15 Brilliant Colors of German Shepherds

by | Mar 17, 2023 | Puppy Tips

Did you believe that German Shepherd Dogs only came in shades of black and Tan? Due to the famed Rin Tin Tin, “black and tan German Shepherds are most common, especially in the United States,” however, there are 14 more attractive colors, the majority being registered.

Many color options have black masks for the face and some form mark on black bodies that range from “a classic saddle” to a general ‘blanket. ‘”

Certain German Shepherds have uncommon color variations, such as black, white, sable as well as liver and blue. While they are considered to be the “all-black and sable varieties are acceptable according to most standards …, the blue and liver are considered to be serious faults.”

Explore the entire variety of German Shepherd Dog colors, from the old six colours to five well-known color patterns. Then, choose your preferred.

15 Colors of German Shepherd

Black and Tan

This is the shade that most people think of when we imagine an German Shepherd dog. With a deep brown undercarriage, and black back and face this shade of GSD has been in use since the first dog was officially registered in Germany towards the end of the 19th century.

While Horand von Grasrath was slightly darker than the current black and Tan GSD and the ancestry is clear.

The Black and Tan coat ” is recessive to the most dominant sable gene, but it is dominant over the solid black recessive gene .”

Usually, the darker German Shepherds with black and tan coats become lighter as they get older, with some getting “a gray strip down their backs,” frequently referred to as”bitch’s strip. “bitch’s strip” as it is more prevalent for females rather than males.

Pure Black

Some believe that it is possible that the dark German Shepherd is somehow different from the breed that is black and tan however others believe they believe that “color has no impact on their characters or temperaments.”

Breeders who specialize in the breeding Pure black German Shepherds can claim their breed is “larger and more muscular” than other varieties in the breed of German Shepherd, but there is no proof to prove this.

Some dedicated owners say that their GSDs with black coats “more luxurious and ‘flowing'” than others, however there’s no evidence to back the claim.

Since many persist in believing the belief that “To meet this black dog at night is a truly bad omen, and perhaps even a portent of death,” it’s not surprising that there are so many false stories regarding this Black German Shepherd.

The Black German Shepherd is ” accepted by all major cynology groups,” including The Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club (AKC).


Although many of us have observed the white German Shepherd dogs, few people are aware of the kind of dog we’re looking at. With their gorgeous clean coats dogs look like Golden Retrievers sporting erect ears.

Sometimes, people confuse the more bizarre White Swiss Shepherd, or Berger Blanc Suisse, the white GSD is the subject of a lot of controversy. (You must not think of this as a white Husky which is a kind of Husky coloring that appears quite like the white GSD! But unlike the Husky it is the White German Shepherd will rarely have blue eyes.)

In accordance with the AKC White dogs are not allowed in dog shows.

UK Kennel Club is similarly in opposition to White German Shepherd, going as as to state ” light markings on chest or very pale color on the inside of legs permissible but undesirable ” and “whites and near whites are highly undesirable.”

The United Kennel Club is one of the few who recognize that white German Shepherd, pointing out that the ” German Shepherd Dog comes in many colors and white .” The UK Kennel Club notes that “Colour in itself is of secondary importance having no effect on character or fitness for work.”

However, “in 1959, Germany began culling White German Shepherds from the German Shepherd breeding lines because they saw these dogs as Albinos” and believed that the white gene caused “hereditary issues and washes out the breed’s rich colors.”


With its vibrant reddish-brown coat and amber-colored eyes The German Shepherd dog is both attractive and distinctive.

The color of the liver is created by a recessive gene. In order for an German Shepherd puppy to ” be born, its parents both need to possess at least one liver gene, which are passed to the puppy in its DNA material .”

While the AKC states that “most colors are permissible” in its German Shepherd Dog breed standard and that “strong rich colors are preferred,” it also states”that “washed-out colors and blues or livers are serious faults.”

Despite its confusing and contradictory assertions, ” the color of a liver GSD recognizes by AKC,” however this “has the characteristics of a true liver. Other patterns like black and liver, or liver and tan aren’t accepted as breed guidelines.”

They are one of the most rare that exist, and you’re likely to find one in an animal shelter or rescue centre. The majority of liver GSDs are created in “designer or specialty breeding programs,” however, they do occasionally appear “randomly in litters of regular breeding programs.”


The blue German Shepherd can be a scarce, but stunning sight. There is something amazing with a dog that is blue and when you add golden brown or amber-colored eyes, they appear like a lot more exotic, which makes them highly sought-after.

