Sable German Shepherd: Incredible Coloring That Reminds You of a Wolf

The Sable German Shepherd is a unique breed of dog that is notable for its coloring. It is known that this breed has ancient genes similar to the first sheepdogs and their ancestor the wolf.

However, many people ask many interesting questions about this special breed of dog. Some of them include questions about whether their special genes only affect the coloring of the coat or whether it also affects maintenance and character.

Let’s get to the bottom of this gene question. But first, let’s see what sable German Shepherds they are.

Incredible Coloring that reminds you of a wolf

Description of the Sable German Shepherd Dog

It should be remembered that pedigree sable German Shepherds have always been exclusively purebred, which is explained by the complete absence of blood infusion of any other breeds in breeding.

It is for this reason that the appearance of sable German Shepherd dogs with an unusual black color, which is steadily transmitted through the next generations, still causes numerous disputes and quite serious doubts among some specialists and even experienced dog breeders.

It is possible to explain this variant of inheritance only by the presence of a dominant gene, which, in principle, should be absent in all purebred German Shepherds.

Dimensions and weight of a German Shepherd dog

Adult females reach a height of 21 to 23 inches at the withers, and weigh, as a rule, 66-70 pounds. Males are larger: their height is from 23 to 25 inches, and their weight is up 30 to 92 pounds.

Sable German Shepherd muzzle close up

Breed Standards of sable German Shepherd puppy

All standards should be as close as possible to the parameters given for the sable German Shepherd breed:

headwedge-shaped, of moderate width; the frontal area is slightly convex, without the presence of a groove or with a small degree of its severity; the skull gradually tapers from the ear area to the tip of the nose, with a noticeable, but not too sharp transition to the muzzle area
teeththe presence of highly developed jaws, powerful, with a formula of 42 teeth and a scissor bite;
nosethe nasal back is straight; the nose lobe is black;
lipsdry, dark in color, tightly fitting;
eyesdark, almond-shaped, with a slightly oblique set;
earserect, vertically arranged, directed in one direction and the shell forward;
neckstrong, having developed muscles, without the presence of skin or fat suspension in the throat;
backthe back line is smooth and sloping; the croup is long and slightly sloping, passing into the tail base;
tailno longer than the middle of the metatarsal, reaching to the hock joint, always held with a smoothly hanging and noticeable bend;
forelimbswith parallel postage, straight;
shouldersshoulders and shoulder blades of the forelimbs have equal length and are adjacent to the body part; articulation angles within 90-110°; the forearm area has developed and pronounced musculature; pasterns equal to about a third of the length of the forearm and forming a standard angle with it of no more than 20-22 °;
hind limbsslightly set back, but parallel, with powerful hips and shins having approximately the same length and forming an angle of about 120 °; hock joints are pronounced, strong enough, with metatarsals located vertically under the joints;
pawsrounded, collected in noticeably stiff pads, with strong claws of dark coloring.

Ideally, the entire coat of a German Shepherds dog should have a dense undercoat, while the hair should be dense and rigid. In the area of the head, on the front of the limbs, fingers and paws, the coat is always short, and in the cervical region, the coat is slightly longer and slightly denser.

Sable German Shepherd at home

The character of sable German Shepherd

The character of the sable German Shepherd is calm and balanced. The dog is tied to one person and hard to bear separation from the owner.

It has protective qualities: and strangers react warily, but does not show much aggression. In case of danger, it will always protect the owner, even if the dog’s own life is at risk.

Loyal to other representatives of the animal world. This breed can be safely started by those who have cats or other small dogs. But at the same time, do not forget about the socialization of the animal.

German Shepherds love children. They are not only not aggressive towards babies, but also take care hem from any dangers.

Sable German Shepherd Genes and Appearance

Dogs of the Sable German Shepherd breed are quite rare, only 3% of regular German Shepherd puppies get an unusual black coat at birth, but this color in a puppy may well be deceptive.

The final formation of the coat color in dogs of this breed occurs only at about two months of age, but even the offspring of two completely black pets may well receive a traditional black shade, which is due to the standard of the sable German Shepherd.

Currently, the rare and original appearance, represented by black coat, has become especially popular with professional breeders and even fans of the sable German Shepherd breed, so the number of those wishing to purchase sable German Shepherd puppies is becoming more and more every year.

