German Shepherd Coat Patterns

Believe it or not, there are several German Shepherd coat patterns. More often than not most people envision the traditional black and tan, saddle back pattern dog whenever they picture the German Shepherd dog in their mind or try to describe this dog breed to someone else.



It is true, however, that the GSD does come in several colors and coat patterns. These include the following patterns: Sable, Saddle Back (and Blanket Back), Bi-Color and Solid colored.

"No good dog is a bad color" -- Max von Stephanitz (breed founder of the German Shepherd Dog)

sable GSD

Concerning coat colors the SV specifically states:

"The color of the GSD is in itself not important and has no effect on the character of the dog or on its fitness for work and should be a secondary consideration for that reason. The final color of a young dog can only be ascertained when the outer coat has developed."

Words can't always accurately explain what one picture can because sometimes terms can really confuse the issue. Because of that we'll do our best to provide photo examples of each of the German Shepherd coat patterns to make it easier for you to visualize. So here we go ...

German Shepherd Saddle Back pattern -
considered the 'classic' look

Classic GSD

German Shepherd Blanket Back pattern -
notice the extra large "saddle" that covers most of the body

German Shepherd Bi-color pattern -
notice the lighter color only on lower limbs

German Shepherd Solid pattern -
one predominant color on the entire body of the dog

white GSD jumping
Black GSD puppy

German Shepherd Sable pattern -
multi-color bands appear on each individual hair

sable GSD
sable German Shepherd puppies

Many factors such as health and temperament should always be much more important than the search for a specific coat color. Coat color should always be below structure, gait, type, and character and should never take precedence over the working or companionship abilities of the dog itself.

The color of the German Shepherd is one of the less important factors to consider whenever choosing a GSD puppy. As long as the colors are strong and well pigmented what does it really matter anyway since the dog will change in color as it matures unless it is a solid colored dog anyhow? German Shepherd coat patterns are all beautiful - remember, after all there is much more to the dog than coat color alone.



Return from German Shepherd coat patterns to GSD Breed Standard

"Like dogs in a wheel, birds in a cage, or squirrels in a chain, ambitious men still climb and climb, with great labor, and incessant anxiety, but never reach the top." - Robert Burton


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Thank you for this web site. Very informative and well written. I often advise my shepherd people to visit here for information. Again GREAT JOB. Laura Page Warden, DVM

What a fabulous website!!! I really enjoyed reading about the history of the dogs. There is a ton of helpful information on here and defiantly something for every reader to enjoy!!! Misty Weaver

Recently got a GSD again. Last time had GSD no internet etc. Cant believe how much info for free. Kenneth

I love and appreciate the helpful advice I found on your website! Rachelle


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