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10 Brilliant German Shepherd Colors

german shepherd colors

There are many colors of the German Shepherd recognized by the American Kennel Club . Each color has its own specific characteristics and uniqueness. However, there are some interesting facts about the German Shepherd’s coloration that make it even more unique than other dog breeds.

German Shepherds are one of the few breeds of dogs whose puppies change color as they grow. This is a trait common to few dog breeds, and it makes the German Shepherd unique and especially interesting.

Few breeds can compare to the pure intelligence of the German Shepherd . With undying loyalty and an eagerness to learn , German Shepherds have become one of the most popular dogs in the world.

However, this breed is more than just brains. The handsome and dignified appearance of the German Shepherd also contributes to its enduring popularity. And, the colors of the coat play a very important role.

Although they are generally darker, German Shepherds come in quite a few color variants, along with some unique blends. Below we will look at some of the most impressive and strikingly beautiful German Shepherd colors to be found.

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German Shepherd Colors

Currently, there are 11 standard official German Shepherd colors , at least according to the AKC . But in reality, there are many more colors of these dogs.

It’s just that not all of these colors are considered “official” or even recognized by other big kennel clubs. As a result, these other colored German Shepherds are very rare, as fewer breeders breed for them.

These AKC standard colors for the German Shepherd include:

  • Bicolor
  • Negro
  • Black and Cream
  • Black and red
  • Black and silver
  • Black Fire
  • Blue
  • Grey
  • Liver
  • Sable
  • Swiss White

Although all of these colors are the standard for this breed of dog, not all of them are widely bred. Breeders choose to avoid colors like liver, Swiss white, and blue, despite being standard colors.

So if you have your heart set on one of the ones I just mentioned, then you may need to spend extra time looking for a reputable breeder.

1. Black Fire German Shepherd

The tan black German Shepherd is the most popular color for this breed of dog.
This color combination is the bread and butter, so to speak, of the German Shepherd. For most people, when they imagine this breed, it is with this color. But even with this common color, there is plenty of room for variation.

The tan coat may vary from deeper tones to a tone almost approaches the plated edges. The black color usually appears as a saddle-shaped pattern along the back and can vary quite a bit in size.

Something to keep in mind is that German Shepherds born with this pattern tend to start life darker and slowly lighten as they mature. The best way to get an idea of ​​how a puppy’s coat will develop into adulthood is to meet the parents (ideally both).

The darker coloration, especially the black one, is recessive in the German Shepherd. So if both parents show the black and tan coloration, then the puppy is more likely to do so as well.

2. Sable German Shepherd

The sable German Shepherd may be the second most popular coat variation of this breed.
The most common color in the German Shepherd breed is the sand color. In fact, this opens the door to quite a few color combinations.

While other colors of this breed are largely defined by simple colors, or bicolor proportions, sable dogs are more homogeneous. That is, the coloration is more uniform everywhere without different areas of one color or another.

Within this coloration, the tones can vary from lighter grays to darker colors, such as grays or shades that are close to red and brown.

If you were to look at any hair of a German Shepherd with this coloration, you would notice that his hair can have two or three colors in each strand. It is an interesting sight, but you will have to look at it closely.

Sable is allowed for displays, but it doesn’t do very well. As such, they are much more popular in the line of work or as pets. They are especially popular in police K-9 units.

3. Bicolor German Shepherd

At first glance, this may seem like a variation of black and tan. And there is a debate as to whether bicolor German Shepherds are simply displaying a distinct pattern or color on their own.

A bicolor German Shepherd will have black and tan colors, but black is much more dominant here. Most of the body will be black, with only a few areas such as the legs or chest showing brown to brown fur.

At birth, a two-toned German Shepherd can be difficult to distinguish from his black siblings. An indicator of whether the puppy will grow up to be a bicolor dog is whether it has any brown under its tail.

4. Black German Shepherd

The black hair gene is recessive in German Shepherds, so a completely black dog can be somewhat more difficult to find. But not all black German Shepherds are completely black from head to toe.

Black Shepherds may have some brown hair on their toes or paws, and even a few hints of white on their chests. It is only a very small amount, however.

As long as the rest of the German Shepherd’s coat is black, they are still considered to be in this color category.

Although less common than other colorations, a black German Shepherd is by no means rare. Don’t let breeders raise the price based solely on the idea that these dogs are rare or special.

And although, yes, they are absolutely beautiful and worth taking home, just make sure the price is right and do a little market research beforehand.

