Nature has a funny way of producing some uncanny doppelgangers. Some of these look-alikes are bred intentionally, while others are happy accidents. Certain dog breeds have been purposely bred to resemble other popular species. This is why dogs that look like German shepherds are a common sight in many domestic settings.

Whether you’re looking for a German shepherd alternative because your allergies can’t handle that particular species, or you’re just a fan of the breed’s regal appearance, there are plenty of pups out there that will fit the bill.

For the most part, the breeds that most closely resemble German shepherds are other large, working dogs. These canines normally have a similar overall build, with a strong and muscular body, long legs, and a large head. Many of them also share the signature black and tan coat that is so characteristic of German shepherds.

Belgian Malinois

dogs that look like German shepherds - Belgian Malinois

Thought to be the closest relative of the German shepherd, the Belgian Malinois is a herding dog that originates from Belgium. They bear a striking resemblance to the German shepherd, with narrow hips, a long nose, and erect ears.

Despite being somewhat smaller in size, their bustling and energetic nature make them excellent protectors and family companions. Their undeniable intelligence also makes them easy to train for various canine sports and activities, such as agility, obedience, and flyball.

The only downside is that they’re a bit more sensitive to criticism than some other breeds on this list, so exercise must be done with positivity and patience. But even so, they’re quick to adapt and learn new commands.

Dutch Shepherd

dogs that look like German shepherds - Dutch Shepherd

The next German shepherd look-alike on the list is a bit rare, as it’s not often seen in homes as a family pet. The Dutch shepherd is a herding breed that was originally developed in the Netherlands for—you guessed it—herding sheep.

These dogs look very similar to the German shepherd, with a long muzzle, perky ears, and a sleek coat that comes in three main varieties:

  • short-haired,
  • long-haired, or
  • wire-haired.

While this distinction might not seem like much, it’s actually pretty significant. The wire-haired variety is the most similar to the German shepherd in appearance, while the short-haired and long-haired varieties have a more hound-like appearance.

In terms of personality, Dutch shepherds are very active and energetic, much like their German shepherd cousins. They’re easily trainable and love to be around people, so they’re often considered a great addition to any family.

King Shepherd

Dogs That Look Like German Shepherds - King Shepherd

Next up is another dog breed, similar to the German shepherd in more ways than one—the King shepherd. As the name suggests, this is a more robust breed of dog specifically bred to be a larger and more imposing version of the original German shepherd.

These varieties are characterized by their massive size, with some dogs weighing over 200 pounds. They also have a thick and fluffy coat with several different color patterns and markings to complement their kingly appearance.

But despite their dominant size, they’re actually gentle and affectionate pups that love to snuggle and play. They’re less aggressive and more easygoing than some of the canine breeds, which means they’re more likely to get along with other pets in the household.

Alaskan Malamute

Dogs That Look Like German Shepherds - Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute is one of the most popular dog breeds out there, with a large and powerful build that was initially used for sledding purposes in the Arctic. Their thick coat helps protect them from the cold weather, while their large build gives them the strength and endurance to pull heavy loads.

When it comes to breeds similar to the German shepherd, the Alaskan Malamute is probably the most different. They have a more wolf-like appearance, with an elongated muzzle, almond-shaped eyes, and small triangular ears.

But their similarities shouldn’t be underestimated. Like German shepherds, they have strong pack instincts and are quite protective of their own. They’re also very playful and love spending time with their family.

Shiloh Shepherd

Dogs That Look Like German Shepherds - Shiloh Shepherd

This mixed breed is a direct descendant of the German shepherd and Alaskan Malamute, which explains its more striking appearance. They have a long and luscious coat that covers their entire body, with colors ranging from black and white to dark brown and gold. They also have a thick mane around their neck, which gives them an even more sophisticated look.

Even though some of their features are fairly different, they still share many of the same personality traits and temperament as German shepherds. They’re highly intelligent, fiercely loyal, and have an unending amount of energy. They’re also great protectors for their families, especially if they’ve been properly trained.

Tamaskan

Dogs That Look Like German Shepherds - Talamaskan

Even though they were intended to look more like wolves than their domestic cousins, Tamaskans were once used as sled dogs in Finland. Though rare, they’re slowly becoming more popular as household pets in recent years.

They generally come with dark grey or black fur, which helps them blend in with their natural surroundings. They also have a thick undercoat that protects them from fluctuations in temperature, as well as a set of sharp ears that help them hear predators from a distance.

Their temperament is a perfect mix of several different dog breeds, resulting in a well-rounded and loving pooch. Their alert and thoughtful nature make them excellent guard dogs, while their sociable and affectionate side ensures they’re a hit with everyone in the household.

Northern Inuit Dog

Dogs That Look Like German Shepherds - Northern Inuit Dog

Among the dogs similar to the German shepherd, the Northern Inuit Dog holds its own in terms of appearance and temperament. Their origins can be traced back to the Canadian province of Newfoundland, where they were used as working dogs in the cold weather.

These pups are characterized by their lush and soft fur, which has notes of grey, black, and brown. They tend to be on the larger side, with some dogs coming in at over 100 pounds in weight. This imposing size can be intimidating to strangers, but they’re actually quite gentle with their loved ones.

Their main purpose was to help pull sleds in the snow, but they’re also great at hunting and tracking. They have a strong prey drive and an acute sense of smell, which can help them sniff anything from lost hikers to missing animals. In domestic environments, they’re generally well-behaved and obey commands quite easily.

Chinook Dog

Dogs That Look Like German Shepherds - Chinook Dog

While the chinook dog might not be as popular as some other breeds on this list, they’re still an excellent choice for families looking for a German shepherd alternative. Coming from the cold and mountainous regions of New Hampshire, these have mastered the art of surviving in extreme conditions.

Through evolutionary processes, this species has developed a thick and insulated outer coat, as well as a woolly undercoat to fend off the cold. They also have a compact and muscular build that allows them to carry heavy loads without tiring too easily.

Chinooks’ personality is just as impressive as their physical attributes. They’re known for being incredibly sociable and devoted, both to their family and strangers alike. They also have a high level of intelligence, which allows them to catch on to new commands and tricks fairly quickly.

Key Takeaways

As diverse as the animal kingdom is, there’s no shortage of dogs that look like German shepherds. While some might be more similar in terms of appearance, others share similar personalities and temperaments. But, as any dog-lover would confirm, they’re all equally lovable!

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