Agouti gene coloring GSD puppies

Agouti gene coloring

Sable German Shepherds have a color similar to wolf coat. This is due to the agouti gene, which is a recessive gene for German Shepherds.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to take into account the fact that the predominance of the black color in the breed is just a kind of tribute to the exhibition requirements, which are focused primarily on the long-established breed standard.

In most breeds, eumelanic coat color (sometimesdescribed as ‘‘self’’-coloration) is thought to bedominantly inherited, as in the Labrador Grey-hound cross. In a few breeds, however, a uniformblack appearance can be inherited as a recessive trait. This has been most clearly documented for German Shepherd Dogs, in which black progeny may beproduced from two sable, saddle-colored, or black-and-tan parents, with a distribution ratio of 1:3 forblack vs. nonblack offspring (Carver 1984).

Characterization of the dog Agouti gene and a nonagoutimutation in German Shepherd Dogs

How did the color appear sable puppy?

To breed a purebred representative of the suit, it is important to prepare in advance. To choose a male of a black German Shepherd, it is necessary to study his pedigree, look at photos in order to determine the physiological characteristics of the offspring as much as possible (i.e. to choose a phenotype). It is not necessary to knit individuals of obviously different sizes.

This can lead to a disproportionate physique in future children (for example, a large head combined with a small body, etc.). It is also important to take into account age. If you knit a too young black bitch with a sufficiently adult male, then there is a great risk that the offspring will turn out to be “defective”.

If the girl of the black German Shepherd will not give birth for the first time, it is necessary to pay attention to earlier offspring. This also applies to males. This will determine which trait is inherited by children. The dominant coat color, often, will be in female German Shepherds,in male dogs it is reciprocal.

Sable German Shepherd Puppies

A standard German Shepherd with a sable color, as a rule, appears from a mixture of two black parents, but sometimes there are exceptions, for example, the black male German Shepherds are crossed with brown ones, as a result of which black ones appear in the German Shepherd litters.

Gray German Shepherds, pure black German Shepherds, white German Shepherds, red dogs, and other colors of the German Shepherd are beautiful, but the sable coloring is the most attractive.

Also, because of their color, sable dogs often appear at dog shows. Among the German Shepherd colors, the sable coloring is considered the most popular, it is also noted by German shepherd breeders.

Care and Hygiene of Sable German Shepherd

Grooming involves regular combing with a regular fluffer or using a rake brush a couple of times a week. During the molting period, combing is performed more often. The ears are treated with a dry sponge or a sanitary napkin.

The presence of strong inflammatory processes is indicated by dark discharge and discomfort. The eyes do not need special care, but it is important to monitor their condition in order to prevent the development of inflammatory processes. Healthy eyes are clean, without secretions.

Teeth cleaning is carried out by regular issuance of special bones containing chlorophyll or fluoride, as well as veterinary pastes and brushes. It is necessary to take timely measures to combat ectoparasites in the form of ticks and fleas by treating with special preparations or using a flea or tick collar.

Deworming of adult individuals is performed every three months by “Cestal Plus”, “Drontal Plus”, “Kanikvantel” or “Azinox”. Vaccination of the sable German Shepherd is carried out in accordance with the standard scheme.

Life expectancy of German Shepherds

The sable German Shepherd quite deservedly belongs to the category of fairly large dogs, so most often the life expectancy of representatives of this breed does not exceed twelve years.

Sable German Shepherd on a walk

Maintenance of a Sable German Shepherd

In the process of care and maintenance, sable German Shepherds are completely capricious, but they will require compliance with certain rules, which is due to some features of the wool color of such pets. A sable German Shepherd of this breed is set up for active walks lasting about two hours a day, sufficient training and systematic long walks in natural conditions.

The diet of the sable German Shepherds

A third of the food ration should be represented by sources of animal protein. For this purpose, it is best to use lean meat in the form of beef, horse meat, lean lamb, as well as various offal. The diet should be diversified with vegetable and grain crops in the form of cereals, but the most acceptable option is to use ready-made diets in the form of premium factory feed or holistic.

In general, you should not feed your dog from the dinner table or offer food designed for humans because many foods can be unsafe or poisonous to animals, and can cause a variety of health problems, as well as lead to bad behaviours. Keep your best friend safe!

