King Shepherd

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
fast facts

About King Shepherd

90-150 lb
10-11 years
not applicable
Best Suited For
Singles and families with children and other pets living in a house with a yard
Intelligent, eager to please, energetic, protective, loyal, loving, playful
Comparable Breeds
German Shepherd, Shiloh Shepherd
25-29 inches
King Shepherd Basics

Are you in search of a big dog that will always be at your side, ready to protect you and love you forever? Then look no further than the King Shepherd, which is the attractive combination of the German Shepherd and the Shiloh Shepherd. These regal-looking canines are fiercely loyal to their owners, and while they are quite protective of them, they are not aggressive. Intelligent and sweet, King Shepherd is suitable for families with children, or other pets in the household- as long as they are socialized on time.

Combining the intelligence, confident demeanor, and the well-adjusted personality of the parental breeds into one, King Shepherd has a lot to offer to a variety of prospective owners. If you are looking for a kind and strong companion for your children, this hybrid can fulfill that role. Want a devoted, affectionate companion for yourself? No problem! In addition to being a loyal and loving pet, King Shepherd also excels in working positions. These Shepherds make great search and rescue dogs, police dogs, and guide dogs- they’re smart and highly trainable.

There’s no doubt that King Shepherd is an overachiever- it seems like these dogs do great in all aspects. But, these dogs do have special requirements, and you should learn more about them before introducing one to your family. To find out more about these stunning dogs, read on!

Intelligent and sweet, King Shepherd is suitable for families with children, or other pets in the household

Usually, when it comes to designer dogs, there’s not much to go on from. A good chunk of the popular hybrid breeds also existed before they were dubbed ‘designer dogs’, but in the form of accidentally produced mixed litters of purebred dogs. This makes it hard to know about the origin of the breed in most cases- but King Shepherd is different.

A breed that’s unique in all of its aspects, King Shepherd is a designer dog breed from the United States. When these dogs were developed, there was a clear goal and strategy on how to best achieve it through selective crossbreeding. American breeders David Turkheimer and Shelley Watts-Cross first developed the breed in the 1990s.

The original intent of the breeder duo was to produce a German Shepherd mix that would possess far fewer genetic health issues and at the same time elevate the best qualities of the breed to an even higher level. Knowing what we know about German Shepherds, it’s clear that this task wasn’t an easy one- but King Shepherd owners all over the worlds seem to think that their pets do fill those big shoes. And a more detailed look into the pedigree of these dogs reveals a lot about why this is the case- a refined breeding process made the King Shepherd breed what it is today.


King Shepherd is a cross between a purebred German Shepherd Dog and Shiloh Shepherd. The Shiloh Shepherd is a hybrid breed itself, developed by crossing German Shepherds to Alaskan Malamutes. So, in a sense, King Shepherd is two thirds a German Shepherd and one third an Alaskan Malamute, but the process was a bit more complex than that. To achieve the desired traits and looks, Turkheimer and Watts-Cross also used longhaired German Shepherds from European lines. In addition to influencing the look of their coat, these European-bred dogs also minimized the risk of diseases that come with highly inbred lines.

The impressive crossbreed offspring that was the result of these efforts quickly won over many hearts in the world of canine lovers. Unfortunately, despite the breed’s many amazing qualities, King Shepherd is not recognized by the American Kennel Club or any of the major international canine organizations. The newness and rarity of these dogs definitely play a role in that- hopefully, this will change in the near future. Until then, though, King Shepherd puppies won’t have official pedigree papers.

Food / Diet

To keep your dog in the best shape possible, purchase a high quality canine-appropriate food that doesn’t contain artificial ingredients. There are a variety of brands that you can choose from, and you can even talk to your veterinarian about feeding your dog a raw diet or a homemade diet instead.

If you are going to feed your King Shepherd a dry dog food, you can give him anywhere from 3-4 cups of food every day, but split this amount up into at least two meals. Your dog may need more or less food depending upon his age and activity level, so always talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions.

If you plan on adding wet dog food into your King Shepherd’s diet, it’s a good idea to reduce the amount of dry food that you’re feeding. In this way, your dog will still get the nutrition that he needs without overeating and gaining too much weight along the way.

Because King Shepherds are highly intelligent, training your pet will be a pleasure.


Because King Shepherds are highly intelligent, training your pet will be a pleasure. Your dog will be eager to follow your commands in order to please you, especially if you use a positive, consistent, and firm approach. Start training your King Shepherd from an early age to ensure your dog will learn all of the rules and will grow up to be a fantastic family pet.


A large to giant-sized breed, the King Shepherd weighs between 90 and 150 pounds.


King Shepherds are hard working canines that have a wonderful personality. They are loyal, loving, and protective. And if you’re hoping to introduce a dog who will get along well with your kids and other pets, the King Shepherd will not disappoint.

If you want a watchdog, the King Shepherd is a great choice, but these pooches are also kind, playful, and gentle with those they love.

Common Health Problems

As is the case with all other hybrid canine breeds, the King Shepherd might be susceptible to the health conditions that commonly affect its parent breeds. However, hybrid dogs can be surprisingly healthy and hardy, and you simply can’t predict an individual dog’s long-term health. Therefore, being aware of what to look out for, and working closely with your vet, will ensure you are able to give your pet the best care possible.

King Shepherds may be prone to conditions that include Von Willebrand’s disease, hypothyroidism, joint dysplasia, eye issues, degenerative myelopathy, allergies, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, thrombopathia, and bloat.

Life Expectancy

The King Shepherd has an average lifespan of 10 to 11 years.

Exercise Requirements

Because the King Shepherd is a large breed, you will need to find time to exercise your dog every day. These canines thrive on physical and mental stimulation, and they have a lot of energy. They do best in homes with yards where they can run around and play off-leash, and they should have toys to play with while they are indoors as well.

Use a combination of games, training, and outdoor activities to keep your King Shepherd active and healthy. Going for jogs or long walks, as well as hiking or bicycling, are great options. The key is to ensure your dog gets enough exercise to release his energy so he doesn’t become restless and potentially destructive. If you are not an active person, the King Shepherd isn’t the best choice for your lifestyle.

King Shepherds are hard working canines that have a wonderful personality.

Recognized Clubs

The King Shepherd is recognized by the American King Shepherd Club (AKSC), the American Pet Registry, Inc. (APRI), the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA), the Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA), the Eastern Rare Breed Dog Club (ERBDC), the States Kennel Club (SKC), and the World Wide Kennel Club (WWKC).


Because these dogs shed quite a bit, you will have to brush their coat several times a week- if not daily. Regular brushing will help keep the coat smooth, clean, and healthy, and it can help minimize shedding to keep as much fur off of your furniture as possible.


You should treat your King Shepherd puppy with care, as they can get hurt easily while they are small. Supervise any time that your puppy spends playing with small children.

Training and socializing your puppy from a young age will help him grow up to be a confident adult dog who is comfortable around a variety of people and animals. These smart dogs will enjoy training, so take advantage of that to teach your dog how to behave and do tricks.

Photo credit: Campbell/Flickr; Val/Flickr; Wigzi Pets/Flickr

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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