Breeds Of German Shepherd – The Ultimate Guide

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
If you have an interest in similar breeds to a German Shepherd, or you believe that your mixed-breed dog is a relative to this amazing breed, check this article. Learn about different breeds of German Shepherd.

The German Shepherd is one of the world’s most popular and recognized dog breeds. Although the name German Shepherd is used widely, there are some parts of the United Kingdom where this breed is known as Alsatian.

This breed is known for its intelligence, working needs, and for being courageous above average. But, did you know that there are several breeds of German Shepherd?

Dog Breeds Similar To The German Shepherd Dog

The German Shepherd is easy to recognize because of pointer ears and different chocolate fades of his coat. But, there are many and unofficial patterns in the German Shepherd that it can be easy to confuse them with some other breed which massively resembles them.

This confusion is common and based on similar body parts and size, with similar use as working dogs. Some breeds may even derive from similar parts of the world, but they are all considered distinct breeds. Check the most common breeds of German Shepherd. But first, let’s check how many classes of German Shepherd are there.

Classes Of German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is so unique breed that the only color of the coat can vary. Also, this breed is always gladly seen in dog’s shows meaning that standards of the breed are respected and followed. Therefore, the only recognized length of coat for German Shepherd is medium and longhair.

When it comes to color variations there are the following different types of German Shepherd:

  1. Saddle coat German Shepherd Dog
  2. Black German Shepherd Dog
  3. Sable German Shepherd Dog
  4. Panda German Shepherd Dog
  5. White German Shepherd Dog

It’s important to note that not all varieties of German Shepherd are officially accepted by canine organizations and that although these dogs look similar to amazing German Shepherd, they are not considered to part of the breed.

1. Saddle Back German Shepherd Dog

This is commonly seen German Shepherd. Some people call this type’s coat a ‘blanket’ pattern due to a patch of black fur which lays over his back, resembling the shape of a saddle on a horse. The other color of this Shepard type is either red or ten. Interestingly, they usually have a black muzzle that covers parts of their face, matching visually their back.

2. Solid Color German Shepherd Dog

The solid color German Shepherd dog is not often seen. When it comes to this type you can get solid white or solid black German Shepherds. They are accepted in competition. But, solid white Shepherds are one of the few color variations which tend to be immediately disqualified.

Some Shepherds are black due to a recessive gene, while others are white thanks to a dominant gene that exists in some litters. This variations should not be confused with albinism, or White Swiss Shepherd. Maybe because of their disqualification from the competition, solid white German Shepherds are not very common.

3. Panda German Shepherd Dog

This is one more German Shepherd type not very common. Their appearance, vivid mix of colors, and striking and curious appearance often get people to confuse them with other dog breeds. This type got its interesting look due to a genetic mutation.

Important to note here is that they are a full German Shepherd dog and not a mixed breed. This mutation happened in a litter from the States, so this type of German Shepherd exhibits a white coat on abdomen and legs, and black or ten on his other body parts, giving them kind of panda like appearance.

Just like any other type of German Shepherd they are great protectors, amazing family dogs, agile, and strong. But they do bring some controversy because some breeders see white markings as a fault. But, the main controversy appears to be the belief that the dog is from inferior stock. Why? So far their health seems to be average when compared to other German Shepherds.

4. Sable German Shepherd

This Shepherd type is also called ‘agouti’. This coat comes with various multicolored hair over their bodies which give this look rich in variations. This color tends to develop as they get older and some may be stronger than others.

Also, the coat may be a combination of gray, tan, gold, or black. But, all Sable German Shepherds develop darker colors as they age. Their coat combination will vary due to a dominant gene. It’s believed that they are dominant over German Shepherd variations and colors.

Breeds Of German Shepherd

With so amazing traits of German Shepherd no wonder that a huge number of similar breeds appeared in different parts of the world. Although these dogs are similar in temper, behavior, and appearance, they all are considered distinct breeds. They include:

1. Belgian Shepherd

It should come as no surprise that Belgian Shepherd is originally from Belgium. This breed is celebrated for its working skills. Belgium Shepherds are bred for herding, and even to this day, the breed saved its playfulness, temperament, and alertness. Just like with German Shepherd’s variations in coats, there are four main types:

Among these four the most popular, and often confused with German Shepherd is Belgium Malinois. If you want to know what diverse German Shepherd and Belgium Malinois you can learn more about it here.

2. Czechoslovakian Wolfhound

This dog is originally from the republic of Czechoslovakia where this breed was used as a working and guarding dog. This breed was used by the police to watch and guard border territories. The breed is a mix between the German Shepherd and the Eurasian wolf.

They are known as a fast-thinking and fast-acting breed, so they have to be socialized at a young age properly, and by someone who is not the first-time dog owner.

By their nature, they are natural hunters, although they are protective and loving with their family members. So, you can expect to see some alertness and mistrust toward strangers. This breed requires an experienced owner who has the time and energy to devote to extensive training and care.

