Are you seeking a dog that looks just as handsome as a German Shepherd, but you want a less common breed? Or perhaps you’ve previously had a German Shepherd, and you fancy welcoming a different breed into your home? Their powerful bodies, full coats, and larger-than-life ears make them a standout canine model in any neighborhood.
German Shepherds are majestic canines with courageous and confident characters. They are some of the best protection dogs in the world, so they work with police and the military. They are super intelligent and loyal, too, which makes them highly trainable and obedient. Their incredible personality and handsome appearance are why they consistently rank in America’s top five dog breeds.
As one of the most handsome dogs on the planet, breeders have tried to imitate them through breeding programs. As a result, a handful of dogs look very similar to the German Shepherd. Other dogs resemble them because they are directly related to the German Shepherd breed. Let’s look at the 20 dog breeds that look like a German Shepherd, including King Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherd, American Alsatian, and more.
- 20 Dogs That Look Like German Shepherds
- Miniature German Shepherd
- Shiloh Shepherd
- King Shepherd
- American Alsatian
- Belgian Malinois
- Dutch Shepherd
- White Swiss Shepherd Dog
- East European Shepherd
- Bohemian Shepherd
- Swedish Vallhund
- Sarloos Wolfdog
- Czechoslovakian Wolfdog
- Belgian Tervuren
- Caucasian Shepherd Dog
- Romanian Carpathian Shepherd
- Belgian Laekenois
- Final Thoughts
20 Dogs That Look Like German Shepherds
German Shepherds (aka GSD) are large dog breeds, weighing between 50 and 90 pounds and measuring between 22 and 26 inches tall. They have a thick double coat in a wide range of colors. Whether they have a similar body shape with the traditional dark colors or a long snout, round eyes, and towering triangular ears, each breed looks very similar to the German Shepherd. Let’s check them out in order of similarity.
Miniature German Shepherd
The Miniature German Shepherd is a hybrid. They are typically a mix of a purebred German Shepherd with a smaller breed, such as a Border Collie or a miniature Poodle. Sometimes, they are mixed with Yorkshire Terriers to create super small varieties. They are not recognized by kennel clubs like the American Kennel Club (AKC). But they are becoming an increasingly popular German Shepherd mix breed.
A mature Miniature German Shepherd usually weighs between 30 and 50 pounds and stands 15 to 20 inches tall. But they can be smaller than this, depending on the parent’s breed and size. Their personality is a mix of the German Shepherd and their parent, although they are still likely to be active, protective, and intelligent. So, if you love German Shepherds but need a much smaller version, the Miniature German Shepherd could be an excellent option for you.
Shiloh Shepherds look incredibly similar to the German Shepherds, and that’s because they are a German Shepherd mix breed. Their journey began in the late 1970s in New York. A GSD breeder, Tina Barber, became concerned about the German Shepherd’s health problems and wanted to create a similar-looking but healthier version. She mixed a German Shepherd with an Alaskan Malamute, adding a White Shepherd and Czechoslovakian Wolfdog into the mix.
Shiloh Shepherds are often mistaken for large German Shepherds. They weigh between 80 and 130 pounds and measure between 26 and 30 inches tall. They have a thick, medium-length double coat in various colors such as black and tan, red, gold, and brown, sometimes with a sable pattern. Shilohs are majestic and elegant in appearance. They bond with the whole family equally rather than attach themselves to the primary caregiver.
King Shepherds are another mixed breed descending from the German Shepherd, so they look similar. This time, they are a cross between the German Shepherd and the Shiloh Shepherd. Like the Shihloh, they are more friendly with strangers and bond closely with the entire family. They also have fewer health problems and a longer lifespan than the German Shepherd, so they are becoming increasingly popular.
King Shepherds weigh between 90 and 140 pounds and measure 25 to 30 inches tall. They are tough, powerful, and have a larger head than other Shepherd breeds. They have a thick, medium-length double coat with a rough texture. It comes in various colors like black and tan, red, gold, cream, and black, often with a sable pattern.
