What is the diference between american and german lines of german shepherds?

Question by nicholask: What is the and of ?
-Is there a huge main difference?
-Is there a difference in appearance and looks?
-Which would you recommend for YOURSELF if you had to choose and why?
-random: What does “gait” mean when referring to a ?

If you can't answer all of them but some of them, I will still be grateful. Thanks you guys.

Best answer:

Answer by Happy Holidays!
I starred this, hopefully Curtis will answer. 🙂

Give your answer to this question below!

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    • King Les The Lofty
    • December 10, 2013

    [Chuckles] doesn’t understand “roach”. Most NAmericans use the over-simplistic definition “convex curve”. In their ugly, artificially manipulated “stacks”, the NAmerican Ski-Slope Dogs (they’re not GSDs except by ancient ancestry) show no convex curve in their back-line! “Back-line” is withers, true back, loin, and croup – everything between neck & tail.
    The correct definition is explained in McDowell Lyon’s classic “The Dog In Action”. To form a roached top-line (ditto the carp-back or camel-back variants), a section must angle UPWARDS as your eye traces from ears to tail, just as with fish & camels. Many extreme banana-backs DO go roached when gaiting.

    Some answerers referred to “high lines”:
    That’s a popular simplistic translation of the root word “haupt”, as in HauptSiegerSchau (replaced by BundesSiegerZuchtSchau), referring to GSD blood-lines that gain high positions at that biggest of all GSD events. But context is all, and a better translation is “noble lines” – which has the beneficial side effect of avoiding newbies thinking that taller is better!

    GAIT refers to the way the legs co-ordinate. Again – see “The Dog In Action”.
    • Simplest is the walk, which always has 3 feet on the ground.
    • Faster are the pace and the trot, both gaits that always have 2 feet on the ground.
    – In the pace, both left feet move forward at the same time then take the weight while the right feet move forward, and so the dog has a “rocking from side to to side” action, as required for the Olde English Sheepdog (which has to mimic sheep in appearance & movement).
    – The normal trot is diagonal, meaning that left front and right rear feet move forward together, then take the weight while the right front & left rear feet move forward. Actually, in a perfectly coordinated single-tracking pooch (rarely seen! All 4 paws leave tracks along the same straight line), the front foot moves a fraction of a second ahead of the rear foot’s movement, so that the pastern has flexed in time for the rear foot to drive UNDERNEATH it – almost all dogs “crab” when trotting, because (to avoid tripping when a rear foot hits a front foot that hasn’t lifted yet) they move with rear feet beside the paths of the front feet.
    • Despite [GSD SchH Addict]’s claim, during the flying trot the GSD DOES fly, with all 4 feet off the ground. Because of the airborne sections, a GSD covers much more ground at each sequence than can be explained by the length of its legs & the angles of its joints.
    • The gallop is fastest, and is used by gazehounds, cheetahs, etc. But it is very exhausting.

    So for boundary patrolling GSDs the normal trot is what is to be used, and when they have to hurry to reach a sheep that has tried to cross the far end of the boundary in order to chomp the unfenced crops, the GSD is expected to use the flying trot.

    To me, true working type is seen in GSDs patrolling a boundary between sheep & crops – not as common as it used to be, but THAT is what our breed was developed to have as its prime function, which gave GSDs adaptable for guiding and guarding. The people who claim to have “working line” GSDs actually have GSDs selected for out-of-the-ordinary interest in grabbing sleeves – mostly for sporting reasons, but also for protecting humans. Exaggeration is bad, whether for show or for attitude. My own personal preference is for descendants of Mutz Pelztierfarm and Jonny Rheinhalle, that having given me dogs that won in the show ring while puppies, then when adult became competent security dogs, and breeding stock for our national police kennel.

    It takes time to “develop an eye for types”, but as gross stereotypes:
    • The NAmerican Ski-Slope Dogs are too tall, too deep in chest, tend to be steep in fore-angles and long in couplings (giving less chance of rear feet hitting front feet, but weakens the back-line and puts more stress on the ligaments at each landing), weakly over-angulated at knee & heel, and narrow through head & body. A pet-owning friend in South Carolina decided to watch a 3-day show – he was shocked that up to a third of most classes piddled themselves when the judge examined them, yet many were nevertheless placed!
    • The true GSD has more daylight under the chest than body above it, stands with hind-legs in one of these positions: http://www.gsdca.org/Noframes/standard/Illo22.htm and fits the attitude & construction specifications in: http://www.fci.be/uploaded_files/166A1991_en.doc (likely to become http://www.fci.be/uploaded_files/166A2010_en.doc in 2010) and can gain Breed Survey Classification: http://germanshepherddog.com/regulations/breed_survey_regulations.htm

    See http://www.leabashiba.com/fashion.vs.GSD.htm for genuine GSDs and some deviations.

