Difference Between Alsatian and German Shepherd (With Table)

Dogs are the most loyal animal. There are different breeds of dog. Each breed of dog has different specialization. Also, sometimes same dogs are known with different names. German Shepherd is a breed of dog also known as Alsatian in some places. This confusion arose during the time of first world war. There is very minimal difference between both and even the body structure of both are similar. Basically they differ in size and the location where they are found. Further is the detailed differentiation between both the breeds.

Alsatian vs German Shepherd

The main difference between Alsatian and German Shepherd is the name by which they are called. In Germany these dog are called German Shepherd. While in Alsace region it is called Alsatian.

Alsatian is a military dog that got its name during world war 1, when Britishers refused to use the term German Shepherd. They are large dogs that are available in colors like black and brown. They are outdoor dogs. Their behavior depends on the way they are trained. They have double coated fur that protects them against cold. They are guard dogs by nature. They need high training to be used as military dogs. Also, Alsatians are good pet. They are known for their fearlessness and the ability to learn and adapt things.

German Shepherd is a police dog used in cases like bomb detection, sniffing job, etc. They are an excellent pet and are very loyal. They are playful in nature and loves playing. They requires proper grooming and care. Common nicknames of German Shepherd are GSD, DSH, etc. There are five different types of German Shepherd. Each of them has a unique feature. The colour of their fur also varies. Some German Shepherd are named after the colour of their coats.

Comparison Table Between Alsatian and German Shepherd

Parameters of Comparison AlsatianGerman Shepherd
OriginAlsace regionGermany
Coined in1914-19181800s
Name used byFrench peopleGerman people
CharacteristicsMilitary dogs used at borders of FrancePolice dogs, loyal pets and playful
SizeLargeMedium to large

What is Alsatian?

Alsatian term was framed by the Britishers during the time of world war. Britishers considered German Shepherd as am important part during the war. As they are loyal and are guarding dogs. But they were not in favour to use any phrase related to Germans. So they came up with the new name that is Alsatian for the same dog. They are also known as war dogs.

The term Alsatian is used by people of Alsace region. Alsatian are military dogs. They are very loyal and fearless. They are amazing guard dogs and are used for bomb detection and other police cases. They are found in various regions around the globe. They have different names in different regions. Alsatian are common in black and brown colour. The rarest colour of Alsatian is Isabella. After the war was over Alsatian got its original name back i.e German Shepherd.

Alsatian got back its original name that is German Shepherd in 1977. After the war came to an end the France people decided to give change the name back to original. These dogs needs proper grooming and care. Alsatian are generally large in size. Even as a pet they are very loyal and their behavior depends on type of training provided.

What is German Shepherd?

German Shepherd is a breed of dog. As the name suggests origin of this dog is of Germany. Life span of German Shepherd is 9 to 13 years. An average male German Shepherd weighs 30 to 40 kg and average female German Shepherd weighs 22 to 32 kg. They are available in different colors like Black, grey, brown and mixture of black and silver. Common nicknames of German Shepherd are DSH, GSD, etc. Body structure of these dogs are more elongated with a large head.

German Shepherd are known for its intelligence, protective nature, confidence and loyalty. They are also very stubborn. They are well known as Guard dogs. The way of training is very important and behavior of dog depends on training only. If trained properly they are amazing pet dogs as well. German Shepherd has double coated fur that enables them to tolerate cold and live in temperature upto -1°C.

German Shepherd are outdoor dogs and they are very playful. Being a natural guard dog they are often used in police. They are used for purpose like tracking, bomb detecting, sniffing work etc. There are different types of German Shepherd like Saddle coat, Black German Shepherd, Panda German Shepherd, Sable German Shepherd and White German Shepherd. White German Shepherd is fearless and are very self-confident. As the name suggest Panda German shepherd are of black and white colour.

Main Differences Between Alsatian and German Shepherd

  1. Origin of Alsatian is from Alsace region. While German Shepherd has a German origin.
  2. The term “Alsatian” was coined in 1914-1917 during the first world war, when Britishers refused to use the word German. While the term German Shepherd was coined in 1800s.
  3. The word Alsatian was used by people of France, especially in Alsace-Lorraine region. While the word German Shepherd is used by most of the people, especially Germans.
  4. Alsatian is a military dog and even it got its name during war. While German Shepherd is used by police for bomb detection etc.
  5. Alsatian are generally large in size. While size of German Shepherd vary from medium to large.


The conclusion can be drawn that Alsatian and German Shepherd are almost the same dog And only difference they have is their different names. Alsatian term is used in Alsace region. While most of the people around globe uses the term German Shepherd. The only difference is between their names. They are military dogs. They are trained very well to serve the purpose of detecting bombs etc. They are also very playful dogs and people love to keep them as pet. They are outdoor dogs and requires proper and regular exercise. They are found around the world but are known with different names like Alsatian and German Shepherd.


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1439-0264.1999.00202.x
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1740-8261.2001.tb00960.x