The German Shepherd Dog- Varieties, Types and Related Breeds

Varieties Within the German Shepherd Dog Breed

In previous articles I explained how the clubs that regulate the breeding of purebred dogs in the world are organized; specifically the clubs that control the breeding of German Shepherd dogs. I also explained the differences between two of the main lines within the German Shepherd dog breed; the German Shepherd dog of German lines and the German Shepherd dog of American lines. It is equally important to clarify that in reality, the German Shepherd dog is just one. According to the breed standard written by the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SV), the German Shepherd dog can have variations in structure within a certain range, being the color, probably the most obvious varying characteristic to the untrained eye. Any variation outside the provisions of the breed standard is disqualifying. Long-haired German Shepherds for instance, although referred to in the breed standard, do not meet the ideal described in it. Thus, despite the fact that long-haired German Shepherd dogs are German Shepherds, they are not suitable specimens of the breed. Long hair is considered a disqualifying fault. Despite this, there are breeders (mainly in North America) that breed them, and some breeders are exclusively dedicated to breeding long-haired German Shepherd dogs.

There are also types within the breed which can be separated into two categories; dogs which have certain physical characteristics that manifest the intended purpose of the dog and dogs who by their physical characteristics divulge their place of origin. In the first case, I’m talking about the obvious differences between Show Lines (also called High Lines) and Working Lines. Basically, the physical conformation of German Shepherd dogs from Show Bloodlines is much closer to the ideal described in the breed standard, and German Shepherds of Working Bloodlines are bred putting more emphasis in their disposition for the job, than in their physical structure. In the second case, I’m talking about the different types of German Shepherds that come from different parts of the world. Some examples of German Shepherds from various areas are: West German, East German (DDR), Czechoslovakian (Czech), British (Alsatians), etc. All these dogs have types which are characteristic of their place of origin, but all, although some more than others, comply with the characteristics specified in the German Shepherd dog breed standard.

New Breeds Developed from the German Shepherd Dog 

On the other hand, we have the White "German Shepherd", or American White Shepherd, which having a color that is not acceptable under the standard, is not bred in Germany. However, in the United States there are breeders that are exclusively dedicated to their breeding. This has led them to evolve separately from the original German Shepherd dog, so that they no longer share a number of characteristics of the breed and should not be called German Shepherds.

Currently, there are even other dog breeds and even wolf "hybrids", which were created using the German Shepherd dog as a foundation. Some examples are: the Shiloh Shepherd, the King Shepherd, the American Tundra Shepherd and the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog.

In future posts I will write a little more about some of these varieties and types within the German Shepherd dog breed.

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