Anyone who knows anything about the history of the German shepherd breed knows that they were bred first and foremost to be efficient working dogs and secondly to be show animals. As their breed rose steeply in popularity after German shepherds made their debut on both the small and big screens, this breed began to diverge into very distinct lines.
There were both show and working lines not just in America, but in German and in Eastern Europe, resulting in a huge variety of colors and slight variation in size and health. Here are some of the characteristics of the American German shepherd show line:
Larger size GSD’s
When compared to their European counterparts, the American GSD is going to be a little bit bigger. Their heads have a more refined shape and their back legs are going to have more bend. The angle of the torso is also going to be more pronounced.
Because these dogs came to America specifically to be pets, they have been bred to have a quieter and more elegant disposition than dogs that were bred in Europe, who might have mixed with working dogs that are often bred to be powerful, eager barkers.
Lower energy German Shepherds
Again, because they are bred for the ring and not for the high impact work that the working lines do, show line dogs have lower energy. In general, they have a more favorable disposition for those looking for pets.
More uniform coloration
The tan body with black saddle is the most desirable color and pattern for the show GSD, so they are bred to have this coloration and pattern, though many dogs may be slightly different colors or have entirely different coats altogether, based on their genetics. Their coats are also going to be longer and thicker than in working dogs. More about German Shepherd types and breed lines.