Like all other dog breeds, the German Shepherd comes in many different colors and coat varieties. However, when someone thinks of the German Shepherd Dog, only one color combination ever comes to mind. With the many different TV shows and movies depicting the beautiful GSD in black and tan, the vast amount of people become oblivious to the many other varieties the doggo can have!
So, today, we will be learning more about the German Shepherd Dog. We’ll be looking at nine beautiful German Shepherd colors and coat varieties to find out what makes each one special and unique from one another.
Different German Shepherd Colors
German Shepherds are famously known for their loyalty and being an all-purpose worker. Capable in different lines of work such as a police dog, service dog, agility dog, and more – this dog is quite reliable. However, the GSD is also a very beautiful dog that can sport breathtaking colors and coats, and among the following are the colors they are widely known for:
1. Black and Tan
Black and tan German Shepherds are the most common color varieties and often is what plenty of people get to see in movies and videos online. They aren’t immediately born this way though, puppies start out with black coats and only begin to develop their tan when they’re at least six months old. This means you won’t really know what color your puppy will turn out to be until after some time, which can be quite the surprise and can make the journey much more fun!
Black and tan also come with two different color patterns: saddleback and blanket black. As the name suggests, saddleback refers to a black coat on the GSD’s back and sides appearing much like a saddle. With the rest of their fur in tan, which can either be a deep rich red or a light grey color.
On the other hand, a blanket black color pattern refers to a GSD being entirely covered in black much like a blanket. With only their underside or small regions of their body in tan.
While many people would like to believe that black and tan is the most dominant color among GSD’s, the sable color gene is the true champion that holds the title. German Shepherds with this color variety often resemble the look of wolves, making them appear much fiercer but still plenty lovable and adorable. Just like black and tan, sable GSD puppies are often born with a lighter tan/ greyish coat and can take up to three years of change before you see their true colors!
Fun fact, the first ever German Shepherd Dog registered was sable in color, which only proves how dominant and present the color has been since the beginning of the breed. Their color varieties can range from a multitude of combinations between gray, tan, red, brown, or black — all at varying shades of light and deep rich colors.
While Sable dogs don’t often do well in the spotlight as a show dog, you will often see this color among German Shepherd Work Dogs well-trained and ready to serve you.
A rather uncommon color variety among GSDs is the black German Shepherd Dog. The black color gene is the most recessive among the dominant genes that plenty of GSDs carry, and due to its recessive nature results in only a small chance of a complete black puppy. However, this is by no means rare, and among a litter of puppies comes a high chance of having one.
It is uncommon because the conditions you will need to meet to have a black puppy include both parent dogs having to be black or at least need to carry the black gene recessively. All black GSDs though are visually stunning, and you will often see them as show dogs in American Dog Shows.
Bicolor German Shepherd Dogs are often the most misrepresented color variety of GSDs. With some circles recognizing the bicolor as a color pattern under black and tan, and others recognizing it as an independent color variety. It is quite easy to distinguish a bicolor at birth though because they often appear as black GSDs, but with a quick look under their tail and you find a bit of brown, and this will tell the difference.
Bicolor is one of the few German Shepherd Colors that don’t often see the spotlight in dog shows; however, they make up for it by being quite active as work dogs!
5. Black and Red
Black and red is another common German Shepherd color that average people tend to mistake for black and tan. The key takeaway that differentiates both color varieties though is the richness of color. black and tans will appear much lighter while the black and red GSDs come with a very deep and rich red coat that stands out among other color varieties.
Due to the beauty of its coat, you will often see black and red German Shepherds under the spotlight of many dog shows. With their marvelous color pattern and coats, it is no surprise to see these doggies being well-groomed and up on a stage!
As we descend further down the line of colors, we reach our first rare German Shepherd color variety: Liver. This color is very hard to find because it takes an extensive and specific gene pool to create a liver German Shepherd Dog. The color variety is also met with quite the controversy because larger kennels do not accept certain shades.
Those with lighter colors appearing cream can still be accepted, but those with a much darker and red tone will be considered faulty by others. However, this doesn’t change anything about them on the inside, meaning they are equally as loyal, athletic, and loving like any other GSD.
Gray German Shepherds are the fiercest GSDs you will ever get to see because their color variety greatly resembles that of a grey wolf. So much so, that this color is often regarded as “wolf gray” by many major kennels due to the resemblance. Gray GSDs are considered a type of sable due to their banded fur.
This means that each individual strand of their fur is either a combination of black over silver or gray over the silver. Like other color varieties, the gray GSD is often seen as a working dog than it is a show dog due to its features.
White GSDs are one of the rarest ones you will find because white isn’t technically a color the German Shepherd should have! The white color is regarded as a masking gene among German Shepherds, and if a GSD turns out white, then this represents the absence of color. White German Shepherds will more than likely have the dominant genes of black, tan, sable, and black, but because of the manifestation of recessive genes, they turn out white.
Despite how magnificent their coat looks though; white GSDs are not permitted to join dog shows because their color is considered faulty and do not meet GSD standards. However, you will still see them strut their skills because they are permitted to join obedience and agility competitions.
The rarest color variety of GSDs you will ever find is the panda Shepherds. Panda Shepherds are the result of spontaneous gene mutation, making them appear as a cross between white and any other German Shepherd color. Often, Panda Shepherds will have 1/3 of their body covered in white with the rest appearing in another German Shepherd color.
They are still very much like any other German Shepherd Dog; however, owners have claimed that these panda Shepherds appear much shorter than their GSD brothers. Major Kennels consider panda Shepherds to be faulty, with only select kennels allowing these GSDs to enter dog shows as Panda Shepherds.
Despite its extreme difference in looks among German Shepherd Dogs due to its color variation, the panda Shepherd is still a GSD at heart. They are still athletic, loyal, friendly, and loving; but just look different on the outside.
Another major aspect that builds beauty around German Shepherds is their coat varieties. While they are often seen as work dogs, some varieties can appear much thicker and longer than others. These are the following combinations you will find in German Shepherd Dogs:
- Long Coat
- Short Coat
- Thick and Volume Coat
- Medium Thick Coat
- Dense and Thick Coat
- Fluffy Coat
German Shepherd Colors: In Summary
There exist a wide range of German Shepherd Colors, Patterns, Varieties, and Coats – which means there are plenty to choose from to suit what you like best. From fluffy ones to multi-colored GSDs, each style of GSD is unique.
However, when choosing to get a German Shepherd Dog, color pattern and variety should always be at the last of the list of things to check. Health, temperament, movement, and happiness of the dog should always be considered first when looking to get a GSD.
Just like what Max von Stephanitz, the breed founder of German Shepherd Dog, once said: “No good dog is a bad color.” Therefore, it all boils down to how you train your doggo because the color of their fur is just for show!