What Is an Alsatian Wolf Dog?


Quick Answer

The Alsatian wolf dog is another name for the German shepherd. This name was commonly used in Great Britain during World War I because it was considered taboo to mention anything German and breeders were concerned that the name would affect the popularity of the breed. "Alsatian" refers to the region of Alsace-Lorraine, an area on the border of France and Germany.

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Full Answer

The U.K. Kennel Club initially renamed the breed as the Alsatian wolf dog. However, breeders became apprehensive that being known as a wolf-dog hybrid would lead to public perception of the dogs as being unsafe or illegal. As a result, the breed was rechristened as just Alsatian.

German shepherds were known as Alsatians for 50 years until 1977, when the name German shepherd was once again adopted. The term "Alsatian" remained as a parenthetical addition to the official breed name until 2010.

In America, the German shepherd was renamed as the shepherd dog during the period after World War I.

The original name of the German shepherd came from a direct translation from "Deutscher Schäferhund," the original German name for the breed. The label "German shepherd" had previously been applied to dogs of all breeds who served as herding dogs, but with the establishment of the official breed, these other dogs were called old German shepherd dogs.

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