21 Types of Shepherd Dog Breeds: Which One is Right for You?

 Last Updated on July, 2024

Imagine having the perfect Shepherd dog bespoke for your need — isn’t that a great investment?

But most potential dog owners don’t know the available options. When you know all the Shepherd dog breeds, it allows you to filter out the most suitable one for your needs.

You’re in the absolutely perfect place to gain that awareness.

We aim to give you only the relevant and crucial details thathelp you decide. That’s how you end up with the perfect Shepherd dog breed.

It doesn’t matter if you know a little bit or absolutely nothing; you’ll be able to consult another person regarding Shepherd breeds at the end of this read.

So, here are 21 of the best Shepherd dog breeds you’ll find. 

Let’s get started.

Quick Summary

The 21 types of shepherd dog breeds are German Shepherd, Australian Shepherd Dog, Belgian Malinois Dog, Australian Kelpie, Belgian Shepherd Dog, Shetland Sheepdog, Australian Cattle Dog, Briard, English Shepherd, Old English Sheepdog & read more below.

The Anatolian Shepherd is the largest Shepherd dog breed, known for its independence and protective nature.

Factors to consider when choosing a Shepherd dog breed include experience level, living environment, family dynamics, compatibility with other dogs, time and attention for training, and budget.

Types of Shepherd Dog Breeds

1. German Shepherd

Who doesn’t want certified police dogs at your home?

The German Shepherd (GSD) is one of the multifunctional dog breeds in general.

You’ll see them as herding dogs, in tactical and military gear, or even adorable house pets.

You can expect the average male German Shepherd to grow as tall as 24-26 inches with a weight of about 65-90 pounds. So, it’s a relatively big dog.

The female version of the GSD is about 22-24 inches in height, and they typically weigh around 50-70 pounds.

German Shepherd sitting on the ground

Naturally, female GSDs are relatively smaller as adults. So, these dogs can grow tall and heavy. That gives them the energy to perform all types of tasks they’re being raised for, especially as K9 units.

The German Shepherd comes in 11 AKC standard colors, including black, black and tan, blue, and even white. Remember, the color of German Shepherds almost always doesn’t affect their temperament — it’s just how the humans perceive and react to those colors.

German Shepherds are very affectionate with families, especially the ones with young children. Their capability to be trained faster makes them adequate as family and herding dogs. 

GSDs are also very strong, vigilant, and highly intelligent. Their natural herding instincts are admirable; you won’t ever have to worry about your family’s protection.

The breed is recognized to be reliable and patient companion dogs too. That’s some older adults paired with attentive and patient GSDs. After all, the breed is extremely popular amongst several types of work lines.

The typical life expectancy of the German Shepherd dog breed is about 11-13 years. For all those years, their priority is their owner, the family, or the soldier they’re paired with.

See all the colors of German Shepherd dogs.

2. Australian Shepherd Dog

The American Kennel Club (AKC) defines the Australian Shepherd as smart, work-oriented, and exuberant — that’s a good summarization of the Australian Shepherd.

Recognized by the AKC in 1991, the Australian Shepherd dog breed weighs about 3-5 pounds during its first month.

After that, the male adult’s height would be about 20-23 inches, with a weight of 50-65 pounds.

The female Australian Shepherd will be about 18-21 inches in height with 40-55 pounds.

Australian Shepherd standing on the ground

The Australian Shepherd dog comes in five AKC standard colors: black, black, red, and red merle. Unlike the German Shepherd dog breed, the Aussie variety features three marking types: white markings, tan points, and white markings with tan points.

If you don’t know, the points of a dog mean their nose and paw pads.

These above-average social dogs live about 12 to 15 years.

Australian Shepherds aren’t as friendly as German Shepherds; they tend to be more independent.

But they also don’t do so well with other breeds. Combined with how big the breed is, there’s no wonder why the Australian Shepherd is recognized as an amazing herding dog.

Their high trainability and energy levels make them act better as search and rescue dogs. But you should prioritize their mental stimulation from a little age so they can harness their intelligence. 

If not, it would be such a waste not to utilize the full power of one of the most intelligent Shepherd breeds in the world.

Related article: Training an Australian Cattle Dog

3. Belgian Malinois Dog

Belgian Malinois dogs may resemble German Shepherds at first glance, but there are several significant differences.

