King Shepherd: The Biggest Shepherd Breed Overview

The King Shepherd is the largest of the Shepherd breeds.

They have been bred from the German Shepherd and the Shiloh Shepherd. If you’re looking for a giant dog with a fantastic temperament, then you’re definitely looking in the right place.

These dogs are well known for being excellent with children and other pets.

You’re sure to feel protected with one of these guys around.

They’re incredibly friendly dogs that are devoted to their family.

What is a King Shepherd?

King Shepherd

The King Shepherd was first bred by Shelley Watts-Cross and David Turkheimer.

They mixed the American German Shepherd with the Shiloh Shepherd. This helped to reduce some of the health problems that are seen in the classic German Shepherd breed.

It’s most common that the sire (male) is the Shiloh Shepherd and the dam (female) is the German Shepherd. This is due to the larger size of the Shiloh Shepherd – its this breed’s giant genetics that gives the King Shepherd it’s impressive size.

This dog does require a lot of care but they’re totally worth it.

They have an outstanding temperament and gentle nature. Grooming and exercise would certainly become your priorities if you introduce this gorgeous dog into your home.

King Shepherd Appearance

King Shepherd Lying Down

The King Shepherd is often mistaken for an exceptionally big German Shepherd. If you look closely though, there are some differences in their appearance.

They have a robust body with a broad chest. Their back is much straighter than the German Shepherd, which is a good sign for their health. They have a more boxy face and are more rough looking.

Their ears are thicker and overall, they look more powerful. As puppies, their faces look like teddy bears. Who can resist a teddy bear face?

They sometimes have the classic black and tan coloration but can also have a range of other coat colors. This includes markings that could be brown, gold or cream.

Height and Weight

The King Shepherd is classed as a giant dog.

A male should stand at a minimum of 27 inches at the withers and weigh 120-145 pounds. A female should be a minimum height of 25 inches and weigh between 90-110 pounds.


King Shepherds have a larger variety of coat colors than their German Shepherd parent.

They can have the well known black and tan coloration but it’s not uncommon to find them with sable, brown, gold, cream or even silver coats and markings.

The breed standard doesn’t accept dogs that are light in coloration or all white. They focus on the stronger, richer colors.


Their coat is beautifully thick and weather resistant.

The double coat is excellent when working outside as it keeps them warm and dry. Their coat length generally ranges from medium to long. The coat may be straight or have a slight wave in it.

They shed all year round but especially during the springtime. You should expect to get good use out of your vacuum cleaner around this time! Their double coat makes them well suited to working outside, even in bad weather.

King Shepherd Personality and Temperament

King Shepherd Puppy

The King Shepherd is revered for its friendly, loyal and loving personality – you couldn’t find a sweeter dog.

These guys have been bred to have gentle, patient temperaments, making them perfect family dogs.

This breed is playful and fun loving. They adore games and always want to be part of the action. If you have other dogs, they’ll make brilliant companions.

They make great playmates for children. They are full of energy and will match children’s energy levels.

King Shepherds have a natural desire to protect. They are not aggressive but act as brilliant watchdogs. They will bark to alert you to an intruder, or if anything else is happening. Their massive size is a great deterrent.

You might find that they are quite aloof with strangers because of this protective streak. It takes them some time to welcome someone new into their family.

For this reason, young socialization is incredibly important with this dog.

Having a fenced yard is a must with these pups. This gives them an area where they are able to just mess around. Letting them blow off steam with other dogs or kids in a safe area is going to make your life much easier. Be sure to supervise them though – sometimes they just don’t know their own size and can easily hurt a smaller dog or young child by accident.

It’s not surprising, given their excellent temperament, that this breed makes a great therapy dog. They’re easy to train and want to help you. Their size also helps to make many people feel safe and comfortable.

The King Shepherd is extremely intelligent. They are full of energy, learn quickly and are always looking for something to do. For this reason, they make great working dogs too.

They don’t do so well when they are bored. If they have nothing to do, you might find you have to deal with some destructive behaviors.

Is A King Shepherd A Good Family Dog?

The King Shepherd is an excellent family dog. They are patient and gentle with children and they make brilliant playmates for adventures.

They have a naturally protective streak that will let you know if there is anything strange going on. You really could not ask for a lovelier best friend for your child.

As long as you have the time and space to commit to them, they will be a great addition to your household.

How to Train a King Shepherd

King Shepherd On Beach

Training a King Shepherd should be a pleasurable experience for both owner and pooch. Positive reinforcement is now well known and accepted to be the best method of dog training.

They are eager to please you! Giving them treats and praise for the right behaviors will lead to quick learning.

Having a strong socialization plan when they are a puppy is extremely important. Make sure that they meet all kinds of people and are taught how to interact with them. If you want to train them as a therapy dog, specialized training classes are going to be your best option.

These dogs are highly intelligent and because of this, they need plenty of stimulation. Hiding treats around the room and having them sniff them out is an excellent game.

You may also want to introduce interactive feeders and puzzle games to them early on. This type of mental stimulation is ideal for these intelligent dogs.

The King Shepherd’s huge energy levels makes them great candidates for agility classes. With their muscular build and alert nature, they take to these kinds of classes with ease. This will allow them to feel like they have a job to complete – plus it’s fun for you as well!

Caring for a King Shepherd

If you’re looking to introduce a King Shepherd into your life, it’s important to consider their needs. They need at least an hour of intensive exercise every day. An active individual or family would likely enjoy the company of this pup on their excursions. You need to have a fenced yard for them to play in – they are not suitable for city living.

