Difference Between GSD and Alsatian

Dogs are considered as the descendent of the wolf. They are often distinguished by a wolf from its tail. The dog is the domesticated variant of a wolf. The origin of Dogs is believed from the extinct wolf only. Modern Grey Wolf in the modern world is considered as the living descendant of the dogs.

Human beings domesticated the dogs first. They are the first species to be used by the hunter-gatherers some 15,000 years ago for agriculture. Because of their association with humans, dogs have been able to thrive as domestic individuals. There are two types of dog breed called GSD i.e. German shepherd dog and Alsatian dog.

 GSD vs Alsatian 

The main difference between GSD and Alsatian is that they are called by different names in different countries. Before the world wars, they were called GSD i.,e. German shepherd dogs, and after the world war ended, they were called Alsatian Dog. The term Alsatian is given by the Britishers. The term German shepherd dog is given by German herdsman von Stephanitz who gave it in german. When it was translated, it became GSD. They are called by different names by two ethnic groups. The name was also pronounced differently due to the region in which they were found.

GSD vs Alsatian

GSD are Old German Shepeherding dogs. They are called the traditional dogs of Germany used for herding purposes. German herdsmen only have given GSD its name. It is also called a landrace that has often developed itself based upon its surroundings. It consists of working strains of another dog. Modern GSD is the type that has evolved from the Old German shepherd Dogs. Now they have developed into a standardised breed. Earlier, GSD was used for protecting sheep and herding them from wild animals.

Alsatians are considered the most intelligent dogs. They are bred specifically for this purpose. They are often used in the military as watchdogs. Because they are likely to bark. If another breed is mixed with Alsatian, then it is considered the second most dangerous on earth. These characteristics make them more desirable for guard, search, police dogs. Alsatians are capable of learning new things very quickly for different kinds of tasks. They can also interpret the instruction better than the other breed.

Comparison Table Between GSD and Alsatian

Parameters of ComparisonGSDAlsatian
OriginGermanyAlsace-Lorraine region
WarBefore the world war called GSD.After world war called as alsatian
VariantsCow-dogs, sheep-dogs, South-german Type, East or central German type, reddish sheep-dogs, etc.King shepherd, white shepherd, Shiloh Shepherd, White swiss shepherd dog, etc.
ColourYellow, Black, White Reddish, etc. Black, Tan, silver, red-black, etc.
PurposeUsed as herding and protecting cattle.Used as guard dogs for patrolling, tracking criminals, etc.

What is GSD?

GSD are a very old breed found in Germany. Before the 1890s, they were used only to protect and herd sheep from wild animals. GSD was bred individually so that it could work more efficiently. No efforts were made to make the breed of GSD standardised or to enhance the creation of its breed. Finally, in the year 1899, a special and new formal breed was established named Society for the German Shepherd Dog. Working Shepherd dogs were selected for this purpose. They were trained, and then it became the modern GSD, aka German Shepherd Dog.

Many German herdsmen continued to work their shepherding Dogs like earlier time. They didn’t give them cross-breeding so that it could give them better results. So they were called Old Shepherding Dogs. There were different variants of GSD. For example, since the creation of the Society for GSD, the long hair variants of GSD were not accepted. It was only in the year 2009 that rule changed. Modern GSD is very different from the old German shepherding Dogs of the 19th and 20th centuries.

GSD has some standards like they should have the capability to herd cattle and sheep. But no standards for their physical appearance were mentioned. It was also forbidden to crossbreed GSD with another breed of dogs. GSD has been classified into various subgroups according to its region, by its coat types and other features.

What is Alsatian?

Alsatian Dogs sizes range from medium to large size. The height of the alsatian breed ranges from 60-65 cm in males. Alsatian dogs are not tall, but they are longer in size. Alsatian raises their head when they are excited, and their neck and head are lowered when they are walking at a fast pace or stalking something. Alsatians have a double-layered coat. They come in two kinds, medium and long. Alsatians are considered very active dogs in the modern world. They are a very fast learner and always curious to know about. So they are considered excellent for guard purposes.

Sometimes they can become very protective about their family and their region. If they are not trained and socialized properly, then they can become a nuisance. Alsatians are very obedient to their owners. Like a normal dog, it cannot become friends with a stranger. It takes some time. The main purpose of alsatian Dogs is that they are used to track criminals, for patrolling, detecting and holding suspects. In the second world war, they were also used as messenger dogs and rescue dogs.

After the end of the second world war, when the UK kernel opened registration for alsatian, the number increased from 56 to 8000. It has become one of the popular dogs around the world. After the world war, due to conflict with Germans, the population of alsatian decreased. But after that, its population increased. According to a survey, it is the second most popular breed.

Main Differences Between GSD and Alsatian

  1. GSD has an origin from Germany, as the name indicates. The alsatian name was given by Britishers as they were found in the Alsace-Lorraine region.
  2. Before the world war, they were referred to as GSD i.e. German shepherd. After the end of the world war due to conflict between Germany and the rest of the world, its name wa changed to Alsatian.
  3. Variants of GSD include Cow-dogs, sheep-dogs, South-german Type, East or central German type, reddish sheep-dogs etc. Variants of Alsatian include King shepherd, white shepherd, Shiloh Shepherd, White swiss shepherd dog etc.
  4. Colours of GSD include Yellow, Black, White, Reddish etc. Colours of Alsatian include Black, Tan, silver, red-black etc.
  5. The purpose of GSD was to herd and protect the cattle from the attack of wild animals. The purpose of Alsatian was as guard dogs for patrolling, tracking criminals, detecting etc.


Both GSD and Alsatian are the same dog of the same breed. There is confusion among the people about the difference between the two. But there is no such difference. The difference is in their names given by different countries and the period. GSD was given by German herdsmen hence the name German Shepherd.

Earlier it was used as a herding dog. But since the beginning of world war, when the society for GSD was opened, it was seen that GSD is capable of much more than that. It can be said that the Old german shepherding dogs are very much different from the modern ones. Alsatian was used for them from 1945 till the year 1977. But the name was dropped, and it was again referred to as GSD.


  1. https://www.duhoctrungquoc.vn/wiki/en/German_Shepherd
  2. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19910191705
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