GSD Breed Types and Standards
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Comparison of AKC/CKC/UKC/KC/and FCI standards:
In general, German Show lines put more
emphasis on working abilities; they have thicker and stronger shaped heads, less
rear angulation and less of a slope from the wither to the croup (the German
breeders tilted the pelvis forward by curving the back to gain rear drive
without increasing angulation). Their bodies tend to be slightly shorter and
more substantial, their temperament more courageous.
American Show lines put more emphasis on
fluid movement (the floating side gait); they have more refined heads, more
extreme angulation of the hind legs, and and a greater slope of the back (the
American breeders gained length of stride by lengthening the bones, most notably
the upper arm and the lower thigh). In
general, they are a little taller and narrower, with deeper chests, their
temperament more docile.
Standard comparison's by artist Linda Shaw: http://shawlein.com/The_Standard/12_Type_Comparison/Comparison_Types.html
In more detail:
1) Proportion of chest depth to overall height: the WUSV standard says the depth of chest should be about 45 to 48 % of the dog's height at the withers. AKC Show dogs often have deep chests up to 55 % of height, making their front look lower to the ground. There is also the leggier, less deep-chested American type.
2) Height to length ratio: interpreted, the WUSV standard states that the height to length ratio should be between 8.5:10 and 9:10. American Show dogs tend to be longer with ratios between 8:10 and 8.5:10., even though the AKC standard reads 8.5:10 ratio.
3) Rear leg angulation: the WUSV standard says the upper thigh when viewed from the side joins the only slightly longer lower thigh at an angle of approx. 120°. American Show dogs often have longer lower thighs and an angle equal to or less than 90° in a "stack" (show pose), so that the hock is poised higher than the stifle. (Although the AKC Standard talks about a 90° angle at a natural stance and 120° in a show pose, this is not often followed in practice.)
4) Height: the WUSV standard is 23.6 " to 25.6" for males, and 21.6" to 23.6" for females. If a dog exceeds the limit by more than 4/10 inch, he does not qualify for the breed survey (explained next paragraph). AKC judges are not as strict, and dogs up to an inch above the AKC 26" limit can be shown.
5) Slope of topline: the WUSV standard states that the overline proceeds from the neck, continuing over the the high, long withers and over the straight back through the slightly sloping croup without abrupt change. Many German Siegers seem to have rounder than straight backs. The AKC standard says the withers are higher than and sloping into the level back. The back is straight,...without sag or roach.
Type comparison's by artist Linda Shaw: http://shawlein.com/The_Standard/13_Breed_Type/Breed_Types.html
A couple of points:
The founder of the breed, Max von Stephanitz, took great pains to ensure that the GSD remain above all a "working dog". In 1923, he instituted the "Körung, KKl", a survey that recommends or excludes dogs from breeding in the SV (the GSD Club in Germany). He also ruled that a Show dog had to have a working title.
To qualify for breeding in the SV, GSDs must pass an Endurance Test (AD-running 20 km without tiring), a Temperament Test, a Gun Test, and a Courage Test. They must also meet the standard in Conformation, be DNA certified, and be free of hip dysplasia (the a-stamp).
An AKC Show dog need not have any titles. And there are no mandatory requirements to qualify as a breeding dog, either with the AKC or CKC. Temperament/Endurance testing, DNA certification, and OFA (hip rating) certification, are all offered by these clubs, and are done on a voluntary basis by reputable breeders.
A little history of the German-American split:
The SV was founded in Germany in 1899. The 1st president and co-founder, registered the 1st German Shepherd Dog, Horand von Grafrath, the foundation dog on which the breed was built.
View a picture of Horand at http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/gsd/pedigree/1208.html
At the time "Shepherds" had many different looks, but because GSD breeders closely followed Captain Stephanitz' strict breeding policies and practiced selective inbreeding and linebreeding, the eclectic sheepdog group quickly became a distinct and recognizable breed.
The German Shepherd was first registered by the AKC in 1908 and in Canada in 1912.
Before WWII, the German Siegers imported to the US were also often the US Grand Victors, and so the same dogs influenced breed type in both countries (Siegers and Grand Victors have great influence on the direction breed type takes because they are then in great demand as stud dogs).
During the WWII era, with no or few German imports, a distinct type started to take shape in the US. In the 50s and 60s, German imports again regained their influence, but to a lesser extent. The 1950 Sieger, Axel von der Deininghauser Heidi, is considered to have had one of the greatest impacts on the American type of that era. But since 1969, no Sieger has been Grand Victor, and the split in type has grown and become very obvious.
is a great site that lists and pictures all of the German Siegers since
You can really see the changes in the American
Grand Victors by looking at theses pictures:
It looks like conformation is changing in both the German Show and American Show Dogs! But it is not changing as much in the European Working lines, which appear to more closely resemble the American and German GSDs of the 1950's (when both lines were more similar).
"The Gap Widens" article by Fred Lanting: http://siriusdog.com/article3.php?id=370
West German Working
Czech and Slovakian
Prior to the Revolution in Czechoslovakia in 1989, most German Shepherd Dogs were working dogs. The kennel Z Pohranicni straze, founded in 1955 by the Socialist Republic, was responsible for most of the breeding of police and border patrol dogs. It is now owned by the Pohranicni Policie ((Boarder Police). They are a large kennel located in at least 3 different Police Compounds, and since their breeding standards are very high, dogs from this kennel are highly praised.
The Czech and Slovak title system is ZVV(1 to 3) or SVV(1 to 3) - equivalent to IPO(1 to 3) and SchH(1 to 3). Since they are not FCI recognized titles, this system is fading, as competitors need to have their dogs IPO/SchH titled to compete internationally. All Z Pohranicni straze dogs are ZVV.
A short history is well explained on this site:
The Old German Shepherd and Westerwaelder Cowdog