19 Dogs That Look Like German Shepherds (With Videos)

Dogs That Look Like German Shepherds

German shepherd dogs are truly iconic, and I think everyone is familiar with this breed even if you’ve never seen the “Inspector Rex” tv-show as a kid or a grown-up for that matter.

Known for their loyalty, courage, and protective nature, it comes as no surprise that the German shepherd dogs make the AKC’s annual list of most popular breeds.

But what if you love the look and personality of the German Shepherd, but you want something a little different?

What are some dog breeds that look like German Shepherds?

There are various crossbreeds that look like German Shepherds, such as the Shiloh Shepherd, King Shepherd, American Alsatian, East European Shepherd, and White Swiss Shepherd. Dog breeds like the Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherd, Bohemian Shepherd, Belgian Laekenois, and Belgian sheepdog, as well as the Belgian Tervuren, also look similar to the German Shepherd, among others.

Keep reading if you want to learn more about the breeds mentioned and some more. Plus we will take a closer look at the German Shepherd breed itself and discuss whether getting a German Shepherd lookalike is a good idea.

What Are German Shepherds Like?

Before we look at each dog breed that’s similar to the German Shepherd, it’s important to become a bit more familiar with the German Shepherd breed itself.

So, what are German Shepherds like?

  • Origin: Germany
  • Type: Medium to large-sized
  • Height: 22 to 26 in (56 to 66 cm)
  • Weight: 50 to 90 pounds (22.5 to 41 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 7 to 10 years

The German Shepherd has a long history, but it was only in the 1800s, when a German cavalry officer, Captain Max von Stephanitz, decided to refine the breed and develop the ideal German herder.

Today we associate German Shepherds with police work, or we think of them as guard dogs and guide dogs, instead of their original occupation as sheep herders. But that’s the reason why German Shepherd dogs today have such an incredible work ethic, they are smart, courageous, and loyal and they love any form of exercise.

While their size and physique might seem intimidating, these dogs are an incredible choice for first-time owners, because they are renowned for their ability to learn a plethora of commands to perform whatever task is needed.

This is an excellent family dog but be prepared for this breed’s high energy and frequent grooming visits.

The 5 Types of German Shepherds

You may have noticed that not all German Shepherds are identical, but they are still considered purebred German Shepherds, well that’s because this breed is divided into 5 types.

You can check out the video above to learn more about them, or keep on reading and see what we have to say about these 5 types before we actually move on to our list.

West-German Working Line German Shepherd

The West-German Working Line German Shepherd dog is probably the most popular type and its appearance is the most common.

These dogs are usually more medium-sized than large and their short hair is easier to groom and maintain.

Their personality is also highly praised because these dogs are more open to strangers, humans, and animals alike.

East-German DDR Working Line German Shepherd

Being a working line German Shepherd dog as well, the East German type has a thick and straight body structure so they can work for long hours.

But when comparing the East German type to the other 4 types these dogs are bigger, which makes them appear more intimidating, and they are usually used as police and military dogs, as well as, search and rescue dogs

Czech Working Lines German Shepherd

The Czech German Shepherd dog is actually the smallest of all the types, but they are still used for patrolling and securing the borders of the country because they are fast learners, are quick on their feet, and have a powerful bite.

But don’t let their occupation fool you because these are excellent family dogs!

American Show Line German Shepherd

As you may have noticed from the name this is not a working line German Shepherd, instead, it’s a show line GSD which means that this type is thinner, and these German Shepherds have a more slanted back because their back legs are shorter than their legs in front.

Being a show line dog also means that this GSD has a longer coat, so they require more grooming and care.

Since the American show line German Shepherd is bred for their movement and looks and not for their work ethic, this means that they can have temperament issues as well as health issues.

European Show Line German Shepherd

The main difference between the European and American show line GSD is that each type was bred with European and American Kennel standards accordingly.

Another thing worth mentioning is that while the American and European types are show-line dogs, the European German Shepherds are still bred as working dogs so they can exhibit herding and guarding behaviors.

The European GSD is a bit quicker when it comes to learning new commands and tricks compared to their American counterparts.