3. Dutch Shepherd

Doubtlessly this breed shares his genes with German Shepherd and Belgian Shepherd. That is easy to spot in its physical characteristics which present in the muscular body and raised ears.

This breed comes with two coat length: short and long-haired. This breed comes with the most common coat varieties with diverse patterns, with black, yellow, or even chestnut color, interestingly distributed over their body.

4. King Shepherd

King Shepherd is a truly giant shepherd dog. This breed was developed by American dog breeders Shelley Watts-Cross and David Turkheimer. These breeders used European German Shepherd, American German Shepherd, Great Pyrenees, and Alaskan Malamutes to create this breed.

The official breed club was established in 1995. This breed is significantly bigger than German Shepherds. Also, they are more powerful and muscular. Interestingly, they are less aggressive than their relatives, although they share the same level of intelligence and ability to learn quickly. But, they are equally loyal as German Shepherds.

5. Shiloh Shepherd

This is a rare dog breed that is yet not recognized by any major kennel club. This breed still needs recognition and is still under development. Their look is quite similar to the German Shepherd but their Alaskan Malamute side is seen in their appearance. Compared with German Shepherd they are bigger and have better hips. They got their first official club in 1991, called International Shiloh Shepherd Registry Inc. (ISSR).

Overall, they are energetic and intelligent dogs, who need a lot of exercises and open space to run and play. If they don’t get enough exercise they will get easily bored and may become destructive. In some cases, they may even become destructive. But, if you dedicate your time to this breed and invest in regular physical activities, they will be even fine with apartment living.

6. Bohemian Shepherd

The Bohemian Shepherd is known by many different names, such as Czech Sheepdog, Chodský pes, Czech Sheepdog, Bohemian Herder, and Chodenhund. In general, the Bohemian Shepherd is a medium-sized dog, physically very similar to German Shepherd, but less aggressive and more friendly.

The breed is not recognized by any major kennel clubs outside of Czech Republic. For example, the Bohemian Shepherds have been allowed at Danish kennel club shows since 2013. When compared with German Shepherd, this breed is smaller in height and less muscular than German Shepherds. Also, they are low maintenance and don’t have any major health issues. There are only a few dogs of this breed because the modern breeding for this dog started in 1984.

7. Byelorussian or East European Shepherd

Byelorussian Shepherds are more popular outside of the West part of the world. They have many names, such as Byelorussian Ovcharka, Vostochnoevropejskaya Ovcharka, VEO, and East-European Shepherds, but they mostly go by the name ‘Byelorussian Shepherd’.

If you are wondering why this breed is more popular on East, the reason is rather simple – this breed was bred to work in freezing temperatures. Byelorussian Shepherd was originally bred in 1930 by crossing a German Shepherd and native Russian breeds, including Owtcharka-type dogs or Laika.

8. Northern Inuit

This breed was developed as a crossbreed in the UK, as a domestic, dog-like wolf. Inuit is a cross between German Shepherd, Siberian Huskies, and Inuit dogs. This is a medium-size dog and in terms of shape and appearance appears to a wolf.

This breed is known for being friendly and non-aggressive. However, they tend to be stubborn and determined if they are not trained early-on. Socialization is the key with any breed if you want to have a well-behaved dog.

9. Carpathian or Romanian Shepherd

Originally, these dogs are from the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. This is a Shepherd dog with most names:

  • Ciobănesc Românesc Carpatin
  • Romanian Shepherd
  • Romanian Carpathian Shepherd
  • Câine Ciobănesc Carpatin
  • Carpathian Sheepdog
  • Carpatin
  • Romanian Carpatin Herder
  • Romanian Carpathian

This breed is bred to be strong, smart enough to fight a wolf, to move quickly and to be a reliable hard-working dog.

10. American Alsatian

This a large-breed American dog is very similar to German Shepherd, although they are significantly larger and more powerful than German Shepherds. One more mutual thing about them is that they are amazing family dogs.

They are calm and quiet, and compared to German Shepherds they are friendlier and less aggressive. Also, they are great with children and other dogs, rarely aggressive, and not so open toward strangers.

They require average exercise and physical activity and as long as you provide them that level of activity, they will be suitable for apartment life, especially that they don’t bark, jump fences, or dig.

Breeds Of German Shepherd – Body Type

Often, breeds of German Shepherds are next to their coloring and coat, categorized by its body type. This body can be more or less stylized, tending to be less or more muscular. The more muscular dogs are considered to be working dogs, while less muscular dogs are considered to be dogs for shows.

Officially, they are not different types of German Shepherd, but they do exhibit small differences. However, there is no noticeable difference in temperament, because both working and show dogs are amazing companion animals.

Breeds Of German Shepherd – Key Takeaway

As one of the most widely recognized dogs in the world, the German Shepherd has been used throughout history to cultivate new breeds. It should come as no surprise that we have so many breeds of German Shepherd nowadays. They may not all be recognized, but they are quite similar.

No doubt that many of the breeds will be officially recognized by kennel clubs.