German Shepherd Coat Types and Colors Chart

German Shepherd Coat Types and Colors

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It is no wonder German Shepherds are such admired and beloved animals. From household pets to police dogs to loyal companions they are amazing creatures. But their lovable, courageous personality is not the only thing dog lovers admire. If you take the time to look, you will notice just how gorgeous their pelts are. There are various German Shepherd coat types and colors. Like the saying goes, “No two snowflakes are alike.” The same can be said for these dogs.

German Shepherd Coat Types

Each German Shepherd has their own unique colored fur and slightly different patterns. There are an array of coat types and dozens of colors associated with GSD’s coats. But no matter what they look like or what flaws they may have, German Shepherds are loved, no matter what.

They can range from the more common short or medium-length pelt with smooth, soft fur to the occasional long-hair coat. Some can be solid, have a blanket or saddle back or a sable coat. Below are some specific German Shepherd coat types that they can have:

Short Coat (Stock)

GSD With Short Hair Coat Type

This coat is short and great for working dogs who need clear vision and less interference when on the run.

Similar working dogs with short coats include the Belgian Malanois and Dutch Shepherd.

This coat requires less grooming then over coat types making it easier to comb. You don’t have to worry about shedding with this dog as much as the medium and long coats.

This pelt type is short with an undercoat (the thicker, under layer). The top coat is called the surface coat which is also known as the guard coat. The length of this pelt type is around one inch long.

Medium Coat (Plush)

GSD Medium Hair Plush Coat Type

This coat is much fuller and plush than the short coat. This ultra soft pelt is what makes the German Shepherd so cozy and cuddly, making it very popular when it comes to families.

It is also preferred and revered when it comes to show dogs.

This particular pelt type is often the most common and popular out of the three. It is medium-length and considered the breed standard by the American Kennel Club.

These coats are normally one to two inches long. These dogs are also double coated. Similar to the short-haired GSD, they have an outer and an undercoat.

Long Coat

GSD With Long Hair Coat Type

German Shepherds with long coats do the best in winter time. The extra long hair helps this breed stay warm during the cold months.

Long tufts of hair featured along their body such as their tail, ears, or legs, help to keep them warm as well. The outer coat is soft and might not have an undercoat at all.

It just depends on each individual dog and their heritage. But like the short-haired GSD do have a double coat. When the undercoat is present, their topcoat (the highest layer) is heavier then the undercoat (made to help keep them warm in the harsh cold). Coat lengths vary from two inches long and up.

German Shepherd Coat Colors

When we think of the dog breed German Shepherd, the color we often first associate them with is black and tan. But in reality their are dozens of different colors they can be. There are also unique and rare patterns such as Panda German Shepherds, and uncommon colors you may have never thought a GSD could be such as red or pure white.

Black and Tan

German Shepherd Black and Tan

This combination of colors is the most common on a German Shepherd. It is what we often see in photos and how we imagine them. These colors can often lighten as the dog gets older. When they are first born they often have more black covering their pelts.

Adult German Shepherds have about an equal amount of both colors. The black is on the top of the back while also on their noses and parts of the face and ears. The brown is on the bottom and on their face, legs, neck and tail. In some cases they can even develop a grey strip that runs along their backs. This is more common with females.

Black and Silver

GSD Black and Silver

This shade color of dog almost gives off a smoky appearance with it’s grayish-white and black coat. Their backsides are black while their stomach and feet are mostly silver. With this coloring there can be stripe like patterns that fade along their face or around their upper stomach.

Their tails can be either both colors or mostly silver. The top is usually black which is referred to as the ‘saddle’ (darker colored fur along the back).


German Shepherd Black

Labradors or Newfoundlands are normally the dogs breeds we often think of when it comes to having all black fur. But a few German Shepherds can in fact have a full solid black pelt.

This color breed is rare and you do not see them around very often. They also tend to be larger in size and therefore more powerful. A recessive gene (masked by a dominant gene) is what gives this dog it’s full black coat.

Black and Red

GSD Black and Red

These two colors usually look the same on a German Shepherd as the black and tan does (same pattern). Shades of red can be more of a rusty color, orange, or a deep red.

Both these colors (black and red) are produced because of a dominant gene (making the effect recessive). This color combination is often favored among breeders for its gorgeous coat shades.


German Shepherd Bi-Color Black

Bi-Color German Shepherds are sometimes referred to as “All Black.” Though their paws and lower feet can sometimes be a different color such as brown. Their are multiple bi-colors variants. The first is Rich Bi-color which means they have another color along their legs and face.

