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There are a few desired colors of the German Shepherd Dog, that include: black, tan and red. According to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America the coat color may vary although strong rich colors are preferred. Pale, washed-out off-colors and blues or livers are serious faults. A white dog must be disqualified.

Black and Red colors are seen most common in Showlines, with Saddle or Blanket Back Pattern.

Black and Tan and Sable are seen mostly in Working Lines.

Solid black dog with classic recessive black genetics is typically a working line, there are however, Solid Black dogs with dominant black genetics seen in Show line.




When you think of a black and tan, or red this would usually describe a dog that has a black saddle and the majority of the rest of his coat color is tan, crèam, silver, or red. This would be the most common color of this breed. Most of the time this is the type of dog that you would see in the movies or television or even the advertising of this breed. I would venture to say that b-tmore dogs of this color than any other color of this breed does the most winning in the conformation shows. In fact some judges have a hard time putting up some dogs of other colors like the black dog, the bi-color or even the sable dog. For some of them, this is not a color that they prefer. That’s why it’s very important to find out what a certain judge may like before you enter the ring. Of course the best structured dog with the most desirable temperament should be the dog that wins. However, it is a known fact that some judges just do not favor other coat colors besides the black and tan variation.

West German Show Line

The blanket type of coat is where the saddle part of the dog extends approximately to the elbow of the dog. This gives the dog more of a blanket look on his back than a saddle look


The bi-color is when the saddle part of the dog covers most of the body leaving markings on the feet and sometimes on the face like having eyebrows.

The totally black dog is exactly what it sounds like. There are no tan markings on this dog. However, sometimes this dog may appear to have a reddish undercoat. Most of the time that is due to the dog being out in the sun too long. Also I have seen a totally black dog have a white splash on their chest. The solid black is a recessive gene meaning that both parents must carry this color gene.


The sable/gray coat looks very similar to the coat you would expect to see on the wolf. Even with a sable, you can see variances in the color of the pigment. Sometimes you will hear people say they own a red sable. Sometimes you will hear them say that they own a gray. The hairs on a sable dog refer to the banding of color on the dog’s individual hairs. The dog’s hair is tipped with varying amounts of black on the ends with the rest being different shades of red, gray, etc. So you can find black sables, tan sables silver sables or red sables. This is how much the coat of a sable can vary.

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