What Dog Looks Like a German Shepherd? The Wolf Lookalikes

Have you ever spotted a dog and thought, “That dog looks like a German Shepherd?” There are indeed a few breeds that bear a strong resemblance. Let’s delve into identifying what dog looks like a German Shepherd, focusing on the distinct features that make these breeds similar.


German Shepherds are one of the most recognizable dog breeds in the world, known for their imposing size, muscular build, and intelligent gaze. From their origin as a herding and guarding breed in Germany to their widespread use today as police and military working dogs, German Shepherds have become a fixture in popular culture and everyday life. But what if you want a dog that looks like a German Shepherd but with a slightly different twist?

That’s where this article comes in – we’ll explore some of the breeds that have similar physical characteristics to German Shepherds, but with some unique differences. Let’s start with the basics: what makes German Shepherds so distinctive?

First of all, they’re large dogs – typically weighing between 50 and 90 pounds – with a strong and muscular body. They have pointed ears that stand erect (unless cropped), a long snout with powerful jaws, and an intelligent expression in their eyes.

Their coat is typically black-and-tan or sable in color, although there are other variations such as white or solid black. But perhaps most importantly, German Shepherds are known for their trainability and loyalty – they’re not just good-looking dogs, but also highly capable working animals.

So why would you want a dog that looks like a German Shepherd but isn’t one? There could be several reasons.

Maybe you love the look of GSDs but aren’t able to handle their high energy levels or intense training requirements. Or perhaps you want to avoid some of the health problems that can affect purebred dogs due to overbreeding.

Whatever your motivation is, it’s worth exploring some other breeds that share some similarities with German Shepherds. In this article, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on five breeds that I believe come closest to resembling German Shepherds: Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherd, Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, King Shepherd, and Shiloh Shepherd.

Some of these breeds are lesser-known than others, but all have their own unique qualities that make them worth considering if you’re looking for a GSD lookalike. So let’s dive in and see what makes these dogs special!

Breeds with Similar Appearance

Belgian Malinois

If you’re looking for a dog that looks like a German Shepherd, the first breed that comes to mind is most likely the Belgian Malinois. These dogs are often used for law enforcement, search and rescue, and military work due to their high energy levels and intelligence.

Physically, Belgian Malinois share many similarities with German Shepherds. Both breeds have a muscular build, pointed ears, and a sturdy gait.

However, there are some key differences in temperament and working ability that set the two apart. In my opinion, Belgian Malinois can be even more intense than German Shepherds.

They require an experienced owner who can provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. While both breeds excel at obedience training and have strong protective instincts, Belgian Malinois tend to be more focused on their work than on bonding with their owners.

Dutch Shepherd

If you’re interested in the history of dog breeding, you’ll find the Dutch Shepherd to be a fascinating breed. They were originally bred to assist farmers in Holland with tasks such as herding sheep and guarding property. Physically speaking, Dutch Shepherds look very similar to German Shepherds.

They have the same athletic build and pointed ears as their German cousins. However, there are some important differences in temperament that make them unique.

In my experience, Dutch Shepherds tend to be more playful and affectionate than German Shepherds. They love having fun with their owners but also have a strong protective streak when it comes to guarding their home or family members.

Czechoslovakian Wolfdog

The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is one of the more unusual breeds that share a similar appearance with German Shepherds. These dogs were created by breeding a German Shepherd with a Carpathian wolf, resulting in a unique hybrid breed.

When it comes to physical characteristics, Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs look very similar to traditional German Shepherds. They both have strong muscles, pointed ears, and a thick coat of fur.

However, there are some significant differences in temperament between the two breeds. In my opinion, Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs tend to be more independent and less obedient than German Shepherds.

This is likely due to their wolf heritage and their natural inclination towards hunting and exploring. While they can make loyal companions for experienced owners who are willing to put in the work, they’re not the best choice for first-time dog owners or those who aren’t up for a challenge.

