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Not trying to start anything I'm honestly not 100% sure if I have this straight. I know each breed has there own strengths and each person has their own preference BUT...... Can someone explain the difference in appearance, temperament, value $$, intelligence (biddable) , suitability for pets, between the 2. Is one easier to train, better at obedience, longer, shorter, fluffier. , different snouts, calmer. :|
 

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There is no black and white answer. Different lines of both are just that, different. You have to look at each individual dog and see what that ONE in particular brings to the table.
 

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There is no black and white answer. Different lines of both are just that, different. You have to look at each individual dog and see what that ONE in particular brings to the table.
Seriously LOL. You're answer is.... "there is not answer". I'm sure there are differences that ARE black and white or should I say black and tan or black and red.
 

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It is going to vary wildly from breeder to breeder in regards to temperament, biddability, suitability as pets, obedience, etc. There are awesome breeders of each line, and sucky breeders of each line.

American dogs tend to be lighter in bone, more elegant and refined looking. You'll also see a wide variety of colors in ASLs sables, blacks, black and tans, by colors etc. WGSL dogs tend to be a bit heavier, more bear-ish, and tend to come in the saddle back black and red variety.
 

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What is probably going to answer your question is going out and meeting the dogs...people who are writing the articles are going to have their own opinions and biases...I have owned a show line and probably an American line....but I don't think its black and white. I also don't have much knowledge of either of those lines
 

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I have had both, but one was female and the other male, and currently only 5 months old. The german was dog reactive while on a leash. Also, skinnier as a puppy but likely larger as an adult. INCREDIBLE with our kids. She was literally my babysitter while i showered in the morning. Samson, our puppy, is ASL and non reactive on the leash. Also very good with ALL kids (but he's growing up with 2 and a backyard full on weekends). I would say they are equal in intelligence with Samson being a little less driven, and more laid back (not lazy). That's also a trait we asked for, and we were matched accordingly.

I will say that Samson came from a very good breeder that really did her homework to find the perfect stud. She still keeps in touch even though we picked him up on 12/3. Her puppies that stayed local even get together from time to time, but we are 3 hours away.

Bottom line, a good dog is a good dog, and you're most likely to get a good dog from a good breeder.
 

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Not trying to start anything I'm honestly not 100% sure if I have this straight. I know each breed has there own strengths and each person has their own preference BUT...... Can someone explain the difference in appearance, temperament, value $$, intelligence (biddable) , suitability for pets, between the 2. Is one easier to train, better at obedience, longer, shorter, fluffier. , different snouts, calmer. :|
I *think* WGSL are going to be generally more expensive for a puppy. I believe they often go for 2500-3000 per puppy. I don't know what ASLs go for.

When you say "better at obedience", I don't know if you mean competition obedience, like AKC obedience? If you do, and that is a goal, then buy a dog from a breeder who is titling parents in that venue. I have a dog whose sire competed and did extremely well in AKC OB, and my dog, I swear...it's like he was made for it.

If I were going to buy a showline dog I'd want to see titles or progeny doing something other than conformation. Because I don't get the sense that conformation tests much if at all for temperament. And temperament is awfully important.

I think most people would agree to try to avoid conformation extremes that occur in showline GSDs, in WGSL you'll see a roached back that looks like an arch with the highest point halfway down the back. ASL you will see excessive angulation where the dog is walking on their hocks. There are breeders of both types who are breeding much more moderate dogs, and if I were shopping, I'd be looking for those moderate dogs.

I have a white GSD who I consider to be equivalent to ASL, in that his breeder does a lot of conformation, most breeding dogs have conformation CHs. She also titles her dogs in lots of other things. He is so biddable it's ridiculous. I am having a blast with him, just enjoy him so much. I think whites are cool because they don't seem to suffer from either of the conformation extremes, although I am starting to see the more dramatic rear leg angulation like the color ASLs but on the whole they seem much more moderate to me which is what caught my interest in the first place, since I did not want a working line this time.
@Jenny720 on here has an ASL she is happy with, I think. And there have been many threads on recommending WGSL breeders if you search. They look pretty different once you know what you are looking at, and you will probably prefer one to the other.
 