If you love the look of German Shepherds but prefer a more wolfy appearance, the American Alsatian could be a top contender. They are mixed breeds that the AKC does not recognize. But they have their own breed club, the National American Alsatian Club. Their journey began in the late 20th century when the interest in wolfdogs began. A breeder named Lois Schwarz wanted a wolfdog without the difficulty of wolf hybrids.
Schwarz bred a German Shepherd with an Alaskan Malamute, adding Mastiffs and Great Pyrenees. They were initially named the North American Shepalute and are sometimes called Schwarz Dogs. They measure between 25 and 32 inches and weigh at least 85 pounds. American Alsatians have a broad and thick frame with strong muscles and a large head. They should always have at least two colors on their coat to achieve a wolf-like appearance.
Belgian Mals are super similar to German Shepherds, and they are often confused for one another. But there are a few subtle differences to look out for. Mals are usually leaner than German Sheps, weighing between 40 and 80 pounds but the same height. They typically have a shorter coat that is fawn in color with a black mask. Belgian Mals need a seriously active and experienced family to get the best out of them.
Like German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois work with the police and military for their confident, hardworking, and protective nature. Mals are less common than GSDs, but according to the AKC, their popularity is increasing yearly. They form an unbreakable bond with their primary caregiver and are more intense workaholics than the German Shepherd. Mals are one of four closely related Belgian breeds.
Dutch Shepherds look almost identical to Belgian Malinois and similar to German Shepherds. They were recorded in the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service in 2012, and breeders continue to work towards complete recognition. Dutch Shepherds took the sheep out to their fields every morning and returned them to the barn single-handedly without their master. They have tons of energy but are playful and affectionate with their favorite humans.
Dutch Shepherds weigh between 42 and 75 pounds and measure between 21.5 and 24.5 inches tall. They have three coat types, which are short, long, and rough-haired. They all have a rough texture, and the rough-haired dogs have a tousled appearance. There are only two standard colors, gold brindle and silver brindle, although the brindle pattern can be difficult to distinguish in rough-coat dogs.
White Swiss Shepherd Dog
This pup is commonly called Berger Blanc Suisse, a descendant of White German Shepherd dogs. The color white is not acceptable in the German Shepherd standard. Specimens of this color were imported to Switzerland in the 1970s. There, breeders refined the breed to be accepted into the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI), a leading European kennel club, in 2011.
White Swiss Shepherds weigh between 55 and 88 pounds and measure between 20 and 26 inches tall. They have two coat types, which are medium and long and should be completely white with dark features and skin. White Sheps look very similar to German Shepherds, with large, erect, triangular ears and a long muzzle. They also share almost identical herding abilities and techniques.
East European Shepherd
The East European Shepherd is another hybrid and a mix between the German Shepherd and native Russian breeds, such as the Laika and Caucasian Shepherd. They are sometimes known as the Vostochno Evropeiskaya Ovcharka or the Byelorussian Shepherd. The Russian Army wanted a tireless and protective dog similar to the German Shepherd but who could handle the harsher climate. It is thought they were created between the 1930s and 1950s.
They look incredibly similar to German Shepherds but larger. East European Sheps measure between 24 and 28 inches tall, and their weight should be proportionate to their body size. They are rectangular, with robust and well-muscled frames. Males are much larger than females. Their coat is medium in length with double layers and can come in black and tan, wolf gray, with a dark saddle, and sometimes solid black.
The Bohemian Shepherd is also known as the Chodsky Pes, and they were accepted into the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service in 2019. They are scarce in America and originate from the Czech Republic. In 1325, the King of Bohemia allowed the people to breed dogs to help them patrol their borders and assist with pastoral duties. They nearly became extinct, but in 1981, their renewal began thanks to breed enthusiasts.
Bohemian Shepherds are very affectionate with their family and great with children. They have an excellent work ethic and are happy to nap and snuggle up throughout the day. Bohemian Sheps have a thick, double coat that is medium length and slightly wavy. The only color accepted by their breed standard is black and tan. They measure between 19 and 22 inches tall and weigh between 37 and 60 pounds, so they’re typically smaller than German Shepherds.
