Is The King Shepherd Dog Breed For You?
Heritage and Registry
The origin of a King Shepherd can be traced in the United States. This is a recent dog breed developed in 1990 so not much information is available for it.
One thing is certain though – it was bred to eliminate the innate health issues present among German Shepherds and to create a much bigger variety. Thus, German Shepherds were crossed with other big dog breeds.
Since King Shepherds descended from working canine breeds, you can expect that these dogs are energy-packed and have great stamina which would be great especially for active fur parents.
American Kennel Club does not recognize King Shepherds because they are a cross between two different parent breeds. Nonetheless, it is recognized by the following clubs:
- American King Shepherd Club (AKSC)
- American Pet Registry, Inc. (APRI)
- American Rare Breed Association (ARBA)
- Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA)
- Eastern Rare Breed Dog Club (ERBDC)
- States Kennel Club (SKC)
- World Wide Kennel Club (WWKC).
A King Shepherd is a hybrid dog that is one part German Shepherd and another part Shiloh Shepherd. It can also be parented by German Shepherd crossed with other large dog breeds such as the Great Pyrenees, Alaskan Malamute, or a breed related to an Akita
Needless to say, a German Shepherd is a critical breed in producing a King Shepherd and should always be one of its parents.
General Information on a King Shepherd
- Height25 to 29 in
- Weight90 to 150 lb
- Lifespan10 to 11 years old
Even-tempered, Extremely active, Loyal, Protective, Intelligent
Families with kids young or old, Active single fur parents, spacious home with an enclosed backyard
German Shepherd crossed with Shiloh Shepherd, Great Pyrenees, Alaskan Malamute, or a breed related to an Akit
King Shepherd, as its name suggests, is one of the largest dogs around. It grows between 25 to 29 in tall and weighs anywhere between 90 to 150 lb.
Appearance-wise, it is hard to set it apart from a regular German Shepherd because of how much they look alike. The only main difference was the size as King Shepherd could easily tower over the German Shepherd during their fully adult stage. The former also is a hybrid while the latter is a full breed recognized by the American Kennel Club.
King Shepherds have extremely muscular physiques. They have big chests, strong legs, and even an intimidating set of canines. The tail at the end of their backside can either be long and straight, or long and slightly curved. Their head looks heavy and their muzzle, strong.
King Shepherds have brown, intelligent eyes. They have a black nose and standing ears. They also have a double coat which effectively protects them during too hot or too cold weather so they cannot be hindered by it in their daily activities.
A King Shepherd’s coat comes in brown, black, sable, red, and fawn. It is medium in length that is very straight. This coat is weather-resistant too.
Overall, one may find that the appearance of a King Shepherd can be fearsome. Its size and muscular body would say it all. But don’t be fooled because hiding beneath the intimidating aura of a King Shepherd is a cuddly dog that is gentle and sweet which would make any fur parent proud.
A King Shepherd dog is one high maintenance pooch when it comes to grooming. Their coat requires consistent brushing which should at least be done thrice a week.
Not being able to do so would cause tangling and matting. Since a King Shepherd is a shedder too, not being able to brush it regularly could cause dead dog hair to spread everywhere including your clothes and furniture which can be annoying to clean.
You can invest in a good metal comb and bristle brush for this task. Investing in high-quality grooming tools could help you get the job done.
Brushing the coat of King Shepherds is often an enjoyable experience for them. However, there are still King Shepherds that are not receptive to it due to various reasons.
Starting brushing your King Shepherd at a young age would help it acclimate to being brushed. You can also give it treats afterwards to make the experience more fun for it. If this is done right, this can be a good bonding experience between you and your fur baby.
The long coat of a King Shepherd wouldn’t need frequent bathing. When you brush it regularly, it would even need fewer baths because this would just remove the natural oil produced by its coat to make it look healthy and shiny.
You could just let your King Shepherd have its bath at least once a month or just when it needs it. Use only bath products for dogs during bath time. Never use human formulated ones as these could have ingredients that may be harmful to your King Shepherd.
Dry the hair of your fur baby afterwards. You may use a soft cloth or a blower. Then take the time to examine its skin for any allergies or abnormal growth.
Other Grooming Needs
The grooming needs of your fur baby don’t stop at brushing and bathing alone. You should be thorough and address other parts of it that need cleaning.