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American lines of any type have bad reputations, but if you look pass that at the screening that should be done with any German Shepherd in order to be qualified to breed, it's pretty simple. The basics to me are health screening (OFA/PennHIP), registration and appealing pedigrees. Titles in a sport or show they compete in is ideal. Many people are looking solely for a pet, in which case a CGC and/or TTS is important as well.

Comparing two breeders, one ASL and one WGSL, assuming they both have been through all the proper screening and have all the right paperwork, the difference is origin and appearance, they look pretty different. It's just about personal preference. Temperament varies between every dog, and for drive it depends on the lineage, some SL dogs will be higher drive because of their lineage, others will be low drive.

Not all breeders of similar lines will have alike dogs, keep that in mind.
 

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I have had both, but one was female and the other male, and currently only 5 months old. The german was dog reactive while on a leash. Also, skinnier as a puppy but likely larger as an adult. INCREDIBLE with our kids. She was literally my babysitter while i showered in the morning. Samson, our puppy, is ASL and non reactive on the leash. Also very good with ALL kids (but he's growing up with 2 and a backyard full on weekends). I would say they are equal in intelligence with Samson being a little less driven, and more laid back (not lazy). That's also a trait we asked for, and we were matched accordingly.

I will say that Samson came from a very good breeder that really did her homework to find the perfect stud. She still keeps in touch even though we picked him up on 12/3. Her puppies that stayed local even get together from time to time, but we are 3 hours away.

Bottom line, a good dog is a good dog, and you're most likely to get a good dog from a good breeder.
I used to work at a horse farm where there was a wgsl bitch who lived as a barn dog. She would attach herself to whoever was in charge that day and "help". I was the weekend manager. I had told a working student girl to move a horse from point a to point b. Horse was usually easy to handle, so I went into the back barn (50 stall facility). This dog came peeling after me a few minutes later acting like Lassie, trying to get me to follow her. So I did. And I came around the corner just in time to see this horse just walking all over this poor kid, about to either hurt her or get loose or both. I was able to intervene and get the horse under control. Never would have known is was happening if not for my "Helper" who knew that I was the person to tell, and that someone needed to be told. Incredible.
 

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I have had both, but one was female and the other male, and currently only 5 months old. The german was dog reactive while on a leash. Also, skinnier as a puppy but likely larger as an adult. INCREDIBLE with our kids. She was literally my babysitter while i showered in the morning. Samson, our puppy, is ASL and non reactive on the leash. Also very good with ALL kids (but he's growing up with 2 and a backyard full on weekends). I would say they are equal in intelligence with Samson being a little less driven, and more laid back (not lazy). That's also a trait we asked for, and we were matched accordingly.

I will say that Samson came from a very good breeder that really did her homework to find the perfect stud. She still keeps in touch even though we picked him up on 12/3. Her puppies that stayed local even get together from time to time, but we are 3 hours away.

Bottom line, a good dog is a good dog, and you're most likely to get a good dog from a good breeder.
I used to work at a horse farm where there was a wgsl bitch who lived as a barn dog. She would attach herself to whoever was in charge that day and "help". I was the weekend manager. I had told a working student girl to move a horse from point a to point b. Horse was usually easy to handle, so I went into the back barn (50 stall facility). This dog came peeling after me a few minutes later acting like Lassie, trying to get me to follow her. So I did. And I came around the corner just in time to see this horse just walking all over this poor kid, about to either hurt her or get loose or both. I was able to intervene and get the horse under control. Never would have known is was happening if not for my "Helper" who knew that I was the person to tell, and that someone needed to be told. Incredible.
That's a great dog! We live in horse country Aiken, SC) so I wish Trouble (first GSD) hadn't been reactive to horses. We have a 2000+ acre forrest in the middle of town for horses, but dogs can be off leash as long as they are under control. We couldn't let her off during the winter because of the number of horses. She wouldn't charge after them, but it made for an uncomfortable encounter anyway.

Hoping the little fella will be better. We've seen a few and he seems curious but doesn't flip out.
 