The AKC recognized the breed in 1959. 

A Belgian Malinois puppy would be somewhere between 3-4 pounds in the first month.

As they leave puppyhood, you can expect a height of 24-26 inches with a weight of 60-80 pounds for males.

For females, the average height will be about 22-24 inches, weighing 40-60 pounds.

Belgian Malinois sitting on the ground

Their physique helps the Belgian Malinois breed to be intimidating herd dogs. Some believe they make good hunting dogs but operate better as trackers.

Out of the 12 accepted colors by the AKC, only five are standard. They are fawn, mahogany, red, red sable, and fawn sable. The Belgian Malinois has only one AKC-accepted standard marking: the black mask.

The Belgian Malinois breed’s connection with humans is not as strong as the German Shepherd. But the breed is not known to move well with other dogs.

You might need to be prepared for more grooming as the breed’s smooth coat is observed to shed relatively bit higher. 

The Belgian Malinois dogs are easy to train with high mental stimulation needs. They won’t have as much energy as the German or Aussie Shepherds, but almost. That doesn’t mean they won’t perform any less satisfactorily — family or work, they always deliver better.

Their average life expectancy is about 14-16 years.

Today the Belgian Malinois is recognized as confident, smart, and hardworking by the AKC, and they live up to that.

4. Australian Kelpie

The Australian Kelpie could be oversimplified as a mildly skinnier and compact version of a German or Australian Shepherd. 

In fact, they’re known to be great hunting and herding dogs. To intimidate animals, the dog has to be decently big. 

Delivering the size requirement, the Australian Kelpie grows up to 20 inches in height, weighing 35-50 pounds.

These numbers are common for both male and female variations of the breed.

You’ll notice that most of the Australian Kelpies are solid-colored.

Australian Kelpie standing on the ground

In fact, the AKC recognizes seven standard Australian Kelpie colors such as black, black & tan, blue, chocolate, fawn, red, and red and tan.

But the breed has no standard markings. This doesn’t mean you won’t find single-color Australian Kelpies with markings due to generic mutations.

Kelpies aren’t as friendly as the GSDs and have more shedding tendencies in comparison. Nonetheless, the AKC recommends monthly coat grooming. 

You won’t find the breed getting along with dogs and strangers. On the flip side, they make amazing watchdogs with high strength and trainability levels. These characteristics push the Australian Kelpies to be amazing guards or herding dogs.

To close things off, the Australian Kelpies are alert, loyal, and intelligent, with an average life expectancy of 12-16 years.

5. Belgian Shepherd Dog

The Belgian Shepherd is one of the best Shepherd breeds, recognized by the AKC since 1912.

All Belgian Shepherds can be defined as watchful and serious-minded.

Let’s see what’s special about them.

The male Belgian Shepherd grows up to 24-26 inches, weighing 55-75 pounds on average.

The female Belgian Shepherd will end up 22-24 inches in height, weighing 45-60 pounds on average.

Belgian Shepherd lying on the wood

Apart from their high body mass and height, the breed is known to have a higher prey instinct than herding. Balance that instinct with their agility; you get one relentless hunting dog. 

Belgian Shepherds are decently family-friendly. Their natural vigilant personality and increased reserved characteristics make them great guard dogs.

But as a matter of fact, Belgian Shepherds work better for police and military operations because that’s where they can exert their true potential.

That’s why you shouldn’t expect the friendliness of German Shepherds from Belgian Shepherds. 

The dog owner’s job is to stimulate their mind and channel their intelligence well. That helps the dog adjust to any environment during its average lifespan of 12-14 years.

The Belgian Shepherd breed comes in twelve accepted colors. But there are only two standard colors, black and black & white, in addition to the three standard markings: spotted, white markings, and black mask. 

You’re most likely to find black Belgian Shepherd dogs whose medium-length coats make them look majestic.

6. Shetland Sheepdog

Is this the same breed known as Shelties? Yes, they are.

The name’s evolution from Shetland Collie to Shetland Sheepdog was mostly due to the influence of the Rough Collie breeders.

Recognized in 1911 as a breed, the Shetland Sheepdog grows up to 13-16 inches in height while weighing 12-15 pounds as a fully grown adult.

Their coat is double and smooth, and that makes them look less intimidating.

