The King Shepherd: Your complete guide!

The King Shepherd, a symbol of robustness, unwavering devotion, and remarkable versatility, has captured the admiration of dog lovers and professionals in various fields. With origins in the United States, distinctive physical features, and a wide range of personality traits, this breed has cemented its status as a loyal and protective family companion.

King shepherd portrait close up
Noble | Strong | Affectionate
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    Everything you need to know about the King Shepherd!

    Category (Explanation)Breed Information
    Year of Breed ConceptionLate 19th century
    Country of OriginSwitzerland
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Male)66-88 lbs (30-40 kg)
    Weight (lbs & kg) (Female)55-77 lbs (25-35 kg)
    Coat TypeDouble coat with a white, thick, medium-length outer coat
    Color VariationsWhite
    Shedding Level (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Height (cm & in)22-26 inches (55-66 cm)
    Breed SizeLarge
    Trainability (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Mental Needs (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Intelligence Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Energy Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Agility (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Loyalty (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Playfulness (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Exercise NeedsRegular exercise and mental stimulation
    Guarding Proficiency (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Sociability with Children (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Barking Level (Low, Moderate, High)Moderate
    Digging Tendency (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Destructive Behavior (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Drooling Level (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Obedience Level (Low, Moderate, High)High
    Apartment Friendly (Yes/No)Can adapt to apartment living with sufficient exercise
    Inherent Prey DriveHigh
    Physical Risk to Others (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Travel Fatality Risk (Low, Moderate, High)Low
    Allergen PotentialLow
    Health Concerns (List of Common Health Concerns)Hip Dysplasia, Eye Issues, Elbow Dysplasia
    Average Life Expectancy (Life Expectancy in Years)12-14 years
    Make sure to take care of your King Shepherd and

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    History of the King Shepherd

    The King Shepherd is a relatively new breed with a history rooted in the United States. These dogs were developed as larger, more robust herding and working dogs, combining the traits of various herding breeds.

    Their name, “King Shepherd,” reflects their regal appearance and larger size. They are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility in herding, search and rescue, and as service dogs.

    Today, King Shepherds are cherished for their size and capabilities as working dogs and as devoted family pets.

    What makes the King Shepherd so special?

    King Shepherd Lying on Ground

    The King Shepherd is special for its impressive size and gentle nature. These dogs were bred for their working abilities and friendly temperament. They are known for their loyalty and adaptability as both working dogs and family pets.

    King Shepherds share their traditional role with German Shepherds. They have a history of herding and working in various capacities. Their intelligence, strength, and versatility allowed them to excel in herding, guarding, and assisting in different tasks. Today, they continue to serve as reliable working dogs and cherished family pets, embodying their heritage as dependable companions.

    King Shepherds have spirited and friendly personalities. They are known for their adaptability and loving nature. These dogs excel in various roles, from herding to serving as family companions.

    Their versatility in traditional roles is matched by their loyalty and affection for their families. King Shepherds are characterized by their adaptability, devotion, and a sweet disposition, epitomizing the perfect blend of versatility and companionship.

    King Shepherds are loyal, protective, and good with children and other pets. They can be reserved with strangers and need early socialization. Their protective instincts are typically well-balanced.

    Mental and physical stimulation is important for their happiness.

    King Shepherds are large-sized dogs with a well-proportioned and robust build. They have a square-shaped head with expressive, dark eyes and upright ears.

    They have a medium-length double coat that lies close to their skin. Coat colors can include sable, black, or gray with distinctive white markings. Their tail is usually straight and tapered.

    Males typically stand between 25 to 29 inches (64-74 cm) at the shoulder and weigh between 90 to 150 pounds (41-68 kg), while females are slightly smaller and lighter.

    King Shepherds have a robust and noble presence, reflecting their role as herding and working dogs.

    King Shepherds often have coat colors that include sable, black, or gray with white markings. They may not have distinct coat colors.

    King Shepherds may have coat colors such as sable, black, or gray with white markings but not distinct coat patterns.

    King Shepherds have a moderate shedding level. They shed consistently, with increased shedding during seasonal changes. Regular grooming and brushing can help control shedding and keep their coat in good condition.

    King Shepherds have a medium-length double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it healthy and minimize shedding. Grooming habits for this breed include:

    1. Brushing: Regular brushing, at least once or twice a week, is essential to prevent matting and remove loose fur. Use an undercoat rake or slicker brush for thorough grooming.

    2. Bathing: Bathe King Shepherds when necessary using a dog-specific shampoo and ensure thorough rinsing.

    3. Ears: Check and clean their ears regularly to prevent wax buildup or infections with a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaning solution.

