German Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds and for good reason. They are very intelligent, brave, and loyal, which is also why they are so commonly used as police or military dogs, as well as service dogs. On top of that, they are protective and sociable, making them great as pet dogs.
Fully grown German Shepherds may grow as tall as 25 inches and can weigh anywhere from 55 to 90 lbs. They are fairly large and strong dogs, with medium to high energy depending on the specific pup’s personality. All of the mentioned traits make German Shepherds as popular as they are.
Still, there are many similar breeds to the German Shepherd which have slightly different qualities, which some people may find more appealing. Some of these different traits include: being larger and more robust, or smaller and cuter, lower maintenance, less shedding, longer life span, or having the ability to handle cold temperatures.
Let’s take a look at breeds similar to German Shepherds!
King Shepherds are massive shepherd dogs, as you may have guessed from the name of the breed. They are a crossbreed between German Shepherds and Malamutes or Great Pyrenees.
King Shepherds are usually between 25 and 31 inches tall and may weigh as much as 150 pounds. Thanks to their size they are excellent herding dogs, both for sheep and cattle, as they strike fear into most herd animals, and understandably so.
This breed is typically less aggressive than the traditional German Shepherd, but they are still better suited for more experienced dog owners, for active families, and preferably for rural and homestead living with lots of space.
Similar to German Shepherds, the Belgian Malinois is a strong and energetic breed, and they are often used as police dogs or official dogs of the Navy SEALs thanks to their fearless nature and their ability to chase down the bad guys. However, they are also sociable and can be great pet dogs as long as you have an active family.
The Belgian Malinois is similar in size to the German Shepherd but they are generally lighter and quicker on their feet. One downside of this breed is that much like the German Shepherd they constantly shed, which means a lot of hair around the place.
Dutch Shepherds were bred by Dutch farmers and shepherds to do all of the jobs of the German Shepherd in tough conditions. As their name suggests, they are great at herding sheep. They are also highly intelligent which means that they will prefer more complex tasks, and they may become stubborn and difficult if they are too bored.
Dutch Shepherds have a lighter coat with shorter hair but they do shed. A light brushing once every week is enough to keep the hair under control. The Dutch Shepherd breed is also known for their longevity, as they on average live around 2 to 5 years longer than German Shepherds.
The Bohemian Shepherd is a medium-sized breed and it is also commonly called the Czech Sheepdog, Bohemian Herder, and Chodenhund.
On top of being smaller than the German Shepherd, they are less muscular and less aggressive. Thanks to these traits they may be better for families with small children, or those who prefer a dog that does not need to run around that much.
Although the Bohemian Shepherd is a very beautiful breed, they are also extremely rare, as they were only brought back from the brink of extinction in 1984. If you do get your hands on a real Bohemian Shepherd, make sure to cherish them as they will cherish you!
The East European Shepherd is also known as the Byelorussian Shepherd or Byelorussian Ovcharka. They are mainly bred in the Russian region, and they were bred to be able to work in freezing temperatures.
The East European Shepherd is a highly capable and strong breed, which is why it was the main police and military dog of the Soviet Union. They are noticeably taller than German Shepherds and may be as heavy as 130lbs. They have a long, rough coat that protects them from the cold.
Although they are very popular as sniffer dogs and guard dogs, they may also be pet dogs as long as they are properly trained and allowed to use their massive reserve of energy.
This is another very large breed that unlike most of the previous ones originates from the USA. It was first bred in California in the 1980s to resemble the now-extinct Dire Wolf.
The American Alsatian may weigh up to 120lbs, but they are of the gentle giant kind, as they are much calmer and quieter than the German Shepherd. They have a similarly long rough coat which is why the nickname German “Shedders” is sometimes used, thanks to their double hair coat which sheds and leaves hair everywhere they go.
Despite their size, American Alsatians are very suited to apartment life, thanks to their calm temperament, the fact that they rarely bark, and rarely try to jump the fence.
The Northern Inuit dog breed originated in England, and it is a crossbreed between German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and wolf-hybrids. This is a medium-sized dog that highly resembles Huskies and wolves.
Although they are very low in aggression, Northern Inuit dogs must be properly trained or they can become very stubborn. Their great intelligence makes them naturally curious, and they do best in families with other dogs.
Last but not least, the Belgian Tervuren Shepherd is a small but quick breed similar to the German Shepherd. Grown males may only weigh up to 65lbs, but they will take flight outdoors.
These dogs are also highly intelligent, which makes them a common choice for herding, tracking, and search and rescue operations.
This is not a breed suitable for those who rarely leave their apartment, as the Tervuren Shepherd requires a lot of activity and tasks to keep them occupied.