Large Dogs That Look Like German Shepherds

I must state that some of the breeds on our list are crossbred instead of purebred dogs and they are not yet recognized by any major or certain kennel club. Additionally, depending on where you live, some of these breeds might be more difficult to find than others.

Regardless, these breeds deserve to be on this list because they look so much like German Shepherds, but also because they are magnificent.

Let’s check them all out!

1. Shiloh Shepherd Dog

  • Origin: United States
  • Type: Large-sized
  • Height: 26 to 30 in (66 to 76 cm)
  • Weight: 80 to 130 pounds (36 to 59 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

The Shiloh Shepherd looks incredibly similar to the German Shepherd and that’s because it’s a GSD variant that was bred in the US during the 70s and 80s.

The Shiloh Shepherd was developed with a few goals in mind, health, temperament, and size.

German Shepherds often face conformational issues like hip dysplasia, depending on the breeding, some GSDs can also display temperamental behaviors like being overprotective.

So, if you’re looking for a dog that looks like a German Shepherd but is larger, has a gentler disposition, and is less likely to experience hip issues then the Shiloh Shepherd is a great option.

Because this is a fairly new dog breed that is still under development and has only been recognized by the American Rare Breed Association so far, you might struggle to find this breed outside of the US or find a reputable breeder for that matter.

2. King Shepherd Dog

  • Origin: United States
  • Type: Large-sized
  • Height: 26 to 30 in (66 to 76 cm)
  • Weight: 80 to 130 pounds (36 to 59 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 13 years

Similarly to the Shiloh Shepherd, the King Shepherd dogs were also bred in the US, for the same reasons, to rectify the conformational issues that affect the original breed.

Of course, the Kings Shepherd is not a purebred dog, and while they are a mixture of other breeds like the Akita, Alaskan Malamute, and Great Pyrenees, these dogs look incredibly similar to the German Shepherd, including the large size and curly tail!

King Shepherds are definitely on the fluffier side, and they are really gentle and mellow dogs. That doesn’t mean that they can’t show a less friendly side around strangers, especially if they suddenly feel scared or sense danger.

Just like the German Shepherd the King Shepherd dogs are smart and they learn quickly. So, if you’re a new dog owner looking for a loving companion that is not as energetic as a German Shepherd, then a King Shepherd might be the one!

3. American Alsatian

  • Origin: United States
  • Type: Medium to large-sized
  • Height: 22 to 26 in (59 to 66 cm)
  • Weight: 50 to 90 pounds (22.5 to 41 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 9 to 13 years

While it’s quite difficult and expensive to get your hands on an American Alsatian, and extremely unlikely if you are outside of the US, it’s still worth mentioning this German Shepherd lookalike, after all, they have some German Shepherd in them!

Despite its dire wolf-like appearance, this is a gentle dog and one that enjoys spending time with their owners and family.

According to Lois Schwarz, the founder of the Dire Wolf Project, this breed “possess a strong desire to be close to his master. Therefore, he cannot and does not wander or roam.”

This also means that these dogs are quite territorial and don’t like new places, and can be nervous around strangers.

When it comes to grooming, the American Alsetian has a longer coat that requires regular grooming. These dogs have to be combed once a week or once every other day, during the shedding period.

Overall this breed has the potential of being a wonderful companion so it’s a pity they are hard to find for now.

4. East European Shepherd Dog

  • Origin: Soviet Union
  • Type: Large-sized
  • Height: 24 to 28 in (61 to 71 cm)
  • Weight: 75 to 105 pounds (34 to 47.5 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 14 years

The East European Shepherd dog is a military and guard dog that was selectively bred in the Soviet Union from the German Shepherd, hence the resemblance. The goal was to create a larger dog that could resist the harsh cold.

That’s why compared to the German Shepherd this breed has a denser coat and a well-developed undercoat. This breed’s ears, neck, limbs, and tail also have extra protection thanks to the longer hair in those areas.

When it comes to their personality they are quite similar to German Shepherds, they are confident, agile, and powerful dogs that can learn to perform many tasks.

