15 Dogs That Look Like German Shepherds (With Pictures)

The German Shepherd dog is a well-known breed with a knack for versatility.

It serves as a guide for the blind, a therapy dog, in search and rescue missions, a military dog, and a K9 Police dog.

In the household, it is a loyal companion and a dutiful guard dog. Its popularity doesn’t come as a surprise. What’s not to love about a hard worker like the German Shepherd?

They aren’t the only shepherd dogs around, though. Others are less common, and sometimes may be confused for the German Shepherd because of their similarities.

Some are purebred, others are designed, but they are all unique and you might find that some fit your family better than the German Shepherd dog.

Here’s a list of 15 dogs that look like German Shepherds and all we can know about them.

Dogs That Look Like German Shepherds

1. Belgian Malinois

Close Up Belgian Malinois Dog On a Leash
  • Group: Herding Group (AKC)
  • Height: 22 to 26 inches
  • Weight: 40 to 80 pounds
  • Coat Type & Colors: Double, short, straight; Fawn, mahogany
  • Temperament: Smart, obedient, reserved
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

The Belgian Malinois is a breed of dog that looks like a German Shepherd. This breed is the most popular shepherd dog after the GSD, and they play similar roles.

In some cases, the Belgian Malinois is preferred because of its slender frame. It is also fearless and relentless, which explains why they’re also popular amongst law enforcement.

The Malinois will also find a comfortable spot in your home, as long as you’re able to provide enough exercise. It will even adapt to an apartment when regularly exercised.

This breed enjoys working and will assume the role of protector without you asking, but isn’t standoffish towards those they love.  It only reserves that for strangers.

Because of their activity level and independent nature, the Belgian Malinois can be a lot to handle.

It is not recommended for first-time dog owners, because you need the experience to train one. It is good with kids, though your kids may not appreciate being “herded”.

Dive Deeper:
Belgian Malinois vs German Shepherd: 11 Key Differences

2. Dutch Shepherd

Close Up Dutch Shepherd Dog Standing Looking Aside
  • Group: Miscellaneous Class (AKC)
  • Height: 21 to 25 inches
  • Weight: 50 to 70 pounds
  • Coat Type & Colors: Short, wire, long; Brindle
  • Temperament: Reliable, affectionate, alert
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

The Dutch Shepherd was bred as a herding dog on Netherland farms, and just like the two first breeds, it is versatile.

Some people would see the Dutch Shepherd as similar to a German Shepherd, while others might swear that it looks more like a wolf. 

The Dutch Shepherd is highly intelligent and energetic, as well as being agile and a worker. Its versatility also plays out in the modern world, similar to the German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois.

It acts as a watchdog, a police dog, a guide for the blind, a search and rescue, and a family companion.

While still uncommon in the United States, the Dutch Shepherd is an asset under the right conditions. 

3. King Shepherd

Huge King Shepherd Dog Resting on Couch
  • Group: Not recognized
  • Height: 25 to 31 inches
  • Weight: 75 to 150 pounds
  • Coat Type & Colors: Double, medium, dense; Fawn, red, black
  • Temperament: Loyal, protective, hardworking
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 11 years

King Shepherd is a designer breed, one that crosses the German Shepherd with any other possible breed.

The original King Shepherds had German Shepherds and Shiloh Shepherds as parents, but over time breeds like the Great Pyrenees and the Akita have been introduced into the mix.

King Shepherd is not yet considered fully developed and is not recognized by the AKC.

This breed looks intimidating at first glance given its size, but it was bred to be a gentler version of the German Shepherd.

While it also plays the role of a guard, the original breeders developed it for companionship.

King Shepherd is a gentle giant, and will even be friendly with strangers if they aren’t threatening.

Dive Deeper:
King Shepherd vs German Shepherd: 14 Differences & Facts

4. Shiloh Shepherd

Close Up Shiloh Shepherd Dog Looking Aside
  • Group: Not recognized
  • Height: 26 to 30 inches
  • Weight: 80 to 130 pounds
  • Coat Type & Colors: Medium, straight, dense; Black, brown, silver
  • Temperament: Trainable, outgoing, gentle
  • Life Expectancy: 9 to 14 years

The Shiloh Shepherd is a designer breed similar to King Shepherd. It was a cross between the German Shepherd and the Alaskan Malamute, and the development happened in the 1970s in New York.

The Shiloh Shepherd’s existence is credited to Tina Barber, a German Shepherd enthusiast. She had the aim of getting a breed bigger than the German Shepherd and gentler, with more hair.

Because it is recent, the Shiloh Shepherd is still rare. It also retains a designer breed status and hasn’t been recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Those who can find it will attest that the Shiloh Shepherd is both loyal and loving. It enjoys having work to do and thrives better in an active household.

It also loves staying around its family and doesn’t enjoy being alone. 

5. East European Shepherd

Young East European Shepherd Dog In The Woods
  • Group: Not recognized
  • Height: 24 to 30 inches
  • Weight: 66 to 132 pounds
  • Coat Type & Colors: Double, medium, dense; Black, black and tan, sable, brindle
  • Temperament: Intelligent, courageous, determined
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 14 years

The East European Shepherd was what happened when the German Shepherd changed nationality.

