Dog breeds

Giant German Shepherd: Is This Oversized Shepherd a Great Companion?

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Giant German Shepherd lying on sofa

Chances are, while you were scrolling in social media, you stumbled upon a picture of a German Shepherd Dog (GSD) that looked bigger than the usual size.

Well, your eyes are not fooling you. There really are Giant German Shepherds out there who are as equally intimidating as the regular GSDs.

In this article, I’ll be presenting to you everything you need to know about the Giant German Shepherds from their appearance, health issues, and a lot more.

If you are interested in purchasing or adopting one, you must read on because this will help you in arriving at a good decision.

Let’s start!

What Is a Giant German Shepherd?

As the name suggests, Giant German Shepherds are a larger variety of the German Shepherd we know. They are generally born from crossbreeding German Shepherds to other large dog breeds.

German Shepherds are under the large breed category which weighs 59 to 99 pounds. On the other hand, Giant German Shepherds weigh more than 100 pounds, so they belong to the giant dog breeds.

In addition, their height ranges from 25-29 inches compared to the 24-26 inches of standard German Shepherds.

Giant German Shepherds are also known to be gentler and calmer than the standard GSD pups. Their temperament makes them perfect working dogs as well as family companions.

Although still under development and yet to be recognized by the American Kennel Club, the Giant German Shepherds have already proven their quality and unique traits as testified by other organizations in the country.

Other Names of Giant German Shepherd

I wouldn’t be surprised if you are already familiar with the breed names King Shepherd and Shiloh Shepherd after scouring the web for info on the Giant GSDs.

These terms are just another name for the giant breed of German Shepherds. To be more specific, their size falls under the Giant German Shepherd category.

Both of these result from crossbreeding purebred German Shepherds into other large dog breeds to acquire a bigger physique and better health condition.

In the case of Shiloh Shepherd, a purebred German Shepherd was crossbred with an Alaskan Malamute and some other breeds to achieve a larger body composition and healthier hips.

On the other hand, King Shepherd has the ancestral foundation of a purebred German Shepherd and a Shilo Shepherd.

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Giant German Shepherd vs. King Shepherd: Are They the Same Shepherd?

Basically speaking, King Shepherds and Giant German Shepherds are one and the same.

They are real giants in the sense that they are the biggest variety of the German Shepherd that exists. Their height often ranges from 25 to 29 inches tall- that’s why they are called Kings!

This dog breed was developed by American dog breeders Shelley Watts-Cross and David Turkheimer. The King Shepherd has the foundation of a German Shepherd and a Shiloh Shepherd (which is also a Giant German Shepherd).

Up until today, the breed is still considered under development. However, this dog breed has already been certified by various kennel organizations including the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA), American King Shepherd Club (AKSC), American Pet Registry, Inc. (APRI), Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA), Eastern Rare Breed Dog Club (ERBDC), States Kennel Club (SKC), and the World Wide Kennel Club (WWKC).

The crossbreeding was done with the aim of producing a dog breed with the appearance and characteristics of a German Shepherd but larger in size and has fewer health issues.

Nonetheless, King Shepherds are loving, intelligent, and versatile working dogs just like the classic German Shepherds.

Shiloh Shepherd: Are They Giant German Shepherds?

The other breed of Giant German Shepherds is called Shiloh Shepherds. This Giant German Shepherd breed came earlier than the King Shepherd. In fact, Shiloh Shepherds are the foundation of King Shepherds!

This GSD variety came into existence in 1970 as a way of “improving” the German Shepherd breed due to their numerous health issues, temperament problems, and trainability concerns.

German Shepherds back then were considered as “too much” for average families to handle.

This being said, Tina Barber, a German Shepherd trainer, had seen the need to breed a better version of the German Shepherd that can perfectly fit into a family as a working dog. This is how the birth of the gentle Shiloh Shepherd started.

Shiloh Shepherds are a mix of German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, and few other dog breeds that are larger in size and have better genetics when it comes to health.

As hip dysplasia is a common crippling disease for German Shepherds, breeds with better hip conditions were crossbred to produce the Shiloh Shepherd.

