The King Shepherd is a hard working, loyal companion dog. Confident and strong, their huge size would be a pretty big deterrent for any would-be predator. King Shepherds are protective of their families, but they’re not aggressive dogs.
The King Shepherd is a combination of several possible breeds but must include the German Shepherd. Most often, they are blended with the Alaskan Malamute and/or Great Pyrenees, and some older lines trace back to the Akita. Even though they might have an intimidating size, they’re affectionate and loving.
King Shepherds are versatile. This highly intelligent dog can do a variety of jobs from sheep herding to child companion, police dog, rescue work, or guide dog. They get along great with other dogs, but early socialization is an important factor for raising a friendly sociable pup.
They can live in an apartment as long as they get plenty of exercise and room to stretch their legs. These dogs can get pretty large, so while they can live in an apartment, a house with a big yard might be a more ideal setting.
FunkyPaw recommends a big, spacious crate to give your big King Shepherd a place to rest and relax. You should also pick up a dog water bottle for any outdoor adventures you have with your pup!
Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn’t necessarily an apartment dog make. Plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents are all good qualities in an apartment dog.
Some dogs are simply easier than others; they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They’re also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies.
Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time dog parent to manage. You’ll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.
If you’re new to dog parenting, take a look at 101 Dog Tricks and read up on how to train your dog!
Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.
Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.
Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks.
Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can’t pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, your dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you’ll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.
All Around Friendliness
Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they’ve been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.
See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who’s on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (which are considered Pit Bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.
**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn’t the only factor. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with wagging tails and nuzzles; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was socialized and exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult. Remember that even friendly dogs should stay on a good, strong leash public!
Health And Grooming Needs
If you’re going to share your home with a dog, you’ll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some “blow” seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you’re a neatnik, you’ll need to either pick a low-shedding breed or relax your standards. To help keep your home a little cleaner, you can find a great de-shedding tool
Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.
Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.
Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they’re at an increased risk.
If you’re adopting a puppy, it’s a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you’re interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup’s parents and other relatives.
Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that’s prone to packing on pounds, you’ll need to limit treats, make sure they get enough exercise, and measure out their daily food servings into regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.
Ask your vet about your dog’s diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to other health issues or worsen problems like arthritis.
Dogs come in all sizes, from the world’s smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if they’re compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating, but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right sized dog for you!
Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word “sit”), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.
Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, in which case you’ll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.
Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they’ll make their own work–usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in Retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn’t puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that’s been stuffed with kibble and treats.
Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase–and sometimes kill–other animals. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.
Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.
Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they’ll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses–or that bunny that just ran across the path–even if it means leaving you behind.
High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they’re more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells.
Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.
A vigorous dog may or may not have high energy, but everything they do, they do with vigor: they strain on the leash (until you train them not to), try to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.
Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.
Some dogs are perpetual puppies — always begging for a game — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.
Dog Breed Group:Hybrid DogsHeight:25 to 31 inches Weight:75 to 150 pounds Life Span:10 to 11 years
More About This Breed
- The King Shepherd is a hybrid dog breed. They’re a mix of many different breeds, but always have German Shepherd ancestry.
- The main colors of King Shepherds are fawn, red, black, brown, and sable. Their coats are usually a combination of two or more colors.
- While they are not a good choice of dog for allergy sufferers, their coats are pretty easy to care for. A good brushing three times a week will probably do the job with other grooming as needed.
- King Shepherds get along great with children, especially those they’ve been raised with. A gentle giant, they are patient and sweet with kids.
- They also get along well with dogs and other household pets, including cats. Early socialization is an important factor for developing a social dog.
- King Shepherds are highly trainable and thrive on positive reinforcement. Do not leave them alone for long periods. They can easily become bored, depressed, and frustrated, which may result in unwanted behaviors.
The King Shepherd was developed in 1990 by Americans, Shelley Watts-Cross and David Turkheimer. The breed is still considered to be in development.
This hybrid is a mixture of German Shepherds with other breeds, including the Great Pyrenees, Alaskan Malamute, and sometimes the Akita. Breeders wanted to create a dog similar in nature and appearance to the German Shepherd, but larger and with fewer genetic health concerns.
This dog is from a lineage of working parents and needs to stay busy in order to stay happy.
While the hybrid was in development in the early 1990s, it was not officially established until 1995 when a King Shepherd breed club was created.