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I have two year old male American showline -Max and a 7 month old west German showline -Luna and total love with them both. I have a Instagram page - Max.720 there are some photos and a few videos practicing our training! . I don't think there will be an answers you will be happy with until you go meet some dogs. Often you may not know what you like until you do meet them. If would be good idea to get some a list of recommended breeders talk about their breeding program and meet some dogs to see what you may mesh with. There are different breeders- good and bad and even in a great litter each pup is different. I like the moderate showlines- nothing extreme.
I can say price wise American showlines run about 1,500 and up. West German showlines range from around 2,500 and up. Confirmation wise American showlines are smaller bones but taller giving the appearance of a larger dog, often longer muzzles and all colors blk/tan ,bicolor, black, sable, white. Where as the west German showline are shorter muzzle, larger bone and yes bearish our wgsl Luna resemble much of a bear cub! Wgsl are black and red with red ranging in color they also come in a pattern sable.
Max is a asl and has nice amount of drive which really makes him fun to train and looks real nice doing it. I have to teach myself things to teach him he is like a sponge. I have taught him so many things. Max wants everyone together and always in the middle of the madness. He can be stubborn and a opportunist who is super smart. He is dog reactive but managed. He is on the watchful side of strangers outside of the home and rather not be pet by them. Incredible with the kids don't worry about being woken stepped on etc. kids scream -play loud run around like maniacs he adores them. He has drank water from pouring buckets in the middle of water fights. Luna is very social she goes with the flow and like Max adores our kids -super sweet and smart she is extremely smart and learns fast. I don't think one is smarter then the next the only difference Max is more pushy and forward and drivey and Luna is more disciplined. They both were taught and great with our crabby chihuahua, kookier cat, bunny and parakeets. I hope you find great fit and happy searching!!!!
https://instagram.com/p/BOHsz2olPxA/
 

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It's personal preference. Look at the dogs. Don't necessarily listen to the buzz.

For example, ASL breeders will often discount GSL dogs as broken-backed or roach backed, and will show examples, and some of them look quite roached, and some of that is the way the Germans set their dogs up.

GSL breeders will tell you that ASL have ski-slopes and are slab-sided, skinny dogs with no substance. This is not entirely true or false either.

You have to look at a lot of dogs, and decide what appeals to you -- That is looks, and looks are not nearly as important as temperament, drives, energy level, etc.

Here you have to look at examples too. It might be good to listen to what people say about their dogs, and what lines they are. Sometimes it is good to get a good idea what the different lines are, because people have insisted to me they had working lines because the dogs have Schutzhund titles in their background. Not so. You have to get a handle on that, so you can look them up and determine whether they are WGSL or WL dogs, you just kind of have to know what you are looking for -- if you are using pedigree database, and the dogs or their sires and dams are listed, you might be able to tell by the look of the photos of the majority of ancestors. Other tell-tales are that your better WGSL dogs will have VA and some V dogs behind them where the better working line dogs mostly have V or SG. The majority of the WGSL will be black and red/tan/brown dogs. Usually in the working line pedigrees you will see sables, bi-colors or solid black dogs. Don't settle on German sounding names or naming structure because there are ASL dogs listed, and some of them do have German-sounding names. Look for SZ numbers behind the dogs. This is the German kennel club registration numbers. If you go back several generations to a point where all the dogs have sz numbers than it is a German dog.

Often you have dogs that are mixed. Pet lines we often call them. But ASL breeders have brought in German dogs to improve their lines occasionally, and you can get nice dogs that have started with some German and have gone either one way or the other depending on what you are looking for. The thing to watch out for are those that are all over the place. WGSL, WL, ASL, with no major pattern or reasoning.

Ok, so now you can maybe identify what line you are looking at, then you listen to what the breeders are breeding for, and what they say their dogs are like. And even then you can have dogs in the same litter, or maybe will have dogs in the same litter some of whom are athletic and driven, and others that tend to be laid back and better suited to obedience.

Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen. If you give someone enough rope, they will hang themselves.

