King Shepherd

If you are interested in learning the key differences between the King and German Shepherd, then continue reading this guide!

King Shepherd dog standing

King Shepherd Information:

Height: Male 69-81 cm, female 64-71 cm
Weight: Male 41-68 kilos, female 34-50 kilos
Lifespan: 10-11 years
Pedigree (registered with the KC?): No, this breed is not Kennel Club registered

Positives and Negatives

Below you will find the positive and negative traits linked to the King Shepherd:

Pros

  • Intelligent and easily trainable
  • Excellent family dog
  • Shares a deep bond with those in the household
  • Able to be raised around other household pets

Cons

  • Not recommended for a first time owner
  • Can be destructive if bored
  • Sheds fur all year round and needs lots of grooming maintenance
  • Can become aggressive or fearful without correct training

Overview

The King Shepherd is a relatively new breed that hasn’t been recognized by the Kennel Club or AKC. This Hybrid is starting to see its popularity increase, especially in the United States.

The dog’s name says it all, they are the King of the Shepherds due to their larger size and enhanced breed qualities. They are often described as ‘Gentle Giants’.

King Shepherds will need lots of exercise and attention which is why they are mostly recommended for single owners. They can also fit well into an active family.

This newer breed isn’t an aggressive type but they do have a high prey drive. They are the biggest in the Shepherd breed and have an excellent temperament. If you can meet all the needs of this pooch, you will have a well-natured and loyal companion.

Often confused with the German Shepherd, a King Shepherd has several differences. They have a broader chest, bigger head and a rougher coat.

Their fur typically comes in black and tan, but they are known to hold a variety of other colours the German Shepherd doesn’t have.

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History

The King Shepherd is classed as a ‘rare breed’ in the US. This is because the breed has not received recognition from the American Kennel Club.

They were developed in the 1990s and were officially established in 1995 after the creation of the King Shepherd Club.

King Shepherd dog

Along the East Coast of the United States, the American German Shepherd was crossbred with livestock guardian dogs.

These puppies were then crossbred with the European German Shepherd. The goal was to create a protective, family-friendly pooch whilst enhancing their performance as a working dog.

German Shepherds have existed since the late 1800s and were used to herd livestock and protect them from prey. In 2018 a genetic study linked the following breeds to the German Shepherds bloodline:

  • Bergamasco Shepherd
  • Pastore D’Oropa
  • Cane Paratore
  • Pastore Della Lessinia e Del Lagorai
  • Lupino Del Gigante

The German Shepherd is commonly known for its service work with the police. They help catch criminals on the frontline every single day. Their other well-known job is defending livestock such as sheep, herding and protecting them from prey.

The Shiloh Shepherd is another breed known to be linked to the King Shepherds origination. They were created in the 1960s by crossbreeding the Alaskan Malamute and German Shepherd.

Personality

King Shepherd Temperament:

The King Shepherd has a fantastic temperament! They are hard working dogs and very obedient. The breed is also protective yet they are not naturally aggressive. A King Shepherd was created to take the best traits from their parent breeds.

This dog loves attention and as long as their exercise needs are met, you will have a perfectly well mannered pooch. Often calm and relaxed, this pet loves to relax and snooze when indoors.

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Are King Shepherds Good With Strangers?

Yes, the King Shepherd is good with strangers that don’t pose a threat. They will be friendly but also aware of their surroundings.

The dog will not automatically show aggression, provided they have been socialized this way as a puppy.

Two King Shepherd dogs outdoor

Are King Shepherds Good With Children?

This breed makes an excellent family dog as long as they receive the attention an exercise they require. An active family would be a perfect fit for this breed. They hold a deep and special bond with every member of the household.

King Shepherds will need access to a medium or large sized garden, where they love to play ball games outside with the kids. King Shepherd puppies raised with children become so close, you can be sure this breed will protect your child with their life!

Are King Shepherds Ok With Other Dogs?

Overall, yes this breed is good with other dogs but of course early socialization plays a massive part in this.

The King Shepherd isn’t naturally aggressive, timid or stand offish with other dogs. They can also live with other household pets such as cats, but again early introduction is key.

Exercise

This is a large breed that requires a significant amount of exercise. They should go out for around 1-2 hours each day. King Shepherds make an excellent jogging or running partner.

The breed isn’t hyperactive but they tend to get bored so mental stimulation will be needed. If their exercise needs aren’t met, they could become destructive. You must have high fences in your garden to prevent this dog from escaping.

King Shepherds are prone to weight gain, which is why daily walks are so important. You should stick to a feeding schedule with a set of walks each day.

Keep your times the same and switch up your routes. If their needs are met they can be left alone for up to 8 hours, but not daily.

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Health

The King Shepherd dog is a fairly new hybrid. The top three points are more major health issues linked to this breed:

  • Hip Dysplasia- Due to its larger size, the King Shepherd may suffer from this common skeletal condition. The hip socket doesn’t cover the ball part of the upper thighbone resulting in pain and arthritis.
  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus- Large meals and fast eating can cause the stomach to twist, trapping the food and gases inside. Veterinary care must be sought immediately.
  • Elbow Dysplasia- Development abnormalities will cause pain eventually leading to arthritis.
  • Hypothyroidism- An underactive thyroid can cause fatigue, a dull coat and weight gain. It can be fixed with synthetic thyroid supplements from your vets.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy Seen typically amongst older dogs aged 8-14 years this disease affects the spinal cord. A dog may wobble, fall over or drag their feet when attempting to walk.
  • Von Willebrand Disease- An inherited disorder where the platelets aren’t clotting the blood efficiently, causing excessive bleeding.

Intelligence & Trainability

The King Shepherd is highly intelligent which is no surprise thanks to its parent breeds. They make incredible working dogs and are easy to train. Obedience is a key trait of this dog.

King Shepherd dog standing

A bond between you and your pooch is all you need to start off your training. If your King Shepherd trusts you and feels like a member of the family, they will listen better to your training commands.

You must be firm with the King Shepherd and establish leadership. They aren’t a stubborn breed and as a working dog they will happily follow behind their owner.

Scolding is never recommended when training any dog but you can be a littler tougher with a King Shepherd.

When you first teach your dog a command repetition must follow. Once they have gotten the hang of it, test out your commands in different areas and scenarios.

This breed isn’t easily distracted but you should always keep some food treats to hand, just incase they occasionally divert their attention.

King Shepherds need early socialization as their size can often be intimidating to others. You must ensure your puppy socializes with plenty of dogs and strangers in a variety of different environments.

Dogs have the ability to understand around 50 commands! The King Shepherd is an intelligent dog and with persistence and patience you can easily train them into a well behaved family companion.

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Grooming

The downside to this dog is that it sheds all year round and has high grooming maintenance requirements. This also means your pooch is not hypoallergenic.

King Shepherd dog outdoor

You should brush the dog daily to prevent any tangles and to keep the coat smooth and shiny. You should also clear your pooches ears weekly to remove any wax build up.

Bathing should take place every 6-8 weeks. Frequent bathing can cause skin irritation and will potentially strip your dogs fur from its natural oils.

It is recommended to first brush your dog against the grain of the hair with a slick brush to remove loose fur. You should then brush with the grain to remove any tangles, reaching right down to the scalp.

Grooming rakes, pin brushes and soft brushes are all great tools to help keep your King Shepherds coat in good health. Nails should be trimmed monthly and your dog’s teeth should be brushed 3-5 times a week, from as early as possible. Be sure to trim your pooches paw fur if they become hairy.

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