The German Shepherd was selectively bred in the Soviet Union of old to develop the East European Shepherd.

Breeders aimed to get a breed that can withstand the Soviet weather. This happened in the early 20th century. 

This breed is rare in the United States, but a lot of these dogs exist in Russia. It is bigger than the German Shepherd, with a thicker coat and different color patterns.

The temperaments are similar. The East European Shepherd was employed a lot in the military and the police, so it is loyal, courageous, and devoted. It also goes by the name “Byelorussian Shepherd”. 

6. Belgian Tervuren Shepherd

Belgian Tervuren Shepherd Standing on Ground
  • Group: Herding Group (AKC)
  • Height: 21 to 26 inches
  • Weight: 40 to 70 pounds
  • Coat Type & Colors: Double, long, straight; Fawn, mahogany
  • Temperament: Courageous, alert, intelligent
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

The Belgian Tervuren Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois are close kin, which links it to the German Shepherd too.

It was developed in Belgium alongside the Belgian Malinois, the Laekenois, and the Groenendael.

The American Kennel Club recognizes all of them, the Laekenois being the most recent. 

The Belgian Tervuren is an alert and observant dog breed, two personality traits that make it a good watchdog.

It is also a good guard dog and isn’t too aggressive as to attack without a reason to. It is affectionate and friendly, especially with its family. Expect to give it a lot of attention. 

7. American Alsatian

American Alsatian Dog Sitting in Bush
  • Group: Not recognized
  • Height: 28 to 32 inches
  • Weight: 85 to 90 pounds
  • Coat Type & Colors: Double, long, thick; Golden sable, gray sable, tri sable
  • Temperament: Affection, devotion, loyal
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

The American Alsatian is a recent breed, and it started as a designer breed.

The breed came to be when a woman named Lois Denny started the Dire Wolf Project to develop a breed that looks like the now-extinct Direwolf but with a gentler temperament. 

To achieve that, she first crossed the German Shepherd with the Alaskan Malamute and named the offspring the Alaskan Shepalute.

She added other breeds like the Anatolian Shepherd and the Great Pyrenees to get the purebred American Alsatian we know today.

The American Alsatian does look like a wolf, and because it is bigger than the German Shepherd it can easily intimidate.

However, the American Alsatian doesn’t make a good guard dog because of its love for everyone.

This breed is friendly, gentle, and docile. A first-timer can own one provided the exercise needs are met in its entirety. 

8. Carpathian Shepherd

Close Up Carpathian Shepherd Dog Looking Up
Wikimedia Commons
  • Group: Foundation Stock Service (AKC)
  • Height: 23 to 29 inches
  • Weight: 70 to 100 pounds
  • Coat Type & Colors: Double, short, dense; Wolf gray
  • Temperament: Devoted, courageous, well-mannered
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

The Carpathian Shepherd got into the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service in 2021 but was developed in Romania before then.

It was employed as a guard dog and a herder by Romanian shepherds, and it protected tourists from wolves and bears. 

This breed still has a strong guardian tendency, and it doesn’t need any convincing before it assumes that role.

It is brave, intelligent, loyal, and fiercely devoted to its master. While it can be friendly with every member of the family, it is often closer to whoever is the main master. 

9. Bohemian Shepherd

Close Up Bohemian Shepherd Dog Sitting on Grass
  • Group: Foundation Stock Service
  • Height: 19 to 22 inches
  • Weight: 35 to 60 pounds
  • Coat Type & Colors: Double, long, thick; Black and tan
  • Temperament: Friendly, devoted, intelligent
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years

The Bohemian Shepherd is a native of the Czech Republic, and it is older than many other dogs mentioned, including the German Shepherd.

It has been around since the 1300s, and during wartime, it served as a guard for families. 

It then became a herding dog, went through a period of near extinction, and bounced back to popularity.

It got recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2019 under the Foundation Stock Service.

The Bohemian Shepherd does well as a companion, and its faithfulness is high. It can also be friendlier to a stranger than the German Shepherd, as long as the stranger gives it time to warm up.

While not a huge barker, the Bohemian Shepherd is sure to alert you of any strange event or person. 

10. Northern Inuit Dog

Northern Inuit Dog Standing at Open Park
Wikimedia Commons
  • Group: Not recognized
  • Height: 25 to 32 inches
  • Weight: 55 to 110 pounds
  • Coat Type & Colors: Double, dense, coarse; White, black, grey
  • Temperament: Friendly, gentle, calm
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

The Northern Inuit Dog’s popularity increased after members of the breed were used as dire wolves in Game of Thrones.

It is a hybrid that looks a lot like a Wolfdog and a German Shepherd, which was the purpose of the breeders. While the Northern Inuit Dog is still not a pure breed, that’s set to change in a few years.

The Northern Inuit Dog differs from the German Shepherd in temperament, mainly in their appraisal of strangers.

While the German Shepherd is aloof, the Northern Inuit Dog is friendly with everyone and makes a poor guard dog. It can be challenging to train, so it needs an experienced owner.

