What is the difference between the American GSD and the German GSD? - Page 1

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Vom Haus Chacon

by Vom Haus Chacon on 25 December 2017 - 02:12

I recently realized that there were two different generic blood lines that were recognized with the AKC. The American kind with wider bone structure and the German kind with lower backs and leaner backs.Can you breed this two kinds of dog?


by Hundmutter on 25 December 2017 - 08:12

Are you asking whether one Could, or SHould, mix lines between American Show Line type GSDs and International/Germanic type GSDs ?

There have been many debates on here and elsewhere about the advisability or otherwise of mating Working Lines to Show Lines. In many ways that is a more clear-cut debate, because it is argued that you lose working abilities, including drive and trainability, if you add in dogs that are bred to win beauty contests. (For my money, you do not, automatically - I believe the breed is enough 'still one breed' that you just get a wider spread of those traits across a greater number of individual dogs).

Believe me I am totally sure that there are a great many dogs being bred in the USA today which - usually indiscriminantly - mate AKC/ASL stock to imported or first generation German GSDs. Because there are simply so many people who just breed to produce puppies. Whether they are doing so to replicate their own beloved pets' genes into a further generation, or whether they are doing it for the pin money, it is clear there are an awful lot of 'breeders' out there ... and the availability of dogs to breed with, for those people, is often a mix between the two Show types.

In my country (the UK) it is a little different, because we have our own two distinct 'types' of Showdog in this breed. There have been some small attempts in past years to integrate / interbreed imported ASL dogs with the 'Alsatian' / UK-developed dogs (shorter legs, flatter backs, bulkier bodies), which seem have made little difference to how the resulting generations look, phenotypically. More recently some breeders have tried bringing in the AKC dogs to mate with the majority, International type of GSD Showdog. Results of that appear, so far, to be just getting back to a somewhat more "middle of the road" sort of structure, a bit less exagerated in topline. While that in itself may be a good move, we as a nation have always been quite able (where sought) to produce MOR dogs WITHOUT 'Americanised' input ... and it remains to be seen whether we have invisibly introduced any further temperamental differences with the mix.
mrdarcy (admin)

by mrdarcy on 25 December 2017 - 11:12

Keep the thread civil guys please.

by Sunsilver on 25 December 2017 - 15:12

Yes, you can, but the progeny would likely not do well in either the German or American show ring. The American dogs as a rule lack the necessary drives for doing schutzhund, and the German dogs will be put to the back of the line in the American ring, because their top lines are curved instead of straight.

I did an earlier thread explaining how this all came about: http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/german_shepherd_dog/community.read?post=897651-gsd-sloped-back

Here's one of my dogs, who is a mix of the 2 lines:

She will be 11 years old in January, and is still very healthy and active.



by hexe on 25 December 2017 - 18:12

AKC Judge and long-time GSD breeder Helen Gleason [Nocturne Kennels] has had a good deal of success crossing West German showlines and American conformation lines. Her dogs have obtained their AKC championships as well as Schutzhund and other performance titles.

It's a matter of really knowing bloodlines, knowing what they'll produce, and knowing how to combine the lines to achieve a correctly- built, moderate dog that demonstrates the appropriate work ethic and drive to succeed in working venues. Without that knowledge, it doesn't matter which lines you work with--you won't accomplish much.

by Hundmutter on 25 December 2017 - 18:12

Ah Hexe - but would it were that everyone who makes the cross took time and interest in finding out the things you mention, before breeding. Where it is done without knowledge, there are still more dogs added to the overall gene pool, even if its only for 'pets' that are never trained in work, or ever see the inside of a showring.

by Menee on 29 December 2017 - 19:12

You would have to know the lines and what each has to the breeding
there are many in Germany who mix show line to work line to produce a more balanced dog in confirmation and abilities

by Hundmutter on 29 December 2017 - 20:12

Yes Menee, but the Germans 'mixing Show Line to Working Line' is in a different context for the average American poster. And the OP wasn't asking that question.

I have assumed you are writing from Germany. The AKC favoured American Show Line dogs are somewhat different from GSDs in Germany; you don't really have anything like them, for shape or temperament, (some would say thankfully !) and the vast majority are like most of the UK 'alsatians', they are NOT WORKED.

