American vs. European German Shepherds: What’s The Difference?

Last Updated on May 11, 2023 by Becky Roberts

It is the American German Shepherd and the European German Shepherd are both the same breed. The loyal, loving, and extremely hardworking German Shepherd that we all love and know. However, because they grew in different parts of the water, they’re somewhat different from each other.

We would like to make it clear that the dogs belong to identical breed. Similar to the American Labrador vs. English version of the Labrador All breeds that mature and have been bred from different breeds have different characteristics. However that not all breeders agree on the differences in breeds among localities. Our assessment here is based on our experience and research. Every dog is unique and each dog has a unique temperament, based on their breeder.

While the distinctions between European German Shepherds of Europe and American German Shepherds aren’t obvious but some could be enough to convince you to select either over the other. It could be the size, their attitude to work and health, or even their cost that could make you choose one or the other. In this article, we’re going to go through their similarities and differences. Let’s get right into the similarities and differences between the two German Shepherd lines.

American vs. European German Shepherds

Breed History

It is the German Shepherd Dog is also called The Deutsche Schaferhund in Germany. The German Shepherd Dog is part of a herding line of dogs that varied between districts. In the 19 century century an officer in the cavalry set out to develop the perfect herding dog. Through breeding the very best breeds, he developed this breed of German Shepherd that we all are familiar with and love to this day.

He was not only proving to be an amazing herding dog however, we quickly realized that he was a protector and trustworthy. This is the reason the dog is now among the most sought-after dogs for police and military all over the world.

He gained a lot of attention in America during the 20 20th century due to his celebrity standing as a film actor with films like Rin Tin Tin as well as Strongheart. Due to his fame and popularity, his number of fans in America increased. In time, even though it was true that the European line as well as the American line are both the same breeds, they became distinct different. It is also crucial to understand that we’re not talking about this line of Shepherds, the Eastern European Shepherd or the Dutch Shepherd which is an entirely distinct Shepherd line.

So different that the breed standards for them are also different. It is the American German Shepherd is regulated by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The European German Shepherd is regulated by the German Shepherd Club of Germany (GSCB). It is possible to find German Shepherd breeders in the United States that breed exclusively using European breeds. It is possible to adopt an European puppy within the United States. It’s not necessary to travel abroad to adopt a dog.


The biggest distinction in those who have the American German Shepherd and the European German Shepherd is their appearance. It is the American is the largest of the two, having a an extended body. The American’s rear ends slope more than his European counterpart and the European has a more straight topline. It is the American German Shepherd is more bones and weighs a less than the European as well.

It is said that the American German Shepherd has a smaller, more round head in comparison with the European German Shepherd, which has a bigger and more sharply angular head. Some describe the head of the European dog as like the head of a wolf.

In terms of their coats, their size and texture is similar however, each line may be shorter or more lengthy in its coat. The most popular coat colors are black and Tan as well as both be inherited with the more unique German Shepherd colors, like black solid, white and occasionally blue. The only difference, however the fact it is the case that an American German Shepherd is usually lighter in the color.


In terms of their personalities, the primary distinction in those who have the American German Shepherd and the European German Shepherd is that the European German Shepherd is usually more relaxed when working. It is possible that they were bred to be working dogs, both in the herding and protection fields. In contrast to the American one, the American is more often regarded as an animal companion for the family, and the American isn’t subjected to the same rigorous testing as often than the European.

If you want a dog that can work it is possible that you would be better off working with an European German Shepherd breeder, instead of an all-inclusive German Shepherd breeder. However If you’re seeking an German Shepherd with the sole goal of being an animal companion for the family, then it is likely that the American German Shepherd is the best option. He’s somewhat less secure,and potentially the lesser aggressive breed one if it is not exercised properly.

Since that the American German shepherd is more relaxed and less secure, he is not as focused on the master, or his primary caregiver. In reality, he’s more at ease with the whole family and is less agitated. This is another reason to consider him an ideal family pet to the European German Shepherd.

The rest that make up their personality are pretty similar. They are both excellent guard dogs and family watchdogs when you require for them to become. They are both extremely protective. American as well as European German Shepherds are both shy around strangers and once they get to meet someone, they’ll not be overly affectionate towards them. Both breeds are extremely entertaining and enjoy snuggling together with their families at night.


Since that the European German Shepherd is the one who is a workaholic, while The American German Shepherd is the more calm version, it is easy to determine which one requires more exercise. You’re correctly, the European German Shepherd requires a little greater exercising in comparison to the American.

On average the average American German Shepherd needs around 60 minutes of exercise per day. A European German Shepherd will need between 60 to 90 minutes of vigorous training each day. Additionally the dog will require more active play during the course of his day in order to keep the sharp brain working. The American prefers napping in the afternoon than those who have the European German Shepherd. If you choose to adopt the European version, that means more engaging German Shepherd dog toys and more time outdoors.

It’s not to say that the American does not require to be stimulated throughout the day, as it is. If you’re an active family and are looking for an animal that is equally active to keep up with your demands then the European is the best choice for you. If you and your family members are seeking a dog who is active that is also able to switch off occasionally The American dog is the best option.

Since they each need the brain to be stimulated all day long, you’ll have to buy an array of durable toys to keep him busy. Dogs who are restless, whether they American or European can be troublesome and destructive. Therefore, it’s better to keep them busy.