Compared to German Shepherd dogs, this breed is also quite healthy, with much fewer hip and elbow problems.

The European Shepherd is a great dog for inexperienced owners and someone who is family oriented. So, if you live in a country or state where the winters are harsh consider getting the loyal European Shepherd!

5. White Swiss Shepherd Dog

  • Origin: Switzerland
  • Type: Medium to large-sized
  • Height: 22 to 26 in (56 to 66 cm)
  • Weight: 55 to 90 pounds (25 to 41 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: over 10 years

If you’re looking for a white dog that looks like a German Shepherd, then the pure white Swiss Shepherd dog is the perfect breed for you, or is it?

Well, it all depends if you’re also looking for a white dog that has a similar personality to the German Shepherd breed, in which case the white Swiss Shepherd dog is somewhat different.

While the White Shepherd descends from white-colored purebred German Shepherds, this breed is considered to be more sensitive and requires early socialization, especially with children, other pets, and livestock.

That doesn’t mean this breed is not just as intelligent as the German Shepherd, and its trainability makes it a suitable breed even for those who don’t have a great deal of experience in dog training.

Their grooming needs are similar to the German Shepherd’s, but you can find a white Swiss Shepherd dog with a medium coat instead of a long one, which can make things a bit more manageable.

Their physical and mental needs are also not too different from that of a German Shepherd, so you need to be an active and preferably outdoorsy owner.

6. Belgian Malinois

  • Origin: Belgium
  • Type: Medium to large-sized
  • Height: 22 to 26 in (56 to 66 cm)
  • Weight: 40 to 80 pounds (18 to 36 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 14 to 16 years

While the German Shepherd is an amazing breed, the Belgian Malinois is also an excellent choice, not only because of their outer similarities but because of how owner-oriented these dogs are.

These dogs are similarly high energy and they make great running, hiking, and biking companions. Despite their high exercise needs they can live in an apartment, but you’ll need to keep up with their physical and mental needs.

The Belgian Malinois is also suitable for people that want a dog with a short coat that is easy to take care of, but like most dogs, they will shed twice a year and will need more brushing.

Now while the Belgian Malinois is a great and loving companion, unlike the German Shepherd dogs, they’re not suitable for new dog owners.

Don’t get me wrong the Belgian Malinois is highly trainable but they require training from an early age because they can be overprotective and their strong herding instinct can make them snappy.

7. Dutch Shepherd Dog

  • Origin: Netherlands
  • Type: Medium to large-sized
  • Height: 21 to 24.5 in (53 to 62 cm)
  • Weight: 42 to 75 pounds (19 to 34 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 11 to 14 years

The Dutch Shepherd dog definitely shares physical similarities with the German Shepherd, but their coat comes in this unique gold or silver brindle.

You do have the option between a short, long, or rough hair coat. If you go for the short hair coat then you will only need to groom your Dutch Shepherd occasionally.

What I love about this breed is that they are great at adjusting their energy levels depending on whether it’s time to work, play or chill. However, that doesn’t mean the Dutch Shepherd doesn’t need proper mental and physical exercise, and they are more suited for active families.

Don’t forget that just like the German Shepherd this breed is extremely intelligent and if you’re not an experienced owner, or you aren’t investing time into obedience training they can get really independent, and lack of attention can lead to destructive behaviors.

8. Bohemian Shepherd Dog

  • Origin: Czech Republic
  • Type: Medium-sized
  • Height: 19 to 22 in (48 to 56 cm)
  • Weight: 35 to 55 pounds (16 to 25 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

There’s no denying that the Bohemian Shepherd dog looks quite similar to the German Shepherd. However, their coat is much longer, but it’s still easy enough to groom and it’s more black than tan.

This is the perfect dog for those of you who aren’t as active and while the Bohemian Shepherd dog still requires exercise, being a medium energy dog means that they are definitely more chill than the German Shepherd, and they enjoy spending time on the couch being all cuddly and cute.

Not every breed on this list is suitable for families with kids, but the Bohemian Shepherd is not one of them. These dogs are great for families with children, and with the right training, preferably at the hands of an experienced owner, they can get along with strangers and even other pets.

