I read before something about an old german shepherd dog and that they don't exist anymore. Is that true?

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1 Answer 1


That's not true. The "old" German Shepherd (Altdeutscher Schäferhund) is not extinct, but it's quite rare compared to the "modern" German Shepherd or other breeds.

The reasons for that are that the "old" Shepherd is not recognized as a distinct breed and was banned from the official breed until 2010 (offspring of "old" Shepherds were not recognized as purebred).

Here's a page that lists the different blood lines and explains their differences: Major Bloodlines of the German Shepherd Dog.

The "old" German Shepherd is characterized by its long fur.

Example of the "old" German Shepherd:
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The "typical" Shepherd with light brown or tan fur and a dark or black saddle on the back comes from the American or West German show lines. Their hind legs are shorter and more bent than their front legs, which gives them the characteristic look of always crouching but causes a lot of health problems.

Example of a West German show line dog:
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The West German working line looks much like the show line, but the hind legs are as long as the front legs and they have much less health problems. Since this line doesn't select only for looks, there's more color variation than in the show line.

Example of a West German working line dog:
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The Czech and East German blood line (often called "DDR line") tends to be darker in color and stockier in build than the show line. They were specifically bred to guard borders and properties, so they have a strong prey drive and can have a problematic temperament. Due to a lack of breeding standards the line developed many health problems in recent decades.

Example of an East German line dog:
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The name "old" German Shepherd specifically means the long haired variant.

Before you choose a dog only based on looks, you should consider the following:

  • Is the dog suited for my lifestyle? (Does the dog have a strong prey drive? A need for physical activity I cannot provide? Are there restrictions by my municipality?)
  • Is the breeder trustworthy? (Do they socialize their puppies? Do they screen the parents for health issues? Do they vaccinate the puppies?)
  • Am I able and ready to pay for high vet bills if the dog does have health issues like hip dysplasia?
  • Uh, but there’s the “Altdeutscher Schäferhund“, which is basically the long-haired versioning the GSD? It’s not FCI -recognized but widespread enough? (And has even more issues with HD etc., afaik)
    – Stephie
    Aug 25, 2021 at 14:43
  • @Stephie Oh, I got that confused. In my mind the Altdeutscer was equal to the DDR bloodline (because the breeders seem to always boast about how their dogs are more "original" and bred for work, not for looks). I didn't realize that it is yet another distinction in the breed. Thanks for pointing it out.
    – Elmy
    Aug 25, 2021 at 16:18
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    Anytime! The Altdeutsche Schäferhund (= Long-haired GSD in today’s nomenclature) shouldn’t be confused with altdeutsche Hütehunde - which may sloppily both be translated as shepherds into English. Those are rather diverse group and I am not sure how many of those land races are still around. Some of them (and others) were however used in the late 19th century to breed what we now know as GSD. The English Wikipedia ist particularly confusing with the keyword old German shepherd dog.
    – Stephie
    Aug 25, 2021 at 17:02

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