The ears of your King Shepherd need to be cleaned once a week. You can do this with the help of an ear cleaning solution for dogs and soft cotton balls. Clean only the outer part of its ears and do not put anything sharp inside it which may cause permanent damage.
Trim the nails of your King Shepherd every two weeks. You need to be careful in doing this because cutting it too short would cause it to bleed.
Lastly, you also need to brush the teeth of your King Shepherd several times a week, if not daily. This would prevent plaque and tartar build-up and would hinder it from getting other dental diseases.
If you are having second thoughts in doing all these processes, you can always have a groomer do this instead. They are very thorough when it comes to the grooming of your fur baby and they see to it that they do a really good job.
Food and Feeding
A King Shepherd is a healthy eater. It is rarely picky so it is vital for fur parents to plan carefully their diet to make sure that they are only getting the right nutrition.
King Shepherd, like other pets, would need different types of nutrition throughout their developing life. Their dietary requirements would be different during their puppyhood, and this will further evolve as they grow into fully adult dogs and to their senior years.
It’s a good thing that although you need to plan their food intake, you won’t have any problems sourcing their food because there are a lot of options available in the market nowadays for you to choose from. Whether you want them to eat kibble or canned food, or a combination of both, you can easily get a hold of different brands at the pet store near your area.
You have to be discerning though when it comes to the ingredients. Since you are not producing the dog food yourself, you need to be critical of what the manufacturers use as ingredients.
For instance, you would want to get a dog food brand that is of high quality and made up of whole grains. If it is organic, then much better. Needless to say, you shouldn’t be sourcing a dog food that is made up of refined ingredients and too many fillers because your King Shepherd wouldn’t get much nutrition from them.
If you prefer to cook the food of your King Shepherd on your own, that would work out too. But be careful in making it a well-balanced dog’s diet.
Ideally, a fully adult, regular-sized King Shepherd would need a daily food intake of about 1800 to 2500 calories daily. This should have a high percentage of protein with only a small portion of carbohydrates. Too much of the latter could lead to obesity especially with the lack of exercise.
If you don’t have the time to cook, then you can give your King Shepherd about 3 to 4 cups of kibble or dry dog food formulated for it daily. This can still be adjusted based on its daily activity. It can be increased if you think your fur baby is not getting much, and decrease it if it’s making your fur baby gain unnecessary weight.
You can distribute the food of your King Shepherd into two feeding schedules. Clean up afterwards so it would be coming back to check the bowl throughout the day.
There are instances when your fur baby would want more than the allotted amount of food for it. It can be tempting but it is important to only provide it the right amount it needs. Going beyond this could have implications on its health which you won’t want to happen.
You could also supplement the nutrition of your King Shepherd with vitamins. This would help boost its immune system, strengthen its joints and muscles, and even make its coat healthier.
If you don’t know what vitamins to give your King Shepherd, a vet could recommend one during your next visit together with the right dose.
Right Training Approach
Training is mandatory for a King Shepherd and other household pets. This will keep them disciplined and would make them behave well.
When it comes to training King Shepherds, you won’t have any problems because not only are they very smart, they are eager to please as well which makes them receptive to training. There isn’t just anything they won’t do for their owners.
This is the reason why there is no need to resort to extreme measures when training a King Shepherd. While there may look big and could act tough, they are quite sensitive so intimidation and punishment wouldn’t do them good during training. It’s quite the opposite in fact, because they do well if you’re going to motivate them using positive reinforcement.
Having ample treats aside and gold praises for your King Shepherd during training would help it work harder. It would also make the training more fun for it and an activity it would look forward to.
Although King Shepherds are highly trainable, starting them young would be in your favor. You would also have a higher success rate when you train it a few minutes at a time for about two sessions a day, than training it continuously for long hours especially if you cannot hold the focus of your fur baby.
Training a King Shepherd is such a joy that it is understandable why there are times when you’d just be carried away. This dog breed is just too responsive on training that teaching it tricks is very fulfilling.
But before you jump into that, you should make sure to cover first the basic training because this will help your King Shepherd be house-trained and build the foundation of discipline on your fur baby.
You may want to start with potty training your pooch. Doing this would help it distinguish the right place to do its business and that is not inside the house.