9. Belgian Tervuren

  • Origin: Belgium
  • Type: Medium-sized
  • Height: 22 to 26 in (56 to 66 cm)
  • Weight: 45 to 75 pounds (20.5 to 34 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

The Belgian Tervuren is an intelligent working dog, and they share a lot of physical similarities and personality traits with the German Shepherd.

They are hard-working, and equally active dogs that enjoy a good challenge and most importantly they are devoted to the people they call family. But unlike  German Shepherds, they are not an ideal pick for novice dog owners.

First of all, they can be quite wary of strangers, so exposing them to other people, places and other dogs is a must. Additionally, their herding instinct means that they can occasionally be snappy.

As you may notice in the video above, the Belgian Tervuren has a dense and long coat and they also require regular brushing and grooming, so not so different compared to the German Shepherd.

10. Belgian Laekenois

  • Origin: Belgium
  • Type: Medium-sized
  • Height: 22 to 26 in (56 to 66 cm)
  • Weight: 55 to 65 pounds (25 to 29.4 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

Are you looking for a quirky-looking dog that still resembles the German Shepherd? Or are you into curly dog breeds and you want one that looks like a GSD?

Then the Belgian Laekenois might be the one!

This breed is relatively unknown and it was recognized by AKC just a few years ago, in 2020. So, it’s worth learning more about them!

This is a dog that requires lots of attention and they will only thrive in an active household that enjoys outdoorsy activities.

The Belgian Laekenois is not suitable for novice owners and they require lots of early socialization because they are usually wary of strangers whether we’re talking about other humans or dogs.

Just like the German Shepherd, the Belgian Laekenois is very intelligent, so they take to training quickly as long as you stay on top of it!

11. Belgian Sheepdog

  • Origin: Belgium
  • Type: Medium-sized
  • Height: 22 to 26 in (56 to 66 cm)
  • Weight: 45 to 75 pounds (114 to 190.5 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

The Belgian Sheepdog, also known as Groenendael, is another very intelligent breed on our list, and just like the German Shepherd dog it requires plenty of exercise, but they also crave the companionship of their fellow human.

While the German Shepherd is a handsome dog, the Belgian Sheepdog is smaller, more slender, and more elegant. Perhaps it’s their long black coat that gives them this mysterious and graceful appearance.

Like most dogs on our list, this breed takes to training quite quickly, as long as they have an experienced owner guiding them through the training process and early socialization.

After all Belgian Sheepdogs were bred as herding dogs, so you will need to deal with their temperament, as well as the display of herding behavior such as chasing and circling, and nipping at people’s heels.

12. Romanian Carpathian Shepherd Dog

  • Origin: Romania
  • Type: Large-sized
  • Height: 23 to 29 in (58.5 to 73.5 cm)
  • Weight: 70 to 100 pounds (32 to 45 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years

Most of the dogs on our list have a similar appearance to the German Shepherd, from the pointy ears to their black and tan coat.

So, you might be surprised to see the Romanian Carpathian Shepherd dog on this list. But if you ignore the fact that their ears fold over, their face and muscular physic are not too different.

This breed is also very loyal, and courageous, plus they are very protective of their family, and they get along with children, being gentle and loving towards all little humans.

That being said, no matter how friendly your dog might be they still need to be supervised whenever they are around children. The size of the Romanian Carpathian Shepherd dog alone can cause an accident.

This dog also requires an experienced owner with plenty of imagination who can provide this breed with nose work, puzzles, and other fun games to keep their minds and bodies stimulated.

13. Tamaskan Dog

  • Origin: Finland
  • Type: Large-sized
  • Height: 25 to 28 in (67 to 71 cm)
  • Weight: 66 to 99 pounds (30 to 45 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 14 to 15 years

You might notice that the Siberian Husky is missing from our list, and while I can admit that Huskies share some similar traits with German Shepherds when it comes to northern breeds the Tamaskan shares an even closer resemblance.