Hastings Veterinary Hospital

Diseases and breed defects of sable German Shepherd

Harmful signs and diseases, the nature of inheritance of which could not be sufficiently studied, are presented:

  • cryptorchidism in the form of an anomaly of testicular development in males, expressed in the non-omission of two or one testis inside the scrotum;
  • hip dysplasia in the form of an often hereditary disease characterized by the presence of congenital dislocation of the head on the femur;
  • elbow dysplasia in the form of arthrosis;
  • dwarfism in the form of dysfunction of some endocrine glands;
  • hemophilia in the form of disorders of blood clotting processes; inflammation of tubular bones;
  • intervertebral disc prolapse;
  • color inflammation of the cornea;
  • abnormalities or dysfunctions of the esophagus; deformity of the tail vertebrae.

Any pronounced deviations from the established standards can be regarded as breed defects or disqualifying signs.

Sable German Shepherd Sitting

Education and training of a sable German Shepherd

Sable German Shepherds have an excellent memory, so in the process of upbringing and training, you can not punish the dog unnecessarily and raise your hand to her. Improper training may well turn into unmotivated aggression on the part of a pet or cowardice of an animal.

From the very first month of life, the German Shepherd must learn his nickname and the command “To the place”. Then the pet should be trained to execute the commands “To me” and “Next to me”. Also, the most basic commands include “Stand” and “Sit”, “Lie down” and “Aport”. Among other things, depending on the purposes of using the dog, it should be trained in a number of special commands.

Research by the award-winning Stanley Coren (USA), Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia – and the polling of 200 professional dog obedience judges – has revealed that the most intelligent of all dog breeds is the border collie, followed by the poodle and German Shepherd. At the bottom of the list is the Afghan hound. Dogs at the top end of Prof. Coren’s scale proved particularly intelligent and even understand a “vocabulary” of 250 words – equivalent to a human child of two!

Guinness World Records

A walk with a German Shepherd

A sable German Shepherd should walk outside every day for at least two hours. Usually this time is divided into two walks: morning and evening. You can play with it or train and consolidate the studied commands. hile walking, strengthen your back legs with special exercises. This is an excellent prevention of many diseases related to weakness of the back legs.

You do not need to give the dog anything to eat from the ground and make sure that it does not get hurt. Do not allow her to come into contact with stray stray dogs, because they are often carriers of various diseases. If a black quadrupedal lives in an aviary and has independent free access to the house territory, this does not cancel regular and long walks with him.

Buying a Sable German Shepherd Puppy

Sable puppies may well appear in the litter not only in pure black, but also in reddish-brown parents of the German Shepherd breed, therefore the use of a dog breeds in mating does not guarantee one hundred percent the birth of puppies with a rare black coat. As a result of many years of careful culling of the black

German Shepherd, an extremely rare percentage of the manifestation of such a recessive gene has been formed in many domestic and foreign kennels. To purchase a German Shepherd puppy with a rare black color is a rather difficult task, but quite feasible.

Special attention should be paid to litters that have a large number of exclusively black puppies, which is a certain guarantee of the acquisition of purebred representatives of the German Shepherd exactly the right color of the coat. The price of black puppies is an order of magnitude higher than the cost of tribesmen of traditional color.

Sable German Shepherd puppy and adult

How much do sable German Shepherds cost?

Sable German Shepherds are more expensive than ordinary German Shepherd dogs. These representatives owe this price to their color. Their black coat becomes their feature that attracts many people.

Currently, it is not a problem to find a sable German Shepherd puppies, usually there are several representatives of this type of German Shepherd dogs in large reserves and nurseries. The price can reach up to 2500 thousand dollars in expensive kennels, but the average check for a sable German Shepherd does not exceed 1000 dollars.

Shopping list for a puppy

To understand the cost of keeping a puppy, check out the Cost of Keeping table in this post. These prices are approximate for any breed.

Owner Reviews

According to breeders and many owners of sable German Shepherd puppy, such dogs differ markedly from their counterparts in their pronounced temperament, but most often they are smaller, very active and more mobile. It is for this reason that such pets are extremely rarely purchased for an exhibition career or for the purpose of purebred breeding, but they are actively used as partner dogs or guide dogs, as well as pets that perfectly manifest themselves in the conditions of police or military service.

