I’ve raised two GSDs, Enzo vom Haus Tyson, a working line puppy, and Olyver vom Haus Tyson, a show line puppy, since each was just 8 weeks of age. As a pet parent, I feel guilty at the thought of comparing my two furry bundles of joy, but seriously, they’re so different from each other! While they’re the best of friends, their dispositions are poles apart. Here’s a quick comparison of their respective behavioral traits; I thought of putting this together for someone who’s deliberating which breed of German Shepherd puppies to get.
1. Prey Drive: A working line GSD is a clear winner as far as prey drive is concerned. A “working dog”, as the name rightly suggests, loves to “work”. Enzo is willing to do any work and “fetch” literally anything under the sun of his own free will whether you lure him with treats or not.
2. Bite Strength: I had wrongly assumed a working dog’s bite would be stronger than a show dog’s. But to my pleasant surprise, Oly, my show line pup, exhibits a firmer, more determined and a more steadfast biting grip than Enzo.
3. Lazy vs Sporty: Enzo is athletic, always willing to play and go out on long walks and runs with me and Hubby. He literally bugs us to take him out or make him run and play. Oly loves to go on a walk only in the morning; whenever it’s time for his evening stroll, you can find Oly either hiding behind the couch or feigning sound sleep and almost always coming up with a beseeching look saying “yeah, you guys please go ahead and have fun, I’ll just catch a break for myself.”
4. Aloof vs Cuddly: Enzo loves us to death, but is not a big fan of cuddling or tummy rubbing. He behaves like a mature adult and seems detached at times. Oly, on the other hand, is our cuddle monster. Tummy rubs, cuddles, body massages, kisses: he enjoys everything and even asks for more. Also, Oly is fond of shadowing us and feels left out even when we need to shut our bathroom doors ! In this regard, Oly is far more sensitive than Enzo and hates to be left alone even for a minute.
5. Barking Habits: Enzo has a better idea of using his powers and barks out loud only when he perceives a serious threat. Oly, although not a bit less confident than Enzo, loves to shout more, at times even behind closed doors when he feels another “unsuitable” canine walking down the road outside.
6. Grasping Power: Enzo is very intelligent, but Oly has this uncanny ability of “figuring stuff out”. Enzo is scared to ride the stairs, Oly has figured a way of running up and down; while eating, Enzo’s bowl seems to get a life of its own and move away from him, Oly knows how to hold the bowl steady with his front paw so that he can eat comfortably (and, by the way, Oly is 19 months younger than Enzo).
7. Obedience Training: Oly is a better candidate: he has a strong enough food drive, calm disposition, lots of focused attention and is a people pleaser, so loves to do what he’s asked to do and not what he thinks he’s supposed to do.
8. Protection Training: Enzo is a star performer. With Schutzhund 3 and IPO 3 ace performers as parents, he’s a delight to watch on the training ground and is gearing up fast for the trials coming up early next year.