Lesser-known Breeds with Similar Appearance

King Shepherd: The German Shepherd’s Big Brother

When it comes to breeds that look similar to the German Shepherd, the King Shepherd is often an overlooked choice. This breed was developed in the 1990s by crossing various breeds, including German Shepherds, with the goal of creating a larger and more robust working dog.

As a result, King Shepherds look very similar to their German Shepherd cousins but are significantly larger in size. A fully grown male King Shepherd can weigh up to 150 pounds and stand up to 29 inches tall at the shoulder.

This makes them an ideal choice for those who love everything about German Shepherds but prefer a bigger dog that can better protect their home and family. While temperament varies depending on breeding practices, generally speaking, King Shepherds are highly intelligent, loyal, and protective dogs that make great companions for experienced dog owners who have time to train and socialize them properly.

Shiloh Shepherd: The Gentle Giant

The Shiloh Shepherd is another breed that is often compared to the German Shepherd due to its physical similarities. However, there are notable differences between these two breeds that set them apart from each other. Unlike many of its working-dog counterparts, Shiloh Shepherds were specifically bred as companion dogs rather than for protection or herding purposes.

They are known for their calm and gentle personalities and make great family pets for those who want a big dog without all of the barking and aggression. In addition to their personality differences from the traditional German shepherd breed, Shiloh shepherds also have some physical differences such as a rounder head shape or longer fur compared to some traditional German shepherds.

Saarloos Wolfdog: A Hybrid with a Wild Side

The Saarloos Wolfdog is a breed that should not be overlooked when it comes to breeds that look similar to German Shepherds. This unique hybrid breed was created by crossing a German Shepherd with a Eurasian wolf, resulting in a dog that has both the appearance and wild instincts of its wolf ancestors.

While Saarloos Wolfdogs are not recommended for novice dog owners, they can make great companions for those who have experience with training and socializing large breeds. They are highly intelligent and independent dogs that need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to thrive.

In terms of physical appearance, Saarloos Wolfdogs have longer legs than German Shepherds and often have thicker fur as well. They also tend to be slightly larger in size, weighing up to 100 pounds.


When it comes to finding breeds similar in appearance to the German Shepherd, there are quite a few options available beyond the more commonly known Belgian Malinois or Dutch Shepherd. The King Shepherd offers a big dog option with similarities in temperament if you liked what you saw from the traditional German shepherd but wanted something larger.

If you want something gentler and more family-oriented as opposed to being bred for protection purposes specifically, consider checking out the Shiloh Shepherd instead. If you’re looking for something truly unique with wild-inspired characteristics without bringing an actual wolf into your house as a pet owner then the Saarloos Wolfdog is definitely worth considering.

All in all, each of these lesser-known breeds offer their own set of benefits and drawbacks depending on what kind of lifestyle dog owners are looking for. Whatever your choice may be, one thing is certain – These breeds offer much more than just their looks alone!


After discussing breeds that look similar to German Shepherds, it is important to note the key differences between each breed. While some may share physical characteristics, temperament and working ability can vary greatly. The Belgian Malinois may look like a German Shepherd but they are much more energetic and require a lot of training and socialization from an early age.

They are not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced dog owner. Similarly, the Dutch Shepherd is not as well-known as the German Shepherd but shares many physical traits.

However, they have been bred for different jobs and have a stronger prey drive. Lesser-known breeds such as the King Shepherd and Shiloh Shepherd take the appearance of the German Shepherd to another level with their larger size and unique breeding history.

However, these breeds also have differences in temperament that should be considered before adopting one. We have discussed the Saarloos Wolfdog which was created by crossing a German Shepherd with a Eurasian wolf.

While they look stunningly similar to both parent breeds, their wild ancestry means they require an experienced handler who can provide them with plenty of mental stimulation. While there are several breeds that share physical similarities with German Shepherds, it is important to consider each breed’s temperament and working ability before bringing one into your family or workplace.

Each breed has its own unique set of traits that make them suitable for certain jobs or lifestyles. With proper research and preparation before adopting a dog, you can find a loyal companion who will fit perfectly into your life.

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