The King Shepherd is currently recognized by:
- American Rare Breed Association (ARBA)
- American King Shepherd Club (AKSC)
- American Pet Registry, Inc. (APRI)
- Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA)
- Eastern Rare Breed Dog Club (ERBDC)
- States Kennel Club (SKC)
- World Wide Kennel Club (WWKC)
The King Shepherd is a relatively new hybrid breed. While not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), they do have breed standards.
Females should be 25 to 27 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh 75 to 110 pounds. Males should be 27 to 31 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh 90 to 150 pounds.
That said, some dogs may be smaller or larger than average and not fit into their breed’s standard sizes.
King Shepherds make excellent family companions and guard dogs. Their size is intimidating and may discourage any would-be predator. They are protective of their families and home but friendly with anyone non-threatening.
The King Shepherd is driven and capable of learning any task. They like to work and need to have a job to do, whether big or small. Give the King Shepherd a sense of purpose, and this dog will earn their keep tenfold.
They are highly trainable and thrive on positive reinforcement. Do not leave them alone for long periods. They can easily become bored, depressed, and frustrated, which will result in unwanted behaviors.
The King Shepherd hybrid breed is predisposed to some of the same conditions that the German Shepherd also faces, though many breeders have worked to reduce instances of genetic health problems. While most are generally healthy, some may be prone to a few issues, which is why it is important to maintain good care and regular veterinary checkups.
Some of the more common health problems King Shepherd’s suffer from include:
- Von Willebrands disease
- Joint Dysplasia
- Eye Issues
As with all dogs, you should keep up with your King Shepherd’s regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns early. Your vet can help you develop a care routine that will keep your dog healthy.
King Shepherds are prone to weight gain. Choose a high quality food and stick to a feeding schedule. Make sure your dog gets at least 60 to 90 minutes of walking or hiking per day, which will help keep them fit.
Check their ears for debris and pests daily and clean them as recommended by your vet. Trim your dog’s nails before they get too long–usually once or twice per month. They should not be clicking against the floor. Your groomer can help with this.
One of the toughest jobs when caring for any animal is maintaining their oral health. You should brush their teeth a minimum of three times per week. Your veterinarian can instruct you on how to brush your dog’s teeth properly.
You’ll need to take special care if you’re raising a King Shepherd puppy. Don’t let your puppy run and play on very hard surfaces such as pavement until they’re at least two years old and their joints are fully formed. Normal play on grass is fine, as is puppy agility with one-inch jumps.
An ideal King Shepherd diet should be formulated for a large-sized breed with moderate energy. They have a tendency to gain weight if they’re overfed, so you should stick to a regular feeding schedule and not leave food out during the day. Limit their amount of treats, as well.
As with all dogs, the King Shepherd’s dietary needs will change from puppyhood to adulthood and will continue to change into their senior years. You should ask your veterinarian for recommendations about your King Shepherd’s diet, as there is far too much variation among individual dogs–including weight, energy, and health–to make a specific recommendation.
Coat Color And Grooming
King Shepherd coats are mostly a mix of German Shepherd and other parent breeds’ coats and colors. The main coat colors are fawn, red, black, brown, and sable. Their coats are usually a combination of two or more colors.
They usually have medium-length, normal density coats, and while they are not a good choice of dog for allergy sufferers, their coats are pretty easy to care for. A good brushing three times a week will probably do the job and bathing is recommended only as needed with a mild shampoo. Too much bathing can strip the coat of its natural oils.
Their double coats do shed quite a bit. You will definitely want a vacuum on hand. See if a RoboVac is right for you!
That double coat gives them an edge when it comes to extreme weather. Many of these dogs absolutely love to run and play in the snow. Their double coats also help to keep them cool during hot summer months. Keep in mind they’re an indoor dog and need to live indoors.
Children And Other Pets
King Shepherds have an intimidating presence due to their size, but they get along great with children, especially those they’ve been raised with. A gentle giant, they are patient and sweet with kids.
As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while they’re eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
King Shepherds are nice to strangers and can get along well with dogs and other household pets, including cats. Early socialization is an important factor for developing a social dog.
Because the King Shepherd is a somewhat rare hybrid dog breed, it may be difficult to find a breed specific rescue. However, you can always check with your local shelter, and you may want to try a rescue that caters to all kinds of dogs. You can take a look at the following:
- Wright-Way Rescue
- Angels Among Us Pet Rescue