As is the case with any breed, you cannot expect that each and every German Shepherd is going to be the same coat color.
You need to know that this breed’s coat thickness, colors, and patterns vary significantly and two adult German Shepherd dogs can have wildly different colors.
The coat color may range from completely white or black to a combination of tan and black.
We consider it worth mentioning that the coat coloring of a German Shepherd dog that is not standard for shows does not mean that the dog is not up to breed standard for temperament, personality, and body shape.
A dog’s physical appearance should not be the only way you choose your German shepherd, but if you want to pick a puppy based on the way it looks, we are here to tell you about the most common coat color patterns of the breed and coat types, as well.
What Are the Most Common German Shepherd Color Patterns?
- Black and Tan
- Black and Red
- Bicolor (black with cream-colored heels)
- Liver and Tan
- Sable or Gray
Black and Tan
When we think about a German shepherd, we see it as black and tan as this is the most common and most popular color combination.
Famous German Shepherds and show-ring German Shepherds have this coat coloration.
They have tan or cream legs, underbellies, and necks.
They may also have prominent black “masks” on their faces.
If you choose this color, we want to tell you that both the American and the Canadian show lines prefer this coloration.
There are dogs with a “silver” color on their stomachs, which some breeders find acceptable.
Black and Red
Black and Red German Shepherds are quite common when dogs in the German show line are in question.
These color dogs have the same pattern as black and tan dogs, but they are more of red color or even a strawberry blonde.
There are also some whose color is black and silver, and this silver part is often described as being a light shade of cream.
All in all, black and silver German Shepherds are rare, so they are not as frequently shown as black and red dogs.
Bicolor German Shepherds
Even though they are called “bicolor,” actually, these German Shepherds have only one solid color and that is black.
Heads, legs, backs, and tails are completely black, but there are occasions when they have brown color on their feet.
It is worth mentioning that a bi-color German Shepherd that can be in the show ring must have black heels.
Some people call these dogs with black heels “Tarheel.”
Dark brown color on their faces and around their ears can sometimes be found on these dogs, even though they are usually not very prominent.
Blue or Liver/Tan
Blue or Liver/Tan dogs are not so frequently seen at shows.
This is due to the fact that these colors indicate weak genes.
It should not be doubted that these are purebred German Shepherds, but due to the lack of a typical black coloring, it is believed that their ancestors did not have the proper colors.
Blue is described as a slight dilution of black, and if your dog has a dark blue color, he might still be shown in the ring.
On the other hand, the light blue color is undesirable.
German Shepherds that are liver and tan have saddle and mask markings, which are not black, but of rich brown color.
Sable or Gray
Let’s first speak about Sable German Shepherds, as they are more common in working lines than in show lines.
This is due to the fact that working dogs do not have the coloration pattern for the show that has to be accepted.
They have banded fur, meaning that individual hair is multi-colored, and those colors can include silver, brown, black, and sometimes even red.
Their coats are prone to a change, especially during the first two years of their lives.
It is impossible to predict what a sable puppy will look like when it has grown into an adult dog.
Sable patterns can be found in many different varieties, such as liver over cream, black over red, and silver over the cream.
Black over cream is the most common.
Gray German Shepherd dogs are a type of sable, but wolf-like in color, meaning that they have coats that are black over silver or gray over silver.
White or Black German Shepherds
Even though you may have never seen this kind of German Shepherds, they can also be entirely white or completely black in color.
White hair is similar to blonde hair in humans, and it does not indicate albinism.
Unfortunately, white German Shepherd dogs are not allowed to participate in most kennel club shows.
They are only allowed to participate in obedience and agility competitions.
Black German Shepherds are also a result of recessive genes as those white ones, and white patterns on their chests can be sometimes found.
Unlike black and tan dogs that are black as puppies and then take on a more typical appearance as they grow older, Black German Shepherd puppies remain black for the rest of their lives.
German Shepherd Coat Types
If we consider German Shepherd Coat Types, you should know that a double coat with medium length is the most desirable.
There are instances when a shorter coat is acceptable by the breed standard.
Nevertheless, longer fur is not accepted for showing.
It is true that long fur is the favorite one among owners because it makes their dogs soft.
Furthermore, longer fur around the neck makes their dog looks like a lion.
Have in mind that [lush coats and longer-haired German Shepherds need more coat care.