Photo: Brian Aghajani

The German Shepherd Dog is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. What adds even more depth to this breed is learning more about the working line and show line. Both have a clear-cut difference in their personalities and physical attributes. 

Here’s more information on how these two lines are different in their own right.

Does The German Shepherd Working Line and Show Line Have A Different Purpose?

The answer is an absolute, “Yes.” And this is why.

This working breed’s roots hailed from Germany back in 1899 for the dual purpose of herding and protecting sheep. Over time, their guardian instincts evolved into working for both the military and law enforcement. 

Breeders in excellent standing work hard to capture the intrinsic traits of the German Shepherd working line to include: 

  • High work drive 
  • Strength and confidence
  • Balanced temperament 
  • Intelligence


On the flip-side, the goal of breeding a  Show Line German Shepherd included the following: 


  • Lower work drive
  • Balanced and calm temperament 
  • Family pet
  • Intelligence

What’s The Character Of German Shepherd Show Lines and Working Lines?

Both these lines’ personalities are different, so it’s essential to know how they do differ. A German Shepherd Dog from a working line dog will have more “prey drive,” so this means that they are inclined to have a sharp laser focus on things that move. In the working world of law enforcement or even the sport dog world of Schutzhund, they will have a powerful bite and solid grip. 

In the Show Line world, German Shepherds remain a powerful dog and require training. Instinctively, they will be loyal and protective of their families, so it’s vital that their dog handler is their leader and guides their behavior. 

Both lines are brilliant and will require mental and physical stimulation, which is always important to keep in mind before bringing a German Shepherd Dog home.

Do Working Lines and Show Lines German Shepherds Look Different?

They do. Working line German Shepherds are typically slightly smaller but thicker in stature. From a profile look, their shoulders and high-end quarters are nearly the same height. Working lines come in various medium coat lengths, and the colors include sable and pure black. 

Show Line Shepherds are a different type of conformation where the hindquarters are more angular. Their coats tend to be longer, with colors ranging from “black and tan” to “red and black.” The show lines are bred for excellent conformation, beauty, and graceful movement. 

Performance K9 Training And German Shepherds

While Performance K9 Training specializes in all breeds, one of its specialties is German Shepherd Dog training. Its founder, David Greene, has represented the USA on four world teams competing with German Shepherds and the Belgian Malinois. David’s goal for all German Shepherd pet parents is learning to live with their dogs with top-notch obedience skills under distraction while giving pet parents the tools they need to find happiness and harmony in their home. Contact us now to learn more.

Photo: Brian Aghajani