Having some time available for doggy grooming is also a necessity. Their gorgeous coats take quite a bit of looking after. They’re absolutely worth it though.

This is a highly intelligent breed that needs an owner ready to commit their time to training and socialization. Some experience with large dogs is recommended but not essential.

Exercise Needs

These dogs are incredibly high energy. We are talking at least an hour of intensive exercise a day.

They’re great jogging partners or would even love running alongside your bike. They love hikes and exploring new places, although their inquisitive nature may cause them to wander. Walking on a leash is recommended.

Classes are an excellent option with these dogs, especially agility class. Fly ball is also an awesome way to exercise and have fun. This is great for the health of both you and your dog.

If your King Shepherd is going to be a herding dog, then they will get exercise on the job. They will love being out in the fields all day running around. You likely won’t need to walk them if this is your situation.

Grooming and Shedding

Grooming for these magnificent dogs is particularly important. You should expect to brush them at least three times a week. This helps them to shed their fur and keeps their skin and coat healthy and tangle free. It’s also an excellent time to bond with your pup.

During the springtime, when they lose their winter coat, you will be brushing them every day. They will produce lots of hair and it will cover your furniture. If you are particularly house proud, this may not be the breed for you.

They don’t need baths often as it ruins the natural oils in their fur. You should trim their nails regularly and make sure to clean their ears and teeth as well. Starting to use a doggy toothbrush early in life will be prove to be extremely useful.

King Shepherd Walking

Feeding and Diet

This massive dog has an appetite to match its size. They will easily consume between 1,800 and 2,500 calories every day. That’s around 3-4 cups of kibble.

When choosing a food blend, you should focus on the protein and fat content. With their high levels of energy, they need good quality dog food that’s going to provide them with the right nutrients.

As you’re going to need plenty of treats when training your King Shepherd, make sure you count these in their daily calorie intake. If this breed becomes overweight, it’s damaging to their joints which are already under stress due to their size.

Known Health Problems

One of the main reasons the King Shepherd was created was to breed out some of the health conditions of the German Shepherd. Thanks to this, they benefit from their hybrid vigor and are generally pretty healthy.

Save Massively on Your Pet’s Medical Costs
Never worry about your pet’s health care again. Get reimbursed for your pet’s illness, injury, and wellness expenses!
Complete Sick Visit

Exam fees are included, which saves you around $50-$250 per sick visit.

Comprehensive Dental

PetPlan covers injury and disease in every adult tooth — not just the canines.

Breed Specific Conditions

Not all providers cover hereditary conditions linked to breed. PetPlan does.

A condition they are known to suffer from is hip dysplasia.

The chances of your pooch getting this can be reduced by finding a reputable breeder that checks the hip scores of the dogs they breed with. Check this with the breeder before you commit to buying a puppy.

Bloat has also caused concern in this breed. Make sure they eat little and often to reduce the likelihood of your pup developing this nasty condition. Also make sure not to exercise them immediately after eating.

You should expect a healthy King Shepherd’s lifespan to be around 10-11 years.

Buying A King Shepherd

Buying one of these pooches is not the easiest thing.

They are a fairly new breed and there aren’t many registered breeders yet. You’re likely to be put on a waiting list for puppies. A litter is usually between 6 and 10 puppies. You could always look into rescuing an older dog if you don’t want to wait.

When visiting the breeder, you should be looking for the puppies and mother to be in a safe, clean environment. Puppies bred at home are usually better socialized than those in a kennel because they will have had more contact with people.

You should be able to meet at least the mother of the pups.

This will give you a good idea of her temperament. Ask to see any health screenings the breeder has completed. Check both the mother and father have good hip scores.

If at any point you feel you are being pressured into buying a puppy, we would recommend walking away. A good breeder will not be trying to sell their puppies quickly. They will want them to go to loving, suitable homes.

How Much Does A King Shepherd Cost?

A King Shepherd will cost between $1,500-$2,500 depending on the breeder and location.

Quick Breed Summary Table

Breed Characteristics
Size:Giant – A height of at least 29″ for male and 27″ for a female
Weight:Males are 130-150lb and females 90-110lb
Lifespan:10 to 11 years
Coat:Double coat, thick, weatherproof, straight or wavy
Color:Black and tan, brown, sable, cream, silver or gold
Do They Shed:Yes (Lots)
Temperament:Friendly, loyal and loving
Intelligence:Highly intelligent
Socialization:Extremely social but can be wary of strangers
Destructive Behavior:Barking
People Skills:Great with family but may be aloof with strangers
Good with Children:Excellent with children
Activity Levels:High activity levels – needs at least 60 minutes a day


The King Shepherd is a wonderful dog. They are friendly, loyal and extremely affectionate.

They will protect you and your family, and be there for every adventure. All they ask is for an hour of high energy exercise every day, some grooming time, and lots of love.

If you have the space to welcome this gentle giant into your home, you would not be making a mistake. This dog has a beautiful temperament and will make a wonderful playmate for the whole family.

You really couldn’t ask for any more. The King Shepherd is truly the most magnificent of the Shepherds.

About Thomas Woods 224 Articles
Thomas has been a dog lover since he was 6 years old when his parents got him a rescue Labrador. Since then his love for dogs has lead him to study Animal Behavior & Welfare. He now keeps a six year old English Bullmastiff and educates pet parents through his online publication Perfect Dog Breeds.

1 Comment

  1. I love the GSD, have had 4 starting in 1976. I’ve tried to make myself happy with other breeds but always come back to the GSD. I discovered the King Shepherd breed about a year ago and have been wanting one since that time, but they are difficult to find. Do you have information on reputable breeders that you could share?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.