The Beauty of German Shepherd dog Coat Colors and Markings

The German Shepherd Dog exists in a short stockhaired and a long-stockhaired variety. For both coat types, there are several possible coat colors or markings (the long coat or Old German Shepherd colors do not differ from those of the stockhaired variety!).

But let’s take a closer look at these German Shepherd coat colors!

These German Shepherd Dog color varieties are allowed according to FCI standard [1]:

brown, Black with reddish-brown, yellow to light gray markings.

Grey with darker clouds and black saddle

Black unicolored

It is also mentioned that the nasal dome must be black in all color types. So German Shepherds have black eumelanin and typically a black mask, so already all DSH are homozygous for these two dominant traits.

The mask can be more or less extensive. However, a mask that is too minimal or absent is considered an undesirable pigment weakness.

White chest patches cannot be completely bred away and are therefore allowed to a certain extent.

German Shepherd Dog bicolor

Sheepdogs with markings are born with sharply defined tan patches.

These wild color markings are symmetrical and always found on the same parts of the body:



throat patch

Chest patches

Legs and paws

Anal patch

The extent of the mask can greatly alter the appearance of this pattern. This is because the mask covers the lighter tan marks, so the markings on the muzzle and brows are often not visible or appear somewhat sooty.

Some DSHs have extremely large masks that even cover the chest patches and extend to the legs. Here, in extreme cases, you can sometimes even tell only by the paws that it is not a black shepherd, but a black-and-tan with!

By the way, the tan spots get their color from the yellow-red pigment type phaeomelanin. This can take on very different color nuances between cream white and deep red.

Whether a bicolored German Shepherd dog is black-brown, black-yellow, black-grey, or even black-silver depends entirely on its phaeomelanin.

As a rule of thumb, dark pigment is inherited dominantly over light pigment, but the transitions from one shade to the next are of course very gradual.

German Shepherd Dog with saddle markings

A modified variant of tan markings is the very common saddle pattern in the German Shepherd Dog. To be able to develop this pattern, a dog must genetically be a dog with Danmarks.

Puppies with this pattern are also still born with the typical small marks.

But soon the yellow pigment starts to spread. This process can stop after a short time so that the dog keeps a lot of black furs and only gets a relatively blond head or a light front.

Much more typically, the tan continues to spread until only the characteristic dark saddle remains on the back.

And with some dogs, the phenomenon does not stop even then, so that even from the saddle at some point only dark flanks found an almost completely light brown shepherd dog remains.

It is not always possible to predict the shepherd dog color development of the marks if one does not know the parents. Saddle or coat markings are possible with all shades, one of the typical German Shepherd colors being red with a black coat.

German Shepherd dog Grey

Gray German Shepherds are sometimes referred to as sable or gray clouded. However, almost without exception, the German Shepherd color is not true sable (tan with dark hair tips as in the Pug or Mali), but the darker wild agouti, which can sometimes look very “wolfish”.

Typical for this wolf-gray is the light-dark banding of individual hairs, which leads to a pronounced dark stippling. The lighter wild color markings sometimes stand out very clearly from the darker coat.

These dogs usually have light-colored spectacles around the eyes.

According to the standard, this coat pattern should show as gray with wolfing in the adult DSH.

Also, dogs in wolf-gray go through a color development, lighten as young dogs in their pale phase also sometimes almost into the complete tan before the dark pigment returns to the coat.

Whether one would like to call such a shepherd dog dark gray, gray, gray-black, gray-red or gray-cloudy, depends on the individual coloring in the adult coat. And this can be very individual rather light or rather dark.

German shepherd dog black

There is not so much to tell about this color.

Nel DSH, si verifica il nero recessivo (a al locus A), una variante genetica rara in altre razze canine. Tuttavia, il nero dominante (KB al K-locus) è stato a lungo conosciuto in alcune linee DSH. Ma questo è rilevante solo per gli allevatori, esternamente entrambe le varianti non differiscono.

Gli esemplari neri solidi si vedono principalmente nei pastori tedeschi a pelo lungo. Ma anche i pastori tedeschi neri e a pelo lungo possono essere trovati qua e là (e poi spesso soprattutto nel cambio di cappotto con un luccichio rosso dovuto al vecchio cappotto).

Non è insolito che la pigmentazione nera profonda non sia opaca al 100% e che il pigmento giallo-rosso possa trasparire sul viso o sulle zampe. Qui bisogna solo imparare a distinguere se si tratta veramente di un pastore nero o di un bicolore con una mascheratura estrema.

German shepherd dog

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