The Swedish Vallhund looks a lot like the German Shepherd and the Miniature German Shepherd, but much smaller. So, if you love German Shepherds but haven’t got enough room in your home for them, the Swedish Vallhund could be a fantastic alternative. They weigh between 20 and 35 pounds and only measure between 11.5 and 14 inches tall. They also have a thick double coat with similar colors to the German Shep.
Like the GSD, they are intelligent and rugged herding dogs with a zest for life. They have unique vocalizations and were once the chosen canine for Vikings, dating back to the 8th century. Vallhunds are descendants of the Welsh Corgi and share their long and low shape. After a hard day’s work or activity, these pups are super lovey-dovey with their favorite humans.
The Saarloos Wolfdog appears incredibly similar to a wild wolf, and many wolf experts think their facial expressions are almost identical to that of a wild wolf. The AKC does not recognize Saarloos Wolfdogs, which is rare in America. Ownership of a wolf-dog hybrid is contentious, and owning one is illegal in many states. They measure between 24 and 30 inches tall and weigh between 70 to 90 pounds.
Their journey began in the 1930s thanks to a Dutch breeder named Leendert Saarloos, who mixed German Shepherds with wild European wolves. Like many wolf hybrids, this pup is very independent and not overly affectionate, and even experienced owners might struggle with this dominant and wild pooch. If you’re considering taking this wild-looking German Shepherd, you must do a lot of research.
The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is another wolf-dog hybrid known as the Czechoslovakian Vlack. They were created in the 1950s by the Czech military to be a vicious patrol dog during the Cold War. They mixed a German Shepherd with a Carpathian wolf, and experts estimate them to be 94% German Shepherd, which is why they look so similar. Thankfully, the result produced a vigilant patrol dog, but very affectionate with humans.
Like the Saarloos Wolfdog, the primitive Czech Wolfdogs can be very difficult to train and are illegal to own in some states. But they make brilliant search and rescue dogs, and they are super energetic and fun if you lead a very active lifestyle. They weigh at least 44 pounds and measure a minimum of 23.5 inches. Their coat is thick, medium length, and double coated in either yellow gray or silver gray.
The Belgian Tervuren is another of the four Belgian breeds, but this pup is much rarer in America than the Mal. They are from the village of Tervuren in Belgium and offer their farming masters a hand at herding and protecting their estate. Tervs also played the wolves in the movie “The Company of Wolves,” and they look incredibly handsome.
Tervurens weigh between 45 and 75 pounds and measure 22 to 26 inches tall. They have a double, medium-length coat that sheds moderately throughout the year. Tervs come in several colors, but only two are standard according to the AKC: fawn and black and mahogany and black. They usually have smaller ears than the GSD and a fuller mane.
The Utonagan is often called the Northern Inuit Dog, and many believe they are different breeds, but they are the same. They are mixed breeds between Huskies, Malamutes, and German Shepherds. Utonagans played the wolves seen in the hit series, “The Game of Thrones.” They are one of the most similar wolf-like breeds but much more friendly, allowing them to work safely on set.
Utonagans typically weigh between 55 and 100 pounds and measure between 23 and 30 inches tall. They have long tails and erect ears like the German Shep, with a thick double coat that sheds moderately heavy throughout the year. They come in white, gray, red, tan, and sable patterns, often with a darker face. Their eyes are usually brown or yellow but sometimes have blue eyes.
The Tamaskan is another dog breed that resembles the German Shepherd and wolf, but they have neither breed in their bloodline. Instead, they are a mix between the Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky, and a few unknown sled dogs thrown into the mix. The first Tamaskan litter was born in 2002. “Tamaska” translates to “mighty wolf” in several Northern American Indian languages.
