The Working Line German Shepherd
The working line Shepherd is bred just as it sounds- for the purpose of work. Focusing on breeding for intelligence, obedience and temperament, breeders start with a solid base of sound and conformationally correct bodies. Responsible breeders have hips tested by OFA to determine if dogs are of breeding standard- as a working dog is worthless if its body cannot perform its tasks. These are the dogs that you see working with police and military, and the ones that fiercely protect their families. They are high energy dogs and require training and exercise, or will become destructive.
The Show Line German Shepherd
Show line Shepherds are bred with the focus on appearance and show standards. These gentle giants are made for trotting around a show ring and have sloped backs and sharp angulation of the hock joints. As temperament, nerve, intelligence and work ability are not required in the show ring- their temperaments can be more of a lap dog, and some have been known to be shy. Finding a protection dog from these lines is a rare. They are lower energy dogs and would work well for a family who wants a large lap dog, or doesn't have the time to spend exercising and training the dog. Hip problems are common with these lines and are expensive to treat.
Click here to read: Balance Problems with the American Show German Shepherd, by Jean Mueller- Jean goes over detailed information about the American Show line Shepherds, and the soundness issues as a result of breeding for show.