Western Shepherd Dog (Breed)

History of the Western Shepherd Dog

In the early 2000’s Butch Cappel of Cappel Canine became increasingly concerned with problems he saw while working with some of the top German Shepherd Dog (GSD) working bloodlines. Both health and temperament were suffering. So Butch set out to find the best of the best to create a bloodline that would allow him to place dogs in homes, Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) agencies, in competition, and around the world that would be genetically, mentally, and structurally capable of protecting and loving families for years to come.

Working closely with the Dutch military and being in the protection dog world, Butch was no stranger to the Belgian Malinois that was to come on the scene. However he found that it was hard to find a steady source of top quality dogs. And often Malinois were suited for the work but not suited to be off duty and part of the family. Their energy and drive was just too high for the average family today.

Dutch Shepherd is a great dog with long legs and body, a drive to work, but also a deep desire to love and protect it’s family, yet it lacks a certain drive and intuitiveness when compared with the German Shepherd.

Is the Western Shepherd just a Malinois/GSD mix? NO, it is not!

“German Malinois” or Malinois-Shepherd mix, there are many names for out crosses of these accomplished breeds. These have their own benefits but individual crossings can be unpredictable in the individual pups, and often do not reproduce true to a standard. The goal was to breed for the best qualities in each accomplished breed, and back cross, and out cross until a foundation was laid for foundation stock that would be true to the program goals: healthy hips, size, speed, stamina, drive, intelligence, and trainability.
Along the way we removed the undercoat, which causes these dogs to battle with heat fatigue and causes their owners to battle with a LOT of shedding.

So no, it is not just another hybrid – it is a breed all its own.

Have a look at Western Shepherd Black Bart!

Western Shepherd Puppy Owner Testimony

Breed Standard (Western Shepherd)


The Western Shepherd is an intelligent, athletic, and affectionate dog with strong nerves and a high desire to please it’s people.

General Appearance

The Western Shepherd is a powerful medium to large size dog that is elongated and well muscled visibly.
Height is 24”-26” for males with a weight of 70-95lbs.
Height is 22”-24” for females with a weight of 60-80lbs
The body should be elongated with a length:height ratio of 1.1:1.


  • Head is wedge shaped, skull/muzzle 1:1
  • Nose should be black
  • Ears should be erect, equally aligned, not leaning forward
  • Tail is long and powerful, carried low with slight curl and can be carried erect

Front Legs

  • Straight and Parallel
  • Elbows not bowed
  • Paws should be symmetrical and point straight ahead


  • Square
  • Equal in length to the front
  • Paws should be symmetrical and point straight ahead


  • Texture: smooth with little to no undercoat
  • Colors: “Bart” (Bi-Color), Red Sable, Gray Sable, Fawn, Brindle, Black
  • Markings: All dogs should have dark mask, some white on the chest or toes is acceptable


  • Life expectancy of 12-14 years
  • Hips – the Achillies heel of the working dog. Great care has been put into the testing and selection of the foundation stock to produce the best hips possible.

Accomplishments of the Western Shepherd

  • Law Enforcement – Western Shepherds have been sought by and placed with agencies as patrol dogs
  • K9 Pro Sports
  • Proven real world protection dogs – see our testimonials page to read about how Western Shepherds have protected our families and saved lives
  • Dock Dogs
  • Agility
  • Obedience

Learn more about the breed at westernshepherds.com