The Many Different Shepherd Dogs in America
By Martin Wahl


They may be called American -, King (see photo in side bar) -, Mini -, White (see photo in side bar) -, Giant -, Shiloh (see photo in side bar) -, Show -, Working -, and even "German"- Shepherds. This "variety of so many different types of (German?) Shepherds" within a "single breed" needs to be explained. Especially since it is available only in North America, where breeders have been breeding to several different breed standards (or without any breed standard at all) on a large scale.

My qualifications to do so are as follows: First; I am in full command of the German language (most of the real interesting information on the GSD is available only in German). Second; I used to breed 'Real' German Shepherds (under the name of "vom Rosenhof") and learned a lot from many breeder friends in Germany, enabling me to prove myself by producing a good majority of puppies (over 400) of consistent outcome. Third; I am the lucky owner of a complete set (over 100) of SV breed survey and registry books going back to 1949, plus a complete set of SV magazines, giving me full access to that wonderful "SV breeder guidance system". Fourth; My deep love for the German Shepherd Dog and my respect for its superbly qualified originator Max von Stephanitz.

Even though, these extreme variations within the breed are being produced by individual breeders, breeders must comply to, and operate within, the rules and regulations imposed on them by one or more governing bodies (registries) in their country. Only if the existing rules are very lax or not properly enforced, can some opportunistic breeders, or groups of breeders make a fast buck by catering to the need for the "unusual" of the uninformed pet buyer. Having several different breed standards for one breed would be impossible under FCI rules, but the majority of registries in North America are not members in, and therefore not under the rules of the FCI (Fédération Cynologique International, the international Federation of national dog oganizations), where most other counties in the world today are members. See FCI world map and breeders hiding behind German sounding American kennel names

The lack of a breeder guidance system and virtually no controls in north America not only leave the remaining good breeders on their own (without ANY assistance), but also make it possible for SOME breeders to "create" anything they envision, including "Giant" Shepherds that weigh 175 lbs. at 6 month, or "mini" Shepherds that can fit comfortably in a women’s purse, all at the expense of the dog’s health, (as only very heavy and repeated inbreeding can produce those extreme results), - but all with the blessing of the AKC/CKC as being "certified pure breeding".

What troubles me the most, is the fact that the "wild west" (out of control) environment created by the AKC and CKC in north America gives ALL breeders the appearance of "outlaws" in the eyes of the puppy seeking public. (And is my main reason for not breeding anymore).

See also "Balance in the American German Shepherd Show Dog”, by Jean Mueller, confirming my suspicions that the American bred Shepherd is actually crippled.

The one exception are the American bred German Shepherds as guide dogs for the blind at Fidelco. Here is their web site:

Left: "American" (German) Shepherd
bred under AKC/CKC rules

Right: "German" German Shepherd
bred under SV (WUSV) rules

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"black sable", the original GSD color.
East German (DDR), female
Laika vom Rosenhof

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Half east and half west German working bloodline, male

Arko von der
Hohen Metze
Sire of Laika vom Rosenhof (above)

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Famous & typical East German (DDR), male

Lord vom Gleisdreieck

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Famous & typical West German old working bloodline, male

The 1994 Sieger Gotthilf von der Kine

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Famous & typical "black sable" working bloodline, male

The 1996 Sieger
Dax vom Baumberg

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Famous & typical German show  male. World & SV Sieger Fanto vom Hirschel (show GSD all look alike, if you seen one, you seen'm all)

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Famous working GSD, male

The 1992 Sieger Blacky vom Neuen Lande

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Typical very plush coated GSD, also called: "Altdeutscher" GSD. A true long coat has no weatherproof undercoat and can't be bred.


Typical north American Shepherds
FCI, WUSV or SV recognised)

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American Show Shepherds
(their hind quaters not only look crippled, latest research indicates that they are crippled)

right: The famous Am.& Select Can.
Ch. Bakervue's Breman of Cedar

left: Famous Canadian Grand Victrix
Ch. Echolane Holly v Woodside

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Silver-sable North American Shepherd

Ch. Othello's Style of Petrszyn

White Shepherds, called
A-C (American-Canadian) Shepherds in Europe, were bred (inbred) originally from German Shepherds but are not FCI or WUSV recognised.


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"King" or "Shiloh" Shepherds
An American XXL breed, bred (inbred) from oversized and plush (long) coated GSDs, can reach 130 to 170 lbs (Not a toy).

None of these dogs are within the FCI or WUSV breed standard for GSD and should not be called "German" Shepherds, or be bred or sold as such.

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Here is a book that may interest you:

A "must read before" you fall in love with any American bred dog or puppy! The author thoroughly investigated the American dog scene after experiencing a major problem with an "AKC-purebred". Blue-ribbon show dogs and pet-shop puppies usually hide a time bomb of bad breeding, which often results in aggressive behavior, fear biting, unprovoked attacks, law suites, loosing your grand child and being forced to put your beloved puppy to sleep. This book is based on reality and tells it as it is, so that you may be prevented from going into the same traps. Applies to the CKC equally well.

"Absolutely no-one should buy a puppy without first reading THE PUPPY REPORT."  A. Hamilton Rowan, former director of Field trials and Hunting Tests - American Kennel Club

"Among the most significant dog books of out times. Read it!" Jim Spencer, Columnist for Gun Dog and the American Kennel Club

"Must reading for anyone considering the purchase of a pooch...Crisp guidelines for obtaining a healthy puppy".  The Seattle Times


The Puppy Report by Larry Shook, Hardcover $ 3.99 (US)  You can order this book right from here   (

You can find additional books we recommend

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Copyright 2001 Martin Wahl, Real GSD.  All rights reserved.