Both the American as well as German Shepherds, both the American and European German Shepherd need regular and early socialization to develop into polite dogs. Dogs that are protective can easily turn into aggressive dogs if they allow themselves to become. Socialization helps them learn to communicate with humans and other dogs with confidence, without being scared. Therefore, both require intense training at an early age.

They are extremely obedient and trained due to their loyalty and their desire to be a pleasure. However, when it is time to train dogs, the European German Shepherd can be more adept at absorbing commands. This is due to the fact that he is the most intense worker and also because the brain of this dog is wired to react to humans and interact with them that little bit.

They are fortunate, as they are extremely intelligent and capable of training. It doesn’t require you to be a seasoned pet owner in order to master either variant that of this breed. We would suggest that European German Shepherd is more aggressive. They generally do much more in an environment that is working. This can mean they are more stubborn in certain situations and it can be difficult to train while walking in the harness or performing other work tasks.


You can observe from the graph above as you can see in the chart above, as you can see in the chart above, American German Shepherd has a shorter life span when it is compared with the European German Shepherd. The American typically lives from 7-10 years, while the European is between 10 and 12 years. This is due to the fact that the GSCB is recognized to be more strict in regards to breeder practices as well as health issues to test for. In the past this has led to it is now the European bloodline is more healthy.

It is true that the European German Shepherd is still susceptible to developing hip dysplasia. However, since his topline is straighter , and the poster of his is better well-balanced, he is less likely to get it. The sloped back of the American increase the risk of developing hip dysplasia, as well. American breeders are becoming aware of this, and the necessity to create this trait from the bloodline. In general it is it is the European line is more healthy, for sure.

Degenerative myelopathy is another health issue that affects the two German Shepherd lines. This condition is believed to affect the brain as well as the spine, and ultimately leads to the complete reduction in rear mobility. The two lines of sight are affected by this in the same way as the other, and it is something to be on the lookout for.


The American German Shepherds as well as the European German Shepherds can benefit from an excellent food item. Both variations of the breed require dog food designed specifically to meet the German Shepherd’s nutritional requirements. Find a kibble with enough energy, protein and nutrition to provide the energy they require all day.

Be sure to give them a food that is suitable for their life stage. This is especially important in the puppy’s first year, since puppy needs more energy and specific nutrients to ensure good development.

Always follow the instructions on the package, and feed the dogs according to their size, age and energy levels. In the average, a German Shepherd line consumes approximately 3-4 cups of food per day. Of of course, if he’s an active Shepherd is going to require far more.


It is believed that the American German Shepherd and European German Shepherds are alike in their grooming regimen. It is all dependent on the breed’s hair type, whether it is short or an long-haired version of this breed. If he’s short-haired, it is likely that he would only require brushing every week. If he’s hairy, he’ll need brushing twice or three times per week to remove dust and dead hair.

No matter if they wear either a long or short coat, it is likely to see them shed exactly the same. However, if they have a longer-haired Shepherd the shed is more obvious. They’ll shed in a moderate manner throughout the yearand often in the time of shedding. If shedding breeds don’t appeal to you The American or the European are a good fit with your household.

Puppy Prices

American German Shepherd puppies from a reliable breeder begin at around $1,000 or more. Naturally, there are many American German Shepherds living in America. Because European German Shepherd breeders in America are more scarce, and since they must import top quality breeds of Europe to begin with the prices are more expensive. You should expect to pay $1,500 or more for an European German Shepherd.

Some say it’s an investment worth it due to the fact that European line is healthier. However, you must be aware that they are more intense and require more exercise, attention and training in socialization. Deciding what you want for your dog is a greater factor than the price.

Whichever line you choose, make certain that you choose a reliable breeder who will go to great lengths to create healthy and happy pups. Beware of puppy mills as well as untrustworthy breeders at all cost as it could increase your costs in the end.

Final Thoughts

In general all things considered, both the American German Shepherd and the European German Shepherd are extremely alike since, in the end, they are both the identical dog breed. However, because they were raised separately and are governed by different registration authorities, they’re somewhat different. If you are in America The European German Shepherd is more expensive due to the fact that he is more rare.

The difference in their appearance is the most obvious and the American German Shepherd being the slightest one. It is also worth noting that the American German Shepherd’s rear is more sloping which means he’s more likely to be suffering from hip dysplasia as well.

In terms of personality In terms of personality, when it comes to personality, the European German shepherd is more than the German Shepherds of other breeds. They are more intense. They could also be more difficult to work with, based upon their parent’s. While both are families-friendly however, they are different breeds. American German Shepherd may be the best choice for families with a typical. The differences between them can help families choose between the two. The question is: do you bat with your American team or are you swinging for the European family?

Becky Roberts

Becky Roberts

One of Becky's favourite things to do every morning is to browse the top pet-related forums, looking for issues and questions that people have. She then shortlists the most common ones, and turns them into blog posts for Fuzzy Rescue. She's had over 4 cats and 2 dogs over the past decade, so she does know a thing or 2 about raising/training, and more importantly, loving them. She's the only one on our team that doesn't like coffee, but it seems to us she really doesn't need more energy :). We're very fortunate to have her on board as she does most of the heavy listing for the site, outputting an insane amount of content each month. Read More

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