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Difference Between GSD and Alsatian

GSD vs Alsatian

GSD and Alsatian are alternative names for the same breed of dog commonly known as the German Shepherd dog. The German Shepherd dog is also known by its native name Deutscher Schäferhund. “German Shepherd dog” is the direct translation of the German name with “German Shepherd” as a shortened version. Meanwhile, “GSD” is the abbreviated form of the breed’s official name. In many European countries, the breed was renamed as Alsatian Wolf dog, which was later shortened to Alsatian. This was done in 1917 by the U.K. Kennel Club to remove the German connection because of Germany’s unpopularity and negative image during World War I. The name “Alsatian” came from the Alsace-Lorraine area, an area in France.

The name Alsatian was used until 2010 when it was removed as part of the breed’s official name.

The German Shepherd dog is a large breed of dog that originated from Germany. Its origins can be traced back to 1899. Max von Strephabitz is considered to be the father of the German Shepherd dog. He started breeding the dog as a working dog. Today, the German Shepherd is classified as part of the Herding group whose primary function is to guard and protect sheep. In contemporary times, the German Shepherd is one of the most utilized breed of dogs. They are often used for many scent-work roles for the police and military. They are also trained to be guide and companion dogs.

As working dogs, they are the first breed to be trained as such. Many German Shepherds served during the World Wars assisting military personnel. A German Shepherd named Nemo was a dog who was actually discharged from his military role.

The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds. These dogs are also characterized as highly-active, loyal, overprotective, highly intelligent, and obedient. Their body size gives them strength and power. Due to their popularity, German Shepherds are cast as the main or secondary characters in many TV, film, and comic productions. The two most famous German Shepherd actors were Strongheart and Rin Tin Tin.

German Shepherds can live up to 13 years and produce 8 puppies. The male German Shepherd can reach the height of 24–26 inches and gain up to 60–100 lbs. On the other hand, female German Shepherds can have an average height of 22-24 inches and an average weight of 70-80 lbs.

Common colors of this dog breed include; tan and black, red and black, black and cream, black and silver, all black, and sable. Dogs with an all white, liver or blue color are disqualified in many dog shows. German Shepherd dogs can have three types of coat; short, plush, and long coat. The long coat is a rare variety among German Shepherds.


1.Both GSD and Alsatian are names for the same dog breed known as the German Shepherd dog. The breed has a few names including the German name, Deutscher Schäferhund. The English translation is “German Shepherd dog,” the abbreviation of the English name “GSD,” and the short form of the official name, German Shepherd. There are also alternative names used by many European breed clubs; the Alsatian Wolf dog or Alsatian for short.
2.The European Breed Clubs renamed the breed to disassociate the breed from its German roots. At that time, Germany was an unpopular country and had a negative image. The Alsatian name came from Alsace-Lorraine. It was officially dropped as one of the breed’s official names in 2010.
3.The German Shepherd belongs to the Herding group and is the first breed to be trained as a working dog. To this day, many German Shepherds function as part of the police and military in many operations like scent-work roles and search and rescue. The breed possesses a high level of loyalty, strength, and intelligence.
4.The German Shepherd is also one of the most popular dog breeds. It has been featured as an animal actor in many productions.

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1 Comment

  1. The GSD’s proper breed name in English includes a capitalized “D” in Dog. To write German Shepherd dog is technically incorrect. I had no idea the breed was still (wrongly) called Alsatian until 2010 in any of Europe. I thought the Verein Für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SV) stopped that practice decades ago by refusing to export dogs to or register dogs from Great Britain (at least) until the misnomer was resolved. I’m not drawing a line in the sand on that.
    A well bred GSD will not be considered overprotective but rather appropriately protective. This protection level is often manipulated by training, i.e., military, drug detection, civil (police), personal protection, sight impaired assistance dog training and other helper roles.
    Unless something has changed recently black and silver, blue, liver, (both carry a dilute gene) nor white (called a color blocking gene) are not permitted by the breed standard. The three coat lengths mentioned are notorious for starting arguments and there are a couple of others as well. There is a long coat called Standard Long Coat which has long soft outer coat and no undercoat. This is obviously not good. Generally speaking there is the stock coat the short or flat stock coat and the long stock coat each with an undercoat. The flat coat is longer than a hound coat but maybe closer to a Rottweiler with a thick coat. The stock is what we see the most of and the long stock is no really that much longer. Plush is not a preferred coat but may be allowed in the breed standards if it has an undercoat (I don’t know for sure but I think not). They are very pretty and one will find the Altdeutscher Schäferhunde to consist of many long haired dogs of various sizes which look much like a long haired GSD.

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