Shetland Sheepdog sitting on the ground

Shetland Sheepdogs love spending time with young children. That’s why they make amazingly affectionate family-friendly dogs. Their need to play around only increases their suitability for houses.

Unlike the Shepherd breeds we have discussed so far, the Shetland Sheepdogs blend well with other breeds.

As long as there is a mutual need to be around others, dog lovers would love a Shetland Sheepdog at their house. They are generally healthy dogs with an average life expectancy of 12-15 years.

This doesn’t mean the breed is any less attentive or protective. They make excellent herding dogs with their agility and high barking levels with a lot of energy. 

But what if the dogs bark excessively?

For common issues like these, mental stimulation from puppyhood is necessary. You don’t have to spend thousands as DIY training programs are readily available online.

Since the Shetland Sheepdogs are very easy to train due to their high intelligence, it will be relatively easier.

7. Australian Cattle Dog

The name Australian Cattle Dog should hint to you about what they specialize in — moving cattle. But don’t worry; the breed works well with sheep too.

These are the same Shepherd dogs known as the Blue Heeler.

Originating from Australia, the AKC recognized the breed in 1980. 

The males typically stand between 18 and 20 inches, while the females stand about 17 to 19 inches. Both genders weigh around 35-50 pounds.

Australian Cattle Dog sitting on the ground

Their short yet double coat also works as a strong defensive device against varying climates.

These physical characteristics most certainly increase their agility, making Australian Cattle Dogs excellent herding dogs. Their signature physical strength further increases their suitability in the herding arena.

The Australian cattle dog comes in five standard colors such as blue, blue mottled, blue speckled, red speckled, and red mottled. There also are three standard markings: tan, red, and black & tan.

The breed is very intelligent, and that helps you train them easier. In parallel, these dogs want a designated activity, and you can channel that requirement to stimulate them mentally. The breed typically needs a lot of exercising too.

Do they make good family dogs? Yes, they do. But they don’t get along with other dog breeds; you might want to remember that. Nonetheless, the Australian Cattle Dog is very friendly and easy to move, thanks to their above-average playfulness.

The AKC determines that their life expectancy is around 12-16 years. If you train your Australian Cattle Dog right, they’ll be your loyal and intelligent companion dog.

8. Briard

Briards might remind you of the Old English Sheepdog, but they’re entirely different. But the common factor is that both dog breeds are high maintenance.

All Briard dogs are covered in double, long, and wavy coats. The signature physical characteristic is that even their faces are covered with fur.

So, be prepared to groom all that beautiful fur two to three times a week.

There are seven accepted Briard colors, of which only three are up to AKC standards. These are black, gray, and tawny. The only accepted white marking is not standard.

Briard Dog standing in the beach

Briards look adorable with all the fur, making them very friendly-looking. Thanks to their fun personality, any family with children would love Briards. They are absolute masters of adjusting the energy to suit the situation.

In their average lifespan of about 12 years, these agile and active creatures will learn faster thanks to their high intelligence. On the flip side, socializing Briards is essential to prevent them from developing aggressive behaviors.

Briards couldn’t be hunting dogs but could become peaceful herd dogs. But you should ask yourself, ‘Why should I choose a Briard when there are better herding Shepherd dogs?’.

The bottom line is that these lovely Briard dogs deserve to be in your family. You are responsible for shaping them mentally and physically to utilize their strengths as responsible dog parents.

9. English Shepherd

Although the AKC doesn’t recognize the English Shepherd dog breed, The United Kennel Club (UKC) has been registering English Shepherds since 1927.

After all, they are purebred herding dogs.

Adult English Shepherds typically stand at 18-23 inches. Their males typically weigh between 45-60 pounds, and the females are about 40-50 pounds. 

Remember that the AKC doesn’t recognize English Shepherds. So, there are no acceptable or standard colors. But they come in black, tan, white, brown, sable, brindle, and even tri-colored.

English Shepherd lying on the floor

Does their herding instinct stop the English Shepherd from becoming a family companion? Absolutely not. The breed is happy to be the center of attention while playing with children. 

However, it’s essential to train them from puppyhood. But why is it so necessary for English Shepherds?

They usually have a bossy mindset and might be disobedient if not mentally stimulated. 

