King German Shepherd โ€“ Your Complete Breed Guide

Many dog lovers dream of owning a big, cuddly canine pal. If this is the case for you, the increasingly popular King German Shepherd dog may have caught your attention.

The King German Shepherd is a relatively new dog, a crossbreed between the German Shepherd and Shiloh Shepherd. The King is loved for its large size, powerful gait, and protective streak. It also has a long lifespan of 10 to 14 years. These qualities make this breed a wonderful addition to any family as a guard dog and a regal companion.

In this article, we will provide the most up-to-date information about the King German Shepherd so you can decide if this is the dog for you. You will learn about the dogโ€™s unique characteristics, health concerns, temperament, the cost of owning one, and some grooming tips as well. But, first, letโ€™s talk about the difference between a German Shepherd and King Shepherd below.

What Is The Difference Between German Shepherd And King Shepherd?

The German Shepherd and King Shepherd have a lot in common but there are significant differences between these two dog breeds.

Image from Instagram:@zeus.the.kinggsd

Letโ€™s compare some of the qualities of a King German Shepherd with those of a German Shepherd.

Family Tree 

The King Shepherd is a large German Shepherd. The King was developed by David Turkheimer and Shelley Watts-Cross in the 1990s.

The breeders wanted to develop a dog that was larger, friendlier, and more importantly, had fewer health issues than the German Shepherd.

According to the American King Shepherd Club (AKSC), the King Shepherd is a crossbreed between the American and European German Shepherd and the Shiloh Shepherd. The Shiloh Shepherd, a flock guardian, is a crossbreed between the Alaskan Malamute and the German Shepherd.


The King Shepherd and the German Shepherd are intelligentconfident dogs with a strong protective streak. Because of these traits, both breeds are popular choices for duties such as rescuing, livestock guarding, and police service. 

That said, the German Shepherd has a distinct aloofness and will take time to make friends. The King Shepherd is equally cautious but has a friendlier disposition, making it a wonderful family companion and even a therapy dog.


The King Shepherd is the largest German Shepherd breed. King Shepherds can grow quite large to stand at an average height of 27 to 32 inches and weigh between a whopping 110 to 150 lbs. On the other hand, German Shepherds are usually 24 to 26 inches tall with an average weight of 65 to 90 lbs.

How Long Does A King Shepherd Live?

King Shepherds have a relatively long life expectancy spanning between 10 to 14 years.

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Because the King borrows its genes from several dog breeds, it is at a lower risk of having genetic disorders that are common in other dogs. Still, some health problems can affect your canine buddy. 

Here are the most common ones:

Joint Dysplasia

Like all large and active dogs, King Shepherds face a high risk of hip and joint dysplasia. Here, the dogโ€™s hip socket loosens and gradually deteriorates. This will lower your dogโ€™s quality of life.

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus

Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV), also known as bloat, causes the dogโ€™s stomach to expand so much that blood is unable to properly flow to the heart from the abdomen, causing breathing issues

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a chronic disease affecting the spinal cord, causing weakness and paralysis in the dogโ€™s hind legs. Large dogs such as the German Shepherd mixes are at risk for this bone condition.


Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid glands do not produce enough hormones. This can affect the dogโ€™s metabolism and lead to symptoms like lethargythinning fur, and reproductive issues. Hypothyroidism in dogs is often linked to cancer and is common in large, middle-aged dogs.

Von Willebrandโ€™s Disease

Your canine buddy can inherit the von Willebrand Disease (VWD) from its parent breed. This disease is caused by the lack of a protein that prevents excessive bleeding after an injury. Dogs with VWD bleed more than usual following an infection, surgery, or bruising.

How Much Is A King German Shepherd?

The average price of a King Shepherd is $1,650.

Image from Instagram:@jaxthekingshepherd

This might seem pricey compared to other hybrid dogs but there are several reasons why. Letโ€™s take a look at some.

It Is A Rare Breed

King Shepherds fit the bill for what is described as a rare breed in the United States. Generally, a rare breed does not have its recognition from the American Kennel Club (AKC) because it is probably in development or considered a newly developed breed.

Also, a rare breed is one that is available in small numbers or is developed by breeding a recognized AKC breed with known deviant characteristics.

The King is a relatively new dog that is not yet recognized by the AKC. But, the breed is accepted by the American Rare Breed Association and the American King Shepherd Club.