In spite of their old-fashioned appeal similar to those of the white German Shepherd, the blue has caused controversy within the Shepherd world, due to recessive dilution. gene has been associated with breeding practices and health concerns.

Although it’s true that the eye color that is unusual as well as their blue-colored as well as the “cool steel grey” of their coats result from the recessive gene for dilution There’s no evidence that they’re any more “predisposed to any health problems” as the black and brown varieties.

Blue German Shepherds can appear silver or gray and can be mistaken for an Blue Belgian Malinois.

While some claim “that blue is a bad color,” it does not alter the character of the dog. In fact, the blue GSD will be exactly the “straightforward nature of a gentleman” like a black or brown one does.


This unique coat color variation is yet another blemish as far as is the AKC is concerned it’s a shame because of how striking it. It’s a result of genetically combining the blue and liver dilution gene.

As with the blue and the liver German Shepherd dogs, Isabella GSDs are often unusual in eyes and distinct noses. Liver German Shepherds usually have an orange nose. Blue German Shepherds are characterized by the blue nose. The color of Isabella’s nostrils can vary from pink to red or any shade between.

Because the liver gene prevents any black pigmentation and Isabella GSDs “won’t have any black pigment on their paw pads, noses, or eye rims” and usually be light blue or hazel eyes.

It is not proven to suggest that Isabella coloration is a risk factor. Isabella coloring makes the dog more prone to health problems. Yet, Isabella is a recessive characteristic. The selection for recessive traits reduces the gene pool, which makes the dog more vulnerable to genetic disorders.


It is not intended to confuse with black, silver blue, or silver German Shepherds. They are gray. varieties are more wolf-like because of the dark fur. The color is also known as “wolf-grey “.

Some say “Gray German Shepherd dogs are a type of sable or Agouti, as it is also known,” gray is among the six colors that are recognized within the AKC’s GSD breed standard, however those genes responsible for gray can ” be found in the A series Agouti genes .”

Contrary to blue and the liver GSDs The gray color is created by a dominant gene , rather than a recessive gene which makes it much easier to breed to. The puppies require only one dominant gene in either parent to generate a certain hue, “but in order to express a recessive color gene, the German Shepherd puppy will need to inherit two copies of that color gene – one from each parent dog.”

Some German Shepherds with gray hair do not have any black coloring, separating them from sables which typically has black tips on their hairs.

Grey German Shepherds may not be as popular like blue or Isabella, however they’re still scarce, so you’ll have a chance to find one to adopt. Certain breeders specialize in breeding breeds with this unusual color.


Like Gray German Shepherd, silver is still considered to be an individual color. Oft, the two colors are combined, however silver and gray shades are created from the same genetic.

The search for a breeder who is specialized in German Shepherds with silver coats is considerably more straightforward than finding one that is focused on grey dogs and brown breed, which is why this could be the best option if you are looking for a more exotic dog.

Silver is not a common color for GSDs, perhaps due to the recessive gene. Like the dilution gene the gene affects black pigmentation.

If you do get German Shepherds with silver sables with patterned coats, they’re classified as sable instead of silver.

Although they are recognized by the AKC Silver GSDs aren’t commonly seen on the show ring, and preference is for stronger, vibrant shades. But, German Shepherds with silver coats are frequently used in military as well as the police force.

Black and Red

Growing up admiring GSDs like the Red Setter, the fact that I love the design of the red and black GSD should not be a surprise.

The vibrant red pigment replaces the tan in the coat of the German Shepherd and the design remains the same, with lots of red and black GSDs sporting identical black mask as well as saddleback that is black and Tan.

The color red is due to the gene that produces color, called pheomelanin. It can be any color of red that ranges from strawberry blonde to dark mahogany shade.

Alongside tan and black The black and red combination is favored over other among German Shepherd breeders.

Because red and black are both created through dominant genetics, the combination of colors is more easy to breed, and many breeders concentrate on breeding purebred dogs with deep red coloration.


A timeless colour that is appropriate for The German Shepherd, a sable is available in a variety of shades, but all hairs sport the black point. Sable GSDs may be gray, black silver, red or tan. They’re often referred to as agouti.

Agouti is a kind of color that is also found in other breeds, such as that of the Agouti Husky. This coloring is a mix of black and brown, creating a typical wolf coloring. The original owners of the German Shepherd breed believed this was the only color that is found in German Shepherds.

The sable color changes through the puppy’s lifetime. Black sables are born all-black puppies, while tri-colored sables come as tan and black puppies. As the puppy grows older and their color changes. Certain GSDs can require up to three years to attain their final sable coloring.

