When talking about different types of German Shepherds, then we have to make two distinctions. The first would be between those types which are recognized due to differences in their ancestry and breeding. And, the second type would be the types that are based mainly on the color of their coat.
But, first let’s see the basic details!
German Shepherds gained world-wide popularity when a breeder named Max von Stephanitz fell in love with a German SHepherd dog at a dog show. The breed amazed him so much that he bought the dog and wrote the guidelines on how the dog should be breeded. That dog’s name was Horand. His guidelines are still somewhat followed by the European breeders. As for America, there are breeding standards introduced by the AKC (American Kennel Club).
What is the difference?
Well, in Europe the breeders must perform a series of tests in order to fit in with the standards. There is no such thing in America, but the breeders focus on the dog’s body shape and movements.
One more thing that we do have to mention here is that German Shepherds do not have to be the popular tan and black color – there are many colors as you will see when we discuss the types.
Now that we got that covered, let’s get into those German Shepherd types, shall we?
As we mentioned, this type of German Shepherd is a bit different than the European German Shepherd. It is a show line dog, which definitely means that the looks of this type were prioritized.
The body is a bit more aesthetically pleasing, and the moves a bit more elegant. Their heads and muzzles are shorter, they have a sloping gate, they are lighter; but their build is a bit more substantial.
Usually, this type has the very well known black and tan color coat. But, here are other colors that come into play when the breeding is right:
This is another show-line German Shepherd. This type of German Shepherds has a straighter back than the American German Shepherds. In theory, that should help and mitigate the probability of your dog developing hip and elbow dysplasia.
These guys are not that prey driven, which makes them perfect family dogs. And, one more positive quality of this type is that they rarely develop ill-temper.
Of course, when you do get a European German Shepherd, do check if the dog passed all the necessary tests.
This breed is also known as a working line dog. When breeding this type utility was definitely put into focus. This, however, does not by any means mean that the type is not adorable. They are a bit smaller than your regular American or European show-line German Shepherds.
What sets them apart from other types is that they have a higher pain tolerance, higher energy, and they have a higher prey drive.
Of course, they do have a special color pattern – a blended coat that is usually sable. But, sometimes their coats can be a mix of black and tan, or sable and black.
P.S. This type is pretty demanding. It definitely needs agile running activities, and a lot of activities that will stimulate them mentally. If you miss out on them, due to their high prey drive, they will become disruptive and nervous.
This type makes a perfect guard dog, and they are workaholics! Moreover, East German DDRs have great endurance and focus. This means that they do have a strong primal prey drive.
However, don’t think that all of them are like this – some of them are perfectly docile and sweet. But, it is on you as an owner to watch out for abnormal behavior and train them well.
Generally, this type of German Shepherds is a bit darker in color.
This type of German Shepherds is a bit leaner and has higher stamina and agility. Given that they were mainly a working line dog, this type might have a strong prey drive.
The prey drive is not as common of an issue as it used to be, as the line has calmed over the years.
But, nonetheless make sure that you train them well, and provide enough mental and physical stimulation.
We mentioned the colors accepted by the AKC. But, here are four types of German Shepherds based on the color of their coat. Two are very common, while the other two are rare.
The name says it all – they appear as if they have a saddle or a blanket on their back. Their fur is usually tan or red, while the saddle or the blanket is black.
Yes, they can be black and white. And no, the color white does not mean that they are albino, or that they are samoyeds. White German Shepherds are just very rare.
Black German Shepherds can also have a bit of a liver or blue in their coats. But, in order to be able to enter competitions they should have a solid color.
Where does the black coat come from? From the recessive genes. The white color, on the other hand, comes from dominant genes.
Agouti is the name this type of German Shepherd goes by in some regions. Their color pattern is spread throughout their whole body. Their coat starts out as tan when they are puppies, but then the colors become stronger as they get older. It is usually an amalgam of black, gray, tan, or gold.
There you have it. Eight types of German Shepherds. No matter which one you choose (or have), you are in luck! Not only do you have the most adorable, iconic looking pupper, but you also have the most intelligent one. Don’t forget to treat them well, though!