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16 dogs similar to German Shepherd: Tough and fiercely loyal

dogs similar to german shepherd

There are several breeds of dogs similar to German Shepherd, which is well-known around the world and widely loved.  They are known for their intelligence, courage, and loyalty.

They are in demand as family pets and working animals due to their devotion and ability to excel in different roles: guide dog, police or military dog, search and rescue dog and even as drug detection dogs.

The large and muscular German Shepherd was bred in Germany in 1899 as working dogs, primarily for guarding and herding sheep.

Though German Shepherds are extremely popular, you may want a dog similar to German Shepherd but with slightly different attributes.

Read on for a list of dogs similar to German Shepherd.

1. Carpathian Shepherd

dogs similar to German Shepherd.

Like the German Shepherd, the Carpathian Shepherd is a large dog that can weigh as much as 99 pounds.

Males can attain a height of up to 29 inches.

They have a rough outer coat and dense inner coat with colors similar to that of a wolf.

It sheds moderately and does not require a lot of grooming.

Like the German Shepherd, the Carpathian Shepherd is courageous, devoted, loyal, loving, majestic, well mannered and affectionate towards its owner.

Unlike the German Shepherds, which can adapt to living in an apartment, provided they get adequate exercise, the Carpathian Shepherd does not take well to apartment living.

They make particularly good watchdogs just like the German Shepherd, and their tendency to bark is low.

They rank average in their friendliness towards children, unlike the German Shepherd, which can be very friendly towards kids.

2. American White Shepherd

American White Shepherd

It is a large dog that can weigh as much as 88 pounds and reach a height of 26 inches.

Its white coat is straight, long, and thick. It is a variety of German Shepherd but bred in the United States.

They shed a lot and need an average level of grooming.

This breed is affectionate, intelligent, protective, loyal, alert, courageous, confident, and willing to follow instructions.

Playful and easy to be trained, the American White Shepherd rarely barks.

They can tolerate living in an apartment if there is sufficient opportunity for exercise.

They are okay to be around kids. 

3. King Shepherd

King Shepherd

They are the largest of the shepherd variety of dogs with a height of 29 inches.

They are taller than the German Shepherd, more muscular, more robust, and weigh more with weight ranging between 130 to 150 pounds.

The coat comes in two varieties – straight coarse or wavy and long.

Their colors include white, black, tan or grayish silver with accents of black.

Just like the German Shepherd, King Shepherd is loving, confident, loyal, and always eager to please its owner.

Though protective of their owners, this breed is not aggressive.

The King Shepherd is intelligent and suitable for a variety of roles – family companion, police dog, search and rescue dog, or service dog.

They can live in an apartment with adequate exercise will do well in a house with a backyard.

They can get along with other dogs, but make sure to start the socialization process at an early stage.

4. Dutch Shepherd

Dutch Shepherd

Initially bred by Dutch farmers and shepherds, the Dutch Shepherd dogs are intelligent, very trainable, and versatile dogs that can put up with harsh conditions.

Though used as herding dogs in the past, in present times, they can easily fit the role of family companion, police dog, service dog, watch, or guard dog.

The Dutch Shepherd is noted for its loyalty and a strong need to protect its owner.

They can tolerate both cold and warm weather, and tend to get along with children and other dogs.

They tend to shed more than average.

The coat of the Dutch Shepherd comes in three types – short hair, rough hair, and straight hair.

Coat colors include gold brindle or silver brindle with some white and black. 

5. Shiloh Shepherd

Shiloh Shepherd

They are intelligent and trainable companion dogs.

Their gentle temperament makes them fit for service or therapy dog work.

The Shiloh Shepherd has been bred from the German Shepherd to create a bigger dog but with a gentler temperament.

They are active, shed a lot, and require regular grooming. They are loving, calm, and easy-going.

The coat comes in two types – long-haired and short-haired.

The male Shiloh Shepherd can weigh up to 130 pounds and reach a height of 30 inches.

They are also friendly towards people, children and, with early socialization, can get along with other dogs.

6. Bohemian Shepherd

Bohemian Shepherd

Originating in the Czech Republic, the Bohemian Shepherd is also known as Chodský pes.

They have a lot of similarities with the German Shepherd but are friendlier and less aggressive.

Smaller and not as muscular as the German Shepherd, this breed are great family companions, who are very protective of their owner and family.

The Bohemian Shepherd is intelligent, open to new activities, and conscious of what their owners need.

Physically and mentally stimulating activities are required for this breed to stay happy and healthy.

They can get along with kids and other dogs. They tend to shed a lot but are easy to groom.

7. Byelorussian Shepherd

Byelorussian Shepherd

The Byelorussian Shephered also known as the East European Shepherd is a working dog breed that originated in Russia and bred to survive the freezing temperature of the region.

It is territorial and looks intimidating with its black coat.

It is a large dog attaining a height of up to 30 inches and weighing up to 120 pounds.

It is very energetic and easy to train. It needs to be groomed twice a week and does well in a house with a backyard.

It is intelligent, playful, loyal, and due to its high protection drive, can be aggressive.

Shedding is moderate, and it does not do well with children and other dogs unless socialized early.

8. Northern Inuit

Northern Inuit

It is a large dog that can attain a height of up to 32 inches and weigh over 100 pounds.

It has a friendly, calm, gentle, and dependable temperament.

It is well suited for people who are single or families with older children. Though it looks more like a wolf, it is friendly and not aggressive.

They are intelligent, but due to their stubborn nature, they can be challenging to train.

They are not right for inexperienced first-time dog owners.

They are an active breed that requires regular exercise and plenty of it.