It is said that Shilohs perfectly resemble the intelligence and loyalty of German Shepherds but are less aggressive and domineering. They are even called gentle giants because of their stable temperament.

Giant German Shepherd Size and Weight: How Big Do Giant German Shepherds Get When Fully Grown?

The classic German Shepherd alone is already considered as a large dog breed that could reach a height of 26 inches and a weight of 90 pounds! Now, you could just imagine how big a Giant German Shepherd can grow?

Here are the specifications for the weight and size of the Giant German Shepherd breeds, King Shepherd and Shiloh Shepherd:

King Shepherds

As its name suggests, King Shepherds are the kings because they are the largest among the Giant German Shepherd breeds.

This Giant German Shepherd could reach an astounding height of 29 inches for males and 27 inches for females.

Their weight ranges between 130 to 150 pounds for fully grown male King Shepherds and 90 to 110 pounds for fully grown female King Shepherds.

If you put a German Shepherd beside a King Shepherd, you will notice the big difference in their height.

Shiloh Shepherds

Shiloh Shepherds are also Giant German Shepherds but are slightly smaller than their successor King Shepherds.

Nonetheless, when compared to their predecessor, the classic German Shepherd breed, this giant hybrid is still significantly bigger in size and heavier in weight.

A male Shiloh Shepherd’s weight ranges from 100 to 130 pounds while its female counterpart can weigh from 80 to 100 pounds.

With regards to their height, a male Shiloh Shepherd’s height ranges from 28 to 31 inches with the female’s height ranging from 26-28 inches.

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Giant German Shepherd Appearance: What Does the Giant German Shepherd Look Like?

Generally, Giant German Shepherds resemble the appearance of a German Shepherd Dog. The only significant differences of Giant German Shepherds to their ancestor other than their size could be seen with their coat and personality or behavior.

Here are the descriptions of the appearances of the Giant German Shepherd breeds: King Shepherd and Shiloh Shepherd.

King Shepherds

King Shepherds have retained the compact, solid, and muscular body composition of their ancestor German Shepherd.

They are literally the giant version. They have a square head, almond-shaped eyes which could either be brown or golden brown in color and erect pointy ears.

When it comes to their body ratio, they look a bit longer than tall. They also have a broader chest compared to the classic German Shepherd breed. Their tail is long and bushy that curls upwards.

King Shepherds have thick weather-resistant fluffy double coats which could either be long, straight, course, or wavy. The main coat colors are fawn, red, brown, sable, and black.

Usually, it is a combination of the parents’ coat color. So if you are looking forward to owning King Shepherds, make sure to ready your cleaning tools because they shed regularly.

When it comes to their personality, King Shepherds make the perfect family companions and guardians. They are intelligent, easy-going, and protective yet gentle dogs.

These traits are a result of crossbreeding the intelligent and protective German Shepherd with the gentle giant Shiloh Shepherd.

King Shepherds can be wary of strangers but not aggressive. They have also inherited the energetic and alert traits of their ancestors, German Shepherds. Because of this, they need regular exercises and activities to keep them busy and happy.

Watch this video to see a five-year old King Shepherd while undergoing training:

Shiloh Shepherds

The Shiloh Shepherds’ appearance should be powerfully built, well-balanced, muscular, and noble according to the standards of the International Shiloh Shepherds Dog Club (ISSDC).

This dog breed has a proud carriage and a smooth and effortless gait. Their chest is deep and broad with the abdomen firmly held and slightly tucked.

The skull shape of the Shiloh should have a balanced width and length with a slightly domed frontal appearance. The facial region should be moderately broad between the ears but not too broad.

Shiloh also has a blunt black nose and almond-shaped brown eyes. Their ears are also erect just like German Shepherds.

Their smooth and plush double coat can come in different varieties of color, patterns, and length. When it comes to colors and patterns, Shiloh Shepherd coats can have shades of black with tan, golden tan, reddish tan, silver, and cream.

Solid white and black are also acceptable as long as the lips, eye rims, and nose are solid black. However, white markings are discouraged as well as washed out colors.

When it comes to their temperament and behavior, the Shiloh Shepherd is called as the gentle and better version of German Shepherds. Their calm and intelligent traits make them perfect as family companions.

