German Shepherds: Black and White

German Shepherds: Black and White

German Shepherd Dogs are available in black and tan. They do, however, come in other colors. Because people desire to look like Rin Tin Tin, a famous dog, the most prevalent color is black and tan.

Black and Sable German Shepherds Varieties

Some German Shepherds come in colors like black, white, and blue. But the “all-black and sable varieties are acceptable.”

Black and Tan

Most people think of this when they picture a German Shepherd dog. The color is made with a tan undercarriage and black face and back. The first German Shepherd was registered in Germany at the end of the 1800s. So this color has been around for a long time.

Horand von Grafrath was darker than the modern black and tan GSD. However, their ancestry is still evident. The most dominant sable gene is recessive in the Black and Tan coat. Still, it is dominant over the solid black recessive gene.

Usually, German Shepherds are born darker. They get lighter when they get older. Some even have a line down their back that can be called a “bitch’s strip.” This is more common in females than in males.

Pure Black

Some people think that black German Shepherds are different from other German Shepherds. Others say the color does not affect their character. Black German Shepherds might be more muscular, but no evidence supports this claim.

Some people say that their black GSD has a better coat than others. But there is not much evidence to support this claim.

Wrong things about black German Shepherds still exist. That is not surprising because people think meeting the dog at night is a bad omen and might even mean death. But that is not true. All significant cynology associations accept the dog, including The Kennel Club and The American Kennel Club (AKC).


German Shepherds are white most of the time because most German Shepherds have white coats. It looks like they are Golden Retrievers with straight ears.

The White GSD is the cause of much controversy. You might confuse it with the White Swiss Shepherd, which is even more unusual but don’t confuse it with the White Husky; they are different. The White GSD will rarely have blue eyes, unlike most Huskies.

While dogs are always rejected from dog shows, according to the AKC, the United Kingdom Kennel Club is similar. While they might not be as bad as a white German Shepherd, light markings on the chest or ashen color on the inside of their legs are undesirable. Whites or near whites are highly undesirable.

The United Kingdom Kennel Club is the only organization that recognizes white German Shepherds. They say, “German Shepherd Dogs come in many colors and white.” The UK Kennel Club says it doesn’t matter what color a dog is, but they note that “color has no effect on character or fitness for work.”

Despite this, in 1959, Germany started to remove White German Shepherds from the lines of German Shepherds. They thought these dogs were responsible for problems and washed out the breed’s colors.


The German Shepherd is a beautiful dog. It has brown fur and yellow eyes.

The liver color in German Shepherds is because of a recessive gene. A puppy can only get this gene if both parents have it. This means that the puppies’ grandparents should also have the liver gene.

Most colors are allowed for German Shepherd dogs. But the AKC says strong, rich colors are better than light ones. Light colors like blue or orange are not good.

The AKC recognizes a solid liver German Shepherd. Other patterns like black and liver or liver and tan are not acceptable. Liver German Shepherds are scarce and may not be found at shelters. Most of them are bred in designer or specialty breeding programs. However, they occasionally emerge at random in litters from regular breeding operations.


The sight of a blue German Shepherd is unusual but gorgeous. Something about them feels like magic. They look different because they have golden-brown or amber eyes. People want them, and that makes them valuable.

Some people like white German Shepherds, but there is a problem. It is because of this trait called “recessive dilution.” This means that the dog will have health issues and other things.

This sentence says that the dilution gene makes them have unusual eye color and a coat of blue or “cool steel grey.” But it also says they are no more “predisposed to any health problems” than black and tan dogs.

A blue German Shepherd may be gray, silver, or blue. Sometimes people can’t tell the difference between a Blue Belgian Malinois and a Blue German Shepherd. But it doesn’t matter what color the dog is because that doesn’t change its character. It will still have a “straightforward nature of a gentleman,” blue or black and tan.


The AKC does not recognize this unusual coat color variation. It may be striking, but it is not allowed in the AKC. This distinctive color comes from mixing liver and blue genes.

Isabella GSDs have distinctive eye colors and different-colored noses like blue German Shepherds. These dogs get their nose color from their parents’ nose color. A liver German Shepherd will usually have a brown nose. Isabella’s nose will be a variety of colors, ranging from pink to liver and everything in between.

Isabella GSDs will not have any black pigment on their paws, noses, or eye rims because the liver gene prevents all-black coloring. They will usually have either light-blue eyes or brown ones.

There is no evidence that Isabella’s coloration makes dogs more likely to get sick. But there is a concern about the gene pool. Selecting recessive traits can make dogs more likely to get genetic conditions like health issues.


Gray German Shepherds are different from silver, black, or blue ones. They have dark coats that look like a wolf’s. This coloring is called “wolf-gray.”

