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German German Shepherd VS American German Shepherd

41633 Views 24 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  maxtmill
Hi Guys,
I`m new to this place. Looks like a wealth of Info...
I`ve have owned one Female German Shepherd I bought from individuals.... Loved the Dog But lost her to Hip Displasia @ 7
I fell in love with the breed. I have finally healed enought to get another.....
I have been re-searching Hi and Lo on the breed,,,, I can`t believe the Difference in Price for a German blood Line VS a American German Shepherd...... IS there that much difference between the Two ?

I`m not looking for a show dog or working Dog. Just a good Companion.
any thoughts would be great....
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I personally like the Europian lines better than the american lines.
There is a huge difference between the two. The main difference being physical structure (huge generalization here).

If you're just looking for a good companion, you can find it in either line. Just because a breeder breeds for the showring or schutzhund doesn't mean they don't occasionally produce dogs that make wonderful pets.

I bet if you get a bit more specific about what exactly you're looking for in a dog (do you have kids? what activities, if any, you're interested in doing? how active are you? etc.) someone might be able to point you in the right direction.
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There are basically three different "lines" of dogs out there--American, German Showlines, and Working lines. None is "better" or healthier than the others--there are good and bad breeders of any type. There are also expensive dogs in each line, and moderately-priced (but still very good and healthy) dogs in each line. For a well-bred puppy, regardless of which line, you can expect to pay starting at around $800 and go up to $1500 or so. More than that, and you're probably buying more dog than you need--a show prospect or a super working prospect.

As you've already learned, hip disease is one of the biggest health problems with this breed (but there are many others too)--and the best way to find a dog with the best shot at being healthy is to find a good BREEDER.

Check out some of the threads here on the different lines--to see what they look like (they are three very different "looks") and feel free to ask more questions. Tell us what part of the country you're in, and you might even get some breeder referrals nearyby.

Finally, rescue is always a good way to go. There is an active purebred GSD rescue section of this board, and many dedicated rescue volunteers all over the country who work to find homes for purebred dogs that have been left at shelters for whatever reason. Most of these dogs are evaluated and checked for health and temperament before placing them with a new home, so it's a good way to "know what you're getting." With any puppy, you're mostly buying potential.
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you're not allowed to buy one until you rescue one, its in the rules somewhere I know it
Is there a difference between the two? Try "three minimum!" There are American showlines, American pet lines, German showlines, and the European working lines which aren't as different as the showlines are but include West German working, East German working (DDR), Czech working, and a couple others. Price tends to be highest in the showlines as a generalization, but there are a few working line breeders that are waaaaay up there in cost. That brings me to another point about the GSD. You will often pay for what you get so if you look for an $800 breeder or less, Caveat Emptor. If you were to go with working lines, you have no need to spend more than $2000 as that's getting high for a working line. For a German showline, many puppies that aren't long coats (a disqualification) start at $2000 but there are exceptions, of course. I am not up on the American line pricing (My preference is to the European working line dogs).

Your best bet for getting to know the various lines is to go to an AKC dog show and watch the German shepherd showing and visit a schutzhund club where you can see working lines and German showlines. You can get a feel for how they look, how they walk (big differences), how they act, it's really the best way to know that this is what you want. The first time I was at a schutzhund club I knew that a working line GSD was exactly what I wanted.... well I knew even before that but seeing them in action cemented my desire.
Once you have an idea of what you like and after you've talked to the owners and handlers you can then start a breeder search.

If you want recommendations here (even before you have a chance of seeing the dogs in person), I'd suggest making a list of what you want to see in a dog. What do you want in energy level, intelligence, protectiveness, what is your ideal GSD, what activities do you plan to do with it, how much training are you willing to do, how much time you have available to spend with the dog, your experience level, etc. It does happen that someone decides they want a dog of type A but they are recommended a type B dog and it ends up being the best match ever. And yes, working line dogs can make excellent companions, same with showline dogs, so don't read those labels and think "I'm not going to work/show, I don't want one." Remember that a good breeder who is striving for health and temperament and structure for work/show will produce very sound dogs. Some of these dogs aren't drivey enough to work or don't have the best conformation for show, but in a pet home they are absolutely fantastic companions because they were still bred for soundness, strong nerve, intelligence, all the great qualities that make for a model doggie citizen. A good dog with good health and great temperament is priceless.
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Well, just my personal opinion, but I prefer the German lines....they seem to have better health, temperament, and structure. Plus, I just like the way they look as opposed to American lines! (working
lines, that is) I have owned both, and the best one I ever had was from German working lines-fantastic mover, brainy, loving, playful, you name it. Course, the americans I've had were smart, and loving, but I've had a few more health problems with them. Might just be my luck, though! I can't afford to get a top of the line dog, and puppies are out of the question right now, work interferes. But I love them all!
My personal preference is American Show Lines. My dogs are sound, healthy, and smart. I have been involved with German Shepherds all of my life (I am now $^ years old), and I have both German Show and American Show lines over the years. Presently I have a dog that is both show dog and service dog, a rare combination.
I like the German working lines.
Here is my disclaimer- I have very limited experience so take whatever I say with a grain or an entire shaker of salt- but having said that my puppy is from German imports. That I believe means that they cannot be bred without a Schutzhund title. That tells me a lot about their temperment, structure and drive right out of the box and that was important to me as a newbie. I cannot be assured in this way by the American lines. Maybe with a few more years experience under my belt I could make those judgements for myself as to conformation, temperment, etc...but until then I think unless you have an awesome breeder you trust you are less at risk with the imported German lines. Again, my very uneducated take on things.
There are good breeders and bad breeders in all lines. For American Lines Andaka is one that has nice looking AM lines that are well rounded dogs that look nice, not over angulated. If she doesn't have a pup she knows who has good pups and who doesn't in the AM lines.