It is best to create a schedule for your King Shepherd when you start potty training it. Start bringing it outside to potty before going to sleep and upon waking up. Bring it also outside to do its business every after feeding and after you observe it drinking from its bowl.
You’d see later on that your pooch would get the idea and start waiting for these schedules before doing its business. It would also start developing signs which will tell you that it needs to go already.
Aside from potty training, you could start it with basic obedience training also. While this seems to be like nice tricks to show off during gathering, knowing how to respond to commands would also keep your doggo safe and the people around it.
Teach it particularly to respond to “no” and “stay” for you to control your fur baby whenever needed.
Socialization plays a vital role in making your King Shepherd a well-rounded dog. Its training wouldn’t matter if it easily gets agitated when it is brought to unfamiliar surroundings.
Helping your King Shepherd socialize is not a hard job. In fact, it requires little guidance from you because all you need to do is expose it to as many different settings as possible and to different people outside the family it knows.
During walks, you can let it go through paths that are normally crowded. You could also introduce it to different guests during gatherings. Further, you can socialize your fur baby just by bringing it to a dog park where it could interact with other dogs big or small.
The important thing is that the exposure would help your King Shepherd be confident around different individuals and places.
Exercise and Physical Activity
There is no question that a King Shepherd is one energetic dog. As such, if you are planning to have one, then you should know that vigorously exercising your fur baby should be on your list of to-do’s daily.
Unfortunately, you cannot satisfy your King Shepherd with just daily walks alone. You need to include other high-intensity exercises to stimulate it both physically and mentally.
If you are an active fur parent, exercising your King Shepherd wouldn’t be a problem for you. You could do your exercises with it so you could hit two birds with one stone. It wouldn’t have any issues keeping up with your exercises because it is known to have great stamina.
Among the things you could do include running together, running alongside you as you go biking and hiking.
Ideally, a King Shepherd should at least have an hour of exercise every day. Not being able to provide it would cause it to get depressed and to develop unfitting behavior such as incessant barking, digging, or even chewing your things or the furniture.
If you think the exercise you are giving your fur baby is still not enough, then you may want to sustain its playtime with interactive toys. You can also let it play on its own in an enclosed backyard but it is important to keep it under supervision because it tends to explore and get into trouble even by itself.
When you exercise your King Shepherd, you should be careful not to overdo it because it would only cause the opposite of your desired outcome. Observe when it’s starting to get tired so you can give it a break. Keep it also hydrated during the activity.
A King Shepherd is prone to health issues such as Hip Dysplasia. While this can be inherited from parents, there are instances when this dog breed acquires it through injuries or abnormal bone growth.
In order to not impact its growing bones, let it go through high-intensity exercises only after it reaches its full adult stage. Before that, you can just stick to walks around the neighborhood with your pooch.
Your King Shepherd is generally a healthy hybrid breed of dog especially if it is well-cared for. Among the reasons why it was bred in the first place was to create a healthier breed which will not happen during inbreeding. Despite this, however, there are instances when it still develops health issues particularly when the parents that are crossed did not go through appropriate health screening.
Some of the health concerns that King Shepherds could be susceptible to are the following:
Canine Hip Dysplasia
This negatively impacts the skeletal makeup of a King Shepherd. This is characterized by the ball and socket joints not fitting well together in the hip area. Instead of working seamlessly, the displacement causes the bones to rub against each other which translates to extreme pain on the part of your fur baby. This also leads to arthritis later on.
Normally, a King Shepherd suffering from this health issue is observed to be unable to move around much. If it does move, it seems to be dragging its hind part or walking on a bunny hopping motion. Over time, the muscle mass also of a King Shepherd’s hind legs noticeably decreases while its chest becomes more muscular because the latter exerts greater pressure as your fur baby moves around.
Research shows that Hip Dysplasia is a hereditary disease although sometimes, it can also be caused by injuries or overexertion on the part of your King Shepherd. Unfortunately, there is still no cure for Hip Dysplasia but the pain associated with it can be managed through medications prescribed by the vet.
Sometimes, surgery is also needed to manage this especially if the Hip Dysplasia of your fur baby is a severe case.