A well-bred sable German Shepherd puppy is almost universal. This breed is great as a companion dog, security and protective, as well as a detective, guard or service dog. According to the owners and experts, the black German Shepherd can be successfully used even in the conditions of modern animal husbandry, performing traditional herding functions.

More often than most representatives of other breeds, German Shepherds are used in modern army service, in the protection of state borders. Among other things, a properly trained dog gets along well even with small children.

Pros and cons of the breed

high intelligence;large size (but there are problems with mini GDS too);
good attitude to children and other pets;strong dog smell;
easy to train, so it is widely used in training;loud barking (that can be fixed, check out our post);
rare and unique color;the price may be inflated

The Sable German Shepherd is a smart, beautiful and unique animal. Because of the unusual color, this species is in demand among dog breeders. In addition to their unique appearance, they can boast of a wonderful character, easy learning, dedication and low aggression. Breeders are actively working to increase the number of dogs with this color.

Sable German Shepherd puppies playing with a ball

Breed marriage of German Shepherd dog

Representatives of black dogs with the following obvious signs do not fit under the pure “standard”:

  • light spots on the chest or elsewhere;
  • wavy hair;
  • not brown eyes;
  • white color.

What is the difference between sable and black-and-tan German Shepherds?

The main difference between the two types of German Shepherds is the color. It is barely distinguishable, but if you look closely, you can see the difference. There is also a difference in the genetic codes of coloring. Otherwise, predisposition to hip and elbow dysplasia, other diseases, behavior will be exactly the same.

Many mistakenly believe that silver sable German Shepherds have a more moral and rude dog’s temperament than others, but this is not the case. This species, as well as the others, are good in the form of a working dog. Working animals such as golden retrievers, German Shepherds should do too much exercise, color does not affect it in any way, only genetic features.

Long-haired German Shepherd dog

It can be pure black, fluffy, with a weakly expressed undercoat and protruding fur on the ears, tail. She looks incredibly impressive. A long-haired representative of the black suit is born even to smooth-haired parents. They shed more, so they require regular combing.

Shorthair German Shepherd dog

The black shorthair Shepherd has denser hair. The advantage of shorthair is that they shed much less often and less. But they also require combing.

What is the rarest kind of German Shepherd?

If you delve into genetics and mutations, then all the “types” of the German Shepherds differ only in color, which is a genetic mutation. But it is precisely because of their mutations that such species are of the greatest interest to people. So what is the rarest color of German Shepherds?

Zonal. It is considered a rare type. Only 5% of “Germans” have such a suit. The color arises from an interesting coat color: at the base it is light, then dark, then yellow, and at the tips black. The zonal suit is also called wolf, gray, gray or agouti. The muzzle, back and tail are most intensely colored. Saturation weakens from the sides and on the paws. Any shades are acceptable from rich brown to light yellow.

Sable German Shepherd FAQ

In addition to the frequently asked questions, watch this video by German Shepherd Dad:

What does a sable German Shepherd mean?

If a German Shepherd dog is called a sable, it refers to its special coat color. Each hair has two colors, a light root and a dark tip. This gives the coat a very beautiful noble shimmer.

What is the difference between a sable German Shepherd and a German Shepherd?

There are no significant differences between an ordinary German Shepherd and a Sable, essentially they are the same breed, but with a different coat color.
Sable color means a gradual gray shade of coat.

Why do police use sable German Shepherds?

Like other shepherds, the Sable German Shepherd is an excellent service dog. They are intelligent, have a good memory and are willing to protect their owner even at the cost of their own lives. This is why the Sable German Shepherd often serves in the police and rescue service.

A German Shepherd dog walking


The German Shepherd dog breed has been considered one of their most popular since ancient times. Sable German Shepherd breeders note that recently the demand for sable color has increased, this is due to the fact that their unusual color attracts people more and more, but not only color attracts people.

Many dog breeds are trying to match the popularity of the sable dog, but German Shepherd dog colors are so beautiful that no one can compare with them.

The American Kennel Club believes that in a few years this species will become more popular than other German Shepherds. Also, the American Kennel Club notes that the sable shepherd has a lower percentage of destructive behavior than other dogs.

Also, due to the fact that this species belongs to large dog breeds, they make good police dogs, unlike other dogs of German Shepherds.

Malena Parker

I run this blog and I want to share with you useful information about the life, health, and care of a German Shepherd

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