The Ultimate Guide to American Show Line German Shepherds

Categorized as German Shepherd Types and Mixes
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So you’re interested in bringing home an American Show Line German Shepherd? As one of the most popular breeds of dog, German Shepherds make loyal and loving family pets. However, there are some key things you need to know before deciding if an American Show Line German Shepherd is the right fit for your home.

Key Takeaways

  1. Specifically bred for success in dog shows and for their beauty, not for working ability. Have more angulated hindquarters and thicker coats than working lines.
  2. Calmer temperaments make them better suited as family companions but they still need plenty of activity and training.
  3. Support responsible breeding practices to reduce inherited health issues. Reputable breeders focus on quality over quantity.
  4. Require at least 30-60 minutes of vigorous exercise every day to prevent boredom and unwanted behaviors.
  5. Early socialization to a wide variety of people, dogs, environments etc. is essential for these naturally protective dogs.

What Exactly Is an American Show Line German Shepherd?

The German Shepherd breed encompasses working line and show line dogs. American Show Line German Shepherds have been bred specifically for success in dog shows and for their beauty and temperament. These dogs embody the classic black saddle and red-tan coat.

While all German Shepherd lines originate from one founding sire named Horand von Grafrath, show lines have deviated somewhat from the original working lines. Breeders have selectively bred show line Shepherds for a calmer temperament, bulkier build, more angulated hindquarters, and a thicker coat.


  • More sloped back
  • Bulkier, larger build
  • Broad chest and head
  • Longer coat that sheds heavily
  • Black saddle and tan/red coat


  • Calmer nature
  • Lower work drive
  • Protective instincts still present
  • Can be wary of strangers
  • Some may have nervous aggression due to poor breeding

The most iconic feature of the American Show Line German Shepherd is the angled hindquarters that create a sloping back appearance. Don’t mistake this sloped back for poor structure – the angled hindquarters allow for far-reaching, elastic movement desired in the show ring.

Are Show Line German Shepherds Good Pets?

Despite being bred for shows, American Show Line German Shepherds make wonderful family companions. Show lines tend to have lower energy levels and less intense exercise requirements than their high-strung working line counterparts. However, they still need plenty of activity to stay happy and healthy.

The show line Shepherd’s devoted yet approachable nature endears them to families. However, their protective instincts are still strong, so early socialization is a must.

Show line Shepherds thrive when challenged mentally and when given a job to do. Whether it’s learning tricks, playing games that engage their problem-solving skills, or taking on therapy work, keeping your show line Shepherd’s brain occupied prevents boredom and frustration.

Choosing an American Show Line German Shepherd Puppy

Choosing a quality show line Shepherd puppy is extremely important if you want to end up with a happy, healthy companion. Always buy from a responsible breeder who screens their breeding dogs for health and temperament.

While show line puppies typically cost $800 to $1,900, those from top show breeders can cost upwards of $5,000. What you get from a reputable show line breeder is invaluable: healthy puppies bred for sound temperament and conformation.

What to Look For in a Breeder

  • AKC registered parents
  • Health tested breeding dogs
  • Focus on breeding quality show line Shepherds
  • Socialized puppies
  • Support from breeder after purchase

Be very wary of breeders who seem to always have multiple litters available. Reputable show line German Shepherd breeders focus on quality, not quantity. They will likely have a waitlist for their puppies.

Caring for Your American Show Line German Shepherd

Bringing home your show line Shepherd puppy kicks off over a decade of fun and rewards. However, the work starts now – be prepared to invest ample time into training and care from day one. Here’s what responsible show line Shepherd ownership entails:


Your American Show Line German Shepherd needs at least 30-60 minutes of exercise per day. This energetic breed thrives when given an outlet for their enthusiasm and athleticism. Daily walks, play sessions, hiking on weekends, and access to a fenced yard provide ideal exercise.

As a puppy, avoid forced running or jumping until your Shepherd’s growth plates close, usually around 18-24 months old. Instead, engage their mind and build confidence through training games, exploring new environments, and meeting friendly people.

Training & Socialization

Early training and socialization form the foundation for a well-mannered companion. Expose your Shepherd puppy to a wide variety of people, environments, sounds, and other dogs in a positive manner. Signing up for puppy socialization classes significantly helps proper social development.

Consistent, rewards-based training started early and carried on through adulthood gives your intelligent Shepherd an enjoyable way to challenge their mind. Work on basic cues like Sit, Down, Come and Stay using treats, praise, and play. Later, engage their problem-solving drive through advanced tricks, dog sports, or other challenging activities.


The show line Shepherd’s long stock coat requires weekly brushing to minimize heavy shedding and keep the undercoat under control. Bathe only when necessary using mild dog shampoo. Trim nails regularly to avoid cracking or painful overgrowth. Brush teeth frequently with vet-approved dog toothpaste.


As large breed puppies grow extremely quickly in their first year, feeding a high-quality large breed puppy food prevents developmental issues. Feed set meals rather than free-feeding, following package guidelines for ideal feeding amounts.

Once mature, adult show line Shepherds do well when fed a high-quality kibble formulated specifically for large breeds. Provide plenty of fresh water at all times in clean bowls.

Health Concerns in American Show Line German Shepherds

All pedigreed dogs face increased risk for certain genetically-linked health conditions. Responsible show line Shepherd breeders screen their breeding stock for a variety of inherited diseases, including:

  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Elbow and hip dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Allergies
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency

Sadly, backyard breeding of American show line Shepherds has introduced nerve issues and temperament flaws into some lineages. Supporting responsible preservation breeders through puppy purchases helps protect the future of the breed.

With proper preventative care, exercise, training, and nutrition, your devoted American Show Line German Shepherd will enjoy a long life as your faithful companion. Plan to provide them with 10-14 years of excellent care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are American Show Line German Shepherds rare?

No, American show line German Shepherds are quite popular and not rare. As they make wonderful family pets, they tend to be the most common type of German Shepherd kept solely as companions.

Do show line Shepherds do well with other pets?

Proper socialization allows show line Shepherds to live harmoniously with other household pets. However, their strong prey drive means you should use caution when introducing them to small pets like cats, small dogs, or pocket pets.

How much exercise does a show line Shepherd need daily?

Plan on providing your American show line German Shepherd with 30-60 minutes of vigorous exercise every day. This athletic breed thrives when given plenty of activity.

Are show line Shepherds registered with AKC?

Yes, reputably bred American show line German Shepherds come from AKC registered parents and can be AKC registered themselves. Showing AKC registration papers helps prove your dog comes from health tested, quality lineage.

Bringing Home an American Show Line German Shepherd

Few breeds make as devoted and steadfast companions as the iconic German Shepherd Dog. Show line Shepherds bring smart, eager-to-please temperaments with stunning good looks. However, they require plenty of training, exercise, and interaction to live up to their full potential.

When purchased from ethical, responsible sources and properly cared for, American Show Line German Shepherds mature into magnificent animals over their 10-14 year lifespan. If you’re able to provide the high level of commitment this popular breed needs to thrive, be prepared for a profoundly loyal best friend!

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.