There are several workingline breeders on this board who ALL have very nice dogs and are concerned about matching the right pup with the right family. Some pups just aren't going to be a match for a less active family.

Then there are you German showline breeders. I know a few people that breed nice dogs, that are very reasonable in price and are from Titled parents, that have a litter once in a while one a year or one every two years. I know of another breeder that has a nice male SchH3 but her females aren't titled, but she has them around kids, livestock, etc, they live on a ranch and SchH clubs aren't very available in her area.
Thanks for the input.....
Like I said , I`m Looking for a Pet, I have a huge back yard, Although the Dog will Be inside with us . The Kids are grown and just me and my wife.
I have heard lots of references to Drive ? What does this mean ?

My last dog`s demeanor as she matured. 2o minutes of playing and she was good. If you were laying on the couch out of nowhere she would walk by and give you a kiss. Then she was gone.
When she wanted attention she got it one way or another....
I also like the American Showline, the moderately angled All Breed Gsd's are what I like, and are what my breeding program is geared towards. My Leuka is more laid back couch potatoe type of gal, but get out a ball and it's like you just got out candy to a kid!! The eyes light up and she's off and fetching!!

My younger has a tad more energy and is perfect for the ring! Attitude and all! Along with her show career, I also want to title her in tracking, I think she will excel!!
She is my constant companion and "shadow".

I love them both equally..... it is neat because they are so different.
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Thanks soo much for Links. Wonderful reading and lots of great Info. Although Im suppose to be working I just spend the last hour checking out your links. Again Great stuff , I Know what I`m looking for now.
Thanks again everyone.


Glad you found the links helpful!

To answer your question about what is meant by "drive" here's another article. It's covers most aspects of dog temperament (and the vocabulary generally used to describe them) and will help arm you with even more knowledge of what you're looking for in your puppy search.

Joy Tiz' Elements of Temperament
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Originally Posted By: MaxGunnaryou're not allowed to buy one until you rescue one, its in the rules somewhere I know it
Good one!

Glad I qualify x 3
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I prefer a good dog no matter the lines...

I have owned german working lines, german show lines, and american show lines and adore them all and they all came with incredible assests.

I love the drive and willingness to please in my german working lines,disliked the fact that she doesnt have an off switch,she is on constant go mode unless she has had a THOROUGH workout.

I love the pigment,the easy to work with personlity and the great moderation of chase drives in my german show lines,but found they either lacked confidence of I had health issues in the dogs I personally owned (I have to admit,it wasnt many)

I love the sweet easy nature of my american show dogs,with quick brains who love to make me happy but dont over do it. The goofy fun side they have with that slight touch of im awesome attitude. I find them so easy to live with,so easy to train,so easy to love yet find them with their own heartbreaks. I find many american line breeders,breed solely for angle or movement and forget the rest of the dog which is a diaster in itself.

I have to say I love em all,and its about what stage your at and what you need. Id get another german working line in a heartbeat,and plan to do so when I have the space and time to committ to that dog. For now I am very happy with my awesome american show lines as great house companions who are content no matter how busy or unbusy my weekend is!

Good luck
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Karma, Thanks for a very insightful post that I think very accurately expresses what the three different types represent IN GENERAL! If many of US had posted the same thing about the difference in the types the defensive people of the other two types would have turned this into bashing(I'm guilty, but your post was positive, informative, accurate of most cases, and allows people to have an understanding of the differences in a clear manner! Once again Thanks!!
One other thing that I think validates Karma's post is the fact that she has owned all three types. I too have owned all three types and left one type to go to another that met my needs. Left that type as it could no longer consistently meet my needs. My needs arent germane to the conversation but the point is that her post reflects opinions and characterizations based on direct knowledge. How often do you see people weigh in on this discussion and have only owned part of the equation but is an authority on ALL of the equation. Ownership doesn't mean other people can't have opinions, but books, internet, and gossip, are very limited in acquiring true knowledge of a subject. Once again Good post Karma Kennel!
I have an intersting mix of dogs...

Apache, my first GSD (RIP) was solid AM (not show) dam with the working police K9 sire... Great dog.

Cheyenne, German Show and BYB. Nice dog, really good drives, loves to track, to bad I didn't work with her more on that. We track for fun.

DeeDee, American Showline and German working line. Great focus, willingness to please. Her only problem is that she has major problems with sounds, thunder, gun shots, etc, so she didn't all the good nerve.

Lakota, German showline and working line cross. Great dog, great nerve, very balanced, can be a couch potato or out playing ball for hours. He has two grade two DJD elbows, which I know what line they came from.

Raya, is German showlines. Very up beat happy gal, showing an interst in tracking so we are going to do lots of training as soon as we have grass. Nice nerve, not great but nice.

So even though I haven't had but one dog that wasn't crossed lines, I can get an appreciation of all the lines.
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