The Tamaskan dog is an offshoot breed from the Northern Inuit Dog that is also mentioned on our list, and both breeds are a combination of different breeds including German Shepherds.

So, it isn’t surprising that the Tamaskan is similar in size to the German Shepherd. The Tamaskan dog also has a thick coat and a bushy, straight tail, but unlike the German Shepherd, it doesn’t require the same amount of grooming.

This is an active and curious dog, and while it’s very intelligent, the independent nature of the Tamaskan makes it a difficult breed to handle for inexperienced dog owners, compared to the German Shepherd that is relatively easy to train.

14. Northern Inuit Dog

  • Origin: United Kingdom
  • Type: Medium to large
  • Height: 23 to 32 inches (58 to 81 cm)
  • Weight: 55 to 110 pounds (25 to 50 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

If you’re a fan of “Game of Thrones” then you’ll definitely recognize the beautiful Northern Inuit dog.

Just like the Tamaskan, dog on our list, the Northern Inuit also shares some DNA with the German Shepherd, which explains their physical resemblance.

Of course, the Northern Inuit dog is larger, and both breeds share their love for outdoor activities. Unlike the German Shepherd, this breed doesn’t fair well in an apartment setting.

The Northern Inuid is more aloof, and they require an experienced owner, but that doesn’t mean they are incapable of getting along with strangers or other dogs.

This breed is very loving and loyal, so much so that they can be prone to separation anxiety, which is a trait they definitely share with the German Shepherd.

15. Alaskan Malamute

  • Origin: Alaska
  • Type: Large
  • Height: 23 to 25 in (58 to 64 cm)
  • Weight: 75 to 85 pounds (34 to 39 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 14 years

If you want a Norther dog that is extra fluffy and big, but still shares some sort of resemblance with the German Shepherd then you need to consider the Alaskan Malamute.

You will have to prepare yourself though because the Alaskan Malamute’s double coat requires regular brushing as well as grooming, even more than the needy German Shepherd.

You must also be prepared for their size and strength, after all these dogs were bred for their endurance and ability to haul heavy weights as sled dogs.

Both the Malamute and German Shepherd are loving and family-friendly dogs that share the same hard-working spirit and they crave mental stimulation games.

However, while German Shepherds are relatively easy to train and are perfect for new owners, the Alaskan Malamute will do best in the hands of an experienced owner that can properly train and socialize them.

Similarly to the Akita, the Alaskan Malamute is a loving dog that works well in a family setting, and as long as their needs are being met they are well-mannered.

However, if you aren’t able to meet their needs they can get quite vocal and destructive. Proper training and early socialization are a must and they’re better suited for experienced owners.

16. Utonogan Dog

  • Origin: Unkown
  • Type: Large
  • Height: 23 to 30 in (58 to 76 cm)
  • Weight: 55 to 110 pounds (25 to 50 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: Up to 15 years

Utonagan is another breed that is not only similar to the German Shepherd dog but it’s also related to this breed since it’s an offshoot breed line from the Northern Inuit Dog.

While this might not be a well-known breed, they deserve a spot on our list not only because of the similarities it shares with the German Shepherd, like their powerful build, playfulness, and curiosity but also their differences.

You see the Utonagan is perfect for someone who wants a dog that will challenge them. Someone who is looking forward to training an intelligent and somewhat stubborn dog.

You will have to be prepared for the Utonagan’s energy, and their love for various activities that will have to satisfy their physical and mental needs. But most importantly they want a loving owner with whom they can build trust and an everlasting friendship.

17. Saarloos Wolfdog

  • Origin: Netherlands
  • Type: Large
  • Height: 26 to 30 inches (65 to 75 cm)
  • Weight: 79 to 90 pounds (36 to 41 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

If you’re wondering what dog would you end up with if you crossed a Siberian grey wolf and a German Shepherd then the answer is, the Saarloos wolfdog.

While you can definitely see the striking resemblance between the Saarloos wolfdog and a German Shepherd, their personalities couldn’t be more different.

The Saarloos wolfdog will only flourish in the company of a responsible and experienced dog owner.