Von Willebrand’s Disease
This is a disease on the blood of a King Shepherd wherein said blood lacks a certain protein which enables it to clot whenever there are injuries or bleeding. This could lead to life-threatening circumstances especially during accidents or whenever your fur baby would need to go through surgery.
Unfortunately, this cannot easily be detected unless your King Shepherd would undergo a series of laboratory testings. Oftentimes, a fur parent isn’t even aware that a King Shepherd has this until it is already too late.
There is no cure for this but a vet can help with the treatment necessary during excessive bleeding. Von Willebrand’s Disease is characterized by nose and gum bleeding, bloody urine, and the appearance of bruising on the skin of your King Shepherd.
Bloat is another life-threatening health condition that can be acquired by a King Shepherd. Research shows that it can be caused by exercising immediately after eating, eating quickly, and genes. When this happens, it can escalate within minutes and it is rare when this is not an emergency situation.
This is a health condition wherein the stomach of your King Shepherd fills with gas or fluid and flips. This affects other organs around the stomach and even disrupts the normal blood flow throughout the body causing your fur baby to go into shock.
Bloat is characterized by a distended stomach, distress, and vomiting. When you notice this to your King Shepherd, it is a must that you bring it immediately to the vet.
There is no absolute way to prevent hereditary diseases from occurring. You can’t also predict what health problems you’re fur baby would develop until you are already facing it.
What you can do is schedule a regular visit to the vet so any symptoms your fur baby has can be detected early on. Also, you should patronize only reputable King Shepherd breeders so you won’t have concerns that the pup you are getting is in poor condition.
The normal life expectancy of a King Shepherd is between 10 to 11 years. But of course, this still depends on the care it receives.
The healthier it is, the longer its life will be. You should also ensure that it gets a regular visit to the vet so all health problems that it may develop could be addressed immediately.
Many people get easily intimidated by a King Shepherd. This is not surprising with their size and stature. But when you get to know a King Shepherd, you’ll realize that there is nothing to be intimidated about because this dog breed is far from being the scary dog other people believe to be. It can even be described as a gentle giant by some because of its even-temperament.
The King Shepherd hybrid breed is as gentle as they come. Having descended from working dog parents, expect that you will get ahold of one hard-working pooch. They always give their best whether it is about training to be a good doggo or working hard to bring joy to their family.
King Shepherds are extremely loyal dogs. They may be laid back and sweet, but they know how to protect their family when they need protection.
This doesn’t mean that they are aggressive. They can even be fast friends with strangers as long as they are introduced by their family. But King Shepherds are good at recognizing danger and trust that they won’t let it past them. They are even effective in discouraging it with their looks alone.
King Shepherds are also energetic and strong dogs. When they are conditioned well, they can keep up with any activities you want. Combine this with their natural eagerness to please and you have one valuable and very active companion.
However, keep in mind that although King Shepherds have a good temperament overall, their behavior can still be affected by other factors such as training, proper socialization, and upbringing.
Fur parents who don’t give sufficient TLC to their pets and punish them using extreme measures should not expect that their fur babies would turn out to be well-behaved pets.
King Shepherd As A Family Dog
The King Shepherd’s temperament makes it a great family dog. Because it is a highly intelligent dog that is also obedient, it is easy to integrate it into different types of families.
Being naturally energetic, King Shepherds wouldn’t have a hard type being companion dogs to active and adventurous families and single fur parents alike. They have admirable stamina that would let them be great companions at long strolls and quick runs. If you are thinking about embarking on hiking expeditions, they would work as great partners too so long as they are conditioned for the trip.
Families with kids won’t have any issues with King Shepherds as well. Although they could elicit fears due to their size, they are one of the most gentle dogs you’ll ever meet. They have the patience to withstand young children’s antics and there is no damping fun during playtime because their size wouldn’t make them too fragile.
Needless to say, kids need to be taught how to handle not only King Shepherds but other animals as well. Interactions between them shouldn’t be left unattended to prevent accidents from happening.
If you have other dogs and other pets, King Shepherd would get along well with them especially if they grew together. If not, fur parents would need to socialize them properly in order for them to be able to harmoniously live with each other.
Aside from being great family pets, you can trust that King Shepherds would be great protectors also. Their physical makeup alone would help discourage any potential dangers from the outside. They take protecting their family seriously so you and your family members would have no trouble sleeping peacefully at night.
