The Isabella German Shepherd

The Very Rare Isabella German Shepherd Guide

You may have only seen pictures of this beautiful dog, which is also often known as a Lilac German Shepherd. If you are curious about the unique appearance of this pup, you have come to the right place. Below, we have compiled everything you need to know about the Isabella German Shepherd:

What Color is Isabella in German Shepherds?

Under certain lighting, the darker portions of the Isabella German Shepherds may appear to be lilac or lavender in color. In reality, they are a darker brown. The head, back, and legs of this variation of GSD are of this color.

The lower portion of the Isabella German Shepherd, however, is a lovely, light fawn color. This pup looks especially striking because despite belonging to the same color palette, the shades contrast beautifully.

What Do Isabella German Shepherds Look Like?

For the most part, Isabella German Shepherds are identical to other German Shepherds in almost every way. This includes physique, traits, skills, and more.

These dogs can appear somewhat different from what you might expect German Shepherds to look like.

The Isabella German Shepherd has this coloring because their variation doesn’t have the genes to produce the color black.

You will also find that their noses are brown or pink instead of black. These dogs tend to have brown or pink paw pads as well.

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Another thing you will notice about these pups is that they almost always have lighter eyes. This can be amber, blue, or green – it is quite a sight to behold.

What Causes the Isabella Coloring in German Shepherds?

To understand why the Isabella German Shepherd has this type of coloring, you need to appreciate the color genetics of German Shepherds.

Color genes occupy specific positions (loci) on chromosomes. German Shepherds have several of these chromosomes – some are dominant and some are recessive.

The A-locus is what gives this breed its coat color. It dictates the base color of German Shepherds and a GSDs coat will depend on whether or not the loci are dominant.

This A-locus can be expressed in four distinct ways in German Shepherds. They are as follows:

  • Fawn/Sable: dominant
  • Wild Sable: dominant
  • Black and tan/Tricolor: recessive
  • Bi-color/Black: recessive

Although A-locus is responsible for the base color of German Shepherds, it can be transformed by another locus.

The B-locus creates a recessive liver gene, giving rise to Liver German Shepherds. This B-locus liver gene is considered a dilution gene as it suppresses all black in German Shepherds.

When the dilution gene is on the D-locus, this results in the Blue German Shepherd. These dogs have two recessive dilution genes. Unlike with the B-locus dilution, though, these loci simply create lighter shades of black instead of suppressing it.

If you’re wondering what this has to do with Isabella German Shepherds, we have the answer. An Isabella German Shepherd is known as a double dilution, with recessive genes on the B-locus and the D-locus.

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The recessive B-locus genes ensure that Isabella German Shepherds have no black hair on their coat or much black coloring in general. The recessive D-locus genes further reduce the pigment in darker areas, resulting in lighter patches.

Why are Isabella German Shepherds So Rare?

One of the reasons that Isabella German Shepherds are so rare is naturally due to genetic variation. The coloring of these dogs relies on two rare and recessive genes. This means that both parents should have at least one pair of these recessive genes to produce Isabella German Shepherds. Even then, there is no guarantee that they will.

There is more to the story.

Another reason that Isabella German Shepherds aren’t as widespread has to do with the fact that their coloring is considered a faulty trait. The AKC and other organizations accept the Isabella coloring, but dogs with this hue are penalized more heavily, making them less likely to win.

To add to this, tan and black dogs are the favorites and do well in shows. Due to this, breeders will often focus on breeding dogs with these coats, avoiding dogs with recessive genes that can produce Isabella German Shepherds.

Where Can You Find Isabella German Shepherds?

As mentioned, these dogs aren’t accidentally bred. You will most likely have to find an Isabella German Shepherd that accidentally cropped up in a litter. There is no way of knowing if this variation will appear or not.

It may be possible to find breeders that specifically deal with Isabella German Shepherds, but you should be wary of such opportunities. If the breeders only pay attention to the coat color and not physical and health attributes, there is a higher risk of disease in the puppies.

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In case you find a breeder that tracks both coat color as well as health, you can expect to pay a hefty price for an Isabella German Shepherd puppy. The cost will be far higher than what you would pay for regular GSDs, even though the only difference is the coat.

You should also be aware that with breeders like this, you may be put on a waiting list that can span several months. Due to their rarity and unique qualities, these dogs are quite sought-after, as you can imagine.

This is the full lowdown on the Isabella German Shepherd. Although this variation isn’t common, it is certainly stunning. It would be a breathtaking sight to see such a dog in real life.