What is the difference between East and West German Shepherd Lines??
German shepherds are among the most well known dog breeds.
East German shepherds and west German shepherds represent two types
among many types of the German shepherd dog breed (also called the
Alsatian). The east and west German shepherd differences have been
influenced by the conditions within their homelands while the country
The East and West Division
The east and west division in German Shepherd lines occurred because
of the division of Germany after World War II. Many of the differences
between these two lines of the breed occurred because of conditions
within their respective countries. West German lines have very
pronounced differences between the dogs bred for show and those bred
for working, although the show lines have more popularity. Some of the
east German shepherds were bred for aggression, to attack people who
attempted to cross the wall out of East Germany; others were bred for
herding, show, or as pets.
East German Shepherd
East German shepherd dogs, also called DDR German shepherds (Deutshe
Demokratishe Republik), tend to have dark pigmentation, a large,
blocky head, big bone structure and a lean build. Their backs do not
slope like the international show lines of German shepherds, but have
a straight appearance. East German shepherds were bred more for their
working abilities and have few problems with medical issues such as
hip dysplasia. They have high energy levels and need sufficient
activity (work) to keep them heathy
West German Shepherd
West German Shepherds have a clear division between show and working
lines. Show lines have been bred primarily for their physical
appearance and do not have the courage and strong work instincts of
their working counterparts. The show lines have the most
representation outside of Germany, and high popularity within Germany.
For many, the title west German shepherd refers to German show lines,
while east German shepherd refers to working lines. The west German
shepherds have a more sloped body than the east German shepherd, but
not as much slope as American German shepherds. They retain a high
energy level, so require lots of exercise.
Other Types of German Shepherd
American German shepherds represent most of the international show
lines of German shepherds and have a very sloped back and sharp angle
in their hindquarters. The American lines tend to be longer and leaner
than both types of German lines. British German shepherds have large
bones and a long, straight body. Both British and American lines have
calmer temperaments and lower energy requirements than the German
lines. The Czech German shepherd lines have many similarities to the
east German lines, and some consider them the same type of German
shepherd. Other less known German shepherd lines are the white German
shepherds (not albino) and long-haired German shepherds.
Combining the Lines
While some breeders boast of pure west, east or other type of German
shepherd lines, many breeders combine the different types of German
shepherd to get the best characteristics of all the lines. A common
combination attempts to combine the low incidence of hip dysplasia and
strong work instincts of the east German shepherd with the refined
physical characteristics of German shepherd show lines.