King Shepherds wouldn’t make great apartment dwellers due to their size. They can easily break things if the space is not enough for them to roam around and explore. This is why bigger homes would be more appropriate for them. It would be an added bonus for a King Shepherd if you have a fenced-in yard too.
The Cost of Getting a King Shepherd
King Shepherds are lovable doggos. They can be great doggy companions and protectors so it does not anymore come as a surprise why many fur parents would like to have one.
If you are among those and want to get one also for yourself, expect that you would spend something between USD1500 to USD2500 for a King Shepherd puppy. There are even breeders that sell it for as much as USD3000.
Expect that the higher the quality of your King Shepherd, the more expensive it would be. The price is also largely affected by the pedigree of the doggo and the breeder you will source it from.
This dog breed doesn’t come cheap. Thus, it is a must that you only source it from a reputable breeder to have the guarantee that you are getting your money’s worth.
There are many advantages of dealing only with reputable breeders. They have ethical standards to uphold when it comes to their breeding process. All the parent dogs that they cross are vetted to ensure that they do not have pre-existing health problems that they could pass on to their litters. Their temperaments are also tested and they are backed with multiple clearances for the peace of mind of the would-be fur parents.
Reputable breeders also extend the screening to the litters they produce. Everything is covered starting from the nutrition the puppies need upon birth and the medical care until such time when they are finally released to their new owners.
The same cannot be said if you are going to get your King Shepherd pup from backyard breeders or puppy mills.
They do not have the same controls which put at risk the puppies they are producing. This translates later on to additional expenses when new fur parents need to deal with the poor condition of the puppies that they receive.
This is not only heartbreaking but could also be traumatic especially to first-time fur parents.
Considering the Shelters
Despite the fact that King Shepherd is a dog breed that is hard to come by, there are still those that land in shelters for one reason or another.
If you will choose to get your King Shepherd from these places, not only would you save money but you can also make a difference in the community. It doesn’t even matter that you would get it fully adult because a King Shepherd is trainable. If you would give it the love and care it needs, trust that it would have no issues in bonding with you in no time.
Other Costs for a King Shepherd Puppy
When you decide to own a King Shepherd, do not just consider the purchase cost. That should even be the last of your priorities because what you should think of first is whether or not you can provide it a comfortable life. This is what is often overlooked when getting a dog or even other animals as pets.
King Shepherds are like humans too. They would need several things for them to have a good life.
Their most basic necessities would include food and shelter. They would need different types of accessories too to help them do their normal activities throughout their life and other services to keep them in top condition. Not to mention, there may also be emergency needs from time to time.
It should be taken into consideration that these needs are not only one-time costs. These need to be provided to your King Shepherd many times in its lifetime particularly the food, dog accessories, and medical care. Not being able to do so may hurt the health and well-being of your fur baby.
A King Shepherd would be a great addition to your family members if you want a large dog breed that could accompany you on different adventures and could be your guard dog. There is just so much love it could offer with its eagerness to please and extreme loyalty to its fur parent. All it needs is for you to provide it with the same love and care.
Before you make that jump, however, it is important to gauge first your dedication and commitment. Get only a King Shepherd if you are sure you can give it a comfortable life and if you can give the care it needs throughout its lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What dog breeds make a King Shepherd?
A: A King Shepherd is produced by crossing together a German Shepherd and a Shiloh Shepherd, a Great Pyrenees, Alaskan Malamute, or a breed descended from an Akita which are all large dog breeds. In any case, a German Shepherd dog should always be one of the parents of a King Shepherd.
Q: What is a King Shepherd vs a German Shepherd?
A: There is not much difference evident between German Shepherds and King Shepherds in terms of their appearance. They look very much alike although the latter can tower easily over the former because of their size.
Q: What is a King German Shepherd?
A: King German Shepherd is a hybrid dog originally bred to eliminate the high probability of health issues inbreeding a German Shepherd cause. It is among the largest dog breeds because of its size which can be somewhere between 25 to 29 inches tall and weighs anywhere between 90 to 150 pounds.
Q: What is the cost of a King Shepherd?
A: King Shepherd puppies are priced between USD1500 to USD2500. Anything less than this range should raise red flags because these puppies may not be sourced from reputable breeders and may cause you a lot of problems later on.