Top concern in this breed is health. We all know about the hips and maybe the elbows or DM, but there are a lot of problems with the GSD today. Mega E, EPI, SIBO, DM, cushings disease, lupus, clotting disorders, heart problems, eye problems, cancer. And more I am not thinking about. You will not find any dogs out there free of a history of anything. Part of the mortal-condition. Some of the issues are hereditary, some are not. Bloat may be one that is more likely to run in lines because of the conformation that makes it more likely to happen, while it may not actually be hereditary. A breeder cannot promise you a dog that lives to be 14 with little to no health issues. But a good breeder ought to be making breeding decisions with respect to health and trying to eliminate problems, breed away from issues, be careful about close line-breeding and have a purpose for it, when they do it. Maybe they will have some older dogs, 2 or 3 generations of the dogs they are currently breeding.

Next, you want to find a breeder who is paying attention to temperament. 99% of the time these dogs are going to be pets, even working dogs. They have to be able to be pets, and if they have higher drives and energy, they need to be matched up with people who have a more active lifestyle and commitment to training/working with their dogs. Drives/energy and temperament are related, and certainly you can run into problems with bored, frustrated under-active dogs, when they have higher needs in that area, but it isn't the same. You can have a dog with tons of energy and drive that is nervy and lacks confidence. That is a tough dog to own. On the other hand, a laid back dog that has little drive at all can be disappointing as well. Some people would be totally happy with such a dog, while others would not. Really you have to decide what you want for your dog, and what your life is like, and honestly determine what type is best for you. Show-line dogs tend to have less energy and drive than working lines. But again, different pups in the same litter can be quite different, so you can find a suitable dog in WL whatever you are choosing to do with the dog.

If your aim is IPO championship, go with a WL dog and breeders who have produced IPO champions. If your aim is AKC Champion, go with an AL dog with a breeder who has produced AKC Champions. But pretty much, whatever else you are trying to do can be accomplished with dog of any line, if you find the right one.

This is where pet-dog-owners, often err. They say, "I just want a pet, I don't need all that." Well, yes and no. The thing is, these dogs are all pets. All of them. They all have to function most of the time in family life. So, your champions make wonderful pets. No problem there. They have to be solid dogs because they have to deal with other people, other dogs, training, trialing, grooming, vetting, tight corners, lots of chaos. At least a lot more so than the dog that lives at home with an older couple or a single person and whose life is very predictable all the time. Barking at the mailman or garbage man once a week, is their claim to fame. And whatever they do in that situation does not suggest they are sound or not. For a pet dog, you need a dog that you can take places. You need a dog that will be good with your kids, or their kids. You need a dog that isn't going to chase down the neighbor kid and bite him when he is over playing with your kids. You need a dog that you can trust in most situations.

Usually, finding someone who titles their dogs in any venue, or has titled dogs is better than someone who is doing nothing in this area. Again, listen to them. Listen to what they say about dogs that are out there too. What others are doing with their puppies. I think a lot of breeders can get what they want out of their dogs, because they are confident, and know their lines. But I think that sometimes it helps to see what others are doing with their dogs. This is much tougher though, because most people are out there getting pets. Most will promise you the moon that they will take the dog to classes. And you are lucky if a percentage of them go that far. But if the puppy works out for them, it is what it is. Finding a breeder who has interest in what their puppies are out there doing is a plus.

A breeder who is knowledgeable about the breed, about nutrition, about health concerns, about training and trialing/titling dogs, about behavior -- all of these are what you want, because you will probably have questions over the course of the years in one or more areas, and the breeder knows her lines, and can give you a lot of help, or at least point you in a direction worth following, if she doesn't have an answer.

My answer would be WGSL, who tend to be a little stockier, heavier in bone, even in temperament, good with children, easy to train, maybe a little too handler sensitive, kind of between maybe 4-7 in energy and drive on a scale of 1-10, low/high. Some have stronger nerves, some weaker. Some can be dog reactive, which can be handler error. The more experience you have with a number of dogs, the fewer issues you have, behaviorwise across the board. But that doesn't help first-time owners much.

Good luck.
 

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well you know what?

I have owned and trained and handled american bred german shepherds.

