West German Shepherd Dog Breed Information(Facts & Traits)

Categorized as German Shepherd
west german shepherd: breed information, history, and facts

Origin and History of West German Shepherd Bloodline

In Germany, there are West German Shepherd and East German Shepherd which represent two types among many types of German Shepherd bloodlines.

Today, there are American German Shepherd Show Lines, West German Shepherd Show Lines, West German Shepherd Working Lines, East German DDR Working Line Shepherds, German Shepherd Czech Working Lines, and Mixed Lines.

Initially, there was no separation between West and East German Shepherd lines. The division between West and East German Shepherd lines occurred by the time the Allies divided Germany into two states after World War II.

Difference Between West German Shepherd and East German Shepherd

The difference between West and East German Shepherd lines was affected mainly by the conditions within their respective countries and the way they were bred.

West German Lines were bred for two different purposes, for a show (West German Shepherd show lines) and for working (West German Shepherd working lines).

Although there is a clear distinction between those two lines in West German Shepherd, for many, the title west German Shepherd refers more to German show lines, while east German Shepherd refers more to German working lines.

West German Show Lines

West German Shepherd working lines

Known for being the most handsome dog among all types of German Shepherd breeds, West German show lines were mainly bred for their physical appearances.

You can easily spot the difference between West and East German Shepherds by looking at their bodies and faces alone. West German Shepherds have more sculpted, sloped, and proportional shapes compared with East German Shepherds.

A Good Family Dog

Because they were bred to focus on show conformance, they do have to adhere to certain specific health and temperament guidelines.

The standard temperament guidelines of West German Shepherds are dogs that are friendly, stable, calm, easy to train, and easy to live with.

Their tempers make them an ideal candidate for family dogs, which I think is the reason for their popularity within and outside Germany.

A Great Nanny for Your Kids

They could become a great nanny for your kids. Here’s the story from one dog owner who raised by German Shepherd when he was a kid:

“I don’t remember this. I only got hearsay, from someone else. When I was a baby my mother used our GSD as my babysitter. My mother would put me in a bassinette, or whatever you call those things you put babies in, on the front porch. Go to the backyard and tell our GSD to go check on the baby. My mother would then run through the house to watch what was happening.

The dog would gently put her paws on the edge of my bed. If I was asleep she would lay down beside my bed. If I was awake she would tear around the house faster than my mother could run through it to tell her I was awake. Later she simply laid down beside my bed or, if she could, beside me.

Again, I’ve only been told of this, don’t remember it. I was crawling, not walking. If I could get a grip on her fur I could walk. Walk hell! I could run 30 miles an hour until she jumped the fence. I was called by our family and neighbors, The Kid Who Was Raised By a Dog.”

source: Quora

Breeding Standards

To qualify for breeding among the registry, these dogs do have to obtain working titles like protection dogs, as well as specific physical measurements for their hips and elbows following the rules set by the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde e. V., which is the first German Shepherd breed club founded by Max Von Stephanitz and his colleagues, Arthur Meyer.

Physical Traits

West German Shepherds tend to have black and red coats, but also comes in colors of black and tan, sable, bi-colors, and black.

They have similar length and height compared to their American counterparts, with a more sloped body than East German counterparts but not as much slope as American German Shepherds.

Their hindquarters are more than East German Shepherds but not as extreme as American German Shepherds.

In simple words, since they are bred following the conformity standard of the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde e. V. you can be sure that the members of this family are more good-looking than most of their cousins.

A Good House Protector

Tough their working drives are usually much lower than those of the working lines, they still have enough drive to work and protect and not as lazy as their American counterpart.

And don’t forget they have high energy levels and need a lot of exercise and activities to keep them happy and healthy.

Check out the following articles for a list of fun indoor and outdoor activities that you can do with your dog:

West German Working Lines

West German Shepherd working lines

Remember all police German Shepherds dogs that you have seen in movies or real life and all the qualities that they possess – hard worker, high pain tolerance, high intelligence – and you will get West German Working Lines.

A Great Police Dog

They are the most common dogs chosen and used for police and detective works(K9 dogs). From searching for drugs and explosives to chasing suspects and protecting police officers, they are the top in their fields.

Considering all the merits that they have done, it’s no wonder when German Shepherd police dogs are killed in duty, they are usually given full police funeral.

You might think since they are a great police dog why not get them as a family dog to protect your home. Well, you mustn’t. Tough they are a great police dog, don’t be tempted to get them as a family dog.

With their high tolerance for pain, you’ll have a hard time to train and discipline them. Also, they have higher aggression and prey drives compared with the show lines which make them potentially dangerous around people or children.

They might accidentally bite your children when he is running as their prey instinct kicks in and views anything that is moving fast as a target.


As a police dog, they are trained to be calm and sharp in different stressful situations and conditions. Here, we’re talking about the kind of condition where the lives of people might be at stake.

An active mind and tons of energy are another reason why they are not a good family dog. A day to day mundane, civil life will bore them quite easily.

Physical Appearance

West German Shepherd Working Lines usually smaller and less sloped compared with the show lines counterpart.

Breeding Standard

In Germany, West German Working Lines are KKL2 meaning they are permitted to breed, but not recommended. They must get Schutzhund title first before they can reproduce.

To get the Schutzhund title, they must take a Schutzhund test; this test determines the breed suitability. This test consists of three phases: tracking, obedience, and protection. The point of each stage is 100 point, the minimum passing score for the protection phase is 80, and 70 for both tracking and obedience phases.

It’s such a demanding test that only a few German Shepherds are able to pass.

Great Dog for Sport Competition

Today, aside from being police and detective dogs, these dogs are also used for sports competitions.

It shouldn’t come to surprise that they often become the champion in many sports competitions held around the world, especially when you look at the rigorous tests that they have to pass to enter the race.

How Much do West German Shepherd Cost?

German Shepherd puppies cost between $500 to $1,500 depending on the lines. As for adult German Shepherds, either from show lines or working lines, with proven credentials and Schutzhund title may cost around $6,000 to $7,000.

Read also: How much is a German shepherd puppy? (with 21 examples)

Remember to do your due diligence first before picking up any German Shepherds. Ask all the questions that you might have, check their history and health records, and make sure you buy your German Shepherd dog from a respectable breeder.

East German Shepherd

East German Shepherd working lines

East German Shepherd was often called DDR German Shepherd. DDR refers to the Deutsche Demokratische Republik which is an official name of East Germany when Germany was split up into two nations after World War II.

DDR dogs were originally bred for guarding, patrolling, and attacking people who were trying to cross the border to West Germany.

Strictly breeding with strict standard and government-controlled breeding program, the early generation of DDR dogs represent the ideal type of German Shepherd that Max Von Stephanitz was dreaming of when he developed the first breed back in 1989.

The standard breeding guideline states that only dogs that entirely free of hip dysplasia and other related health issues are allowed to breed. Puppies are carefully inspected and tested to ensure all of their physical traits, and personality conforms to the standard.

This regulation makes the early generation the best German Shepherd ever.


They also have tons of strength and power. They can do their works for hours without showing a sign of exhaustion. We can say they are “dogaholic.”

However, in modern times, not all DDR’s have the same quality as the early generation. Some of the modern times East German Shepherds are quite laid back and more friendly toward people and other pets.

Physical Traits

They have a strong body structure with more muscles and less fat. With a large blocky head, thick barrel chests, and thicker paws. And mostly they in black or sable color with hints of tan on the feet on the legs or in the face (around the ears).

Here are some of my favorite German Shepherd supplies

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful and useful as you raise and train your German Shepherd.

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