They have a dense double coat with black and white colors and need a moderate amount of grooming.

9. Belgian Tervuren Shepherd

Belgian Tervuren Shepherd

This dog breed is intelligent and athletic.

It needs a lot of exercise, training, and attention and will do well with an owner who can meet its unique needs.

It has a straight and dense coat, is muscular and alert.

They are courageous and devoted to their owner and family.

Its colors include fawn and black and mahogany and black.

They are well suited for police or guard dog duties.

With early socializing, they can get along with other dogs and cats.

10. American Alsatian

American Alsatian

A large dog bred in the US to look identical to the extinct dire wolf, the American Alsatian is bigger and robust than the German Shepherd but a gentle giant, nonetheless.

Intelligent, peaceful, quiet, and friendly, American Alsatians are good family companion dogs.

They are fearless, confident, non-aggressive, and devoted to their owners and families, enjoying cuddles and spending time with the family.

They get along with pets and children and can be reserved towards strangers.

They can adapt to apartment life if provided, moderate amounts of exercise.

They can attain a height of up to 32 inches and weigh up to 90 pounds.

They have a dense and long coat which comes in different colors – silver sable, golden sable, tri sable, black silver sable, full silver coat, and even a cream coat.

11. Panda or Phenom Shepherd

Panda or Phenom Shepherd

Panda Shepherd dogs are intelligent, courageous, energetic, and alert.

They are incredibly devoted to their owners, jovial, and keen to learn.

They are alert and vigilant around strangers and have a strong protection drive.

They must be provided obedience training from an early stage and socialized with children and other pets to prevent behavior problems.

They can reach a height of up to 26 inches and weigh up to 95 pounds.

They have a double coat; the outer coat is of medium length, thick and straight.

12. Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois

The Malinois is one breed that is usually mistaken for a German Shepherd due to its close resemblance.

They are excellent working dogs but not right for homes with children.

They have a strong prey drive and hence will chase and catch anything that runs, including other smaller animals and children.  

They can be destructive if not engaged through high levels of stimulating physical and mental activity. 

They are intelligent and, with training, can identify and follow commands.

Strong and muscular, this breed can attain a height of up to 26 inches and weigh around 80 pounds.

The Malinois forms a strong bond with its owner.

Their coat is short with medium grooming needs and comes in colors ranging from rich fawn to mahogany.

They are bred for the outdoors and hence not suited for apartment living.

13. Caucasian Shepherd Dog

Caucasian Shepherd Dog

The biggest dog on our list, the Caucasian Shepherd, can weigh up to 220 pounds and reach a height of up to 30 inches.

Bear-like in appearance, the Caucasian Shepherd, is affectionate to its owner, devoted, robust and bold.

Bred originally to protect flocks of sheep from predators in the wild Caucasus Mountain region, the Caucasian Shepherd has a high protection drive.

Though intelligent, these dogs can be hard to train because of their stubborn and independent personality.

They can also be extra vigilant around strangers and other animals due to their high protection drive, leading to aggression, unless controlled by an experienced handler.

Fearless, confident, and intimidating in size, they make excellent guard dogs.

They are not suited for apartment life due to their size.

They are not playful and hence not very child friendly. However, with consistent training and early socialization, they can become a devoted and loving family companion and even a service dog.

The coat is short and dense and comes in brindle or dotted colors.

Shedding and exercise needs are medium, and in friendliness towards other pets, they are at a medium level.

14. Belgian Laekenois

Belgian Laekenois

It has a wooly coat that is light in color.  

The Laekenois (pronounced as “Lak-in-wah”)  is affectionate, well mannered, intelligent, and highly trainable.

Medium to large, the Belgian Laekenois is athletic and vigilant, making it an ideal guard dog.

It is loyal and devoted to its owner and protective.

They are not naturally child or pet friendly but can learn to be more accepting of children if socialized early.

It is intelligent and trainable, but without clear boundaries and adequate physical and mental stimulation, they can develop behavioral issues.

They can reach a height of up to 26 inches and weigh up to 65 pounds.

15. Groenendael

Belgian Shepherd Groenendael

The Groenendael is one of four types of Belgian sheepdogs. Other members of this type are Malinois, Tervuren, and Laekenois.  

Its black color gives it an imposing visual presence, and its coat is longer and more opulent than German Shepherds or other Belgian Shepherds.

They are very energetic and protective of their owners and the territory.

The Groenendael is intelligent with an eagerness to please its human companion, but they are not very forthcoming with their affection.

They need a good amount of exercise and mentally stimulating activities to stay healthy.

They can get along with other dogs and children if socialized early.

They need a medium level of grooming and shed a moderate amount.

16. Berger Blanc Suisse

A young beautiful Berger Blanc Suisse dog running on the grass

It can be mistaken for the American White Shepherd, but the Berger Blanc Suisse originates from Switzerland instead of the Americas.

They are intelligent, friendly, calm, and devoted to their owners and families.

They are cordial towards other pets and children, making them perfect as family companions.

As intelligent dogs, they respond well to training.

Early socialization will help to control shyness and wariness around strangers.

They can attain a height of up to 24 inches and weigh up to 77 pounds. 

They have a high need for exercise and will do well when there is space outside for playing and running around.

The coat is of medium length and pure white.

As the dog has a dense double coat, regular brushing is required.


As listed above, there are several breeds of dogs similar to German Shepherd, and you can take your pick based on your specific need.

These are mostly working dogs, and require commitment from owners to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

The owner should ensure to provide strong leadership and be the pack leader.

One thing is for sure; shepherds are among the most protective and loyal breeds, and with their need to accompany and please their owner, you will have a very devoted companion on your hands.