They are self-assured, composed, friendly and calm yet observant and perceptive for menacing situations.

History and Origin: Why Breed Giant German Shepherds?

As mentioned earlier in the article, both King Shepherd and Shiloh Shepherd are new hybrids of dogs that are still under development. The Shiloh was born in 1970 – decades earlier than the birth of its son, the King Shepherd, 1990.

A few of the reasons why breeders produce large German Shepherd breeds include better health, better appearance, better behavior, and stronger body.

In the case of Shiloh Shepherd, it was originally bred to produce a German Shepherd that is gentler and bigger. Trainers of German Shepherds back then believed that they are too much for the average family to handle.

So, they decided and aimed to produce a dog breed that has the instinctive protective trait but is more calm and gentle – the result, Shiloh Shepherd!

With the latest development of the Shiloh Shepherd breed, it is said that the Shiloh excels in all types of work, from animal assisted therapy to obedience to guardian assignments, while getting along very well with people.

The King Shepherd, on the other hand, was also aimed to be a larger guard dog that can be a family companion.

Since it has the foundation of the Shiloh Shepherd and the German Shepherd, King Shepherd inherited both the gentle and protective traits of its ancestor.

More than the temperament, the breeding of King Shepherd also aimed to refine the health of the breed by crossbreeding it with other breeds that have better health history – especially hip dysplasia.

How Breeders Breed Giant German Shepherds?

There are different ways on how a breeder can breed a Giant German Shepherd. If you want to produce a larger German Shepherd while maintaining the pure lineage, then you must do pure breeding.

However, if you are interested in acquiring not only a larger size but also an exclusive trait from other breeds, then you can apply crossbreeding.

Pure Breeding

In this breeding process, two purebred German Shepherds with sizes that are larger on the larger end of the standard size will be bred to produce larger offspring.

Once the puppies are fully grown, the ones with exceptional size will be selected again to be bred with other German Shepherd dogs that are also exceptional in terms of size.

The process will continue from generation to generation until the trait is cultivated deep within the genes. However, breeding dogs with related lineage should be discouraged as it promotes health issues stemming from genetic problems.

Cross Breeding

Cross breeding process is done by breeding German Shepherds with other large breed dogs. This is the process done in breeding Shiloh Shepherds and King Shepherds.

In the case of the Shiloh Shepherd, it was a mixed breed of German Shepherd and large breed dogs such as the Alaskan Malamute. The King Shepherd on the other hand is an offspring of a German Shepherd and Shiloh Shepherd.

Aside from the size, other factors such as temperament, appearance, and breed health conditions should also be considered in cross breeding as they will greatly affect the breed outcome.

Giant German Shepherd Lifespan and Health Issues: Are They Healthy Dogs?

The lifespan of Giant German Shepherds ranges from 10 to 13 years which is quite the same as the normal German Shepherd.

Crossbred dogs are expected to be healthier than purebred ones. However, although they are quite immune to other health problems due to the benefit of cross breeding, there are still health conditions that are common for Giant German Shepherd breeds.

Nonetheless, both King Shepherd and Shilo Shepherd are just like other dog breeds – vulnerable if not well taken care of.

Here are the common health issues among Giant German Shepherds:

  • Joint Dysplasia: This is an abnormal formation of joints (in either hip or elbow) that can eventually cause lameness, instability, weakness, and pain.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease: This is the most common inherited bleeding disorder of dogs. With this disease, proper blood clotting is impossible due to the deficiency of a protein that the platelets need.
  • Perianal Fistula: This skin disease also known as anal furunculosis is a serious medical condition that most commonly affects German Shepherd dogs – both purebred and mixed breed dogs. It is a skin disease that affects the area immediately surrounding the anus.
  • Hypothyroidism: This is an endocrine disease that affects the dog’s metabolic functions which often result in obesity and canine diabetes.
  • Eye Issues: Giant German Shepherds are also susceptible to different eye problems which include irritation, inflammation, watery eye, and pus discharge among others.

