Alsatian and German Shepherd Dogs – The Differences and Distinguishing Features

Alsatian and German Shepherd Dogs - The Differences and Distinguishing Features

Alsatian and German Shepherd Dogs are two popular breeds that have a lot of similarities but also some differences. In this article, we will explore the differences and distinguishing features between the two breeds.

Physical Appearance

The first noticeable difference between the Alsatian and German Shepherd is their physical appearance. Alsatians have a slightly larger head and a straighter back compared to German Shepherds. German Shepherds have a sloping back, which gives them a more athletic look. Additionally, Alsatians have a bushy tail, while German Shepherds have a long, straight tail.

Coat and Color

Another difference between the two breeds is their coat and color. Alsatians have a thicker coat compared to German Shepherds, which makes them more suitable for colder climates. The Alsatian’s coat is also fluffier and longer than the German Shepherd’s. German Shepherds have a more dense and coarse coat. In terms of color, Alsatians have a wider range of colors, including black, gray, and sable. German Shepherds, on the other hand, are usually tan or black.


Both Alsatians and German Shepherds are intelligent and loyal dogs. However, Alsatians are more reserved and protective of their families, while German Shepherds are more outgoing and sociable. Alsatians can be wary of strangers and may take longer to warm up to new people. German Shepherds, on the other hand, are more friendly and may approach strangers with more confidence.

Training and Exercise

Both breeds require regular exercise and training to keep them healthy and happy. Alsatians can be more challenging to train, as they are naturally more independent and stubborn. German Shepherds, on the other hand, are easier to train and are often used as police or military dogs. Both breeds require plenty of exercise, and they thrive in environments where they have ample space to run and play.


Finally, it’s worth noting that both breeds are prone to certain health issues. Alsatians are more susceptible to hip dysplasia, which is a common condition that affects the joints. German Shepherds are also prone to hip dysplasia, as well as other conditions such as bloat and degenerative myelopathy. Regular visits to the vet and proper care can help minimize the risks of these health issues.


In summary, while Alsatians and German Shepherds share some similarities, they have some significant differences as well. Their physical appearance, coat and color, temperament, training and exercise needs, and health issues are all factors to consider when choosing between the two breeds. Ultimately, the choice between Alsatian and German Shepherd will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

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Jackie Brown

About the Author: Jackie Brown

Writer, editor, and pet expert Jackie Brown has spent more than 25 years following her passion for animals. She is a regular contributor to numerous pet and veterinary industry books, magazines and websites.Jackie has an extensive background in dogs and cats, particularly in purebred dogs and pedigreed cats, and is passionate about all pet topics, including veterinary and health topics, general care, nutrition, grooming, behavior, training, rescue and animal welfare, lifestyle, breeding and showing (cats as well as dogs), dog sports and activities, and the human-animal bond.