    To ask questions about GSDs, join some of the 400+ YahooGroups dedicated to various aspects of living with them. Each group’s Home page tells you which aspects they like to discuss, and how active they are. Unlike YA, they are set up so that you can have an ongoing discussion with follow-up questions for clarification. Most allow you to include photos.
    Les P, owner of GSD_Friendly: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/GSD_Friendly
    “In GSDs” as of 1967

    • GSD SchH Addict
    • December 10, 2013

    ********Is there a huge main difference?

    Essentially, there are 3 main lines among the German shepherd breed:

    You have your American show lines, which you commonly see in Westminster shows and of course, in the AKC show ring.

    And from Europe, you have the West German show lines, which are seen in the SV (the German shepherd breed specific club) show rings, and also commonly referred to as “high lines”.

    Then there’s the German working lines. The working lines are actually split between the West German working lines and the Czech/DDR German working lines. The working lines are, for the most part, the dogs you find among the police force, the army, and working as bomb or drug detection or SAR.

    If you want to talk differences regarding temperament,yes, there is a great deal of difference. American show lines, in my experience, tend to lack in working drive, and many in the show ring do not have the bomb proof nerves I favor myself.

    The same goes for the German show lines. The intent is that they are a compromise between the working dog and the show dog – a line with both correct conformation and ideal working drive. Unfortunately, many dogs among the high lines do not live up to the standard, and the working drive and temperament in the majority of those dogs are not as excellent as they appear to be.

    And as for the German working lines, despite their working drive and usefulness among the police and army, many will declare that they are too much “dog” to handle, and are unable to become a perfect family pet. There are others stating that the focus on working ability makes a breeder turn a blind eye to conformation faults, and thereby creating “ugly working vicious German shepherds”.

    However, what is important is the individual dog and breeder. A truly reputable breeder will not look to breed for extremities, and will ALWAYS breed a perfectly healthy dog with a correct, stable temperament. A great deal of health and temperament faults are a result of breeders who’s practices are not reputable or responsible..

    Many examples of excellent working American and German show line German shepherds can be found. A great number of American show line GSDs compete in agility and are herding instinct tested. And for the German show lines, the Kirschental dogs are a fantastic example of the working show line GSD. And all of those reputable breeders will produce German shepherds with a true, fearless, GSD temperament.

    ********Is there a difference in appearance and looks?

    Yes, there is. American show lines mostly consist of black and tans, with a lighter bone structure. Among them, are the dogs with a sloping back, whom many may call the “ski-slope back”.

    The German show lines are usually a deeply pigmented black and red, with a heavier bone structure. Among them, are the dogs with a curved back, which many refer to as a “roached back” or a “banana back”.

    It should be noted, though, that these roaches and slopes and so called “extremes” may also be a result of the way a dog is stacked. A handler could easily present a dog in a way that over stretches or makes a GSD look overangulated, simply to appeal to the judges, when in fact, the dog has a perfectly straight back.

    The German working lines are harder to characterize as far as looks, seeing that they are not bred for the conformation ring. They tend to have a straight back and sable seems to be the most common coloring, although there are many bi-colors, all blacks, black/tans, etc. among them. The East German working line are often distinguished by a blocky head and “stocky” body structure.

    The show lines give the German shepherd the look we love, and the working lines give the German shepherd the working ability. It’s a combination of beauty and brains that creates the breed we admire so much.

    ********Which would you recommend for YOURSELF if you had to choose and why?

    I would personally choose a West German working line GSD, as I already own two and wouldn’t trade them for the world. It is of my opinion that they exemplify the ideal German shepherd, because I personally place working ability over conformation to standards. I value their drive, their fight, their tough, die hard, in-your-face attitude they have, and their fearlessness. I value their ability to work with me in the sport of Schutzhund, and the way they keep me on my feet.

    Yet, I also recognize the fact that these are not the dogs of choice for everyone. Someone who does not want a dog that’s always reading to “work work work”, or someone who wants a dog with the conformation to compete in the show ring may not choose this line. What’s important is knowing what you want, and communicating that with a reputable breeder.

    The individual dog is more important than the lines, in my honest opinion.

    ********random: What does “gait” mean when referring to a german shepherd?

    The gait is, as already stated, not just referring to a German shepherd. However, the German shepherd may just be the most “famous” for their gait, which is to appear to be a “flying trot”. When they gait, they are to have far reaching strides and have the appearance of flying (not literally, of course) across the ground.

