The king shepherd, like the name suggests, is a giant shepherd hybrid with German and Shiloh shepherd ancestry. Bred originally in the 1990s in the United States, these gentle giants are hard-working, adaptable, and devoted to their humans. If you are looking to adopt a king shepherd, not only their beautiful physical appearance will steal your heart, but you will also be amazed by their intelligence, sturdiness, and self-confidence. Their temperament makes them a wonderful addition to any family since they get along with people of all ages, as well as other pets. However, given their size, a home with an outside space is preferable, so that they can live their best lives.
This highly intelligent dog is easily trained and can learn a lot of different tasks and commands. It's better to start training them as puppies and to give them a lot of mental stimulation. King shepherds' developing brains require a lot of entertainment, so games like find and fetch or socialization with a variety of people and dogs are great options. Additionally, their versatility and acumen make them excellent at a variety of working duties. Police service, search and rescue, and as a guide dog are a few of the professions these giant animals are well-suited for.
With their substantial bodies and big hearts comes also a great love for life and fun. King shepherds need a lot of daily outdoor and playing time in order to tire out. This is important to avoid destructive behavior caused by boredom. They thrive in a context where they can get a lot of attention, so if you're looking for a low-maintenance dog, the king shepherd might not be right for you. Instead, if your home has fenced outside space and you enjoy spending quality time with your dog, then a king shepherd will give you immense satisfaction.
King shepherds are especially suited for a family with children. They take great care of them, guarding them, and choosing to be by their side as much as possible. As many other guard dogs do, king shepherds seem to understand the higher vulnerability of children and do their best to protect them, especially the ones they grow up with or that belong to their human herd. Besides, their impressive size is enough to deter anyone from acting up.
Fawn, red, black, brown, cream, and sable are only a few of the many coat possibilities. Most of the time king shepherds present more than one color and at least two. Such variation is to be traced back to the young age of this breed, and to the fact that individuals descend from different shepherd lineages, like Shiloh, great Pyrenees, or Alaskan malamute. Undoubtedly, these many looks make every king shepherd pretty unique.
There's no getting around it: king shepherds are massive. While, again, there can be a lot of variation in the breed in terms of size, they are one the biggest among shepherds. Females should be around 27 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh approximately 90 to 110 pounds. Males, being a little larger, can reach 31 inches and 130 to 150 pounds.
King shepherds are not a breed that needs little grooming. With their double-layered coats, they shed a real lot, and it is recommended to brush them, if not daily, at least three times a week, and to make sure you use a sturdy brush. The upside is that your bond with your shepherd will strengthen and that your dog companion benefits from it both mentally and physically, as it increases blood circulation. The downside is that daily vacuuming might become a reality.
There's so much variety in the breed that it's hard to establish food parameters that work for every king shepherd. It's better to discuss it over with your veterinarian and follow their instructions on the matter. However, you can probably expect to feed your shepherd three to four cups of high-quality dry food per day, served across two mealtimes. Free-feeding or a single meal might lead to canine obesity, so regularly check with your veterinarian if your dog companion is in good shape or not.
The king shepherd is predisposed to the same health concerns as other shepherd breeds. Joint and hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and Von Willebrands disease, a coagulation disorder, are among the most common concerns. Bloating can also be an issue, leading to major health problems if not monitored properly. But don't worry, many breeders are working hard to foster the birth of individuals with strong genetics that can live happy and healthy lives.
Even though they may look like German shepherds to an untrained eye, king shepherds have plenty of physical and personality features that distinguish them from their ancestors. First of all, there's the size and the length of their coats. Secondly, they are more ruggedly handsome, and puppies have bear-like faces. The king is also more powerful while presenting a milder temperament, where German shepherds instead might become a little restless or aggressive if left alone for too long.
Some breeders' associations still don't recognize the king shepherds as a proper breed because of their recent and hybrid origin. However, according to the American King Shepherd Club, king shepherds can be shown with the following organizations: American Rare Breed Association, America's Pet Registry, and the Dog Registry of America, Inc. So, if you wish to take your dog to beauty shows and make these gentle giants earn the fame they deserve, you will have plenty of opportunities.
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