7 Traditional, Powerful and Family Friendly German Dogs

Wondering which dog breeds are the most popular German Dogs in the world? Ask most pet-lovers and they will say German Shepherds!

From large and powerful guard dogs, like the Rottweiler and Doberman, to toy breeds like the Dachshund and Miniature Pinscher; Germany has over 40 registered dog breeds with the American Kennel Club.

Bursting with German pedigree, Deutschland is renowned for lovable, strong and powerful pooches. We have compiled a list of the seven most favorite German Dogs, based on their temperament, character and general awesomeness.

1. Black German Shepherd – An Active and Loyal Breed

Black German Shepherd Dog

Probably the most German of all dogs on our list, the Black German Shepherd.

Surrounded by myths, the Black German Shepherd is not a result of a defective gene and it is not a cross breed. Relatively rare, the Black German Shepherd is simply that, black.

Just like a normal Shepherd, the Black German Shepherd is active, loyal, courageous and trainable.

A Black German Shepherd is the result of mating two Black German Shepherds or simply being a black puppy in the litter of a black and tan German Shepherd.

Black German Shepherd are black from the moment they are born, so they are very easy to identify, and remain black for their entire life.

Recognized by the American Kennel Club, they are a German Shepherd and the black color is accepted in the breed standard.

As with all German Shepherds, they can have long or medium coats. Long coats require frequent brushing to keep them matt and knot free, whereas medium coats can be maintained with 2-3 brushings per week.

Their double coat does shed, a lot. You will forever be vacuuming, and black hairs do show up everywhere… Cream carpets or rugs? They will now be black!

Introducing grooming from a young age will make it less stressful for all involved. Start with short sessions and use plenty of praise and reward. Check and clean his eyes and ears regularly and get into the habit of brushing his teeth at least 2-3 times per week.

Just as loyal and devoted as the German Shepherd Dog; they just simply are black in color.

The Black German Shepherd, for any family with experience of large breeds, is a stable and even-tempered companion.

2. Shiloh Shepherd – A Purebred German Dog

The Shiloh Shepherd is one of the largest German Dogs who is gentle and loveable.

Often referred to as a better version of the German Shepherd… is that even possible?

The Shiloh Shepherd appeared in the 1970s after there were concerns about the health and the temperament of the existing German Shepherd.

Tina Barber, the original breeder of Shiloh Shepherds, worried that a typical family just couldn’t manage the powerful and energetic German Shepherd, so decided to breed her own.

Starting with the German Shepherd, Tina introduced the Alaskan Malamute into the lines in 1989, in 2001, the Canadian White Shepherd was brought in for size and genetic diversity, then in 2005, the Czech Wolf was included again for genetic diversity.

The result was the Shiloh Shepherd, one of the most courageous and self-confident German Dogs. If you do decide to get this pooch, why not call him Bruno?

There are strict guidelines for all breeders to control and preserve this breed. Part of the guidelines is to score their puppies so they can be matched to potential owners.

Puppies are classed as soft through to hard puppies – ranging from those submissive and gentle pups, to more independent, strong and tough puppies.

Potential owners are asked to complete questionnaires about their experience and lifestyle, so breeders can match a puppy. For one of these strong German Dogs, you can expect to pay up to $2,000 USD. How many people can say they had a puppy specifically matched to them?

3. King Shepherd – The King of German Dogs?

King in name and King in nature, the King Shepherd is a result of mating a German Shepherd with a Shiloh Shepherd.

The sire (i.e. dad) must be the Shiloh Shepherd and the dam (i.e. mother) be the German Shepherd due to the differences in size.

Not a small designer dog, the King Shepherd stands up to 29″ in height, with the females being slightly smaller, they can weigh anywhere between 90-150 pounds.

Originating in the US, but, bred with German Dogs, the goal was to breed a dog, like the German Shepherd, but, larger and without the existing health problems – they even have their own breeding club.

Despite their large size, they are loyal, loving and super eager-to-please. They are sociable but can be aloof if not socialized correctly.

Being highly intelligent and energetic, they don’t tolerate being left alone or being bored. Upwards of 60 minutes exercise per day will give you a good place to start, with additional time spent working on training and mental stimulation.

If left alone for long periods of time, they can become bored and stressed, resulting in barking, crying, inappropriate toileting and/or destruction.

Seek a dog walker or ask friends or family to pop in and spend some time with him – if you do need to leave for a couple of hours.

The King Shepherd is a huge character, in size and personality, and he will be wholeheartedly devoted to their family.

4. American Alsatian – Are You Sure This Is A German Dog?!

American Alsatian Feature

Yes, the American Alsatian has made it on our list for most favorite German Dogs.

Whilst being American in name, this gentle giant is part Alsatian, which is also known as the German Shepherd.

Originating in the US, breeder Lois Scwarz wanted a well-mannered and stable dog that families could easily manage, even with their large size.

Starting with the German Shepherd, she cross bred it with the Alaskan Malamute. In later years, these dogs were crossed with Mastiffs and subsequently Anatolian/Great Pyrenees dog breeds.

