To the person with only a passing interest in dogs, the German Shepherd and the Alsatian are completely different breeds, despite looking very similar. They’re characterised by a domed forehead, a long square-ish muzzle and large, erect ears. They can come in lots of different colours, but the most familiar is black and tan, with a black ‘saddle’ across the back. There are other variations in colour, including all black, all white, blue, sable and liver.
According to The Kennel Club, sable and all black coats are perfectly acceptable; blue and liver are considered serious faults and all white is considered grounds for instant disqualification. This is because the white coat is much more visible if it is a guard dog, and it makes the animal harder to see if it is herding sheep or if it is snowing.
So what is the difference between the two? In fact, there’s none at all; the divergence in name came about as a result of the nationwide anti-German sentiment after World War I.
The breed is a relatively recent one, and its origins can be traced back to (more…)