After all, they crave a lot of movement and social interactions, which should be given to them. Remember to get them one of the GPS location trackers just in case they run away.

You can easily track their location through your mobile, and that’s how to monitor your domesticated English Shepherd.

One last thing — English Shepherds are known to develop separation anxiety. That makes the breed unsuitable for parents who can’t spend time with them.

10. Old English Sheepdog

You’d be surprised to hear that Old English Sheepdogs apparently herded cattle back in the past in Southwestern England. Nonetheless, the breed is not a domesticated pet.

If you remember, this is the famous Dulux dog breed.

The breed established a long-lasting personal connection with the world with just how adorable the dog looked.

But do they just look adorable outside? No, they are adorable by personality type itself.

That makes the Old English Sheepdogs compatible with young children more than you’d expect.

Old English Sheepdog lying on the floor

You’d be happy to hear that they live happily in apartments too.

The AKC accepts 14 Old English Sheepdog colors, and only five of them are standardized: blue & white, blue-gray & white, blue merle & white, grey & white, and grizzle and white.

Male Old English Sheepdogs stand at 22-24 inches, and the females stand at 20-22 inches. Both genders of Old English Sheepdogs weigh between 60-100 pounds on average.

The breed sheds moderately, but the breed could be defined as high maintenance, given how much coat grooming is needed.

You might even have to visit a professional groomer from time to time. After all, the Old English Sheepdogs used to be a show breed for wealthy families.

Their life expectancy is about 10-12 years. During their life span, the Old English Sheepdog will be the ideal family dog as long as you ensure ideal mental stimulation and proper maintenance.

One shared similarity between the English Shepherd and the Old English Sheepdog is separation anxiety — this isn’t the ideal breed for you if you’re not planning to spend time with the dog.

11. Spanish Water Dog

Spanish Water Dog can be introduced as a well-balanced Shepherd dog breed. They’re very playful but also work oriented. 

They have a signature coat pattern with wooly hair, which is not a characteristic of any other Shepherd dog.

But remember, the more complex or longer the hair gets, the more difficult it is to maintain that.

Remember not to brush or comb your Spanish Water Dog, which causes pain. The ideal solution is bathing.

Spanish Water Dog sitting on the chair

The Spanish Water Dog is an AKC-recognized breed. The male adult will stand at the height of 17.5-19.75 inches and the female at about 15.75-18 inches on average. The males weigh around 40-49 pounds, whereas females would weigh about 31-40 pounds.

As mentioned, the breed is both playful and work oriented. The Spanish Water Dog make an amazing dog breed when you combine that playfulness with their natural compatibility with young children. 

The breed’s original purpose was to watch over their flock, being herding dogs. But they just might be amazing chasers in the hunting settings. They function moderately well with other herding breeds too.

The AKC accepts 14 Spanish Water Dog colors, some of which also define the nose’s color. But there’s one accepted non-standard marking: tan points.

12. Great Pyrenees

Smart. Patient. Calm.

Those are the three best words to define the Great Pyrenees.

At a glance, the Great Pyrenees would remind you of a whitish Labrador. But pay attention to their ears; unlike Labs, the Great Pyrenees don’t have those long-hanging ears.

Male Great Pyrenees stands at 27-32 inches and weighs 100-110 pounds. But the females weigh 85-100 pounds and are 25-29 inches tall.

Great Pyrenees lying on the ground

The breed is an all-rounder as they fit both in work and family settings. The Great Pyrenees knows how to adjust their calmness in the family setting. But they’re not good with children compared to breeds like the Old English Sheepdog.

On the flip side, even the most basic Great Pyrenees will make excellent vigilant guardians and mellow companions. Their majestic looks and Zen-like calmness shouldn’t fool you.

The great Pyrenees will spring into action in the face of a threat in both family and working settings.

That’s why the Great Pyrenees are identified as reliable hunting and herdings dogs. But you won’t be able to train a Great Pyrenees without professional help. Remember that these are active dogs who bark often. So, a new dog parent might struggle even more.

So, remember what you’re signing up for.

White is the only standard and accepted color for the Great Pyrenees, although there are four standard markings: tan, gray, badger, and reddish brown.

13. Bouvier des Flandres

The name Bouvier des Flandres doesn’t sound American or English, doesn’t it? That’s because the breed has French origins. Their name means “cow herder from Flanders.”