Now in their fifth generation, it has become a purebred dog again.

Having a range of names including: the North American Shepalute and the Alsatian Shepalute, breeders have finally settled on the name American Alsatian.

This American and German Dog was bred to be calm, fearless and stable in temperament. They are equally confident and predictable as puppies who demonstrate less than desirable qualities are excluded from the breeding pool.

For this attention to detail, you can expect to pay in excess of $2,000 USD for one of these loyal and devoted German Dogs – in return you will gain an even-tempered and trainable gentle giant.

Mixed Breed German Dogs

5. German Shepherd Golden Retriever Mix

Golden Shepherd

Just as the name suggests, when we cross a German Shepherd with a Golden Retriever we get a playful, affectionate and eager-to-please dog.

Often known as the Golden Shepherd this mixed breed German Dog, despite not being registered with any Kennel Club (due to their hybrid nature) they are registered with the International Designer Canine Registry since 2009 – that’s 10 years of Golden Shepherds!

Touted as a perfect large breed for active families, you tend to get the sociability and happy-go-lucky nature from the Retriever parent.

If you are lucky, your mix will also get the intelligence and behavior from the German Shepherd parent.

You must always remember, if you are interested in any hybrid dog, that you can’t be 100% sure of the dog you will end up with.

If you get lucky, you may end up with the best qualities from both parents, or equally, if you are unlucky, the worst from one or both – subsequent generations of mix and hybrid dogs are somewhat more predictable, but you should still be prepared for every outcome.

With both parents being historic workers, it is no surprise that the Golden Shepherd loves being active.

Upwards of 60 minutes exercise per day is essential to keep this pooch happy; in addition to that you should spend some time working on training or brain games.

Like some German Dogs, they have retained a love of food, high value treats will be your tool of choice in training and gaming.

6. German Shepherd Pitbull Mix

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix

Yes, the German Shepherd was hated after the World War for its German association, it probably didn’t help that Hitler had a German Shepherd Dog named Blondi either.

Equally, the Pitbull has been banned or restricted in several States and it is often associated with dog fighting.

So obviously, mixing a German Dog with a Pitbull is never going to end well – well it did.

A hybrid standing up to 26″ in height and weighing anywhere between 70-90 pounds, they are energetic, smart, loyal and incredibly loving.

As you have learnt in this article, German Shepherds are incredibly intelligent and trainable, combine that with the heart of gold in the Pitbull and you end up with a bold, and fearless companion.

These playful pups thrive in busy homes and will happily co-habit with kids of all sizes, if introduced and socialized correctly. All humans in the house should understand the needs of the cheeky chap, kids should be involved in their training and socialization, and equally should know that dogs need space too.

Like all dogs, this mix responds best to positive reinforcement and reward-based dog training.

Avoid aversive dog training techniques at all costs. They simply don’t work and can create problematic behaviors. We’ll say it again, it’s not about the breed itself, but where he’s from and how you raise him.

7. German Shepherd Labrador Mix

Labrador and German Shepherd Mix

Potentially the world’s best family dog.

Here we combine the intelligence and trainability of this German Dog with the friendliness and zest-for-life of the Labrador Retriever.

Very similar in character to the Golden Shepherd above, the German Shepherd Labrador Mix does have its own individual quirks too!

The Sheprador is a result of mating two dogs, but not just any dogs, two of the most popular dogs in the US.

Not surprisingly, we end up with a smart, playful, energetic and super-friendly companion. They thrive in family homes, especially when the humans are just as active as them… perfect hiking buddies; ensure they are fully matured before you over-exercise.

Being a large breed, they are predisposed to certain health conditions including hip and elbow dysplasia.

This is a common skeletal issue found in German Shepherds, and getting more common in Labradors, these is where there is abnormal development in the joint which can cause pain, lameness and stiffness.

As we mentioned, they are very similar to the Golden Shepherd, it could just be the appearance that wins it for you.

The German Shepherd Labrador Mix can come in German Shepherd colors or the range of Labrador colors.


Our favorite 7 German Dogs – whilst not all have 100% German heritage, the German Shepherd is the common denominator for most of the popular German Dog breeds.

German Shepherds are adored for their adaptability, intelligence, loyalty and wholehearted devotion to their family.

When we add other impressive German breeds to the mix, or develop a breed over several years, like the Shiloh or King Shepherd, we end up with even more impeccable breeds with equally endearing qualities and characteristics.

There is some unpredictability with hybrids but sourcing a reputable breeder and understanding dog training and socialization gives you the best chance of ending up with the best dog for your family.

John Woods Headshot
John Woods is the Founder of All Things Dogs and leads our editorial team as our Editor in Chief. A member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, he has been a dog lover since he was 13 years old. John is parent to Nala, a working lab retriever. John has also volunteered at multiple animal shelters, where he gained firsthand experience of rehabilitation and force-free positive reinforcement training methods.

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