    4. Nails: Keep their nails trimmed to a comfortable length to maintain proper gait and prevent discomfort.

    5. Teeth: Brush their teeth regularly to ensure dental health and prevent bad breath. Dental chews or toys can be beneficial.

    6. Tail and Paw Care: Maintain cleanliness in the tail and paw areas, inspecting for any signs of irritation or injury.

    King Shepherds have a high activity level and thrive on physical and mental challenges. Key points about their activity level include:

    1. Exercise Needs: King Shepherds require daily exercise to stay happy and healthy. Activities can include long walks, runs, and playtime.

    2. Energy Level: They have high energy levels, especially when young. Regular exercise helps channel their energy in positive ways.

    3. Working Heritage: Historically, King Shepherds were bred for herding and guarding tasks. They excel in activities like obedience training, agility, and herding.

    4. Mental Stimulation: In addition to physical exercise, mental challenges through training and interactive games are important to keep them engaged.

    5. Outdoor Enthusiasts: They enjoy outdoor activities and make excellent companions for hikers and runners.

    Anatolian Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs with a strong sense of independence. Here are some key points about their intelligence:

    1. Trainability: Anatolian Shepherds are trainable, but they have an independent streak. They respond well to positive reinforcement-based training methods and require patient guidance.
    2. Problem-Solving: They exhibit good problem-solving skills, especially in guarding and protecting their flocks, where they need to make decisions to keep their charges safe.
    3. Adaptability: Anatolian Shepherds are adaptable to rural living environments but may not thrive in urban settings. Their independence and protective nature make them well-suited for their traditional roles.
    4. Work and Utility: Historically bred as livestock guardians, their intelligence is an asset in making decisions to protect the flock from predators.
    5. Social Intelligence: Anatolian Shepherds form strong bonds with their families and are protective and loyal, though they may be reserved with strangers.

    Anatolian Shepherds’ intelligence and protective instincts make them excellent livestock guardians. They require early training and socialization to ensure they are well-adjusted and obedient companions.

    King Shepherds are intelligent and need mental stimulation. Engage them in obedience training, agility, and interactive games to keep their minds sharp.

    Social Interaction: They are social dogs and require regular interaction with their human family. Loneliness can lead to anxiety or destructive behavior, so provide companionship and attention.

    Exercise: Mental exercise is equally important. Offer them tasks that challenge their problem-solving skills.

    Training and Obedience: King Shepherds benefit from obedience training, agility, and mental challenges, which not only stimulate their minds but also strengthen their bond with their owners.

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    What to look out for, before you get a King Shepherd!

    a close up of a Black king shepherd

    If you’re thinking about a King Shepherd, keep these considerations in mind:

    1. Activity Level: King Shepherds are active and require regular exercise and mental stimulation.

    2. Training Commitment: They are intelligent but may have a stubborn streak, so consistent training is essential.

    3. Space: King Shepherds need space to move around comfortably, making them better suited for homes with yards.

    4. Shedding: Regular grooming helps manage their moderate shedding and prevents matting.

    5. Work or Activities: Some King Shepherds enjoy work or dog sports to keep them engaged.

    King Shepherds, though not as common as some other breeds, may pose a physical risk to others if not properly socialized, trained, or managed. The risk assessment factors include:

    1. Protective Instinct: King Shepherds may have a protective instinct, especially towards their family or territory. Proper training is essential to manage this instinct.

    2. Socialization: Early and thorough socialization is crucial to ensure King Shepherds are comfortable around people and other animals. Poor socialization can lead to fear or aggression.

    3. Training: Obedience training is essential to teach King Shepherds appropriate behavior and ensure they respond to commands. Well-trained dogs are less likely to engage in aggressive behavior.

    4. Owner Responsibility: Responsible ownership involves being aware of the dog’s behavior and taking necessary precautions in public settings.

    5. Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL): King Shepherds may not be commonly subject to BSL, but owners should be aware of local regulations.

    6. Individual Variability: Each dog is unique, and behavior can vary. Responsible ownership, proper training, and socialization are key to minimizing the potential physical risk to others.

    King Shepherds are typically good with children. They are affectionate, intelligent, and often form strong bonds with kids. Their interactions with children are generally positive when properly socialized and trained.

    King Shepherds are often capable swimmers. Their sturdy build and athleticism make them proficient in the water. Many may enjoy swimming, but individual preferences and comfort levels vary. Always provide supervision and ensure safety when introducing them to water activities.