Their independent nature requires early socialization, and you will have to invest long hours of training in order to keep their protective and territorial traits at bay.

While the Saarloos wolfdog could be trained to live in a family, it’s a breed that bonds with one person, preferably someone who is more of a loner.

But that doesn’t mean they want to stay at home all day, they need someone who can match their adventurous side, just not in the presence of other strangers, children, or pets.

Small Dogs That Look Like German Shepherds

Most dog breeds that look like German Shepherds are large or medium-sized, but what if you were looking for a small dog that shares the gorgeous looks of the German Shepherd dog and perhaps their personality as well?

18. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

  • Origin: UK, Wales
  • Type: Small-sized
  • Height: 10 to 12 in (25.5 to 30.5 cm)
  • Weight: 28 to 30 pounds (13 t0 13.5 kg)
  • Life Expectancy: 12 to 13 years

Admittedly there aren’t many small breeds that resemble the German Shepherd and Pembroke Welsh Corgis are probably the closest breed you can get in terms of looks.

I mean they also have pointy ears, a long muzzle, and the same kind eyes. If you can get your hands on a corgi with a brown base color, that is overlain with dark brown or black stripes then the resemblance can be quite uncanny.

This small breed has a thick double coat that requires daily to weekly brushing and will shed year-round, but especially during the spring and fall.

Similarly to the German Shepherd dogs, corgis are quite popular according to the AKC, coming in at #11.

This breed is very intelligent and despite their size, they are also quite strong, agile, and athletic, which suits their past occupation as herders.

So, they do need to be part of an active household if you want them to feel happy. Just like the German Shepherd, Corgis are great first-time dogs not only because they are affectionate, but because they also respond well to training!

19. Miniature German Shepherds

German Shepherds are wonderful dogs, but some of us can’t afford to have a large dog, either because we live in a small apartment, or because we don’t have the mental and physical strength to keep up with this breed.

It would be wonderful if we could get a mini version of the German Shepherd, so you can imagine my enthusiasm when I saw this breed circulating the internet, going by the name “Miniature German Shepherds.”

However, I must warn you that the miniature German Shepherd does not exist, or at least it’s not a purebred dog. Instead, a female German Shepherd dog is crossed with a different smaller breed.

This means that you are likely to get a smaller version of a German Shepherd, usually half its size, however, this is not guaranteed, and every litter will differ.

Depending on where you live, finding a miniature German Shepherd might prove difficult or extremely easy, but make sure you talk with a reputable breeder.

In terms of personality, the miniature German Shepherd is supposed to be as intelligent, easy to train, and energetic, and it also does better living in an apartment. But the results can differ depending on the type of dog the German Shepherd was crossed with, usually, it’s either a Collie or a miniature poodle.

Should You Get A Dog Breed Similar To German Shepherds?

I want to preface this by saying that there’s nothing wrong with having a preference when it comes to a dog’s appearance, and you’re within your right to choose a furry companion that resembles a German Shepherd.

But you should also do your research when it comes to a breed’s physical and mental needs as well as their grooming needs. You also need to be aware of your own experience as a dog owner.

The dogs on our list might look like German Shepherd dogs, but not all of them share the same personality traits, and not all of them are suitable for first-time dog owners.

Some of them are shy, others might be too large while there are those breeds that might be impossible to find in your country.

That’s why the responsible thing to do is to think about the type of dog you want in your life, and whether you can handle their needs,

Closing Thoughts

It’s easy to see why the German Shepherd is such a popular and beloved breed, but their popularity doesn’t mean they are suitable for everyone.

Some of you might be looking for a breed that looks like the German Shepherd, but as an experienced dog owner, you might want a more challenging breed.

Perhaps you want a German Shepherd dog with a more Northern appearance, or you want one with a long coat or a short coat instead.

Regardless of your vision, it’s important to keep in mind that most if not all the breeds on our list are medium to large sized and they’re quite active.

So, before you set your mind on one of these 19 German Shepherd lookalike breeds make sure that you’re not simply going for their look, and that you’re also taking into account the unique needs of each breed and your own capabilities as an owner.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *