King Shepherd

Breed Overview

Breed Type

Guard Dog (Mixed Breed)

Care Level



Very Large

Untitled design (52)(1)-svg



Sociability & Friendliness



Family Dog

Physical Exercise Needs

Mental Exercise Needs

Guard Dog/Protection Instincts

Suitability For Dog Sports

Health & Longevity

Grooming Needs


Apartment Dog

Suitable For First-Time Owners

The King Shepherd is an eye catching canine that makes for a wonderful companion. With their striking appearance and loyalty to their family, it’s no wonder this breed has become so popular among dog lovers. 

So how do you know this breed is right for you? Let’s dive into the details of this impressive mixed-breed and help you make an informed decision!

Table of Contents

king shepherd in snow

All about the breed

black female shepherd cross

Where did the King Shepherd come from?

The King Shepherd is fairly new kind of Shepherd. This breed was first created in the 1990s. While this breed was officially established in 1995, they are considered to be in development to this day. A King Shepherd is of course always a majority of German Shepherd, but can be a hybrid of many other long haired large breeds. This is why the King Shepherd is considered a work in progress, as they can be a combination of many breeds. 

In addition to being part German Shepherd, the King Shepherd can be a mixture of Alaskan Malamute, Great Pyreneese, and even Akita. The idea was to create a dog that is even larger than the average German Shepherd, and with fewer genetic medical concerns. 

Shelley Watts-Cross and David Turkheimer had a vision of developing a majestic canine with the many wonderful qualities of the German Shepherd. The result of their work was a long haired pup with a Shepherd nature, with the ability to grow to an impressive size. 

The King Shepherd is recognized by the following associations:

King Shepherds are closely related to Shiloh Shepherds, with many breeders producing puppies of both breeds.

two king shepherd brothers
dog with soccer ball


The King Shepherd’s appearance is one of the main reasons why this breed is so sought after. King Shepherd’s have the same build and stature as a German Shepherd, but with a few key changes in their overall appearance. 

They can stand anywhere from 26 to 31 inches in height, and can weigh anywhere from 75 to 130 pounds. This drastic difference in size depends on what breed the German Shepherd is mixed with, as some breeders use giant breed dogs to create their ideal King Shepherd. 

While their average size can range due to being a mixed breed, their coats are usually similar. King Shepherds tend to have dense medium length coats, and they often sport a regal feathering appearance. The coat color can be red, black, brown, fawn, or sable, and is often a combination of two or more of these colors. These dogs most often inherit the coat color of the German Shepherd parent.

Temperament of the King Shepherd

Like their German Shepherd ancestors, these pups are known for their fierce loyalty and ingrained need to protect their loved ones. With their loyal nature comes their love of spending time with their family, and overall friendly nature to those that are perceived as non-threatening. 

Since these pups are born with a need to protect their loved ones, early socialization is critical. Proper socialization can help the King Shepherd understand friendly interactions from other animals and humans, and know what a true threat to their family looks like. 

King Shepherds may be striking at first glance, but they are extremely goofy and playful when it comes down to it. These majestic giants are always ready for a play session, meaning they have quite a bit of energy that they will need to expel each day. 

As long as you socialize your puppy from the start and offer them enough daily exercise, they can be a wonderful and goofy companion for any family.

male shepherd cross

Grooming Needs of the King Shepherd

With a King Shepherd comes their thick and luxurious coat. While their coat is generally easy to maintain, you will need to factor in brushing a few times a week. This will significantly decrease the amount of fur that you find around your home, as well as give their coat a gorgeous shine. 

Do King Shepherds shed?

Yes! Your dog will shed very much. If you do not like dog hair around your home, the King Shepherd is NOT the right breed for you.

With their thick double-coat they are considered  heavy shedders. Even if they are not “blowing their coat” you need to expect some shedding on a daily basis.

During the coat change seasons the shedding can become intense. Owners might have clumps of hair in their hands after petting their dogs. It is best to use anti-shedding brushes daily then. 

