The Differences Between East/ West German Shepherd Lines & The American Breeding Lines.
You might be wondering if there’s any difference? Start thinking temperament, confirmation, coloring and movement! So if you’re undecided on which line of pups is best for you and your family, ask yourself first if you want a working dog, family or show dog.
Temperaments differ greatly! Start off by making a list of all the qualities you’re wanting in your Shepherd. Pink papered imported pups from Germany are free of hip dysplasia, and come from generations of parents that are also free of hip dysplasia, and that have Schutzhund titles.
History of the Western and Eastern Shepherd
From 1949 until 1990, Germany was divided into the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR) in the East, and the Federal Republic of Germany in the West. The DDR, being a communist state under influence from the USSR, was kept wholly separate from West Germany. This separation is what caused the split in German shepherd bloodlines that persists to this day.
- The working lines in Czech were bred to have a high pain tolerance, so that they could endure the hardships of protection work and border patrol. They are mostly black and tan, all black, and sometimes sable in color.
- Breeders focus mainly on good movement and looks.
- These shepherds are larger, heavier, but have a lighter bone structure.Temperament plays a huge factor here as Shepherds from the US were not bred for working or herding dog purposes, but for show purposes. In Germany both parents must have working titles, Schutzhund and are hip certified, before they are allowed to breed.
Schutzhund is about accountability, whereas in the US and Canada, breeders do not need any of these things except pedigree.German shepherds in the US are primarily judged by their looks.To German shepherd breeders, their dogs working ability was most important, and then came the outstanding looks.
The West German show lines are the most popular worldwide. These dogs are mostly black and red and exhibit a fluid, ground-eating trot.
The Czech lines were originally bred in Communist Czech as state working dogs.
Large blocky head with big bone structure and much leaner in build. These shepherds have straighter backs and fewer problems with hip dysplasia. However, they are high-energy dogs.
Czech line German Shepherds and East German DDR German Shepherds are essentially the same bloodline.
The bloodlines in West Germany were split between working line dogs and show line dogs.
It is important to recognize that the working line and show line German Shepherds from West Germany are vastly different.
- Show line dogs are bred to be physically attractive, but lack the courage and strong nerves of a true protection dog.
- Accepting that West German show line dogs are unfit for protection work, the true comparison is between the West German working line (often stated simply as German working line), and the DDR/Czech line. There has been much debate over which is superior, and this debate may continue for years to come.
Some people consider the West German lines to be superior, arguing that the DDR/Czech lines were developed before the split between working and show lines, and are not extraordinary in either discipline.
Both lines were recovered from the original German bloodlines after WWII, and both have been continuously built up and bred for working qualities over the past 60 years. The bottom line is that they are both working line dogs.
- Show lines are a better choice for homes with children and working lines for protection work.
- The American shepherds are calmer in temperament, and have a lower energy drive. The North American shepherd relies on physical ability to move quickly and turns on the blink of an eye.
Many breeders have attempted to combine the East and West or American shepherds to achieve a lower incidence of hip dysplasia, and to achieve a strong work instinct and more refined show lines. New research by Dr. Randi Krontveit has demonstrated that hip dysplasia (HD) is certainly affected to a much larger degree than previously thought by the environment in which pups grow up. Krontveit found that it is during the period from birth to 3 months that various environmental factors appear to influence the development of hip dysplasia in dogs. She suggests that it’s best to take preventative measures during the puppy stage, so as to give pups that are disposed to this condition, a better chance.
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