What is an Alsatian?


The British know, the rest of the world gropes in the dark. What is an Alsatian?

What an exotic name, right? Do you remember how Bridger Jones told her diary she worried about dying alone and being half-eaten by Alsatians? What are those? The answer to the question what it is is actually a simple one and probably not what you’d expect. Alsatian is the British name for the dog breed that most people know under the name German Shepherd, one of the best-known dog breeds in the world. Although some people claim that these are two different breeds or similar breeds of different origin, this is incorrect, Alsatian is German Shepherd. Same thing, really.

Why is it called Alsatian?

German Shepherds have always been great work dogs, they have served in armies as well as the police. During World War 2, these dogs were used also by the British army. However, anything associated with Germany was viewed negatively and using a breed with a German name was inconvenient. To disassociate the breed with the hated country the British decided to change it’s name to Alsatian after the German-French border area of Alsace-Lorraine (an area that France gave to Germany after the Franco-German war in 1871). In fact, the full official name was Alsatian Wolf Dog.

Although the official name of the breed was changed back to German Shepherd Dog (or GSD in short) in 1977, many British still use the provisional name.


And now you know one more interesting fact about dogs! Discover more interesting info right here!