I have also been commissioned by a big American broker to "fix" - socialize -
some big name west German show line dogs (progeny of top VA stock) - before they could be sold to homes.

Although the potential was limited I did and do prefer the domestic bred "American lines'

of course I would be very selective .

there are a few breeders of WGSL's in the USA and Canada that produce a nice stable dog.

work potential ?
 

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It's personal preference. Look at the dogs. Don't necessarily listen to the buzz.

For example, ASL breeders will often discount GSL dogs as broken-backed or roach backed, and will show examples, and some of them look quite roached, and some of that is the way the Germans set their dogs up.

GSL breeders will tell you that ASL have ski-slopes and are slab-sided, skinny dogs with no substance. This is not entirely true or false either.

You have to look at a lot of dogs, and decide what appeals to you -- That is looks, and looks are not nearly as important as temperament, drives, energy level, etc.

Here you have to look at examples too. It might be good to listen to what people say about their dogs, and what lines they are. Sometimes it is good to get a good idea what the different lines are, because people have insisted to me they had working lines because the dogs have Schutzhund titles in their background. Not so. You have to get a handle on that, so you can look them up and determine whether they are WGSL or WL dogs, you just kind of have to know what you are looking for -- if you are using pedigree database, and the dogs or their sires and dams are listed, you might be able to tell by the look of the photos of the majority of ancestors. Other tell-tales are that your better WGSL dogs will have VA and some V dogs behind them where the better working line dogs mostly have V or SG. The majority of the WGSL will be black and red/tan/brown dogs. Usually in the working line pedigrees you will see sables, bi-colors or solid black dogs. Don't settle on German sounding names or naming structure because there are ASL dogs listed, and some of them do have German-sounding names. Look for SZ numbers behind the dogs. This is the German kennel club registration numbers. If you go back several generations to a point where all the dogs have sz numbers than it is a German dog.

Often you have dogs that are mixed. Pet lines we often call them. But ASL breeders have brought in German dogs to improve their lines occasionally, and you can get nice dogs that have started with some German and have gone either one way or the other depending on what you are looking for. The thing to watch out for are those that are all over the place. WGSL, WL, ASL, with no major pattern or reasoning.

Ok, so now you can maybe identify what line you are looking at, then you listen to what the breeders are breeding for, and what they say their dogs are like. And even then you can have dogs in the same litter, or maybe will have dogs in the same litter some of whom are athletic and driven, and others that tend to be laid back and better suited to obedience.

Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen. If you give someone enough rope, they will hang themselves.

Top concern in this breed is health. We all know about the hips and maybe the elbows or DM, but there are a lot of problems with the GSD today. Mega E, EPI, SIBO, DM, cushings disease, lupus, clotting disorders, heart problems, eye problems, cancer. And more I am not thinking about. You will not find any dogs out there free of a history of anything. Part of the mortal-condition. Some of the issues are hereditary, some are not. Bloat may be one that is more likely to run in lines because of the conformation that makes it more likely to happen, while it may not actually be hereditary. A breeder cannot promise you a dog that lives to be 14 with little to no health issues. But a good breeder ought to be making breeding decisions with respect to health and trying to eliminate problems, breed away from issues, be careful about close line-breeding and have a purpose for it, when they do it. Maybe they will have some older dogs, 2 or 3 generations of the dogs they are currently breeding.

Next, you want to find a breeder who is paying attention to temperament. 99% of the time these dogs are going to be pets, even working dogs. They have to be able to be pets, and if they have higher drives and energy, they need to be matched up with people who have a more active lifestyle and commitment to training/working with their dogs. Drives/energy and temperament are related, and certainly you can run into problems with bored, frustrated under-active dogs, when they have higher needs in that area, but it isn't the same. You can have a dog with tons of energy and drive that is nervy and lacks confidence. That is a tough dog to own. On the other hand, a laid back dog that has little drive at all can be disappointing as well. Some people would be totally happy with such a dog, while others would not. Really you have to decide what you want for your dog, and what your life is like, and honestly determine what type is best for you. Show-line dogs tend to have less energy and drive than working lines. But again, different pups in the same litter can be quite different, so you can find a suitable dog in WL whatever you are choosing to do with the dog.