11. Belgian Laekenois

Portrait of Belgian Laekenois Dog Resting on White Background
  • Group: Herding Group (AKC)
  • Height: 22 to 26 inches
  • Weight: 44 to 66 pounds
  • Coat Type & Colors: Double, short, wiry; Fawn, mahogany, red
  • Temperament: Affectionate, alert, intelligent
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

The Belgian Laekenois is the rarest of the four Belgian breeds, and there are only an estimated 1000 dogs left in the world today.

It played the roles of a herder and a protector at the Royal Castle of Laeken, and it participated in the 1st and 2nd world wars. The breed got recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2020.

The Laekenois possesses the same trait of loyalty as other breeds and is also very alert.

It is eager to please and intelligent, which makes it trainable, though it is best suited in the hands of an experienced owner.

The owner should also be active and give it enough attention as it doesn’t enjoy being alone.

12. Belgian Sheepdog

Close Up Black Belgian Sheepdog Panting
  • Group: Herding Group (AKC)
  • Height: 22 to 26 inches
  • Weight: 45 to 75 pounds
  • Coat Type & Colors: Double, straight, soft; Black, black and white
  • Temperament: Bright, watchful, serious-minded
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

The Belgian Sheepdog is also called Groenendaels in Europe, and it is the last of the Belgian breeds we’ll have on this list.

It was developed to be a farm dog, and it is just as versatile as the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois. It also participated in both World Wars.

The Belgian Sheepdog isn’t as rare as the Belgian Laekenois, but it isn’t as popular as the German Shepherd.

For those who can find it, the Belgian Sheepdog is a devoted family dog. It is a smart, brave, and alert breed. This breed can make a good watchdog as well as a guard. 

13. Miniature German Shepherd

Miniature German Shepherd Sitting on Ground
Photo by: @miniaturegermanshepherd
  • Group: Not recognized
  • Height: 15 to 20 inches
  • Weight: 30 to 50 pounds
  • Coat Type & Colors: Double, medium, thick; Black, brown, tan
  • Temperament: Intelligent, agile, alert
  • Life Expectancy: 9 to 16 years

The Miniature German Shepherd looks just as the name implies, a smaller variety of the German Shepherd.

However, the Miniature German Shepherd is not a pure breed, regardless of what a breeder might say.

It is a designer breed that occurs when the German Shepherd is crossed with a small breed, usually a Poodle or a Border Collie.

The Miniature German Shepherd often looks more like the German Shepherd, but not without the influence of the other parent.

Consequently, it is often friendlier than a normal German Shepherd, and can easily adapt to an apartment. First-timers can also handle this breed.

14. Yakutian Laika

Close Up Portrait of Yakutian Laika Dog
  • Group: Foundation Stock Service
  • Height: 21 to 23 inches
  • Weight: 40 to 55 pounds
  • Coat Type & Colors: Double, dense, coarse; White, gray, black
  • Temperament: Affectionate, intelligent, active
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

The Yakutian Laika is a rare sled dog from Russia, and though it isn’t a herder, it bears some resemblance with the German Shepherd, just like the Northern Inuit Dog.

The Yakutian Laika has been in existence for about 8,000 years and was both a sled dog and a companion. 

The Yakutian Laika makes a poor guard dog because of its love for humans.

Years of sledding and companionship have made this breed enjoy being around humans, and it can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long.

It is good with kids and other dogs, but its prey drive might make it unsuitable for a home with smaller pets.

15. Panda German Shepherd Dog

Close Up Panda German Shepherd Dog In Profile
Photo by: @viceandvirtuegsds
  • Group: Not recognized
  • Height: 24 to 26 inches
  • Weight: 55 to 95 pounds
  • Coat Type & Colors: Double, medium, dense; White, tan, black
  • Temperament: Loyal, intelligent, aloof
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 14 years

The Panda German Shepherd is a full-bred German Shepherd with a genetic twist.

A mutation in the genes gives it a color pattern different from the German Shepherd. The Panda Shepherd is still rare and unusual, which adds to its appeal. 

The temperament of the Panda Shepherd is the same as the standard German Shepherd as the color mutation does not affect behavior.

It is loyal, aloof towards strangers, and an excellent guard dog. 

Wrap Up

Many dog breeds out there have a lot of similarities with the German Shepherd, mainly other Shepherd dogs and a few sled dogs.

Most of these dogs that look like German Shepherds aren’t dogs you’d always find on the streets, but in any family, they get into, they come with their share of strengths.

Know any other dog breeds that look like German Shepherds? Share with us in the comments!

Authored By

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is a canine behavioral and nutritional specialist, professional dog trainer, and the CEO of Puplore. A former military working dog handler, Ben founded Puplore to provide owners with breed-specific information and to act as a go-to guide to health, nutrition, care, and to help them find the confidence they need to step up to the plate and become the best pup parents they can possibly be. A firm believer in treating all animals with kindness and compassion, and that positive discipline is paramount in achieving a harmonious canine-human relationship, Ben’s former and present careers have enabled him to become a leading light in his chosen profession and business.

Related Articles