So, there’s no word of a lie when you say that German Shepherds are one of the worlds most popular breeds of dogs – apparently they’re second favourite breed globally. So, it’s no surprise when you leave the house with a dog that’s not a german shepherd, that people assume it is.
We’ve all been in that spot in the park “Hey! Can I ask what breed your dog is?” You tell them their actual breed and you get that curious look and a “Are you sure?” you tell them yes, explain why, whether its a KC cert, parents or all the other reasons you know they are what you say they are (because, duh, why would you lie?). Then with that quizzical look, they go “Are you sure they’re not a German Shepherd?” and that’s when your temper gauge starts ticking up, and up, and up.
So that’s why this exists!
Let’s myth bust a bunch of these breeds! Here’s a collection of dogs that are most certainly not a german shepherd – and they’re all either AKC or KC registered!
1 – Bohemian Shepherd
A little more petite than the German shepherd, the Bohemian Shepherd is definitely it’s own breed. They are very similar in their manner and drivers, but the Bohemian Shepherd lacks a bit of the German’s bulk. To me though! They’re the closest to a German Shepherd out of the official AKC & kennel club breeds – Even I would have to take a double look if I seen a Bohemian in the park! Their coat definitely tends to be more plush though, sumptuous!
2 – Berger Blanc Suisse
Now, I’d forgive anyone who looked at a Berger Blanc Suisse for a white German Shepherd – it’s very difficult to tell them apart, for sure! The white swiss shepherd tends to be smaller again than their German companions. They are actually bred from german shepherds, but they have been their own breed in the UK since 2017 – so they’re super new!
3 – Dutch Shepherd
This breed is a neighbour of the German shepherd, and a breed that (again!) had a very similar purpose, however, their brindle colouration is what keeps them distinct from both the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois. They’re gorgeous though aren’t they? But the biggest giveaway that these dutch sheppies aren’t a german shepherd? Is their brindle (the tiger-like stripes) coat pattern! But you’d be forgiven for thinking it, when you see a gorgeous, strong, highly athletic dog, but typically? They’re way higher drive.
4 – Groenendael
These long haired ebony Belgian shepherds are a magnificent dog, and could easily be confused for a black, long haired shepherd to the untrained eye – but that sharper, more angular face, and their smaller size gives away that they aren’t a german shepherd at all! But, if they were too different, they wouldn’t make the list, huh?
5 – Tervuren
Masked face – check! Black markings – check! Tan markings – Check! Sounds familiar? Well, this cousin of the Groenendael is another slightly smaller breed (on average) and again more delicate in the face than their german compadres. Again though – you can see it right? Cute little devils! But – they also come in a very striking grey colour! Very pretty!
6 – Belgian Malinois
Another of the Belgian shepherd dogs – but probably the most recognisable of them. These incredibly high drive, versatile dogs have become phenomenal police dogs, they’re super high drive though! They’re gorgeous – but I don’t think I could own one. I’ve always recommended (strongly!) that you don’t get one of these unless you’re on a working farm, and/or your job is entirely based around your dog. Still! That’s not what this is about, huh? The dark face and tan base, makes these gorgeous dogs fairly easy to muddle up!
7 – Chinook Dog
This sled dog is divine and has recently been added into my ever growing list of ‘want to owns’ and I’m sure you can see why! Their stature, stance and colouring is very German-shepherd-ish!! Some come out purely tan, but others come with a dark muzzle, and even their size and weights are incredibly comparable! Yet, for some reason, the chinook is massively less popular than the german shepherd! And yet they shed less than a shepherd! Gosh… though they do need more exercise – go figure as a sled dog!
8 – Czech Wolfdog
Part bred from the german shepherd with the grey wolf – these wolfdogs were originally used as attack dogs by the czech special forces – uhm – can we say yikes?! Most generally take the look of a wolf, more than a shepherd – but some of them really do show their shepherd heritage, like the one above, what do you think? See it in the face shape and the ears? They are (again) a good bit smaller than a shepherd though! Why are they all like miniature shepherds? They really remind me of my boy, if I’m honest!!
9 – Yakutian Laika
Not all of them, but when you pick out certain ones, (like the one above) you could definitely muddle it with a white shep – or even a Berger Blanc Suisse! Though, the curled tail totally gives it away that they’re not! These are also super rare in the UK! So to be fair, you wouldn’t be blamed if you hadn’t heard of them… they’re that unusual that they appear on our 9 dog breeds you’ve never heard of list – along with one other in here!
To all of you Chinook, Czech Wolfdog, Yakutian Laika, Malinois, Tervuren, Groenendael, Berger Blanc suisse, Dutch and bohemian shepherd owners, next time someone tells you (because they obviously know better) that your dog is definitely a german shepherd? Point them to this blog! Tell them No! No my dog is not a German Shepherd! Go read! Hahaha. Would a pamphlet be easier?
Which one do you think is the closest? Have I added any more dogs to your “would love to own” list? Feel like you can differentiate between them now? Confident that you know the difference between a Chinook and a Berger Blanc? Or! Do you have another dog that is constantly muddled for a shep? Or does your shep look like one of these lovely woofs? Share your pictures!! Tell me your stories about the people determined they know what your dog is. And tag a friend who you know feels the same!