The male Bouviers stand at 24.5-27.5 inches, while the breed’s females are as tall as 23.5-26.5 inches. Their weight changes between 70-110 pounds. 

Out of 16 accepted coat colors, only six are standard colors: black, brindle, fawn, gray, gray brindle, pepper & salt, and silver & gray.

Bouvier des Flandres standing on the ground

There are three accepted non-standard markings: white markings, brindle markings, and black masks.

Similar to the Spanish Water Dog we discussed earlier, the Bouviers, too, have a unique rough coat of medium length. The undercoat is very thick too.

You can brush their fur, but be sure to use a comb or brush with wide teeth. Regular bathing is necessary to maintain that elegant coat.

The typical Bouvier is a better herding dog, although they could be a hunting companion too. 

But would you be surprised to hear that the Bouviers served in both world wars as messenger dogs? That’s why they suit the hunting setting to chase.

The breed doesn’t bark excessively but has a reactive personality. That pushes their instincts to bark at joggers. That raises the training requirement for mental stimulation.

After all, the breed itself isn’t such a constable with strangers; that’s why they need your help you socialize more.

They can be easier than the Great Pyrenees but not as easy as German Shepherds.

14. Icelandic Sheepdog

Here’s a fun fact to start with: the Icelandic Sheepdog is Iceland’s only native dog. 

The Icelandic Sheepdog is one of the few breeds classified as spitzes. This refers to the “spitziness” expressed by a foxy face, pointy ears, dense coat, and curling tail. 

That’s not the only signature appearance characteristic of the dog. It’s that wide smile: a friendly, happy face looking as if they’re glad to see you.

That’s one of the main reasons for the family friendliness of the Icelandic Sheepdog.

Icelandic Sheepdog sitting on the ground

The Icelandic Sheepdog males aren’t tall at about 18 inches, while females are about 16.5 inches. Adult males weigh about 30 pounds, while females weigh about 25 pounds.

Another admirable behavioral characteristic of the Icelandic Sheepdog is how well they get along with other dogs. That alone should verify how friendly they are with families, even the ones with young children. 

In the domesticated background, the breed has a lower prey instinct. But they make excellent herding dogs with high intelligence and faster reflexes. You wouldn’t want to push your Icelandic Sheepdog to be a hunting dog, as they’re not so good at it.

For all environments, the breed must be trained. But be sure to stick to a reward-based training mechanism, as that’s the most effective way.

You’d like to hear that the Icelandic Sheepdog comes in 20 accepted colors, ten of which are standard. Some standard colors are black & white, fawn, red, and gray & white.

15. White Swiss Shepherd Dog

The White Swiss Shepherd Dog is similar to the conventional GSD, but they’re different.

In fact, the origin of the White Swiss Shepherd Dog goes to… you guessed it right, Switzerland.

Remember that the White Swiss Shepherd Dog is not a white or albino GSD, and it’s easy to note their dark eye rims and noses. 

The breed is also recognized by both the United Kingdom and American Kennel Clubs.

White Swiss Shepherd Dog sitting on the ground

Even with that recognition, the White Swiss Shepherd Dog is hard to find in the United States. They’re usually found in European countries, Canada, and Switzerland mostly.

It’s safe to say the White Swiss Shepherd Dog is an all-rounder Shepherd breed. The first reason is their herding capacity. These strong and agile dogs are more than capable of handling cattle and sheep.

The breed is very friendly and easy to bond with. Their loyalty is all you need as a guardian dog. But White Swiss Shepherd Dog is one of those Shepherds that require a decent amount of mental stimulation.

When done with reward-based strategies, it’ll be easier to control these fierce pets.

When it comes to height and weight, an adult male White Swiss Shepherd Dog would be about 20-25 inches weighing from 55-77 pounds. The females would grow as tall as 20-23 inches with a weight of 66-88 pounds.

Although the coat length may change to medium or long, the breed comes in one color: white.

16. Beauceron

Beaucerons look a bit closer to the black and tan German Shepherd. 

But the shape of their faces and ears helps you distinguish the two breeds because the Beaucerons have a distinctive well-chiseled long head, accompanied by dark brown eyes almost always.

Standing as high as 27.5 for males and 26.5 inches for females, the Beauceron has an ideal weight-to-height balance with an average weight range of 70-110 pounds.

