American & Canadian Showline German Shepherd: 8 Point FAQ Guide


We’ve already put together a guide outlining the different types of German Shepherds – we make mention of the lines of GSDs in this guide.

The American & Canadian Showline German Shepherd is one of the 5 types of German Shepherd lines in the GSD (German Shepherd Dog) breed.

In this guide we go through interesting information about the American and Canadian Show Lines such as history, bloodlines, appearance, temperament, where to buy, where to adopt and more!

Let’s go into deeper detail!


(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)


American & Canadian Showline German Shepherd: 8 Point FAQ Guide


First, A Reminder

A word of clarification before we dive into the guide…

German Shepherds are a very popular breed, and the high number of German Shepherds around today is a result of mostly unregulated breeding.

When we make reference to the American & Canadian Showline German Shepherd in this guide and across the site, it is a reference to how the line was originally bred.

Like the other lines, modern day American/Canadian lines can vary in appearance, traits etc. because:

Even some regulated breeding programs have changed the description of the puppies they breed for – which can be different in a few ways to what that line was originally bred for

Unregulated breeding can produce a whole number of variations in the line and breed as a whole

And, lastly, genetics is a game of chance – so its possible for two American/Canadian Showline parents with strong bloodlines to produce a puppy missing a key trait of that line


All these factors can lead to people having a particular line of German Shepherd and wondering why it is not EXACTLY like what they might read on the internet, or from a breed expert.

Things like early socialisation, training, how the dog is treated and bonding can play a role in the temperament and behavior of your dog too.


American & Canadian Showline German Shepherd Bloodlines

You can find a history of all German Shepherd bloodlines in our guide on East German Working Line German Shepherds.

As a summary, between the years of 1899 and 1901, a man by the name of Max von Stephanitz saw a dog at a dog show that he greatly impressed by.

Max wanted to create a dog breed that was the ideal working dog.

Max purchased this dog who became a sire for the foundation breeding stock..

This dog along with the regional/native shepherd dogs in Germany – the Thuringian, the Wurttemberg sheep dog and the Swabian service dog are where all modern day German Shepherds can trace their DNA back to.

In 1901 the German Shepherd was registered as a breed.

From there, there has since been two main lines emerge – show lines and working lines.

There are also two main standards – the US breed standard and the European standard.

US standards place more of an emphasis on appearance (no hip or elbow certification is required), while European standards focus on appearance, health, temperament and a working ability (usually an IPO or herding title).


American & Canadian Showline German Shepherd History

The American and Canadian showlines are dogs that have been developed over the years under the AKC breed standard, and the CKC breed standard.

They were and are bred mainly for show rings and show conformance.

The first German SHepherd was actually exported to America around 1907 and they gained some level of popularity and prominence around 1913.

To begin with, the American Show lines and German Showlines looked very similar.

However, a mix of factors ended up giving the two lines their own distinct looks. The American Showline GSD evolved because of factors like:

Different interpretation of the SV breed standard (official European GSD breed standard) and the AKC breed standard by judges and show officials

Lack of regulation of breeding in America

Focus by the American breeders and show ring enthusiasts on appearance and movement of the dog – particularly a ‘flying trot’ (a type of fast canine gait where all four feet are off the ground for a brief second during each half stride), and extreme angulation of the hindquarters of the dog

Backyard breeding (BYB) in America by breeders who has little knowledge of breeding or the German Shepherd breed history and genetics


The American show lines are so different to the German Show lines now that some European German Shepherd enthusiasts call them American Shepherds.

It’s important to note the American Kennel Club have no requirements for breeding beyond both parents being registered purebreds of the same breed.

Interpretation on the American breed standards don’t place emphasis on health (elbow and hip certification), intelligence, temperament, or working titles/ability (IPO, herding etc.) like the European SV standard interpretation does.


American & Canadian Showline German Shepherd Temperament

Generally, are much softer, relaxed, and have lower working drive than other lines.

Although they usually make good companions and pets, because of the lack of regulation of breeding – the temperaments of these dogs can be all over the place.

There is a risk of dogs being bred together who have temperament issues, and passing this onto the puppies.

It’s important to do your research on breeders when buying an American or Canadian showline.


American & Canadian Showline German Shepherd Physical Appearance and Traits

General Profile:

Mostly black and tan saddles/coats – lightest colors of all the lines

Most angled backs overall of all the lines

Most angulation/drop in the hindquarters of all the lines

Slightly taller and longer than German lines

Head is more defined/narrow than German working lines

Heavier in weight with lighter bone structure than German lines

Less of a working drive and ability than working lines

Less athleticism and overall energy than working lines


They can also have health issues and defects because of the lack of requirements for breeding, and particularly the emergence of backyard breeders (BYB) who have little knowledge of dog breeding.

Hip and elbow joint problems are the most common health ailment.


American & Canadian Showline German Shepherd Coat Colors

The default coloring and pattern for this line is black and light tan or cream saddles/coats.

However, because of the variation in breeding, you are likely to get this line now in most colors.

You can check out a list of colors here.


Where Find American & Canadian Showline German Shepherd Breeders With Puppies For Sale, or Where To Adopt

American show lines are the most accessible of all the lines because they are bred in America and not Europe.

This is good because the puppies don’t have to be flown internationally – which has its risks.

You can either pay a lot of money from a regulated or professional breeder for a puppy with show titles and show pedigree, or you can go to a breeder who breeds more pets and family dogs.

However, it is very likely you can find a sociable and loving American show line in a shelter or rescue centre.

A sad reality is that owners abandon their puppies when they grow older because they aren’t small and cute anymore.

Here are some very helpful guides on considerations for breeders and rescues/shelters, and where to find good breeders and shelters/rescues:

Things To Consider When Adopting or Rescuing A German Shepherd

What To Look For When Buying A German Shepherd Puppy: Ethical Step By Step Guide

Where To Find A German Shepherd Rescue or Shelter Near You

Where To Find The Best German Shepherd Breeders Near You


How Much Do American & Canadian Showline German Shepherds Cost?

On average, you might pay anywhere from $500 to $1500 for a pet, or family dog type German Shepherd from a breeder.

For American line German Shepherds with show titles – you can pay thousands of dollars.

Don’t get ripped off or buy from shady or unethical breeders – read this guide carefully.

When adopting a German Shepherd, you might pay anywhere from $50 to $500 – which covers adoption fees.


Pictures and Images Of American & Canadian Showline German Shepherds

American and Canadian Showline German Shepherd Dogs

American and Canadian Showline German Shepherd Puppies


More Information & Facts About The German Shepherd Dog Breed

We’ve put together this guide with over 100 interesting pieces of information and facts about the German Shepherd Dog Breed.



Friendly Disclaimer are not veterinarians, or animal professionals/experts. Information provided is for informational purposes only – it is not a substitute for professional or qualified advice.

The information is based on either our own thorough research, and/or own experiences, as a means of free speech.

By consuming this information, you accept that do not have client or patient relationship with you, and are not advising you to act on anything you read.

You should always consult your own veterinarian, animal expert, or health care professional and follow their advice before making decisions on all matters.


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Enjoy your reading, and thank you for being here 


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3 thoughts on “American & Canadian Showline German Shepherd: 8 Point FAQ Guide”

  1. I have been breeding and raising American German Shepherds all my life, and I am now 61. My parents raised and showed German Shepherds, and Inwas always right there in the thick of things, owning my own first GSD at age 9 years. My dogs know nothing but love. I raised and rehabilitated GSDs for various State police until I became familiar with their training methods, and stopped for various personal reasons, now, I only have one. She is getting older now, and I know that if I don’t get another soon, I won’t be able to when my Medusa goes over the Rainbow Bridge. For that reason, I want to investigate adopting one to be a companion for Medusa and to be with me when My sweet girl is gone. How would I get started with that? I live in a very safe, rural area in the Ozark Mountains, but would be willing to travel to adopt.
    Thank you so Much!
    Robin Pitts


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