When German Shepherd breeder Max von Stephanitz created the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde as a means to standardize the German Shepherd breed, his vision was that of utility over aesthetic quality. The German Shepherd is a working breed above all else, and von Stephanitz worked hard to ensure that only the strongest, most intelligent and most capable dogs would represent the German Shepherd breed.
Unfortunately, von Stephanitz’s vision has since faded. Conformation shows that promote visual beauty over working ability have given rise to an influx of show line German Shepherds. True working line protection dogs are getting harder to find. However, not all conformation shows focus exclusively on aesthetic quality. Some trainers and breeders have set out to award working line German Shepherds based on conformation standards that promote the breed’s working ability. Only working line dogs are permitted to enter, and awards are given to dogs who will improve the integrity of the breed by their physique, intelligence and nerves. True German Shepherd conformation standards should focus on how the dog’s build will effect its working ability. Physically, a good protection dog must be healthy, strong, agile and well-balanced. Aside from the obvious lack of nerves and confidence found in show line dogs, many show line German Shepherds are also poorly balanced, and as a result, are not as agile as their working line counterparts. Mentally, a German Shepherd needs to show intelligence, loyalty and strong nerves.
While many aesthetics-based conformation shows have contributed to the development of poor German Shepherd bloodlines, the efforts of a select few trainers and breeders are helping to preserve the true strength of working line dogs. Here at CCK9, we only breed the best working line German Shepherd dogs for work as Protection Dogs, Guard Dogs and Security Dogs. Any conformation show that focuses on the German Shepherd as a working dog, as it was meant to be, is a welcome improvement.