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What Colors are German Shepherds?

Everyone knows what German Shepherds look like, but did you know that they come in 13 different colors? Read on to find out which ones!

German Shepherds can have 13 different colors: Bi-color, Black, Black and Cream, Black and Red, Black and Tan, Blue, Gray, Liver, Panda, Red Sable, Sable, Silver, and White. Each of these colors is recognized as an official color by the American Kennel Club.

As you read further, you will see and read about what each of the German Shepherd’s colors looks like. The descriptions will also discuss how to identify each color and how they appear on a German Shepherd’s body. Finally, it will end with some final thoughts on German Shepherd coat colors.

Before you get to know each of the coat colors, a good bit of info to start with is the rarity of each coat color.

Below are the common variants of the German Shepherd coat colors:

  • Bi-color
  • Black and cream
  • Black and red
  • Black and tan
  • Red sable
  • Sable

Below are the uncommon variants of the German Shepherd coat colors:

  • Black
  • Gray
  • Silver
  • White

Below are the rare variants of the German Shepherd coat colors:

  • Blue
  • Liver
  • Panda

Bi-color

The bi-color coat is a variation of the black and tan coat for German Shepherds. These German Shepherds are primarily black with a bit of tan on their face, legs, and belly.

The ratio of black to tan is normally around 9:1. As long as their fur shows any signs of any color aside from black, then they are classified as bi-color.

Black and Cream

The black and cream German Shepherd is another variation of a black and tan German Shepherd. The only difference is that this variation is lighter.

Black and Cream German Shepherds have the saddle coat pattern that most pet havers are familiar with. They will also have either a black mask of fur on their face or a black snout. Their cream fur can range between beige and white.

Black and Red

Black and red German Shepherds look strikingly similar to black and tan German Shepherds. However, black and red German Shepherds have reddish-brown fur coats rather than tan.

The red parts of their coats have a strong red pigment that can also appear to be strawberry blonde. They have the same black saddle coat markings and black mask of fur on their face.

Black and Tan

The black and tan German Shepherd is the most common and most famous among German Shepherd coat colors. This coat color features a solid black saddle pattern and black fur mask around the face.

The rest of the German Shepherd’s body, including the legs, chest, underbelly, sides, and neck is covered in tan fur which sometimes resembles a cream or light blonde color. When they’re puppies, black and tan German Shepherds have dominantly black fur but as they grow older, the tan markings become more apparent.

Red Sable

The red sable German Shepherd is a variation of the common sable German Shepherd. A red sable German Shepherd has the same black mask and saddle pattern that most German Shepherds have.

They have red fur markings around their chest, legs, and underbellies. Their red fur will also have black tips, which is what makes it a sable coat. This coat color features an even mix of black and red on the parts that aren’t covered by the mask and saddle.

Sable

The Sable coat is one of the oldest and most common among German Shepherd coat colors. The first German Shepherd to exist even had a sable coat! Despite its history, the sable coat is also one of the least popular among German Shepherd coat colors.

You can identify a sable German Shepherd by observing an even mix of black and tan all over the dog’s body. You will see that every single strand of fur has black towards the ends or tips and gives off an ombre look.

Black

Black German Shepherds have a striking black color that covers their entire coat. Contrary to popular belief, the black coat gene is actually a recessive gene.

Black German Shepherds produce black German Shepherd puppies but a Black German Shepherd puppy can be born from parents with different coat colors. Under natural light, a Black German Shepherd’s coat may appear to be brown.

Gray

Another uncommon coat color for German Shepherds is gray. This coat color makes your German Shepherd strongly resemble its wolf ancestors. Gray German Shepherds are often confused with silver German Shepherds.

A Gray German Shepherd’s coat features a light color that resembles cream and has gray markings around the head and back. They are born with blue eyes which darken as they approach adulthood.

Silver

The silver coat is another variation of the black and tan German Shepherd Coat. Silver German Shepherds will have the same black mask and saddle on their fur but instead of tan markings, they have silver markings.

This coat is often mistaken for the gray German Shepherd but the difference is that silver German Shepherds do not have any gray markings.

White

Last but not least is the white German Shepherd. This coat color features a bright white coat that covers the entire German Shepherd’s body.

A common misconception that this coat color is caused by albinism or lower melanin production but the truth is it’s caused purely by the German Shepherd’s genetics.

The gene that produces the white coat is a recessive gene so the only sure way to produce white German Shepherd puppies is by breeding two adult white German Shepherds.

Blue

The Blue German Shepherd color coat is one of the rarest and most attractive colors that a German Shepherd can have. German Shepherds with a blue coat can cost up to five times more than a black and tan German Shepherd.

Much like the black German Shepherd, blue German Shepherds can only be produced through recessive genes. The most notable feature of this coat color is of course, its blue fur. To the untrained eye, it appears gray, but when under bright natural light, the coat gives off a blue shine.

Blue German Shepherds also have light-colored eyes that can even turn out blue. Unlike every other German Shepherd coat color, they have gray noses.

Liver

Liver German Shepherds are distinguished by the color of their eye-rims, noses, and lips. You can tell that a German Shepherd has a liver coat if the skin around their eyes, lips, and nose features a dark or light brown color.

Like most German Shepherd colors, Liver German Shepherds still feature a saddle and mask pattern on their fur. However, instead of black, the mask and saddle are dark or light brown while the rest of their fur is cream-colored.

The Liver coat is also one of the rarest among German Shepherd coat colors. Along with the blue German Shepherds, these dogs cannot enter show dog competitions. Despite not being eligible for competitions, this coat color is still recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Panda

As the name suggests, a Panda German Shepherd closely resembles a Panda bear. This coat color is the result of a genetic mutation in the classic black and tan coat color.

This is perhaps the rarest coat color you can find in a German Shepherd because it only exists in one German Shepherd bloodline.

Panda German Shepherds have the usual colors of a black and tan German Shepherd but because of the genetic mutation, their bodies show white spotting. Panda German Shepherds have coats that are 40-60% white.

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds can come in so many colors that it can be hard to tell if some of them are even German Shepherds. Each color is wonderfully unique and beautiful to match this breed’s wonderful personality.

It’s important that you still choose your German Shepherd based on not only its coat color but also your preparedness to take care of one. Whether you end up with a dog that has the common black and tan the rare panda coat, what matters is that you love your dog.

If you have no preference for your German Shepherd’s color, you can try your best to find one that needs rescuing or comes from reputable breeders. There are plenty of German Shepherds out there that need loving homes and they are more than ready to be part of yours.