It’s important to know that Beaucerons aren’t for everyone.

Beauceron standing on the ground

Training Beaucerons on your own will be borderline impossible if you’re a novice dog parent. They’re really dominant dogs, and you don’t want forceful training methods on them too.

The secret to successfully domesticating Beaucerons is using reward-based training delivered by a seasoned trainer. Eventually, your Beauceron will be able to bond with everyone and fill that gap of a vibrant and playful dog.

What about their work and capacity?

Beaucerons make faithful and attentive guardian dogs. Their ability to coordinate strength and agility makes them protective herding dogs too. But the only challenge is to get them to be obedient.

There are only four AKC standard colors: black & rust, black & tan, harlequin, gray black & tan, and no accepted markings.

As a fun fact, the breed was named after the Beauceron region in France.

17. Puli

The Puli (pronounced “Poo-lee”) breed’s origin country is Hungary. But they were imported to America in 1935 by the US government of agriculture to work as herding dogs.

So, don’t let their funky dreadlocks coat fool you — Puli dogs are very intelligent, loyal, and, most importantly, loving home-friendly dogs.

Yes! Throughout history, most Americans figured out why can’t these fluffy dogs be adorable family dogs.

In fact, down the ancestry lane, the breed has been converted to be quite the family dog.

Puli dog standing on the ground

But remember that their genetics sometimes forces the breed to be a teeny bit aggressive. That’s why the breed isn’t recommendable as much as German Shepherds or Old English Sheepdogs. 

The biggest responsibility of a Puli dog parent is grooming. They have double-corded long coats that aren’t the easiest to maintain. Don’t feel bad about letting a professional groomer help you take care of your Puli dog.

Out of the seven accepted colors, only black, silver, and white are considered to be standard colors by the AKC. Additionally, the breed features white markings, black markings, and black masks as accepted markings.

Don’t underestimate how fast these little dynamos can learn. One pro training tip is to minimize repetition, as they don’t usually care for that. In addition, socialization from puppyhood makes you the best adult Puli dog.

18. Rough Collie

The first thing you note on Rough Collies is that lavish rough-textured coat. Their relatively smaller faces will be covered by that majestic fur, almost resembling a lion’s mane.

During their originative years in the 1800s, the breed has been a well-trusted herding dog in Scotland and Wales.

But down the lane, Rough Collies have been ideally domesticated, making them one of the most devoted family pets.

After all, AKC defines the Rough Collie breed in three words: devoted, proud, and graceful.

Rough Collie standing on the ground

You can get Rough Collies in ten accepted and standard colors, including black, white & tan, sable, and even white. AKC also accepted four standard markings, including sable and black & tan. 

This impressive color range on a long and smooth coated Rough Collie brings renaissance visual aesthetics to your life.

Male Rough Collies are about 24-26 inches in height, whereas the females are about 22-24 inches. Their weight fluctuates between 50-75 pounds. The relative lightness of weight compliments the Rough Collies’ height increasing their agility.

That’s one of the main reasons they belong to the dependable herding dog category.

Herding Rough Collies is very different from family pets. The family pets are quite good, with little children with their playful personalities. One key characteristic of the breed is relatively higher barking habits.

But remember that their coats can be rougher than most Shepherd breeds. So, be prepared to allocate time and energy to your Rough Collie.

19. Border Collie

Border Collies are one of the most popular dog breeds in general. They are considered to be very intelligent working dogs. 

As a pet parent, it’s much easier to train them because of that. In fact, the breed is known to respond to several verbal commands, which makes Border Collies excellent herding dogs.

The breed’s male species stand at about 19-22 inches; females 18-21 inches. The average weight range of 30-55 pounds compliments their high energy levels. That’s why they thrive with space and a lot of exercise.

Border Collie sitting on the wood

That’s why the requirement for mental stimulation is an important aspect of Border Collies. In fact, spending time with them should entertain another dire craving of the breed: love and attention.

Border Collies are ideal family pets that are moderately good with young children, and their inner watchdog is always active no matter how playful they are.

But don’t be surprised if they mingle better with your holiday guests as they’re not so opposed to strangers with friendly energy.

There are 21 Border Collie colors, and 17 are standard colors, including black, blue, gold, and even black & white. White and Merle markings and tan points include in the list of 8 standard markings. 