If your aim is IPO championship, go with a WL dog and breeders who have produced IPO champions. If your aim is AKC Champion, go with an AL dog with a breeder who has produced AKC Champions. But pretty much, whatever else you are trying to do can be accomplished with dog of any line, if you find the right one.

This is where pet-dog-owners, often err. They say, "I just want a pet, I don't need all that." Well, yes and no. The thing is, these dogs are all pets. All of them. They all have to function most of the time in family life. So, your champions make wonderful pets. No problem there. They have to be solid dogs because they have to deal with other people, other dogs, training, trialing, grooming, vetting, tight corners, lots of chaos. At least a lot more so than the dog that lives at home with an older couple or a single person and whose life is very predictable all the time. Barking at the mailman or garbage man once a week, is their claim to fame. And whatever they do in that situation does not suggest they are sound or not. For a pet dog, you need a dog that you can take places. You need a dog that will be good with your kids, or their kids. You need a dog that isn't going to chase down the neighbor kid and bite him when he is over playing with your kids. You need a dog that you can trust in most situations.

Usually, finding someone who titles their dogs in any venue, or has titled dogs is better than someone who is doing nothing in this area. Again, listen to them. Listen to what they say about dogs that are out there too. What others are doing with their puppies. I think a lot of breeders can get what they want out of their dogs, because they are confident, and know their lines. But I think that sometimes it helps to see what others are doing with their dogs. This is much tougher though, because most people are out there getting pets. Most will promise you the moon that they will take the dog to classes. And you are lucky if a percentage of them go that far. But if the puppy works out for them, it is what it is. Finding a breeder who has interest in what their puppies are out there doing is a plus.

A breeder who is knowledgeable about the breed, about nutrition, about health concerns, about training and trialing/titling dogs, about behavior -- all of these are what you want, because you will probably have questions over the course of the years in one or more areas, and the breeder knows her lines, and can give you a lot of help, or at least point you in a direction worth following, if she doesn't have an answer.

My answer would be WGSL, who tend to be a little stockier, heavier in bone, even in temperament, good with children, easy to train, maybe a little too handler sensitive, kind of between maybe 4-7 in energy and drive on a scale of 1-10, low/high. Some have stronger nerves, some weaker. Some can be dog reactive, which can be handler error. The more experience you have with a number of dogs, the fewer issues you have, behaviorwise across the board. But that doesn't help first-time owners much.

Good luck.
Thank you ... I know something of your dogs and if I actually knew of a someone ... half competent in my circle of family that wanted a "GSD" I would send them your way. :)

As it is I don't ... and just don't give any "GSD" recommendation to anyone based on my experiance with my first "WL GSD." "Mine" has his "people issues" I'd never trust him around kids without direct supervision "my" particular WL GSD ... is just not a "people friendly dog??" I used to refer to the people friendly "WL GSD" as methodical???

But ... I did meet "unintentionaly" not one but two "WL GSD's" that were in fact "people friendly???" And it was the ex DDD, that attacked "Rocky" at night! But I met them later and they were just dogs ... no people issues to be found??? That left me a bit confused ... what exactly is "Rocky's" issue??


At anyrate thanks for the input ... most likely if I'd have happened to stumble onto a "WGSL" as a foster ... I'd not be here today??? Because ...what I do normally ... would have worked out fine ... but my first "WL GSD" was a "PIA" worked out fine for "us" in the long run.

But it's nice to hear form the other side. :)
 

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well you know what?

I have owned and trained and handled american bred german shepherds.

I have also been commissioned by a big American broker to "fix" - socialize -
some big name west German show line dogs (progeny of top VA stock) - before they could be sold to homes.

Although the potential was limited I did and do prefer the domestic bred "American lines'

of course I would be very selective .

there are a few breeders of WGSL's in the USA and Canada that produce a nice stable dog.

work potential ?
I don't think that people looking at a AL GSD, really care about "working potential???" WG GSD's strike me as particularly cool. Most likely a good choice for the "average owner" that just wants a "police dog???"
 
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