    I hope I was of help.

    • Curtis M
    • December 10, 2013

    American lined German Shepherds should be renamed, or even better, all neutered and spayed so they can no longer reproduce. They are NOT German Shepherd Dogs and to call them German Shepherd Dogs is an insult to the people of Germany…

    American lined dogs are bred for absolutely no reason…they have no purpose other than to run around a show ring to win ribbons. They’re ALL weak tempered and none are suitable for any form of work whatsoever. German Show Line dogs or “Seiger” type dogs or “German Highlines” as they’re also called, are much better dogs…that said, they’re also of weaker temperament, and sometimes poor angulation and roached backs. The true German Shepherd Dog is the working line German Shepherd Dog of Europe.

    I obviously recommend the Euro working lines, and that’s the only type that I have at my kennel and the only type I’d ever waste money on.

    Gait is the way a dog walks…Americans like this exaggerated gait which is basically a lame dog tripping over itself…apparently they find it “elegant”. German High Lines are getting to be nearly as bad. I’ve seen some shows where even these one time “okay” dogs are tripping over their own hocks. Goes to prove my point….Competitive dog showing ruins dogs…even in the country that started the GSD and holds them to much higher standards than we do, competitive showing is taking it’s toll.

    I hope I helped, and feel free to e-mail me if you have any other questions, here’s a site to check out…these are REAL GSDs…


    Les it’s at times like these I question if you’ve ever bothered to read Amax’s work. The German Shepherd Dog’s originally intended purpose wasn’t to play border patrol to sheep…it was to be the ultimate working dog capable of doing any job asked of it from tracking to bitework to sheep to kids. Bitework and protection are a bigger part of the breed than sheep hence why the standardized breed test IS schutzhund and not sheep herding. For a time it was also required that the herding dog also attain a schutzhund BH. Also the breed was created not too long ago….not even many people had sheep then….it was clear to Amax and he stated on several occasions that the dog’s main purpose would be for military and police in the future. If you have an issue with schutzhund take it up with the founder of the breed….not me. Although my dogs can herd sheep, chase sleeves, and people without sleeves as well. No american showline dog nor british boat breasted dog can do all three to a truly acceptable level. I’ll gladly chase any dog you have placed in any type of biting work off the field with no equipment on. Only working line dogs and a few genetically blessed German Showline dogs are capable of real bitework. British boat breasts should be officially re-named Alsations and amer lines re-named piddle panties or American Abomination Shepherds.

    • Nikko,Peke and GSD Lvr
    • December 10, 2013

    German Bred German Shepherds are beyond excellent in their character, tempermant and mental soundness. Their quality is the best in the world. When you own a “German” bred shepherd people stop you on the streets to look at the dog that has such a noble look to him or her. The difference between a American bred and a German bred shepherd is everything. Ask anyone that raises shepherds. The German’s breed for the best quality and are held to that standard. While the American bred shepherd usually will be hyper, and have a high case of hip displasia. Yes, they are a lot more money but you get what you pay for. That is true in life and in dogs

    • UHave2BeKiddingMe
    • December 10, 2013

    My very close friend breeds GSDs.
    Here is what she has told me.

    When people refer to American lines of GSD they are talking the “show type” lines. These are the super slanty dogs that you see in the show ring, the dogs that literally stand on their hocks as they are so severely angulated.

    The German Line dogs are considered the “working type” and do not have the extreme slant seen on the American Show GSDs. Although my friend has told me that she is starting to see the slant more evident on the German lines now.

    My friend breeds the German line dogs as she does Shchuthund, Obedience and Herding.

    She started with an American Show line dog from Covey Tucker Hill, and then realized that was not the type of dog she wanted, and did not ever use him in her breeding program.

    Gait is a term used for all breeds. It is describing how a dog moves.

    • Chuckles
    • December 10, 2013

    Ok, you got your American show line (which I like to call ROACH BACK) are sloped,(which I think is UGLY!) and your German lines which are better then American lines, but still NOT as good as other lines, though German lines CAN work, but still look a little “roachy”. *I* Personally would NEVER EVER buy a showline German Shepherd Dog, they should be doing sports, you know, WORKING, NOT suffering from bad hips!

    *I* would buy a WORKING LINE German Shepherd, for those are what ALL German Shepherd SHOULD BE!

    Oh, and Gait = Movement.

    ***If I am wrong, please correct me, I am still learning about GSD lines.***

    Thanks King Les The Lofty

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