Like every sable GSD is unique and with pattern and color both differing which makes it an attractive and distinctive dog.

Sable is an dominant color that makes it easy to breed. If you cross an Sable German Shepherd to any other color, you’ll probably get sable puppies.

Black and Silver

Similar to the black and Tan GSD, one with a silver and black German Shepherd usually has a silver saddle on its back, though the design and color differ from dog to dog.

As with the silver GSD The black and silver colors occur in only the case where recessive intensity suppressor gene is present.

This shade is not commonly seen on this AKC show ring, and is typically found in working lines for dogs. Since these breeds aren’t evident in darkness so it is highly recommended to only walk them with the collar of a dog that is lit up in the evenings as well as in the evening.


Bicolor German Shepherds appear entirely black. They, in order to meet the standard of the breed they must be black in their heads, backs legs, tail and legs. Even if their feet are brown, their heels need to be black as per the standard definition of color.

A few GDS people have wondered whether bicolor actually is a color , or “just” a pattern of the same color. But the AKC recognizes bicolor as being an recessive color within the breed.

Although technically permitted to show in the ring the dogs are usually found within the working line.

Black and Cream

The final official color that we have listed the cream and black GSD is authentic to its roots as an lighter variant of the popular color of tan and red.

There’s some debate about the black and cream variant. A majority of AKC breeders don’t wish to see them in the show rings. They aim to breed dogs with darker coloring that don’t show the lighter cream coloration.

The color has little to alter their personality However, GSDs with cream and black coats excel in obedience nosework, rally, and agility. They are equally loyal and courageous like their black and tan counterparts.


An Panda German Shepherd looks similar to one of the Border Collie. First Panda GDS was Lewcinka’s Franka from Phenom. There are some who claim that she was not purebred German Shepherd but a GSD/Collie cross. The DNA of her was proven to be incorrect, though the Panda coloration isn’t recognized by some kennel clubs as well as breeders.

It is believed that the Panda GDS is created by an uncommon genetic mutation. The so-called piebald gene can cause about 40 percent of the dog’s physique being white. But, it is not the case that Panda GDS has no white German Shepherds in his lineage. The genes that produce an all-white body as well as the patches of white are two distinct ones.

The AKC is not a recognized color for the Panda German Shepherd as an acceptable color. But that doesn’t make them less popular, however! There is a massive demand for German Shepherds with a Panda color.

Unfortunately, it increases price cost which causes breeders to focus on color variation rather than the genetic health of the dog Be sure to ensure that you purchase a puppy from a trusted breeder.


Albino German Shepherd is incredibly rare. Although a few claim to have GSDs that are albino, on closer examination, the majority are white German Shepherds.

A albino of any breed or species is devoid of any pigmentation, such as of the hair, skin and eyes as in blood vessels, which results in a pinkish tint.

You can tell the Albino German Shepherd from a white one by examining the nose and eyes of his. A White GDS has some coloration that results in brown eyes. albinos will always have eyes that are pink or red.

A person with Albino GSD If one does be present, can cause other health issues related to the condition. For instance, they could be photosensitive and require the protection of direct sun.

What is the Rarest Color of the German Shepherd?

The most rare color in the breed of German Shepherd is the isabella because of the recessive combination of blue and liver.

You’ll have to look for a long period of time to find a dog like this – and his cost will most likely be higher as well!

What is the Best Color for a German Shepherd?

The most suitable color for an German shepherd to show in the rings includes black, tan and white followed by sable.

If you don’t plan to take your dog to the AKC then you are able to choose any color that you like. As breed’s founder the Captain von Stephanitz said, “the colour of a dog’s coat is of no bearing whatsoever on services. .”

In the workplace Many owners are not fond of the German Shepherds with white fur because they are believed as “weak”. This isn’t an actual fact about their capabilities, but more of a mythology that has been handed down over generations.

What is the Original Color of a German Shepherd?

Since German Shepherd dogs were bred for work The breeders of the early days concentrated on temperature, not appearance. The initial color for the German Shepherds who worked was the sable. The most common color used in the show rings is black and tan.


There are German Shepherds in a variety of shades. When choosing the color you like the most, be sure that you do not pick your dog based solely on his appearance.

German Shepherds are at risk of developing hip and back problems. If you’re considering purchasing a puppy for his color, be sure that the breeder chooses to focus on health first, and color last! If not, you could get an adorable puppy but unhealthy … this is not an ideal thing.

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