Black Bi-color Melanistic is when their paws and legs are brown. And finally Faded Bi-color which is when they have the most brown which fades into the black. This brown color can be seen on their paws, legs, chests, faces, and at times tails.


GSD Sable

Sable is more of a color pattern then an actual color. But Sable can come in many different shades including black, fawn, brown, silver, tan and about any other color you can think of that German Shepherd coats may have. This coloring can change throughout a dog’s life.

Sable is a dominant color and is unique and beautiful. Sable often means that, although the rest of the hair is a different color, each fur will have a black tip. Although in some rare cases they can have black over their entire body.

A Sable GSD usually has dark, black eyes as most German Shepherds do. The most common colors for Sable are black, brown, and even silver. In rarer cases they can be red which are usually covered with a layer of black hairs.


German Shepherd Panda

This rare piebald pattern adorning a GSD is a true wonder. We do not see Panda German Shepherds often and when we do we may not realize what type of dog breed they are. This dog’s pattern could resemble a calico cat.

This pattern is formed because of genetic mutation that causes the dog to be 35% white. It occurs when crossbreeding a black and tan dog with another dog of solid color. It is no surprise these dogs are popular and beloved.


GSD Blue

These German Shepherds can at times remind us of wolves with their black-blue tinted fur, especially if they have longer fur. Their noses are usually bluish. They are quite beautiful and because of their blue fur usually have lighter colored eyes such as gold or amber.

This blue color can also be called a shade of grey such as steel or silver. These dogs are very popular because of their lovely coats. Their can also be different color combinations associated with this color including Blue and Sable, Blue and Tan, and Blue and Black.


German Shepherd Liver

Similar to the Red German Shepherd this dog has a reddish pelt, almost strawberry blonde or light brown. A unique feature involving a Liver German Shepherd is their noses which tend to be pink or brown. This is unlike darker German Shepherds who have black noses.

They can have color combinations such as Liver and White and Liver and Tan. This coloring is due to a recessive gene. This dog often has amber or golden eyes because of their lighter fur tones. Liver German Shepherds are one of the rarest colors and these dogs are difficult to find.


GSD White Color Grass

Bolt, the main character in the beloved Disney movie, is an example of an all white German Shepherd puppy. With their erect ears and body type they can be compared to the White Belgian Malanois.

This pale dog is white because of its recessive gene. These dogs often have dark brown eyes. Their color is considered a fault and not recognized as an official type of German Shepherd.

Rare Colors

Have you ever seen a dog that’s coloring shocked you with their unusual appearance? There are all kinds of strange color combinations. Being rare often means they are more expensive and are a top choice for dog breeders around the world.


Many may be uncertain of the difference between a White German Shepherd and an Albino German Shepherd. Albino dogs have to do with loss of pigment, which is a result of cells unable to produce melanin (brown or black pigment occurring in hair).

This lack of pigment not only includes skin and fur but eyes as well as blood vessels (resulting in a pinkish-color). If you have or know of an Albino German Shepherd they may have issues and health problems. These dogs are incredibly rare yet beautiful creatures.


Isabella German Shepherds are something you will rarely ever see in your lifetime. This stunning color variation consists of Liver and Blue (colors explained above). These odd dogs often times have different colored eyes such as greenish-gold or light blue, and noses that you would not normally expect. An Isabella’s nose can be most any color, ranging from black to pink.

Which Coat is The Best?

Every type of coat length from short to long has their advantages and positives. For example some owners prefer long because they like to travel in harsh snowy environments and longer fur so that they can cuddle with their soft pets.

While other handlers like short haired dogs for racing and so that they don’t have to worry about grooming as much. But in most cases the medium-coat is the most desirable. More specifically with the double coat. The medium-coat is not too long so that it requires lots of grooming and money but not so short that the hair is wiry, rougher, and not as soft.

Medium-coats are ‘just right’ as the saying goes from ‘Goldie Locks and the Three Bears’. The dense outer coat also helps to protect them from both cold and warmer temperatures.


There are so many wonderful German Shepherd coat types and colors. These tones and fur lengths make them special in their own ways. German Shepherds luscious coats are one of the many traits that make them so beautiful. If you have this breed of dog as your own then you are aware of their true beauty: inside and out.

Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

What is your favorite out of all the German Shepherd coat types? What is your favorite color and why? Let us know! We would love to hear about your story!


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