I should, but I do not show dogs.
Nearly everyone that contacts us looking for a pup says that they are not looking for a “show dog”. When I first heard the term, I pictured some dog getting a manicure (or pedicure?), getting their coat brushed, prancing around, smelling like roses, maybe a little ribbon on them somewhere. 🙂
In the German Shepherd world, there exists a community of people who show their dogs. These dogs are typically trained, have achieved very high titles, and are shown at GSD shows (sieger shows – not the “dog show” on TV).
Getting a puppy out of a line like this typically means the parents have a sound temperament, great hips, excellent bone structure, pretty coats- the list goes on. It is very easy to look them up on sites like pedigreedatabase.com and see their family history.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that about 99% of pups that are “show line” never end up in any sort of show. Which is fine; they are really family members. I do not call them family members as a dog fanatic- GSDs really ARE a family member- they are very intelligent and have a very tight bond with their family, especially with one or more of the family members. This really is as important to them as food and water. I personally met a rescued GSD a couple of weeks ago that had been left outside, and, she almost took my hand off when I went to pet her. A GSD should NEVER get to that state- I’d let Aura play with any child over the age of 18mos, in fact she goes to playgrounds with us all the time.
Some people want to use a GSD as a service dog. I am not the service dog expert but I have seen the show line Shepherds used as them and with correct training it is amazing what they can achieve; some go on to work with children, detect cancer, be a companion for someone with a disability- the list goes on and on. From what I am told by people shopping for a service dog, getting a pup with a long family history of stable temperament is mandatory. Of course, prerequisites very from service to service, but this makes sense to me.
At the end of the day- this is just my personal 2 cents. Personally, when I went to purchase a dog, I wanted a great dog. Could I have gotten this at the pound? Possibly. But, I wanted one that was raised right, beautiful, and to minimize any chances of health issues. My current GSD, Aura, is not my first GSD. I’ve also discovered most people getting a German show line shepherds have already had 1 or 2 GSDs in the past, done some research, and settled on these.
As for show line Shepherds – they are fairly rare. I’ve only seen a handful in public. They are personally my favorite type of GSD. They (typically) lack the drive of a working line GSD and are (typically) healthier than the very different American line GSD.
To recap, a show line GSD should have good bloodlines, temperament, conformation, and health. Achieving titles and being shown is how this is accomplished as the dogs are comprehensively judged.