King Shepherd’s have natural oils on their skin that help them maintain their glow, as well as keep their skin hydrated and fresh. Because of this, it’s only recommended to bathe a King Shepherd as needed with a mild shampoo.


King Shepherds can live a generally healthy life of up to 11 years on average. While breeders have worked hard to eliminate health risks that are present in German Shepherds, there are still a few conditions that this breed is prone to. The most common health conditions to be aware of include:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Allergies
  • Bloat (GDV)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Eye conditions

Since these health risks are possible in a King Shepherd, it’s important to keep up with your yearly veterinary visits and preventative care. Routine care can stop some of these issues in their tracks, and offer the longest life possible for your canine friend.

brown dog on grass


King Shepherds are intelligent pups that thrive off of positive reinforcement. Their quick wits make them a highly trainable canine, while their love of positive reinforcement makes them eager to please. King Shepherds are considered easy to guide, and can be extremely successful in many training endeavors. 

The most important aspect of King Shepherd training is proper socialization. While these pups may easily abide by their owners, it means nothing if they are uncontrollable in unfamiliar settings. A well rounded King Shepherd requires proper socialization and obedience training from the moment they step into your home. 

King Shepherds have an imposing appearance and are often used as guard dogs. Outfitted with a tactical collar, your King Shepherd will scare off any intruders!

king shepherd and red heeler

King Shepherds with Children & Pets

Part of what makes the King Shepherd so popular is their loving nature with children and other pets. When King Shepherd’s are socialized at an early age and exposed to small children and animals, they can be extremely gentle. 

Of course, you should never leave your dog – regardless of breed – unsupervised with small children!

Not only are these pups kind natured and patient with children and pets they are raised with, but they tend to be open to meeting new friends as well. As long as you offer proper socialization from the start, the King Shepherd is a wonderful canine friend. 

Owners should be very careful and vigilant when introducing their King Shepherd to a cat. The size difference means that you should always supervise the two together. It goes without saying that a dog and cat should never be allowed to fight.

Is a King Shepherd Right For You?

So is is this the right breed for you and your family? Choosing the best breed for your family can be challenging, leading you to wonder if you are making the right choice. 

A King Shepherd is not the right dog for you if:

A King Shepherd is the right dog for you if:

king shepherd puppy in the snow

Finding a King Shepherd Breeder

With the search function of the internet you should be able to locate King Shepherd breeders in your area. The breed clubs mentioned further up can also assist you in finding a breeder who breeds responsibly and produces puppies with great health ad temperament.

Once you find a King Shepherd breeder that you are interested in, there are a few important questions that you should be ready to ask. It’s important to ensure that your breeder of choice has the animal’s best interest at heart, and has done everything possible to ensure that you are taking home a healthy puppy.

Be sure that any medical claims are backed up with actual documentation and medical paperwork. If a breeder has indeed cleared the puppies and parents of any medical conditions, there will be documentation proving so.

Questions for your  Breeder

What King Shepherd Owners Say:

dog in desert
Our King Shepherd Hero joined us after we moved on a large property in the countryside. We wanted a loyal watchdog who would alert us if anything was amiss.
We could not have gotten a more perfect dog for the job. Hero patrols "his yard" several times a day and makes sure to let us know if anyone approaches! In the house he is a really calm dog.
We were surprised by how much he sheds (even though we were warned!) and we take him to the groomer every couple weeks to keep up with it.
shepherd owners
Meg & Roland G.
Hero's parents
One of my coworkers breeds King Shepherds. I have always been amazed by their looks and gentle-giant temperament. When she had a litter in spring 2019 my husband finally said yes and we got Juniper!
The puppy time was tough, Juniper wanted to chew EVERYTHING. After her first birthday she really settled down and is a wonderful companion now. I enjoy going on long walks with her and she is snuggles up to me when I watch TV at night - especially in the winter such a warm big fluffy dog is wonderful!
juniper king shepherd owner
Lisa E.
Juniper's mom