    1. Early Training: Start training your King Shepherd puppy early to make the most of their learning potential.
    2. Socialization: Expose your puppy to various people, animals, and environments to ensure they become well-adjusted adults.
    3. Positive Reinforcement: Use treats, praise, and toys to reward good behavior and strengthen your bond with your puppy.
    4. Consistency: Maintain consistency in your training methods and cues to prevent confusion.
    5. Basic Commands: Teach essential commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “leave it” for obedience and safety.
    6. House Training: Establish a regular routine for potty breaks and offer praise for outdoor elimination to housetrain your puppy.
    7. Crate Training: Use crate training to create a secure and comfortable space for your puppy, building positive associations with the crate.
    8. Social Skills: Encourage positive interactions with other dogs and people to develop strong social skills.
    9. Exercise and Play: Ensure your King Shepherd puppy receives ample exercise and playtime to prevent restlessness.
    10. Chewing: Provide suitable chew toys to satisfy their need to chew and protect your belongings.
    11. Patience and Persistence: Training may take time; be patient and avoid punitive methods.
    12. Professional Training: Consider professional training classes if you encounter challenges or need additional guidance.

    Positive training practices will help your King Shepherd puppy become a well-behaved and loyal companion.

    King Shepherds are typically moderate in terms of noisiness. They may bark to alert their owners and may be protective, but they are not known to be overly vocal.

    King Shepherds thrive in homes that provide:

    • 1. Active Lifestyle: They do well in households with active individuals or families who can provide regular exercise and playtime.
    • 2. Space: A house with a yard where they can exercise and explore is ideal.
    • 3. Socialization: Early and consistent socialization is crucial to their well-adjusted behavior.
    • 4. Routine: Establishing a routine helps them feel secure and reduces anxiety. Predictable daily schedules are beneficial.
    • 5. Training: They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods and thrive in environments where training and mental stimulation are prioritized.


    • 1. Lack of Exercise: Without sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, King Shepherds can become bored and may develop behavioral problems.
    • 2. Isolation: They are social dogs and may struggle in homes where they are frequently left alone for extended periods.
    • 3. Lack of Socialization: Poorly socialized King Shepherds may exhibit fear or aggression towards strangers or other animals, which can lead to challenges in public settings.
    • 4. Owner Experience: Inexperienced owners who are not prepared for the breed’s specific needs and characteristics may face challenges in raising a well-behaved King Shepherd.

    When traveling with King Shepherds, consider the following:

    1. Exercise Needs: King Shepherds require regular exercise. Plan for breaks and opportunities to move around during travel.
    2. Size: They are a large breed. Ensure their safety with suitable travel crates or seat belt harnesses.
    3. Anxiety: Some King Shepherds may experience travel anxiety. Gradual introduction to travel and familiar items can help reduce stress.
    4. Air Travel: When flying, choose pet-friendly airlines with appropriate crate requirements.
    5. Identification: Keep proper identification on your King Shepherd during travel.

    King Shepherds are generally healthy, but they may be prone to certain health concerns, including:

    • Hip Dysplasia: A genetic condition that affects the hip joints and can lead to arthritis and lameness.
    • Elbow Dysplasia: A condition affecting the elbow joints, causing pain and lameness.
    • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A group of inherited diseases that can lead to blindness.
    • Epilepsy: A neurological condition that can cause seizures.

    Proper nutrition is essential for King Shepherds. Follow these nutritional habits:

    1. High-Quality Dog Food: Choose dog food with high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient.
    2. Age-Appropriate Food: Feed the appropriate life stage formula.
    3. Protein: Opt for a diet with moderate to high protein content.
    4. Balanced Diet: Ensure a balance of protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals.
    5. Portion Control: Prevent overfeeding with proper portion sizes.
    6. Fresh Water: Always provide clean, fresh water.
    7. Avoid Table Scraps: Refrain from feeding human food.
    8. Treats: Use treats in moderation for training and rewards.
    9. Consult Your Veterinarian: Seek guidance from your vet for the best diet.
    10. Special Dietary Needs: Address dietary restrictions or allergies with your vet.
    11. Weight Management: Maintain a healthy weight through exercise and portion control.
    12. Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular veterinary check-ups for monitoring.

    Proper nutrition is essential for the health and well-being of King Shepherds.

    Breed-specific laws (BSL) can affect King Shepherds in particular areas, with regulations varying depending on local jurisdictions. Common BSL restrictions that King Shepherds may face include:

    1. Mandatory Spaying/Neutering: Owners may be required to spay or neuter their King Shepherds under BSL.
    2. Special Licensing: BSL may necessitate special licenses for King Shepherd owners, often involving additional fees and regulations.
    3. Liability Insurance: Owners of King Shepherds may be mandated to carry liability insurance as part of BSL.
    4. Muzzling in Public: In specific regions, BSL may dictate that King Shepherds be muzzled when in public spaces.
    5. Ownership Bans: In extreme cases, BSL may ban the ownership of King Shepherds altogether in certain areas.