It Is In High Demand

Because of the unique qualities of a King Shepherd, this dog breed is quite sought after. There is no denying that the King is an attractive dog. Its large sizefriendly temperament, fewer health problemsprotective instinct, and working ability are enough to fetch a high price, especially from reputable breeders.

There Are A Few Breeders

The AKSC tries to control the breeding of this dog to ensure that only healthy, purebred Kings are available in the market. As such, there are only a few reputable and recognized breeders of the King Shepherds. Breeders also spend a lot on the best food and healthcare for their puppies. This lets them put a high price tag on their dogs.

Are King Shepherds Good Guard Dogs? Temperaments Of King Shepherds

Many people perceive King Shepherds as aggressive and dangerous, but this is far from the truth. These giant dogs have some fantastic qualities that make them the perfect guard dogs.

Image from MetLife Pet Insurance

Here are some of the outstanding traits you can expect from your King Shepherd dog:

Calm And Stable

Despite the King Shepherdโ€™s large size, this dog is calmer, easy-going, and more emotionally stable than the German Shepherd. It is a dependable companion especially around kids and is appropriate for therapy work as well.

Loyal And Protective

King Shepherds have a natural protective instinct without being aggressive about it. They make for excellent guard dogs and will fiercely protect you and your property if they detect any imminent threats.


German Shepherds are among the most intelligent dogs in the world and the King Shepherd inherits this trait from the parent breed. This dog can learn commands for multiple tasks and it is why shepherd dogs are widely used as police dogs, military dogs, and even therapy companions.

Friendly But Reserved

Compared to other breeds, giant shepherd dogs are not as energetic. They will come off as being aloof especially towards strangers, a great trait a guard dog should have. But, once they get to know you long enough, they are friendly and affectionate.


A King Shepherd will be eager to please its owner. Although you should always supervise children in the presence of a canine, the King is gentle with kids when completing early puppy socialization.

Combined with its protective traits, King Shepherd can offer protection and get along well with other animals, making it both a fantastic family dog and a great guard dog.

Do King Shepherds Shed? Grooming Tips For King Shepherds

King Shepherds shed a lot. If you decide to bring this large canine home, you should be ready to meet its grooming needs.

Brush Your Dog Regularly

Daily brushing of your King Shepherdโ€™s double coat will keep shedding and tangling to a minimum.

A large dog with long fur requires a specially formulated brushing tool. We recommend the Furminator Undercoat Tool, which does a great job of trimming the loose undercoat without damaging the topcoat.

Also, the brush has an ergonomic handle for easy grooming and a nifty button for quickly disposing of loose hair.

Provide An Occasional Bath

It might seem like the King Shepherdโ€™s long hair needs regular shampooing but this isnโ€™t the case. Bathing your pooch once every three months is enough. 

The Mighty Petz 2-In-1 Oatmeal Dog Shampoo And Conditioner is one of the best poos. It contains natural ingredients that will deep-clean, smooth, and moisturize both the undercoat and topcoat.

You will also need to clean your dogโ€™s teeth weekly and trim their nails once a month.

Keep A Clean Environment

Because King Shepherds are heavy shedders, you will find yourself having to clean carpets and seats frequently to get rid of pet hair. Your pooch also requires a clean and comfortable environment.

If you do not have time for daily vacuuming, consider a hands-free, set-and-forget robot vacuum such as the iRobot Roomba i3+

The i3+ has a powerful lifting suction and tangle-free brushes that will clean stubborn dirt and pick up pet hair on hardwood and carpet.

Which Is The Best Breed Of German Shepherd? King Shepherds are regarded to be the best German Shepherd breed variant. They are hardworking, have a strong protective instinct, and are suitable for personal protection and guarding. With proper socialization, they can be easy-going, affectionate, and get along well with kids and with other animals, making them a lovely family companion.

What Is The Biggest German Shepherd In The World? The King Shepherd is the biggest breed of shepherd dogs. While a German shepherd stands at 22 to 26 inches tall, a King Shepherd will grow between 27 to 31 inches tall. The King is also heavier, frequently weighing over 120 lbs compared to the German Shepherd, which weighs about 90 lbs.

What Are The 5 Types Of German Shepherds? There are many breeds of German Shepherds coming in different sizes, colors, body styles, and temperaments. But, they can all be categorized into American Show Line German ShepherdsWest Show Line German Shepherds, and West Working Line German Shepherds. Others include the East Working Line DDR German Shepherds and Czech Working Line German Shepherds.

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Pete Decker