteristics that are different from each other.
These dogs are extremely kind, versatile, loving, protective, smart, adaptable, strong, good looking, loyal and intelligent. All these qualities make them extremely special and heavily demanded by the dog lovers. Most people who want to adopt dogs look for companionship and love in them because they are highly capable of providing them that.
All these types have their own charm and serve different purposes for the dog owners and each of the type is wonderful and versatile with a variety of characteristics and features. In order to choose the right breed for yourself it is important to question yourself what do you need from a dog and what is your soul reason for adopting one. You must also ask yourself if you are ready to invest time, money and energy that a particular breed needs and demands or not.
All this self questioning will help you a lot in making the right choice. The next important thing to do is to find out the right breeder who does not only breed for the sake of breeding but also understands and knows his breed to be able to give you the right and correct guidance.
If the breeder does not know well about the breed himself, then you will not be able to make a better choice. Moreover, you would need to spend a lot of time in understanding and getting familiarity with your dog. It is important to note that all types of breeds have their own pros and cons. It is crucial to do your research first and figure out what characteristics are important for you, on which you cannot compromise and what characteristics are not so significant and can easily be compromised upon.
After this analysis you would be in a better position to make a choice that would reflect your priorities. The above mentioned information provides all the basic knowledge of the different types of breeds to help you get started and to provide you with guidance and support you need.