The color diversity gives you several options that suit your personal preference.

Finally, you can expect a lifespan of about 10-17 years of this breed.

Related article: Potty Training a Border Collie Puppy

20. Finnish Lapphund

Lapinkoira is another name for this mane-full majestic creature that originated from Finland.

AKC defines the Finnish Lapphund to be vigilant, agile, and friendly.

These personality characteristics prove the capability of Finnish Lapphunds to be all-rounder Shepherd dogs.

You might be reminded of a miniature German Shepherd with a long-haired coat when you see a Finnish Lapphund.

But they don’t grow as tall as GSD.

In fact, the typical maximum male height of Finnish Lapphunds is 21 inches, and 19 inches for females.

Finnish Lapphund sitting on the ground

According to the American Kennel Club, the corresponding weight is about 33-53 pounds.

Finnish Lapphunds are known to be amazing family-friendly dogs that will love your kids. The breed is known to be very loud by default, bringing up the requirement of mind training from puppyhood.

Most pet parents don’t consider the Finnish Lapphund to be a guard dog. One main reason is the breed’s above-average openness to strangers. 

Nonetheless, the Finnish Lapphund dogs make excellent herding and hunting dogs if that’s the requirement. Back in the time, the breed accompanied hunters hunting reindeer.

There are nine accepted colors with six standard colors, including black, brown, and cream. Out of the nine accepted markings, only six are considered standard.

With a life expectancy of 12-15 years, the Finnish Lapphund can easily be a house, hunting, or versatile farm dog with amazing herding instincts.

21. Berger Picard

The Berger Picard is of French origin, and they were imported to America only in the early 2000s.

Even if AKC registered the breed only in 2015, the Berger Picard is one of those mesmerizing and energetic dogs that should have been in AKC shows for a long time.

Ber-zhey pi-car is the correct way to pronounce the name. 

Berger Picards comes only in two standard colors: brindle and fawn.

Berger Picard sitting on the ground

Brindle and white markings are the only standard markings accepted by the AKC. The presence of brindle marking and colors is why you won’t find two Berger Picards with the same colors.

These loyal dogs have been attentive and observant since their brave beginnings in the Middle Ages. In parallel, the breed is recognized to be agile and independent. The average Picard is a relaible herding dog.

How well do they perform as family-friendly dogs? Pretty amazing!

Having a Berger Picard play around with your little children would fulfill the exercise requirement of both the dog and the children. The breed craves a lot of activity, bringing up the requirement of moderation — Berger Picards require a decent amount of mind training.

AKC recommends the breed for athletic owners. That’s mostly because of how fun-loving and active the breed is. 

In addition, Berger Picards work well with other breeds. Because of that, you don’t have to worry about those self-soothing daily pack walks.

Characteristics of Shepherd Dogs

German Shepherd dog running on the ground

We have to be honest here — summarizing all types of Shepherd dogs isn’t that easy. But some of the shared characteristics are seen in almost all of them.

The first characteristic is that their coat colors typically tend to be darker. You’d notice how black, liver, and even blue are repeating colors on this list. Darker-colored coats don’t require that much cleaning. That saves you time and money in the long run.

The typical height of a male Shepherd dog will fluctuate between 20-25 inches and between 15-20 inches of the females. That should draw a clear picture of the size difference between Shepherds. That’s the second characteristic.

Shepherds typically have medium to long coats, and that’s the third characteristic. Except for special cases, their shedding is relatively low. That decreases the grooming frequency requirement.

After all, Shepherds are big dogs, and combing them takes considerable time and effort.

The ability of most Shepherd dogs to be excellent herding breeds is the fourth characteristic. As you read down the passage, it’ll be clear that most types of Shepherd dogs are better at herding than hunting.

Not only that, some Shepherds are in the military service too. This fourth characteristic has a direct relationship with the fourth.

The fifth characteristic is the higher level of intelligence of almost all types of Shepherd dogs. Their intellectual capacity is regardless of whether they are turbulent or calm.

There are several advantages of raising an intelligent dog. But one of the most prominent characteristics is the next.

Almost all types of Shepherd dogs are easy to train. The high trainability of Shepherd breeds is one reason why most of them are included in the subset of herding breeds.