How Much Does a Giant German Shepherd Cost? Puppy Prices and Expenses

Giant German Shepherd puppies’ price ranges from $800 to $2,500. King Shepherds are quite more expensive than Shiloh Shepherds.

The price range for Shiloh Shepherd puppies is only $800 to $1,000 (though still quite expensive!) while the King Shepherd puppies cost from $1,200 to $2,500.

But wait, there’s more! After purchasing your puppy, you still need to cash out money for its initial medical needs like neutering, deworming, and blood tests which will cost you a rough estimate of $300.

Dog essentials like bedding, collar, bowl, and toys will cost you around $200. Training, license, annual medical needs, and other miscellaneous expenses will cost you not less than $600.

With all these being said, if you plan to own a Giant German Shepherd, then ready your pockets and wallet.

Places to Find Giant German Shepherd Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Whether you plan to purchase or adopt a Giant German Shepherd puppy, you should always consider the breeder’s and rescue’s reputation.

Here are some of the reputable breeders and rescue centers where you can get your Giant German Shepherd.

Here are some places where you can purchase a Giant German Shepherd puppy from breeders online:

  • The American King Shepherd Breed Club Inc (AKSBCI) – The official dog club of King Shepherd breeders in America. You can look for available puppies on their website as well as reputable breeders of King Shepherds.
  • LPC King Shepherd – LPC King Shepherd is a recommended breeder of King Shepherd by AKSBCI. This breeder facility started in 2013 and is owned by the secretary of the King Shepherd Club International.
  • International Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club (ISSDC) – This is the official international Shiloh Shepherd dog club. Reputable Shilo breeders are listed on their website as well as puppies on sale.
  • Abba’s Shiloh Shepherds – This Shiloh breeding facility is one of the many reputable breeders listed in ISSDC. Puppies and stud services are offered by this breeder.

RELATED:10 Best German Shepherd Breeders (2021): 10 Places to Find German Shepherd Puppies for Sale

If you want to give a homeless Giant German Shepherd a new home, then you can adopt from these rescues instead:

  • All Shepherd Rescue – All Shepherd Rescue is dedicated to finding a home for Shepherds of all breeds. You can check out their website to look for dogs and puppies available for adoption.
  • Shepherd’s Hope Rescue – This rescue was born out of the disturbing fact that the number of neglected dogs especially German Shepherds is increasing each year. Different breeds of shepherds are situated in this facility. You can check out the available dogs for adoption.
  • Shenandoah Shepherd Rescue (SSR) – Founded in 2017, this all-volunteer run facility is dedicated to rescuing German Shepherds. You can visit their website to see their rescued dogs. Who knows? You might find the Giant German Shepherd that perfectly fits you.

Commonly Asked Questions

What Is the Biggest German Shepherd?

The biggest among the German Shepherds with regards to size and weight are the King Shepherds. The King Shepherds have an average weight of 120 pounds (55 kg) and a height ranging from 25 to 29 inches (64-74 cm).

The name “King Shepherds” suits them well because so far, they are the largest German Shepherd breed.

What Age Is a German Shepherd Fully Grown?

Male German Shepherds become fully grown from 2 ½ to 3 years. On the other hand, the female German Shepherds tend to stop growing earlier than males at the age of 2 to 2 ½ years.

Final Thoughts: Is the Giant German Shepherd the Right Dog for You?

Whether it is the right dog for you or not depends on your preference, lifestyle, and dedication to taking care of a pet.

First ask yourself what you are looking for in a dog. Are you looking for a companion? A guardian? A protector? Then if you have ticked all the boxes on the questions above, a Giant German Shepherd is the right dog for you.

Their large body is an asset for being guard dogs. Plus, their gentle and calm personality befit them as companion dogs.

Your lifestyle also has something to say whether the Giant German Shepherd is the right dog for you. Giant German Shepherds are active dogs, so you will have to walk them in the park or play with them regularly. This means you also need to be active!

Lastly, you must be dedicated. Giant German Shepherds are large dogs that need more attention, space, food, necessity, and care.

If you think you are not ready to provide all of the things I mentioned in exchange for their loyalty and love, then the Giant German Shepherd is not the right dog for you.

In the end, no matter the size of the dog, their love will always be humongously the same.

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