Can you guys actually explain the differences between the "show" GSD and the "working" GSD, please? I would like to know.
the easiest way to spot the difference is a sloping back on a show breed.
But here is the long and the short of it. A female dog can produce 100 puppies easily. In general, a female dog who has ONE litter will have about 5 puppies.
If every dog was allowed to breed JUST ONCE we'd have an exponential dog population explosion.
Hence, to keep levels sane, only 10% (or less) of female dogs should be allowed to have pups.
The question then becomes 'which 10%' and the answer is obvious 'the best 10%'...mated to the best 1% of males.
So who gets to define best? Someone who does PURE work may take the best two workers, regardless of breed. Think about the sled-dog racer who takes the two fastest dogs and breeds them even if one is a Husky mix and the other is a GSDxPointer mix.
Someone who is PURE show will take a look at which ones are the best in physically meeting a written 'standard' regardless if the dog is deaf, blind, mean, sick, and stupid.
To be honest, most pure show dogs are also now judged on health and low human agression...and sometimes a few other characteristics.
BUT there are other breeders out there who within a given breed see a lot more dogs as 'acceptable' because the meet the breed standard or are 'close enough' Once they have met the hurdle of meeting the breed standard or being close enough, rather than choosing the two that BEST meet the breed standard...said breeders target another characteristic. Unfortunately here in the USA many people think bigger is better, so those folks take the biggest male and biggest female and breed. This can lead to just as bad animals a show breeders, because if an animal is big and stupid and sickly...it is still big, and so it gets bred, passing on the bad with the good.
Luckily, for us some of these breeders focus on something else, like how good of a hunting dog the animal is. These are generally referred to as 'field lines' and 'show lines' and while in ONLY hunting ability is checked, because so many unwritten factors come into hunting ability, you also pick up intelligence, drive, health and all sorts of good stuff. In fact, concentrating the the JOB of the breed is how all that good stuff got there in the first place.
Now, for some breeds the AKC does actually have formal hunting trials and dogs that win such an event do earn championships...in the field. AKC dogs can often boast championships in both the Field and the Show Ring.
Just like field work, some 'working breeds' have their own trials for whatever job they do. For Border Collies there are 'show lines' and there are 'working lines' where the better a dog herds sheep the better it is seen as far as champion and breeding rights.
Or you can have breeders who don't bother with 'official' tests and simply take the two best hunting dogs (or herders, or drug sniffers) they can find and breed them, generally they do stick to dogs within a given breed, but not always.
Now, what goes on in Europe is a bit different. In the breed guidelines, right along with such things as color, size, ear type, muzzle length, etc etc there will be included tests of brainpower, obedience, etc.
This means the Euro breeds who competes in the show ring, the herding ring, the hunting ring, or the shutzhund competition are all more like eachother (as opposed to a guy who breeds any of the best herding dogs regardless of conformation, etc) A dog that was a champion in shutzhund may have a litter of puppies and have some pups bought by people who want to herd, others who want to show. Still, even those the dogs from each of these disciplines are very similar, breeders and lines of dogs are generally specialized.
But because of the above, it means even if you buy a Euro GSD bred for the show ring, it is going to be a lot smarter, braver, etc and much more capable of performing police work than a USA GSD bred for show conformation.
Note, I don't think GSDs still have a 'herding' competition or a herding line per say. BUT I do know that Belgians (which includes the Malinois) Dutch Shepards, and Beaucerons all have herding trials and herding lines. But a bit of the sad thing is these dogs are only used as herders by people who are breeders and who want dual championships...john Q farmer who doesn't give a rip about dog breeds is probably buying Border Collie from herding lines to run his sheep. (There are of course some farmers who do have the 'national dog' herding as a reflection of 'national pride')
Another thing with the Euro system, how dogs fit the physical conformity as well as the actual performance test, they are graded A, B, and C (although colors are often used instead of letters) with the idea that A dogs can breed with anything, B dogs can breed with As of course, or other B...but with Cs only after study and discussion. C dogs can be bred to A, and only with certain exceptions bred to Bs, and only on the rarest of exceptions bred to other Cs.
This allows keeping a working breed looking like the foundation, and yet accepts the fact that the very best bird flusher or sheep controller or man stopper might have a white mark somewhere unacceptable, so rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater, you can control it by taking the champion birddog with the white tip on his tail (class C) and breeding him ONLY with dogs that have the right coat (A)