American German Shepherd Vs European German Shepherd

photo by geransgermanshepherd

Do you know that a German Shepherd is different from an American German Shepherd? The former is of European lines while the latter is from American lines. This article will help you to spot the difference between an American German Shepherd and a European German Shepherd. To differentiate them clearly, we need to know about their bloodline characteristics, breeding standards and buying costs.

Bloodline Characteristics  

To easily identify the difference in bloodline characteristics between American German Shepherd and European German Shepherd, the primary indicators must be their physical attributes, some of their health concerns and career paths.

Facts about Physical Attributes of American German Shepherd and European German Shepherd

The most prominent difference between an American German Shepherd and a European German Shepherd is their physical appearance. Though both originated from the same breed, you can clearly distinguish them by looking at some of the features of their built.

american gsd vs eruo gsd1

American German Shepherd size is bigger than of the European German Shepherd. It has a more angular and longer body and sloped back compared to European line of German Shepherd which has a straight topline and shorter body.

American Bloodline German Shepherd has a refined head, its outline is smooth curves rather than angles, and it is taller in height, while a West German Shepherd possessed a bigger head, its outline is angles rather than smooth curves, and is smaller in height.  

When it comes to the bone structures and weight, American German Shepherd has thicker bones and is heavier than of the European GSD. The color of the American German Shepherd is lighter than of the European lines.

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Health Issues of each Breed

American German Shepherd is more prone to some health problems such as hip dysplasia due to its slanted body, bloating, as well as allergies. European German Shepherd has more endurance and stability in environment due to its strict standardized breeding and training.

Moreover, German Shepherd with European lines have lesser chance of acquiring hip problems because of their straight and balanced posture. If you want learn more about the health concerns of the German Shepherd Dogs, you can read our featured article on “German Shepherd Health Problems.”

Career Paths of each Breed

Most of the American German Shepherd Dogs are destined to be show lines German Shepherd Dogs. They are being prepared to display good looks and to do pleasing movements in order to be attractive in show rings. It is very unusual for American German Shepherd to be included in the working lines because they are preferably to be American show lines German Shepherd.

The European German Shepherd Dogs are raised to develop working abilities. This line of GSD is the source of  well-trained, intelligent, loyal and strong German Shepherd Dogs who are involved in military, police as well as in rescue jobs. However, there are also some European German Shepherd which are show lines.

Breeding Standards

Another best way to distinguish American German Shepherd from European German Shepherd is by understanding their respective breeding standards and different regulations. These standards are essential determining factors of what their ability will be as well as their fate.

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Regulation in Breeding American German Shepherd and European German Shepherd Compared

The European German Shepherd breeding standards are being regulated by the German Shepherd Club of Germany (SV). On the other hand, the American German Shepherd breeding standards are being regulated by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

German Shepherd with European lines need to pass the test of obedience, health and temperament while the American German Shepherd breeding standards has no such requirements.

The American Line German Shepherd breeders are not as strict when it comes to regulation of breeding process compared to the European German Shepherd breeders.

The German Shepherd Dogs with European bloodline are bred and trained based on the standards set forth by Captain Stephanitz to be fit in working environment while the American bloodline German Shepherd are being raised to have good shape, movements, and appearance to be elegant and excellent in dog show performances.

Breeders of German Shepherd with European bloodlines are so concerned with developing and maintaining higher standards of health, temperament and agility. Unlike the European breeding standards, American German Shepherd breeders do not focus on the said traits.   

Buying American German Shepherd and German Shepherd

In buying an American German Shepherd Dog, the factors that need to be considered are: first, is the price of the breed; and of course, the advantages and disadvantages of your choice. With that, you will be guided in purchasing the right one for you.

American German Shepherd Price compared with European German Shepherd

Due to the higher standards of breeding system required for European lines German Shepherd, they become more expensive compared with the American German Shepherd price. The standard American German Shepherd puppy’s price ranges from $500 to $1,500. However, the average price of European German Shepherd starts at $1200 to $5000 if it is from West Germany while East German Shepherd puppy starts at $600.

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Choosing an American German Shepherd Lines

If your choice is to have an American German Shepherd Dog, it is important for you to know the advantages and disadvantages in choosing this breed.

The primary disadvantage is that they are high-maintenance dogs because they have the greater chance to encounter health problems and veterinary expenses are so costly. For instance, when you treat a hip dysplasia, it will cost from $1,500 to $6,000 while for elbow dysplasia range from $1,500 to $4,000.  Moreover, they are also unpredictable when it comes to temperament as compared to the European German Shepherd.

What is good with the American German Shepherd is their graceful moving talents and good performance in shows. By knowing these disadvantages and advantages, you will understand if it is necessary for you to get one.


It is very important to understand the difference between an American German Shepherd and a European German Shepherd. Future buyers and breeders of German Shepherd Dogs should be aware of this comparison because each breed has its own usefulness and appropriate breeding standards. Having sufficient knowledge about their own characteristics will be a good foundation for a successful GSD breeding experience.

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