American vs. European German Shepherds

The American German Shepherd and the European German Shepherd are the same breed, but with different backgrounds. Is there really that much difference between these two? Let's take a closer look.

The European German Shepherd

Not surprisingly, European German Shepherds are bred mainly in Europe. Although these dogs are usually brought over to the United States from Europe, there are some German Shepherd Breeders in America who breed European lines. A few things to know:

  • Regulation: European German Shepherds are regulated under the SV (German Shepherd Club of Germany), which gives each and every registered dog the seal of approval.
  • Physical Characteristics: Physically, European German Shepherds have bigger heads, a straighter line on their hind legs, and a shorter and wider backline.
  • Traits: European German Shepherds are believed to be better suited as working dogs than their American counterparts. Because of this, it's also believed that they make better guard dogs. The majority of police dogs are from European lines. This may be due to the fact that the SV has worked hard at preserving the working temperament of German Shepherds for many years.

The American German Shepherd

American German Shepherd Dogs are bred and raised in the United States. Here are a few things that distinguish them from the German Shepherds that are breed across the Atlantic:

  • Regulation: American German Shepherds may participate in competitions under the American Kennel Club; however, these dogs don't have as many regulations as their European counterparts.
  • Physical Characteristics: Although they are a bit bigger overall than European German Shepherds, they have a more refined head, their hind legs bend more, and their torso is more angled from front to back.
  • Traits: American German Shepherds are known for being elegant, having a graceful walk, and for their extraordinary performance in the show ring.

Which German Shepherd is right for you, the American or the European? That's something only you can answer. But if you're a German Shepherd lover, we're sure you'll find something to love in both varieties.

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