The German shepherd and the Alsatian dog aren't different breeds. Although German shepherd is the formal name for dogs registered with the American Kennel Club or Britain's Kennel Club, residents of the British Isles and European countries often refer to these dogs as Alsatians. That's because the breed was common in France's Alsace region, during a time when the area was part of Germany.
German shepherds were first developed in Germany in the late 1800s. By the early 20th century, the dogs were imported to America and were well-known elsewhere in Europe. Two world wars pitting the United Kingdom against Germany gave the name "German" a bad connotation in Britain, so people of those generations usually referred to the breed as Alsatians. One common misconception is that long-haired members of the breed are German shepherds, while the short-coated variety are Alsatians. Both types are registered as German shepherds.
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