In addition to the West German show lines, you also have the West German working lines on the German side of the split in the breed. West German working lines (WGWL) are also required to meet the same minimum requirements before breeding under the WUSV standard and SV guidelines. These requirements include a BH title, a working title (such as SchH/IPO or HGH), a conformation rating of G (good) or better and a passing hip/elbow certification. While not required, most breeders also participate in the breed survey with their dogs before breeding as this is required before the resulting litters can be given “pink papers” (the highest registration available and most sought after papers). The dogs are also required to be a minimum age before breeding (20 months for females, 24 months for males) and while linebreeding is often utilized, no inbreeding is allowed.
WGWL dogs are not as overall uniform as the West German show lines, with sizes and colors varying a bit more. You may find black/tan, black/red, black or sable dogs within these lines. You can also find lighter saddle back patterns, darker black/tans with a blanket back pattern, or bi color dogs. Their structure can vary from a low G (good) show rating to a high V (excellent) show rating. Usually conformation and looks are not on the top of the priority list for these breeders. Although in the recent years some working line breeders are beginning to look more at overall conformation, which has resulted in many WGWL dogs placing better in the SV/USCA style conformation ring.
West German working lines are generally bred more for their working ability and temperament. You will find these dogs excelling on the Schutzhund field as well as other protection type sports. You will also see these dogs working as police dogs, SAR dogs, herding dogs, as well as performing in obedience, agility, rally, or anything else you want to attempt with them. They tend to be more compact, agile and athletic.
While these dogs can make wonderful pets and companions, they are not couch potatoes. If you are wanting a dog to sit around on the couch all day, you will want to consider a different breed as the German Shepherd Dog is simply not suited for that. The German Shepherd Dog needs to be socialized as a puppy/young dog, have at least basic obedience training (although the more you do with the dog, the better companion he will become!), proper exercise and a “job” to do (something to stimulate their mind). If you have the time and ability to give your GSD those four key elements, they can make a wonderful companion for your family.
To find a good breeder of West German working line dogs, you can begin your search at the United Schutzhund Clubs of America’s website. In addition to learning about the breed and SchH on their website, they also have a breeder directory where you can search for breeders by state. Remember, take the time to research breeders and educate yourself before you purchase a puppy. You may have to weed through many bad breeders to find the good ones, but the time and effort will pay off in the long run. Visit my past articles to learn about questions that you should ask any breeder.
The different GSD bloodlines: West German show lines
The different GSD bloodlines: American show lines