Skip to content

The types of German Shepherd dogs

types german shepherd dogs

As a versatile utility dog, the German Shepherd breed has several different “types” that have their own unique origin, history, and traits. Each of these different lines, although they are all German Shepherd dogs, may be more suitable than others for different purposes and functions. Each type is valued and respected for what it brings to the German Shepherd breed.

  • American Demonstration Line
  • Canadian Demonstration Lines
  • West German Demo Line
  • West German line of work
  • East German line of work
  • Czech line of work
  • Various mixes of lines

All of these types of German Sheepdogs within the breed are unique for a variety of reasons. Physical appearance, drives, temperament, and purpose vary between the lines, but they are all German shepherds alike.

West German Demo Line

The most popular type of German Shepherd in Germany, West German show lines are bred to conform to the SV standard (standard originally created by Max Von Stephanitz) which also requires the dog to obtain health clearances for the hips and legs. elbows (free from hip and elbow dysplasia, inherited diseases) and a working title (often herding or IPO / Schutzhund) before being bred. The plant of this type is very specific and typically very uniform.

Schutzhund (or IPO) is a German word that means “protection dog.” It refers to a sport that focuses on the development and evaluation of those traits in dogs that make them more useful and happy companions to their owners.

American and Canadian Demonstration Line

Popular in North America since the 1970s, the American and Canadian show lines dominate the national breed clubs and are strictly adhered to by the standards set by each of the clubs.

The firm build and lateral gait is what characterizes this German Shepherd line.

West German line of work

German Shepherds of the West German working bloodline are often regarded as the closest type of German Shepherd to the original dogs produced under Max von Stephanitz. This line focuses its efforts on correcting the work structure, providing a solid temperament and especially on correcting strong impulses and the ability and manageability of the dog in work situations.

German Shepherds belonging to the West German line of work excel in many different sports, real work situations (herding, rescue, guarding, etc.) and service positions. Like all German Shepherds they must also be good pets for the family.

East German line of work

Developed after WWII from the surviving dogs of those used in war, this pack of German Shepherds were strictly kept by the East German government.

The rigid control of the original bloodlines of the old DDR resulted in a very different resemblance. Best known for its typically correct working frame, large heads, large frame, and dark coat. DDR bloodlines are also known to be very solid dogs, although work units can vary. Older DDR bloodlines are valued for their phenomenal genetics and temperament.

Generally speaking, GDR (East German) dogs tend to be of low to medium build. They often have shorter, more locked frames and heavier bones and strong heads. In the last 25 years (since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989) the breeders of this line have opted for good looks and temperament and not so much for work capacity. However, line specimens tend to maintain strong old territorial and defensive instincts and are generally very good as tracking or hunting dogs. They tend to be easy-going and sensitive, very attached to their family and distant with strangers. There are some dogs that are stronger in working capacity, but if these dogs are not properly bred they can be nervous and of low utility at work.

Czech line of work

Originally from communist Czechoslovakia and based on a community of working dogs used primarily for border patrol work and military dogs.

German shepherd dogs of the Czech line were basically bred for military and police work – they were unpleasant to strangers, prepared to guard borders and intimidate. They tend to have longer legs and slimmer bodies than DDR dogs.

Unique to this type, the original Czech breed of dogs revolved around the Pohranicni Straze kennel of the Czechoslovak army. Some of the Czech bloodlines contain phenomenal working units and tend to be intense, agile working dogs.


Currently the types of German Shepherds are divided mainly into two main lines: German Shepherds bred for success in demonstrations and are bred for success in the field of work (schutzhund / IPO).

Some individuals in the demonstration line may have good working qualities, but the goal behind each breed is to achieve a successful dog based on how the dogs look and move in the demonstration shows, not how the dogs work. , behave or train.

The German lines of work – 20 years ago and today, they are bred for herding or hunting, training capacity and the defense of their territorial unit. They are generally reliable and get along well with people in a variety of places, their prey aggressiveness is much greater than defensive aggressiveness, and they are often easy to train.

 | Website

I love the animals. Reading and writing about them, their customs, their peculiarities or the attention they require is exciting, and I also believe that it makes us better people. I share articles that solve the questions that dog caregivers face on a daily basis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *