American German Shepherd vs. German German Shepherd: Differences and Similarities

If you are planning to buy or adopt a German shepherd, you could be wondering the difference between an American Shepherd and a German Shepherd.

It’s obvious they are the same breed but since they have been brought up in different locations they differ in some ways like health, work ethic, price, size, and appearance

Below is a relationship between the two breeds.

American German Shepherd vs. German German Shepherd Comparison

Breed History

German shepherds were first bred in Germany as sheep herding dogs. Over time, they proved that not only were they good at herding but also protective, loyal, and hardworking.

Due to their outstanding characters, they became popular around the world and spread to many places around the world, with the United States being one of these locations.

Though American GSD and German GSDs are the same breeds, over time they have become noticeably different. Also, they vary in breed standards.

In America, we have the American Kennel Club which regulates the American GSDs and in Germany, the German shepherd club of Germany helps regulate the German GSDs.


The most obvious variance amid the dual breeds is their physical appearance. The American GSD is bigger and has a longer body while the German GSD is smaller and weighs less.

The American GSDs have a small round head while German GSDs have a big rectangular head.

The length and texture of their coats are similar; they can both be short or long and have the common German shepherd color black and tan.

American GSDs are mostly wishy-washy in color.


German GSDs are more hardworking than American GSDs; this is because in America the GSDs are mostly stay home dogs while in Germany they are working most of the time.

If your main motive is buying or adopting a working dog, German GSDs are the best but if you want a family pet, consider American GSDs as they are less aggressive and can relate well to the whole family.

Both make excellent watch and guard dogs and are not very welcoming to strangers.


German GSDs are more active than American GSDs, this implies that the former will need more exercise. An American GSD requires 1 hour of exercise per day whereas German GSDs will require 1 hour 30mins of intense exercise per day.

Failure to exercise either of the breed lines will lead to a hostile and destructive dog.


Both breed lines need to be trained and socialized with other pets and people at an early age. If not well socialized, they can become timid or overprotective when introduced to other people or pets. They are highly trainable, though the German GSD is a bit advanced than the American German shepherd in taking commands.


In the US, there are a lot of unscrupulous breeding practice which makes the American German shepherd prone to many diseases whereas in Germany the GSCB has strict rules and measures to ensure that they maintain a healthy German shepherd

Both are prone to hip dysplasia but because of the German GSD’s straight posture, they are less prone while American GSDs posture is sloping back making them less balanced.

American GSDs have a lifespan of about 7-10 years while German GSDs can live up to around 10-12 years.


Both breeds do well on high-quality kibble. They require food rich in proteins and energy to keep them healthy.

It’s advisable to feed them kibble that is suitable for their life stage. At an early age, they need a more healthy and balanced diet for bone development.

Feeding should be done three to four times a day, after all, they are active dogs and requires more energy.


American GSDs and German GSDs need the same grooming routine. It only varies when a dog is long-haired where they will need brushing thrice a week and short-haired once a week. They both shed a lot throughout the year.

Puppy prices

American German shepherd puppies from certified breeders cost around $1000 and above. In America, German GSDs are rare, resulting in a price rise, they cost a minimum of$ 1500 or more.

Some people prefer buying German GSDs though expensive because they are considered a healthy breed. It’s important to put into consideration the fact that they require more of your time in attention and exercise. It is best to consider more of what to expect from a dog than just the price.


Both breed lines i.e. American German Shepherd and German German Shepherd have a lot of similarities, after all, they are German shepherds. The change in location and rules controlling the breeding process makes them slightly different.

Having done all the comparisons for you, it’s your duty now to decide if you want a family pet or a workaholic friend.

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Carol is a paw parent, and her love for dogs started when she was just 5. She adores her two German Shepherds and a Bengal cat, who she says, "life would be incomplete without"

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