A highly trained Shepherd dog is an investment that helps you in multiple ways — that’s the sixth characteristic.

There are several other common characteristics, but these are the most prominent ones.

If you noticed, the list didn’t point out the largest Shepherd dog. Was it a mistake? Absolutely not. Next, let’s look at the largest Shepherd dog.

The Largest Shepherd Dog

The Anatolian Shepherd dog goes down as the largest Shepherd dog breed.

You’d be surprised to hear that they could weigh up to about 150 pounds standing at almost 30 inches of height.

So, the breed has claimed the status for very good reasons.

You can’t expect the typically tamed and obedient German Shepherd from them; they’re very independent naturally.

That’s why converting them into obedient dogs is challenging.

Anatolian Shepherd lying on the ground

You should think twice about getting an Anatolian Shepherd if it’s your first dog.

Regardless of their preference to be independent, any adult Anatolian Shepherd would be extremely protective of the family they live with. They’re very possessive and not so friendly with strangers too.

But don’t worry; the breed isn’t defined to be dangerous.

The Anatolian Shepherd comes in 8 standard colors: fawn, liver, white, and brindle. With six standard markings that include black and brown masks, you can be assured of owning a majestically attractive avenger of a dog.

These territorial dogs work amazingly for guarding and hunting work. Since the Bronze age back 6000 years ago, the Anatolian has been destined to be devoted to the perfect herding dog.

It is crucial to train your Anatolian Shepherd in the best way possible. You’ll be truly glad about your investment as you are rewarded by harnessing the full potential of a fierce Shepherd breed like them.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Shepherd Dog Breeds

Shepherd dogs sitting on the ground

The first factor to consider is whether you’re an experienced or first-time dog parent. Breeds like the German Shepherd and Border Collie might be easy to control, but imagine getting an Anatolian as novice dog owners.

You don’t want to make your life harder that way — always remember what you can handle, even as experienced dog owners.

You should remember to evaluate the compatibility of the living environment with the dog breed. Most Shepherd dogs aren’t really indoor dogs; they want to run around and feel that breeze on their face.

For example, a Belgian Shepherd won’t live a happy life in an apartment. That’s the second factor.

What sort of family do you have? Because that’s the third factor. The nature of the family in the context depends on whether or not you have children.

All dogs need ideal physical and mental stimulation from puppyhood. But not all Shepherd dogs genetically move well with children. This factor should have been clear as you read through.

The fourth factor is the presence or absence of other dog breeds. Some dog owners like having pets of different breeds, which sounds fun. The problem is that some Shepherd dogs might not feel the same. 

You must consider how much time and attention you can give your Shepherd dogs — that’s the fifth factor. Some Shepherd dogs may even develop separation anxiety if not for that.

While there are some other minor factors, these are the most important factors to consider.

The last factor is your budget. Remember that Shepherd dogs are an investment, not a one-time purchase. So, you need to consider whether you’ll be able to afford their physical maintenance, food, and training.

Are Shepherds Good Family Dogs?

Shepherd dog lying on the ground with a kid

Almost all Shepherd dogs make amazing family dogs. Even Anatolian Shepherds are suited to family environments with the proper training and enough affection. These breeds are typically very protective and loyal, increasing your safety. 

Getting in a Shepherd dog of any type is a wise investment.

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In Conclusion

iPetGuides want our readers to have perfect solutions every time. Even if you came with a Shepherd dog on your mind, maybe you found a different Shepherd breed or got your choice confirmed.

Shepherds are gifts of the universe, and getting one will beautify your life. This reading should have perfectly resolved your problem of making a breed choice. Eventually, you get the Shepherd that’s perfect for you.

That fulfills our purpose.


Yes, getting a Shepherd Dog is definitely worth it. They are intelligent, loyal, and protective, and come in various sizes and coat types.

The smallest Shepherd dog breed is the Miniature American Shepherd.

The Australian Shepherd and the Border Collie are both considered to be excellent herding breeds, making them tied for the best herding dog.

The Australian Shepherd is considered to be the best Shepherd dog breed.

Yes, Shepherd Dogs make excellent herding dogs as they are bred specifically for the purpose and perform the task exceptionally well.

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Laura Vinzy
Laura Vinzy is one of our contributors. She is also a certified professional dog trainer & currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and her two rescue dogs.

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