Taking working lines in Germany - e.g. Herr Fuller's - and mixing them with e.g. the Bad Boll dogs would not be the same; ALL german lines are supposed to be able to do some work / hundsport. And all GSDs are supposed to conform to the correct Standard; (ie not something created and perpetuated by the US national kennel club).

Take a look at the photos in the upper and lower halves of Star's pedigree link supplied above by Sunsilver. Perfect graphic illustration of the phenotypical differences.

The question here was whether there was mileage in crossing the ASL type of dog with the sort that some Americans import and usually Show under SV rules.  That is, of course, perfectly possible and even acceptable to many, but it is certainly no guarantee that it won't result in a reduction in conformational correctness ( as per FCI / German Standard), or in weakened nerve strength, drives or trainability [e.g. ASL have a bit of a reputation for timidity in the worse cases, and soft (Pet) natures in the slightly better ones ! - They are not ALL like that, of course - but that is exactly why a lot of US 'Working Dog' enthusiasts don't want to risk crossing their specifically PPD /  IPO stock back to American showlines.  That camp already believes dogs coming out of Germany are distinctly weakened now by an IPO and Profung system that is no longer rigorous enough.]

Of course breeding these dogs back together will have mixed results, for every puppy that turns out mediocre there will be others that are a pleasing middle of the road size and shape and have excellent temperaments and trainability ... but there is no real merit in just doing it to try to get the better examples from that; what do you do with the also-rans ?  It is hardly a plan for breed improvement.  And, as you say, anybody who wants to do things like this with some specfic goal in mind needs to have the knowledge and depth of experience in the breed to make it work.



by Sunsilver on 30 December 2017 - 15:12

If you do not work your dogs for many generations, they loose the ability, because it isn`t being selected for. Star's grandfather, Dallas, got his herding certificate, and those who saw him herd said he really was good at it, and could have gotten more advanced titles, if he hadn't died suddenly at age 9.

Some of his progeny and descendants have been trialed, too, but the only ones that have done well at the SV style trials are the ones that have had German dogs from SV herding lines (Karl Fuller's dogs) introduced to the genetic mix. ONE good AKC dog wasn't enough to make up for generations of neglecting working ability.

It makes me very sad to look at the performance event roster for the GSDCC specialty shows and see that very few of the dogs entered are German shepherds, and even fewer are the dogs that are being shown in the conformation ring. Top dog in the obedience ring at a recent German shepherd specialty show was, I believe, a standard poodle...Roll eyes  It's such a shame when the GSD is SUPPOSED to be a working breed!

I did try schutzhund with Star, and she got her BH, but I started it when she was already 6 or 7 years old. I was told she didn't quite have the nerves for it, and could be pushed into defence too easily. Of course, her age was a factor too. She PROBABLY could have gotten an IPO 1 if I'd started her at a younger age.

I now have a young working line female, and the difference between the two dogs on the schutzhund field is like night and day!

Edit: here's another dog that is a cross between German and American show lines. A bit too angulated for my tastes, but she did get a championship in the conformation ring!

An image



by Hundmutter on 30 December 2017 - 17:12

Sunny I seriously do not think the bitch in your pic just posted would ever have been awarded anything in the UK, in EITHER the Kennel Club Shows under a pro-Alsatian judge, or in any (KC or Regional) Show populated by the Germanic majority dogs.

She seems neither 'fish nor fowl' as far as a British audience goes ! Obviously I'll add the caveat I always do, that you cannot judge a dog from one still photo; and of course the way she is stood and presented has a lot to do with how she looks. But her head and expression are too typically 'American S/L'; her shoulder far too upright; her forechest lacking; her feet too flat. Apologies to the owner of whichever dog it is, I hate tearing into any dog - but I am trying to make a point about just how different GS dogs 'aus Deutschland' still are from what is wanted in AKC showrings, (or UK 'Alsatian' competition, for that matter), and cannot do it without signalling the faults as we would see them in a dog such as this, over here. She may have excellent mouth & teeth, and gait, and be a lovely happy character and quite able to do a days work if it is ever required of her - but she is not a dog which closely fits the international Breed Standard. (I haven't even touched on extreme hind angulation ...).

So on phenotype alone, there are reasons why I personally would not wish to do a mating across 'type' that could give these sorts of results.

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