The Rarity of the Brindle Colored German Shepherds

photo by seo007

German Shepherds are dogs of many colors. Currently, GSDs have eleven dog kennel club-accepted coat colors. Pure white, solid blue, merle and brindle are coat colors that some regard as faults and sadly, are slowly coming to extinction.

This article will focus on Brindle-Colored German Shepherds, how the color was achieved, its history, where they can be found and why do we have fewer sightings of this coat color pattern.

What is a Brindle Colored German Shepherd?

Brindle is a coat color pattern in German Shepherds that looks like stripes on their fur or coat, along their legs.

Though the pattern is similar to tiger stripes, it appears to be more subtle and has irregular shapes and streaks of color. The color markings are usually darker or slightly lighter than the base coat. It is commonly seen as a black stripe on a reddish brown or tan base coat.

Brindle Colored German Shepherds have four different brindle color patterns depending on their dominant and recessive genes.

The Four Types of Brindle Color

Black Brindle German Shepherd

Black Brindle German Shepherds or Reverse Brindle GSDs have recessive genes of solid black, liver, light buff or blue. A Black Brindle Colored GSD appears to have light stripes on a dark base coat. 

Brindle-Tan German Shepherd

Brindle-Tan German Shepherd Dogs are usually black, blue, isabella or liver with brindle markings.

Brindle-Sable German Shepherd

A Brindle-Sable German Shepherd most likely has darker coat color on its head and back only. It has the most solid brindle color amongst the four types of brindle color.

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Brindle-Gray German Shepherd

Brindle-Gray German Shepherds’ brindle markings may appear as brindle points only or may not even be present at all. 

Where did the Brindle Coat Color Pattern Come From?

Brindle Colored German Shepherd was one of the originating color patterns of GSDs.

According to some GSD Breeders, the first registered GSD name Horand Von Grafrath, formerly known as Hektor Linkshrein, had 33 sons. After careful observation and analysis, it was found out that two of his sons were brindle colored. 

It might be strange to some as to how he got two brindle colored sons. In genetics, brindle is one of the three variants of the dominant black gene. Brindle is a separate mutation that allows the agouti gene such as sable, tan points, recessive black and tricolor to come out.

However, the result causes brindling or streaks of the agouti color. This explains why brindle colored GSDs have the dominant black gene. 

How different is a Brindle Colored German Shepherd from other GSDs?

Brindle Colored German Shepherd puppies are no different from all other GSDs. They are very active and need a lot of exercises, just like standard GSDs.

Healthwise, they can have inherited diseases and other health issues, too. And just like other GSDs, they can be straight backs or sloped-backs. Their intelligence is equal to other colored GSDs.

Therefore, with proper training, diet, and care, these Brindle Colored GSDs are set to become great working dogs and loving family pets.

Unfortunately, some kennel clubs don’t have a strong liking to washed-out colored GSDs and even considered it as a fault. Since brindle is considered as a washed-out color, Brindle Colored GSDs are disallowed from being included in the conformation rings.

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Where can we find a Brindle Colored German Shepherd?

Looking for a Brindle Colored German Shepherd is like looking for a needle in a haystack. One needs to understand the history of the GSDs in order to fully grasp the development of this dog breed and how some colors like brindle, was severely affected.

According to GSD history books, the German Shepherd Dog Club, also known as S.V., decided to eliminate many GSD originating colors as they were standardizing the GSD breed. For some unknown reasons, liver, white, brindle and blue merle were chosen to be eradicated.

In an attempt to breed a GSD similar looking dog, the Dutch Shepherd was created and standardly having brindle colored only to be distinguished apart from GSDs.

Nowadays, Brindle German Shepherd can be found in rescue centers or shelters. These Brindle Colored GSDs are usually abandoned by owners who are into standard colored GSDs.

Some are also left by breeders who messed up a breeding program and ended up producing a Brindle GSD with health or physical issues. So, interested adoption applicants should be ready to embrace everything and must not expect too much.

Looking for an ethical breeder is also a good option for one to have a healthy Brindle Colored German Shepherd puppy. This may take some time though and can be costly but having a GSD puppy with a color pattern that’s believed to be extinct will be worth it.

How much does a Brindle Colored German Shepherd cost?

The cost for Brindle Colored GSD will always depend on the breeder and the demand for this color pattern. The cost will usually be as low as $500 to as high as $1,500. This can go higher if the Brindle Colored German Shepherd puppy has papers proving its pedigree, line, breeding history, and working title. 

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Since adopting should be the first priority in getting a pet, adoption fees are quite reasonable, ranging between $50 to $500. 


Brindle might not be recognized as one of the standard GSD color variations, but this should not hinder breeders from continuing to nurture German Shepherds having this unique color pattern.

In fact, they should be encouraged just like how the United Kennel Club protected the White German Shepherds. Is the Brindle German Shepherd dog the lost pattern? The answer will be yes and no.

Yes, it will soon become a lost color pattern if GSD breeders and enthusiasts will not do something to promote its beauty and continue breeding them not only for their rare color but also to breed them ethically. 

“No good dog is a bad color” according to Von Stephanitz. This should be reminded to all Kennel Clubs when recognizing GSD conformation. Training and proper care is crucial for GSDs whatever coat color they have.

Furthermore, what’s more important is the Brindle Colored GSDs’ abilities and their different roles in the society.  

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