Tamaskans are very active, similar to their Husky relative, so you must dedicate plenty of time and energy to this breed. Thankfully, they are more loyal, trainable, and docile than the Husky, making them slightly easier to care for. They weigh between 55 and 95 pounds and measure between 28 and 33 inches tall. They are affectionate with their favorite humans and more sociable with strangers than the protective Shepherds.
Groenendaels are also called the Belgian Sheepdog or the Chien de Berger Belge, and are one of the other Belgian breeds. They are rarer than the Terv and look very similar to Rough Collies. They have a double medium-length coat in black or black and white. Groenendaels weigh between 45 and 75 pounds and measure between 22 and 26 inches, making their sizing identical to the Terv. Their ears are pointer than the German Sheps but have a similarly long muzzle.
The Belgian Sheepdog’s history is similar to the other Belgian breeds, but they are the longhaired version. An important breeder operated a restaurant near Brussels called the Chateau Groenendael, so the name stuck. This versatile farm dog became a common canine during the World Wars as a border patroller, freighter, ambulance dog, and more. They are fun and tireless.
Caucasian Shepherd Dog
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog resembles the German Shepherd, but the giant version. So, if you are after a humungous German Shepherd, this could be a great option. They are very independent with a strong will, so they need a very experienced dog owner. These dogs are scarce in America and currently in the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service while breeders work towards complete recognition.
Caucasian Shepherd Dogs are the same as the Caucasian Ovcharka. They measure between 23 and 30 inches tall and weigh between 99 and 170 pounds. They are fearless and bold but docile and gentle in the home. Caucasians descend from Asian mastiff-type dogs bred to protect flocks and dwellings. These pups have an extremely thick coat in various colors, shedding moderately to high throughout the year.
Romanian Carpathian Shepherd
Like a few other breeds in this list, the Romanian Carpathian Shepherd is in the AKC’s Foundation Stock Service as of 2021. They are rare in America and originate from the Carpathian Mountain range in Romania. Their purpose is to protect flocks and family homes in the region from fierce predators, mainly brown bears and gray wolves. Carpathians work in packs and divide and conquer their flock, so they enjoy the company of similarly-sized dogs when socialized from a very young age.
These Shepherds are born black and white, and their black or wolf-gray topcoat continues to grow until they reach two years. They weigh between 70 and 100 pounds and measure between 23 and 29 inches tall. Thanks to their healthy gene pool, they have a considerable life expectancy for their size. Once mature, their coat is very similar to the German Shepherds and comes in wolf gray, black, and sable.
The Belgian Laekenois are so rare in America that they were only officially recognized by the AKC in 2020. They come from Laeken in Belgium, and their original purpose was to guard linen drying in their master’s fields. But their versatility led them to World War duties similar to the Belgian Sheepdog. These pups are timid with strangers but affectionate with their families.
Belgian Laekenois are the last of the four Belgian breeds with a unique coat, making them stand out. They have a medium-length, rough, wiry double coat with a touseled effect. They are striking and come in various colors similar to the German Shepherd, often with a black mask. Laekenois weigh between 55 and 65 pounds and measure between 22 and 26 inches tall.
The Shikoku is a Japanese dog breed, which is also known as the Kochi Ken or the Japanese Wolfdog. They used to live in Japan’s mountains hunting wild boar and other large game. But are now more popular in homes as family guardians and companions. These dogs are alert, enthusiastic, loyal, and love snuggling if you meet their high exercise needs.
Shikoku measures between 17 and 22 inches tall and weighs between 35 and 55 pounds, making them much more compact than the German Shepherd. Their coat is short and dense, with double layers, and come in black and tan, red, or sesame. Sesame is a beautiful mix of black, red, and white hair. They have an adorable Akita-like curly tail and smaller, typical spitz-type ears.
Now you know many dog breeds are just as handsome as the popular German Shepherd. Whether you want a German Shepherd mix breed, like the Shihloh Shepherd, as an alternative option. Or, if you want a wild wolf-dog hybrid, there are plenty of options. Many of these breeds are direct relations of the GSD, and others have no link to them. Some have similar personalities to the German Shepherd, while others differ slightly. But they are all lovely in their own way.