King Shepherd vs. German Shepherd: Choosing the Right Breed for You

king shepherd vs german shepherd

When comparing the King Shepherd vs. German Shepherd, you’re likely seeking a breed that aligns with your space, family, and lifestyle needs.

This guide dives into critical considerations such as size, temperament, and daily care to directly address these concerns, equipping you with the necessary insights to make an informed choice.

Key Takeaways

  • King Shepherds are a newer, larger breed than German Shepherds, bred for better health and gentle temperament, but they are still rare and not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.
  • Both breeds require significant exercise, but King Shepherds have a slightly lower exercise requirement than German Shepherds, who need more strenuous activity and mental stimulation.
  • King Shepherds typically live a bit longer than German Shepherds and are generally healthier, although both are susceptible to certain hereditary health conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia.

King Shepherd vs. German Shepherd: Breed Origins

king shepherd price

Comprehending a breed’s origin can offer significant insights into their temperament and traits. The story of the German Shepherd begins in the late 19th century in Germany, where its purpose as a herding dog was carefully nurtured.

Conversely, the King Shepherd, a newer breed, was developed in the 1990s to create a larger, healthier variant of the German Shepherd, while the Shiloh Shepherd was bred for similar reasons. We will explore their history further.

History of German Shepherds

German Shepherds boast a deep-rooted history, originating from Germany, where they served as versatile farm dogs and herders. Their development was guided by the vision of a man named Captain Max von Stephanitz, who saw potential in the breed beyond its herding capabilities.

He focused on breeding them as working dogs, leading to the establishment of the first German Shepherd dog, Horand von Grafrath.

This marked the beginning of the breed’s journey to become one of the world’s most recognized and versatile dog breeds, attracting many German Shepherd owners, some of whom are particularly interested in bringing home a German Shepherd puppy.

Today, German Shepherds bred for various purposes continue to showcase their incredible versatility and intelligence.

The breed’s popularity soared in the United States due to its frequent appearances in movies, overcoming the earlier decline due to anti-German sentiments during World War I and II.

Today, American German Shepherds are beloved for their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility, making them a top choice for many dog lovers worldwide, including as a family dog, for law enforcement, and for search and rescue teams.

History of King Shepherds

King Shepherds are an offshoot breed, resulting from crossbreeding German Shepherds with other large breeds such as Shiloh Shepherds, Great Pyrenees, and Akitas, among others.

They were created to address health concerns in German Shepherds by breeding them with these larger breeds. The American King Shepherd Club, founded in 1995 by Shelley Watts-Cross and David Turkheimer, promotes and recognizes the King Shepherd breed as a distinct breed.

Despite being relatively new as a breed, king shepherds have carved a unique niche for themselves in the canine world.

However, they are rarer than German Shepherds, partly because they are not recognized as an official breed by the American Kennel Club. This rarity, combined with their unique characteristics, has contributed to the breed’s growing popularity among dog enthusiasts.

Physical Characteristics: Size, Coat, and Color

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A significant distinction between King Shepherds and German Shepherds is evident in their physical attributes.

King Shepherds are significantly larger than the average German Shepherd, standing tall at an average height of 25–31 inches and weighing between 75–150 pounds. In contrast, German Shepherds reflect a leaner build, standing between 22 and 26 inches tall and weighing 50 to 90 pounds.

Another distinguishable feature is their coat. King Shepherds have a longer and thicker coat compared to the relatively shorter coat of German Shepherds. Both breeds commonly have coat colors including:

  • Black
  • Black and tan
  • Sable
  • Bicolor

These are typical for both breeds. While German Shepherds can have pink coloring on their paws and lighter fur overall, King Shepherds consistently display dark coloring on their paws and noses.

Personality and Temperament

Regarding temperament, King Shepherds are celebrated for their serene and friendly demeanor, positioning them as excellent companions. They are especially known for their affectionate loyalty to children, making them a great choice for families.

German Shepherds, on the other hand, can vary in affection towards family, sometimes being aloof with everyone but their owner or very friendly.

Notwithstanding their differences, both breeds exhibit gentleness towards children and are apt for family settings. While King Shepherds tend to be docile and affectionate, German Shepherds are vigilant and can display herding behavior, such as nipping at heels.

Ultimately, the choice between a King Shepherd and a German Shepherd will depend on the desired dog temperament in your family environment.

Exercise and Activity Levels

giant king shepherd

Regarding exercise and activity levels, German Shepherds are an energetic breed that necessitates considerable physical exercise and mental stimulation to sustain their well-being and happiness. They need a minimum of 90 minutes to 2+ hours of daily exercise, including a mix of walking, running, and engaging in high-energy canine sports.

On the other hand, King Shepherds need over an hour of exercise each day, with mental activities such as games and puzzle toys being crucial to boost their concentration and obedience training outcomes.

So, while German Shepherds need more demanding and lengthy exercises, King Shepherds tire out faster but still require regular daily activity and cognitive challenges to remain healthy and content.

Training and Socialization

Both German and King Shepherds possess high intelligence, rendering them highly trainable with appropriate methods. While German Shepherds tend to exhibit consistent obedience, King Shepherds may demonstrate some stubbornness due to the influence of other breeds in their lineage.

Regardless of the breed, early socialization is essential, particularly to mitigate the German Shepherds’ natural protectiveness and prevent defensive behaviors.

Continuous and repeated socialization practices are vital for maintaining a positive disposition towards people and other dogs in both breeds. Given their assertive and strong-willed nature, King Shepherds may require additional persistence in training to reinforce mastery of commands and ensure controlled behavior.