5. White German Shepherd

Although the white coloration disqualifies the dog according to the American Kennel Club’s German Shepherd breed standard, we still include it because, well, look at this dog.

White Swiss German Shepherds are truly magnificent. The white coloring really gives the dog a wolf look and gives it an air of mystery.

If you are looking for a German Shepherd to have as a companion, then the color white is not an issue. Many people, including the intelligent canine, see this coloration as one of the most desirable for a German Shepherd.

6. German Shepherd Liver (brown) 

A unique aspect of this liver / brown coloration is that the liver skin gene tends to appear along with the gene responsible for beautiful amber eyes as well .

Biology and evolution did well here by pairing these two genes.

The liver color of German Shepherds can range from light brown to darker, warmer colors, sometimes even bordering on red. The coat can also have hints of other colors, blending smoothly with the brown here and there.

There are three main variations of liver coloration: liver and tan, liver and white, and solid liver. All three are recognized by the American Kennel Club.

7. Blue German Shepherd

Contrary to what some say, the blue coloration in a German Shepherd is not an indication of lack or poor health (unlike Blue French Bulldogs).

The reasoning for this incorrect belief could be attributed to the fact that for some other breeds, the blue coloration could indicate temperament or health problems.

For example, some blue dogs may experience hormonal or skin problems. We call this condition Color Dilution Alopecia .

However, with the German Shepherd, this is definitely not the case. Fortunately, it is simply another color variation rather than an indicator of genetic problems.

Many breeders purposely breed for this color due to its rarity. Coming from a recessive gene, the blue coloration does not occur often without being specifically bred for it.

Even though finding a blue German Shepherd may not be very difficult for you these days, be prepared to dig deeper into your pockets. Their scarcity can drive up the price and will vary from breeder to breeder.

8. Red and Black German Shepherd

The red and black German Shepherd is something you don’t see every day. They are spectacular specimens that are undeniably beautiful regardless of your taste in dogs.

In a way, the red and black German Shepherd’s coat pattern looks almost like a brindle or a merle. In other words, you typically get a GSD with a dark mahogany (red) undercoat, with patches of black around the coat.

Black is most commonly found on the dog’s back, tail, underside, and face (muzzle).

Black is not limited to those areas of the body, it depends on the dog and the parents. However, the black color around the dog’s muzzle is almost always guaranteed.

9. Black and Silver German Shepherd

The black and silver German Shepherd is another common color combination. Even though they seem more exotic than the average German Shepherd, they are still raised by breeders as they have been growing in popularity.

Most of the time, the color distribution can vary from dog to dog. However, they normally have a silver base on the lower part of their body and a black base on the upper part.

The shade of black can range from dark gray to deep black. In some cases, the German Shepherd may have silver with multiple shades of black on the coat.

These dogs are truly spectacular in terms of appearance, and it is not hard to see why they have been more prevalent among families in the United States (and probably the world).

10. Black and Cream German Shepherd

Another beautiful standard German Shepherd color, black and cream, is another popular choice with homeowners around the world.

They are very similar in appearance to black and silver, but with a different shade of “white.” But if you look close enough, they are quite different.

Instead of metallic silver, black and cream have an off-white cream color. This cream color can vary from dog to dog, but it usually has a hint of yellow.

Like black and silver, this colored German Shepherd will have a bottom that is primarily cream and a top that is primarily black.

Again, black can have different shades and it is not uncommon to see different shades of black on this dog.

German Shepherd colors video

Which German Shepherd Color Is Right For You?

It really depends. If you are looking for a German Shepherd as a pet and companion, then personal preference should be the main criteria.

If you like the way it looks, be it Swiss white, dark or blue, then you should choose accordingly. There really is no “wrong” choice with color.

However, if you are considering breeding a German Shepherd or are interested in exhibits, then your color selection should lean towards richer colors that favor blacks and tans.

Unfortunately, the White Swiss German Shepherds will be out of the picture, despite their aesthetic appeal.

Either way, the coloration in a German Shepherd covers a wide range of options, and each of them are simply colors.

No color indicates better health, temperament, abilities, or something like that. Instead, it will be up to you and how you train, treat, and breed the dog.

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I love the animals. Reading and writing about them, their customs, their peculiarities or the attention they require is exciting, and I also believe that it makes us better people. I share articles that solve the questions that dog caregivers face on a daily basis.

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