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Have you ever wondered why the German shepherd dog, commonly known as GSDs, stands out in the lead of dog royalty?

German Shepherds are famous for their personality, including loyalty, bravery, intelligence, and confidence. That is why GSDs are ranked as the second most popular dog breed globally, as well as in the AKC breed popularity ranking. In addition, German shepherds are defined by their large built, agility, and availability in a variety of colors.

If you are looking for German shepherd colors in the choice for a family pet, trust me you are not lost. All the information you are looking for is here, including the color charts, color change, and the frequently asked questions (FAQs) section.

German Shepherd Colors

Like many other dog breeds out there, German shepherd dogs are available in a range of coat colors which make them adorable from first sight. And while some are incredibly striking, they are termed out as faults and are unacceptable in leading kennel clubs.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer a canine buddy with an attractive coat and a unique color. Regardless, however, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the coat colors that are recognized by the major kennel clubs and those that meet the dog breed requirements.

The German shepherd dog (GSD) is also known as the Alsatian wolf dog, Schaferhund, Alsatian, Berger Allemande, and Deutscher Schaferhunde. The most common and recognized German shepherd colors include:

  1. Black and Tan
  2. Black and Red
  3. Black
  4. Black and Silver
  5. Bicolor
  6. Black and Cream
  7. Gray 
  8. Liver
  9. Blue
  10. White
  11. Sable

Other German shepherd colors that are considered a fault by key kennel clubs include Red Sable and Panda.

In this article, we shall look at the first four in the recognized German shepherd colors.

German Shepherd Color Charts

Check out these color charts for German shepherds:

German Shepherd Black and Tan

The German shepherd with the black and tan color is the most common of dog breed out there. In fact, it is the image that flashes across your mind when a GSD is mentioned somewhere. The black and tan color is a result of a recessive gene.

While the tan color appears on their necks, chest, sides, and under the belly, the black coloration is visible on the saddle and sometimes on the dog’s face like a mask. During their puppyhood, German shepherds appear blacker than tan until they are 2-3 years old and their adulthood coat appears.

German Shepherd Red and Black

Yet another common color in German shepherds, the red and black (or black and red) features in most dog shows. These canines feature a similar color pattern as the black and tan German shepherds, with the tan parts replaced by a red or a strawberry pale at times.

The black color appears on the face and saddle while their necks, underbellies, and sides have a red color.

German Shepherd Black and Silver

Also known to as silver GSDs, the black and silver German shepherd are by far the least common hues for a German shepherd dog. The black color is visible on the dog’s saddle and face while the silver color dominates its side and underbelly.

This German shepherd color is said to originate from the working bloodlines and their light color limits them from taking part in dog shows. While many speculations surround the black and silver German shepherd dog, it is linked to a recessive gene.

German Shepherd Black

As you can imagine, the name must originate from its dense black color. The black German shepherd dog is recognized as a purebred by the AKC with similar origins as the others. However, they are rare to find which makes them come with a high price tag.

A puppy with this solid black color has either both parents as black or tan and black colors. Like many others, this color is also a recessive gene.

German Shepherd Color Change

Unlike most breeds, German shepherds are amongst the few dog breeds with a special and unique trait where pups change colors as they develop into adults. The major challenge with this attribute is that it makes it harder for prospective German shepherd owners in search of a specific color combination.

The color change happens from birth until they are 2 to 3 years old, and it is intense during their first 8 weeks. This is also accompanied by a change in the coat’s texture as the puppy transforms and takes after the adult parents twice a year.

Interestingly, color changes can also be seen even in your German shepherd’s adulthood which is linked to aging, just like humans do. This is especially notable around their muzzle and eyes on black German shepherd dogs. Other changes include a dull coat luster but they are all-natural developments of their golden years. 


What is the rarest color of the German shepherd?

In my opinion, the rarest color of German shepherds is the liver GSD. And while it is a strikingly beautiful assortment, the existence of a recessive gene in German shepherds makes it infrequent as compared to other dog breeds.

What is the best color of a German shepherd?

Perhaps the best color of a German shepherd is black and tan color. It is the ideal representation of the German shepherd dog breed and the most common color combination available. Besides, who would not want to be associated with the second most popular breed globally!

What color is a purebred German shepherd?

A purebred German shepherd is the one that is accepted by the major kennel clubs, including black, some blue, liver-colored, and liver GSDs. The rest are not recognized as purebreds.


German shepherd dogs are adorable dogs with a range of striking colors and coats. While the major kennel clubs disregard some colors, I guess it is all about the hue that catches your eye. Whether recognized or not, GSDs make an incredible dog companion with a sweet lifespan.

My advice is, go to a scrupulous breeder when buying a German shepherd pup as it plays a significant role in your GSD’s overall health. And while color changes are natural and expected in your German shepherd pup, they might also be signs of a life-threatening health condition. So, be sure to consult with your vet.

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