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Difference Between German Line GSD and American Line GSD

19 Aug 2010 | by KamalRaj J Kuppal | Posted in: Wag Wiki

There are a lot of differences in structure and temperament between the German Line GSD and the American Line GSD.

Source: healthyhartmanpuppies.com

Some of them are as follows...

1. German Shepherds of German lines are normally a little larger than German Shepherds of American lines. The color is another one. German Shepherds bred in Germany are normally darker in color than German Shepherds bred in America.

2. The German breeders have focused on retaining the dog breed's working ability combined with outstanding looks. They focus on maintaining the physical capabilities of the dogs, but the American breeders focus more on what the dog's outward appearance for the show ring reflects and they do not take into consideration the breed's function as a working dog.

3. German Line GSD have a more horizontal back. On the other hand, American Line GSD have a back that has a downward angle which starts at the head and ends at the base of the tail. Their hip joints are also very sharply angled. This makes the dogs bred in America seem longer and totally different from the ones German lines. This stance is not normal in the American Line GSD and it increments the probability of developing hip dysplasia. German lines have a lower chance of having hip problems, mostly due to the breeding requirements by the FCI.

4. American show breeders have been breeding for extreme angulation and the effect is that German Shepherds of American lines have lost their working ability, their drive, their temperament and their nerves.

5. The German line has managed to maintain the "fight drive" of the German shepherd through selective breeding for the trait. Fight drive is inherited. It is an instinct that the dog has to step out and take on whatever the dog comes face-to-face with. The dog will not show fear. No amount of training will ever instill the genetic fight drive of a true German shepherd. The American line has lost this drive. The dogs often exhibit a drive that is fueled by fear instead of the working ability that the German lines focus on. This has made it difficult and almost impossible for many American lines to seriously compete in Schutzhund against dogs from the German line.

6. In America and actually all over the world, extreme beauty wins dog shows. The fact that this dog has been bred for beauty and extremes in America, has made this dog what it is now. American lines are not being bred for their intended authentic purpose, which was to be working dogs. They are being bred to win dog shows.

So what is best for you will depend on how you intend to live with your dog (kennel dog or house companion), how experienced of a dog handler you are with aggressive dogs, and how far you want to go in Schutznund competition. With the higher pain tolerance, the higher aggression and higher Prey drive, you had better know what you are doing and how to handle the dog in a safe manner if you want a working line shepherd.

Comments

gautam sawant
i have a 2 yrs GSD , how do i know if it is American or German line

By: gautam sawant | 11 Nov 2011

ashish gujrati
Nice and very true observation.I personally like the German line.what is the use of gun if it cant fire.

By: ashish gujrati | 15 Nov 2011

ashish gujrati
can u tell me best gsd breeder in india of german line

By: ashish gujrati | 15 Nov 2011

KamalRaj J Kuppal
There are many breeders in india who breed german line but only very very few breed german working line. I have identified some best breeders based on my surfing and experience.
www.kingslandgermanshepherd.co m
www.shepmagic.com
there might be others who breed genuine german line gsd. I am still in search of identifying good gsd working line breeders.

By: KamalRaj J Kuppal | 15 Nov 2011

Shyam Hattangdi
The American lines are quite sad because of mistakes made in laying down the AKC standard that led to an over-emphasis on rear angulation all but destroying the breed. German lines are the best because it was necessary to have a working title in Germany to be able to show the dog in conformation which was done to preserve the working abilities. But this too has not produced the desired results because the German working titles like 'shutzhund' are actually sporting titles and not really working titles though they have working elements in them . These too have been degraded over the years (Like reducing the height of jumps, corage tests etc) which have again deteriorated the quality of GSDs with inferior dogs (dogs with hip problems) being able to compete and downgrading quality. The best working lines are from East Germany(DDR) and Czech Republic as they are old working lines preserved as such by their use with the army etc. But these too are slowly getting diluted by being taken to other countries where they are bred without really maintaining their working qualities that will soon disappear.

By: Shyam Hattangdi | 23 Dec 2011

Shyam Hattangdi
The American lines are quite sad because of mistakes made in laying down the AKC standard that led to an over-emphasis on rear angulation all but destroying the breed. German lines are the best because it was necessary to have a working title in Germany to be able to show the dog in conformation which was done to preserve the working abilities. But this too has not produced the desired results because the German working titles like 'shutzhund' are actually sporting titles and not really working titles though they have working elements in them . These too have been degraded over the years (Like reducing the height of jumps, corage tests etc) which have again deteriorated the quality of GSDs with inferior dogs (dogs with hip problems) being able to compete and downgrading quality. The best working lines are from East Germany(DDR) and Czech Republic as they are old working lines preserved as such by their use with the army etc. But these too are slowly getting diluted by being taken to other countries where they are bred without really maintaining their working qualities that will soon disappear.

There are no working lines as such in India - the closest you can come are German direct imports.

By: Shyam Hattangdi | 23 Dec 2011

Rajat
There is nothing called an American line of GSD. They all have German blood or french at the max. Americans are in a habit of recreating the breeds with the prefix of AMERICAN in there.

By: Rajat | 04 Dec 2013

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