Training techniques such as leash training from an early age and crate training serve as beneficial tools for both German and King Shepherds, providing them personal space and helping reduce separation anxiety.

It’s especially critical for King Shepherds due to their large size, which, if unchecked, can result in control issues and unpredictable behavior.

Health Concerns and Life Expectancy

large german shepherd

When considering health and lifespan, King Shepherds typically live for 10–11 years, marginally outliving the German Shepherds, whose lifespan ranges from 7-10 years.

King Shepherds were selectively bred to improve health issues commonly seen in German Shepherds, resulting in them being generally healthier than German Shepherds.

The two breeds, however, are prone to certain health issues. Common health concerns in King Shepherds include:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Gastric torsion or bloat

German Shepherds, as purebred dogs, may face similar issues like hip and elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, and bloat, making it recommended that they are screened for these hereditary health conditions.

Nutrition and Feeding Guidelines

Appropriate nutrition is fundamental to maintaining the health and well-being of both King Shepherds and German Shepherds. Following AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles ensures that both breeds receive the nutrition necessary for their health and longevity.

Pet food should comply with AAFCO guidelines, which include displaying a ‘Complete and Balanced’ statement if it meets specified nutritional requirements.

Considering their size, King Shepherds require food that meets the nutritional needs of large-size dogs (70 lbs or more as adult dogs) to prevent health issues.

Grooming and Coat Maintenance

In the context of grooming, King Shepherds sport a medium to long double coat, surpassing the thickness and length of the German Shepherds’ coat. Due to their longer and denser coats, King Shepherds require more frequent brushing to prevent tangles and manage shedding, especially during periods of intense seasonal shedding known as ‘blowing coats.’

German Shepherds, on the other hand, can have varying coat lengths, including short, medium, or long, and some may have a single-layered coat, which could mean lower grooming requirements when compared to King Shepherds.

Both breeds benefit from the use of a de-shedding tool and a slicker brush for their dense double coats and usually require bathing only once every two to three months unless they get particularly dirty.

Puppy Prices and Availability

If you’re contemplating adopting a King Shepherd or a German Shepherd, it’s vital to understand the potential expenses. King Shepherds, including the adorable King Shepherd puppies, are generally more expensive than German Shepherds, with average prices of $1,600 and $1,000, respectively.

The rarity of King Shepherds accounts for the price difference, as they are less common and have fewer litters available compared to German Shepherds. The rarity of King Shepherds also translates to higher overall care costs when compared to the more common German Shepherds.

German Shepherd puppies can have a wide price range, with non-professional breeders charging $500 to $1,000, while professional breeders may request $2,000 to $4,000 based on pedigree and health testing.

The German Shepherd is the second most popular dog breed, which influences its market availability and price.

Choosing the Right Breed for Your Family

king shepherd dog

Selecting the appropriate breed for your family is a critical decision. Both King Shepherd and German Shepherd are considered family-friendly and are often dog-friendly, lending themselves well to homes with children and other pets.

The King Shepherd may be more suitable for families looking for a loving pet with a lower drive, while both breeds are intelligent, loyal, and easy to train, with the King Shepherd noted for being gentler. It is important to find a reputable breeder when choosing either of these breeds.

King Shepherds can adapt to living in apartments if given ample space, although houses may better meet their needs, and they are also adaptable to changes such as variations in living conditions and daily schedules.

On the other hand, German Shepherds, due to their high energy and exercise needs, may be more suited to homes with ample outdoor space and active families.

In the end, the decision between a King Shepherd and a German Shepherd will hinge on your family’s lifestyle, living conditions, and the desired bond with your pet. Both breeds have unique characteristics that can make them the perfect addition to your family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Is Better, King Shepherd or German Shepherd?

Both the King Shepherd and German Shepherd have their own unique qualities, with the King Shepherd being bred for better health and larger size and having a fairly long life expectancy for larger dogs.

German Shepherds, on the other hand, are known for their protective nature and make great watchdogs. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on what qualities you are looking for in a dog.

How Can I Tell If I Have a King Shepherd?

If your dog has dark coloring on its paws, nose, and fur, as well as Alaskan Malamute or Shiloh Shepherd hybrids in its family tree, there’s a good chance it could be a King Shepherd. Keep an eye out for these characteristics when trying to determine your dog’s breed.

Will a King Shepherd Protect You?

Yes, a King Shepherd will protect you because they are naturally protective of their families and territory and are loyal and devoted to their owners.

What Is the Largest German Shepherd?

The largest German Shepherd on record was a 131-pound male named Duke, with a shoulder height of 32 inches.

Are King Shepherds and German Shepherds Suitable for Families?

Yes, both King Shepherds and German Shepherds are suitable for families, as they are known to be family-friendly and good with children and other pets.

Final Thought

Both King Shepherds and German Shepherds offer unique characteristics that make them stand out. From their origins and physical attributes to their temperament, exercise needs, health concerns, and suitability for families, each breed brings a unique set of qualities to the table.

Whether you’re looking for a loyal, energetic companion like the German Shepherd or a calm, loving pet like the King Shepherd, understanding their differences can help you make the best choice for your family.

Mahvash Kazmi
Mahvash Kazmi, with a rich academic background in English Literature and Journalism, is not just a master of words but also a passionate advocate for the voiceless. Her vast experience, from teaching to insightful content creation, is underpinned by a profound love for animals and an unwavering commitment to conservation. An ardent animal lover, she often finds solace in nature's tales and the gentle purrs of her beloved Persian cat, Gracie. Her dedication to the environment and the written word combine to create truly compelling writing. With a heart that beats for the wild and the written word, she crafts compelling stories on animal issues, urging readers to coalesce for a cause.

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