The Coat, Pattern, And Colors Of The German Shepherd Dog

The Coat, Pattern, And Colors Of The German Shepherd Dog

The majestic German shepherd is very recognizable.  They are a gorgeous breed that has intelligent eyes that miss nothing.  Their large pointy ears are even more alert and can hear the slightest sound.  They are athletic, agile, and their form is easy to identify, no matter the color of their beautiful coat.

German Shepherd Coat Types

German shepherds have a double coat in medium length.  Their fur is thick and sits close to the body. Some dogs may have more wiry fur, while others have a soft a wavy coat.  German shepherds can also have a longer, silky coat.  According to the AKC, faults in the coat include, “soft, silky, too long outer coat, woolly, curly, and open coat.”

Many owners are avid fan of long hair or coated German shepherds.  While a standard coat is shorter, long coats have longer fur that is somewhat wavy.  The fur is caused by a recessive gene and one must carry the gene to produce a long haired puppy.

Long haired German shepherds have a thicker top coat and thinner undercoat than standard coated dogs, but they do have an undercoat.  They can be recognized by their longer wavy fur, thicker mane-like fur around the neck, with longer tufts of fur around their ears and legs.  Some are silkier, and softer in appearance while others are bushier and have thicker tails.

You will hear long haired German Shepherds are also called plushies, coaties, coated, long coat, long stock hair, long stock coat, and long stock hair, and long stock hair with undercoat.

Colors of the German Shepherd:

German shepherds come in many colors.  According to the breed standard, dark, rich colors are more desirable than pale washed out colors in the show ring.  Their muzzle should also be predominately black.  Although some breeders deliberately produce pretty dogs in shades of liver or blue, the colors are considered a fault by the AKC standard.  White German shepherds, while gorgeous, “must be disqualified” from the show ring.

The different colors of the German shepherd coat include:

Solid black

A stunning solid black German shepherd may have a few red or tan hairs on their toes or a small white patch on their chest.  They should not be confused with a bi-color shepherd.

Black and red

Black and red German shepherds can come in saddle, blanket, or bi-color.   They are noted by their deep, rich red pigment rather than tan.

Black and tan

Black and tan shepherds are probably the most popular.  They come in saddle, blanket, bi-color or sable.  The tan can be very pale, almost silver, or more red hued. 

Black and silver

A black and silver shepherd is black with very pale creaming tan that looks light silvery blond.  The contrast in colors is dramatic and they come in sable, blanket, saddle or bi-color.

Red and black sable

A sable with rich red and black fur.

Tan and black sable

A sable with tan and black fur.

Silver and black sable

Light to dark silver or gray fur with black.


Solid brown German shepherd identified by its brown nose, rather than black.  Not a breed standard.

Liver and tan

Tan that liver rather than black markings on a blanket, saddle, or bi color patterns.  They may also have lighter or amber eyes.  Not a breed standard.

Steel blue

Blue, gray fur identified by their gray, blue eyes rather than brown, black.  Not a breed standard.

Steel blue and tan

Tan with blue rather than black markings on a blanket, saddle, or bi color.

Golden tan

Solid tan shepherd with a dark muzzle and black nose.


A solid white German shepherd is not an albino.  There white coat is caused by a recessive gene and they have dark eyes and a black nose.


Black, white and brown shepherd that contains a gene mutation.  According to UC Davis, “the panda pattern is characterized by symmetrical markings of white forelock, muzzle, chest, ventral abdomen, collar, and tip of the tail.”

German Shepherd Coat Patterns

German shepherds come in several different coat patterns.  These coat patterns include:

  • Solid -solid black.
  • Bi-color-predominately solid black with tan or red on their feet. Their heels should be black or tarheel. They may have trace amounts of tan or red on their ears or face.
  • Blanket back-has a black ‘blanket’ that reaches to about the knees. The lower leg and stomach are usually tan or red.
  • Saddle back-has a black saddle from the shoulders to the rear and the chest, hips and legs are tan or red.
  • Sable-each individual hair is two-toned or banded with black tips. They can range from light to dark and include black, silver, gray, tan and red.
We hope that you enjoyed these German shepherd coat descriptions.  Please feel free to share with your family and friends.

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