Gray German Shepard dogs are a type of sable. That means the gray color is one of the six colors recognized in their breed standard. But it can also be found in a different gene called Agouti.

If a dog inherits one of the dominant genes, breeding for specific colors can be more difficult. But if a dog inherits two copies of the gene, it is easier to get those colors.

Many gray German Shepherds also don’t have any black coloration. They are different than the sable, which usually has black tips to their hair. Gray German Shepherds aren’t as rare as other colors like Isabella or blue. But they’re uncommon, and you might not find one for adoption. Some breeders can even produce these dogs in this unusual color, but they’re still unique.


Silver and gray are both colors. But they are made by the same genes.

Finding a breeder specializing in silver German Shepherds is easier than finding one for grey dogs.

There are not a lot of GSDs with silver color. The reason might be that it is a recessive gene and a rare silver sable German Shepherd. Still, they usually have patterned coats, so they are considered sables and not silvers.

Silver German Shepherds are not as common in the show ring. The preference is for stronger and more vibrant colors, but they can often be seen in a military or police job.

Black and Red

I grew up liking the Red Setter. But I also like the look of a black and red GSD. Reds have a rich color, and they often have some black on them and a saddleback like other colors.

The color red is the result of the gene called pheomelanin. There are many shades of red, from strawberry blonde to deep mahogany; German Shepherd breeders prefer dogs with black and red coats over other colors.

Black and red both come from dominant genes. This is easier to do because many breeders mix these two colors.


A sable is a German Shepherd that has black tips on each hair. This color can be black, gray, red, silver, or tan, also known as Agouti.

Agouti is a type of coloring found in other dogs, like the Agouti Husky. In Agouti coloring, each hair has many bands of brown and black. Some people thought German Shepherds should only have this color because it looks like a wolf.

Puppies start as black and tan or all-black. As they grow, their coloring changes. Some puppies take up to three years to develop their final coloring.

Each sable German Shepherd is different. The color and pattern vary, but they are still beautiful dogs. The dominant color of the sable is easy to breed for. Breed a German Shepherd with the dominant sable color with any other color. Your offspring will likely have the same type of coloring as well.

Black and Silver

A black and silver German Shepherd has a silver saddle across its back. Sometimes the pattern can be different, but it is usually black and silver.

The silver GSD is not common in the show ring. It mainly lives in working dog lines. The black and silver coloration only shows when the recessive intensity suppression gene is present. These colors are not seen at night, so it’s best to walk your dog on a light-up collar at night or in the evening.


Bicolor German Shepherds look primarily black, and they have to have black parts. Their paws can be different colors, but the back and legs must be black.

Some people think that bicolor is not a color, but the AKC accepts bicolor as a recessive color. Bicolor dogs are primarily found in working lines.

Black and Cream

The last color on the list is black and cream. They have a lighter version of the common red and tan coloring. Some people don’t want them to show in the ring because they want darker dogs with light cream colors. The color doesn’t change their character. Black and cream German Shepherds excel in obedience, nose work, rally, and agility, just as well as their dark brown or black cousins with yellow markings.


Panda German Shepherd dogs are similar to Border Collies. Franka von Phenom, created by Lewcinka, was the first Panda GDS. Some people said she wasn’t a purebred German Shepherd, but her DNA proved them wrong. But the colorations of the Panda GDS remain unrecognized by some kennel clubs and breeders.

A rare genetic mutation gives rise to the Panda GDS. Due to the piebald gene, up to 40% of a dog’s body can be white. On the other hand, the Panda GDS is descended from no white German Shepherds.

The AKC does not recognize Panda-colored German Shepherds. But they are still popular.

Unfortunately, this makes the price of the puppy go up. Some people only breed puppies with rare colors instead of looking for healthy ones. So make sure you get a puppy from a good breeder.


Albino German Shepherds are very rare. Many people who say they own them do not have albinism. If you look closely, the albino shepherd should have no pigmentation in its skin, hair, or eyes.

You can tell if a German Shepherd has albinism by looking at its eyes and nose. The white German Shepherd has brown eyes, but dogs with albinism always have red or pink eyes. An albino (white GSD) might also need to avoid sun exposure because its skin is sensitive.

The Bottom Line

When you pick a German Shepherd, ensure it has good color and is healthy. If the dog has poor health, the color will not matter. It’s not a good thing to have a dog with bad health.

Frequently Asked Questions About German Shepherds Black and White

What is the rarest color of the German Shepherd?

German Shepherds are of different colors. Isabella’s rarest color has a recessive combination of liver and blue.

What is the best color for a German Shepherd?

The show ring’s best color for a German Shepherd is black and tan, followed by sable.

What is the original color of a German Shepherd?

German Shepherd dogs were once bred as working dogs. A long time ago, they were black and tan. Today, they are more likely to be black and white.