    BSL is typically motivated by concerns about public safety and perceived risks associated with specific breeds, including King Shepherds. However, it’s important to note that King Shepherds are not inherently aggressive, and BSL may affect them due to their physical resemblance to breeds that are sometimes included in these laws.

    BSL is a contentious subject, and many advocates argue that it unfairly targets breeds rather than addressing individual dog behavior. They emphasize that responsible ownership, training, and education should be emphasized instead of breed-specific restrictions.

    To determine if there are breed-specific laws or restrictions regarding King Shepherds in your area, you should check with your local animal control or government authorities. Be aware of and comply with any local regulations to ensure that you are in compliance with the law while owning a King Shepherd.

    Woof Mastery is reader supported and our articles may contain affiliate links. 

    Instead of running third party ads that we have no control of we only use links from high-quality companies we are directly partnered with. Making use of these links come at no cost to you our reader, and in many cases have the extra benefit of discounted rates or sign up bonuses.

    If you’re interested you can read more about our affiliate policy here.

    We appreciate your support and always insure that the products and services we recommend are high-quality, helpful and relevant to the subject at hand!

    Fun Facts About The King Shepherd

    Myth 1: King Shepherds are Wolves

    Truth: King Shepherds are not wolves; they are a breed developed by mixing German Shepherds and other breeds. They are distinct from wild wolves.

    Myth 2: They are Always Aggressive

    Truth: King Shepherds’ temperament varies. They can be loyal and protective but require proper training and socialization to be well-behaved pets.

    King Shepherds, a relatively newer breed, may not have as many well-documented famous individuals. However, they are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility in various roles, including herding, protection, and companionship.

    • Working Dogs: King Shepherds are used as working dogs in various roles, including herding, guarding, and search and rescue.
    • Companionship: They are cherished family pets, appreciated for their loyalty, protective nature, and friendly disposition.

    King Shepherds, often recognized for their size and versatility, have been cherished by families and dog enthusiasts. Their history is closely tied to the German Shepherd and Shiloh Shepherd breeds.

    King Shepherds, like all breeds, face certain challenges and dangers. Some of the greatest dangers and concerns for the breed include:

    1. Misunderstanding: Misconceptions about the breed’s size and exercise needs can lead to misunderstandings and potential challenges for owners who are not prepared for the breed’s requirements.
    2. Health Concerns: King Shepherds are susceptible to specific health issues, including hip dysplasia, bloat, and elbow dysplasia. Responsible breeding and regular veterinary care are essential to address these concerns.
    3. Size and Strength: Their large size and strength require owners to provide proper training and control to prevent accidents or injuries.
    4. Exercise Needs: These dogs require regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and prevent behavioral problems due to excess energy.
    5. Climate Sensitivity: Their double coat makes them sensitive to heat. Owners in warm climates must take precautions to prevent heat-related issues.
    6. Breed-Specific Legislation: King Shepherds may be affected by breed-specific legislation (BSL) in certain areas, leading to restrictions or bans on ownership.
    7. Irresponsible Breeding: Irresponsible breeding practices can result in health and temperament issues. Ethical breeding is crucial for the breed’s well-being.
    8. Training Needs: Proper training is essential to manage their size and strength, and to provide mental stimulation for the breed.
    9. Socialization: Early and consistent socialization is necessary to ensure King Shepherds are well-adjusted around strangers and other dogs.
    10. Coat Care: Their double coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and maintain skin health.

    By understanding these challenges and providing responsible ownership and care, many of these dangers can be mitigated to ensure the well-being of King Shepherds.

    The King Shepherd is a larger and more robust version of the German Shepherd. Its development involved breeding larger German Shepherds, Alaskan Malamutes, and Great Pyrenees dogs. The goal was to create a larger and strong herding and working dog.

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    Why you're going to love the King Shepherd

    The King Shepherd, known for its strength and versatility, is a breed that excels as a working and family dog. Their affectionate nature and impressive size have earned them a special place in the hearts of dog enthusiasts.

    Owning a King Shepherd involves providing mental and physical stimulation, grooming, and regular veterinary care. Responsible ownership includes addressing potential health concerns and embracing their protective instincts through training.

    With their noble appearance and loyal disposition, King Shepherds continue to capture the hearts of those who appreciate their size and loving companionship.

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