There is an increasing amount of interest surrounding the unique and beautiful German Shepherd. If you are curious to find out more about this unusually colored pooch, you have come to the right place. You can learn everything you need to know about the liver German Shepherd in the post below.
What is a Liver German Shepherd?
At first glance, a liver German Shepherd might seem different to most other German Shepherds. Despite their unusual coloring, though, liver German Shepherds are just like any other pup of their breed. The only difference is their coat.
A liver German Shepherd is an entirely brown dog. There could be some variations to this coat color, however. They may present as liver and tan or liver and white.
Apart from the coat color, you will also notice that a liver German Shepherd’s nose and paw pads are different from others in their breed. These areas tend to be light brown or pink unlike the usual black of German Shepherds.
It is normal for liver German Shepherds to have lighter-colored amber eyes as well.
Are Liver German Shepherds Rare?
Yes, liver German Shepherds are rare. The genetic variation that results in liver German Shepherd puppies is found only in a few German Shepherds. The genes are also not passed down to puppies readily. This limits how many livers German Shepherds can be born at any time.
To add to this, liver German Shepherds aren’t always as sought-after as you might think. Many kennel clubs see their coat color as a severe defect, which is unfortunate. Due to this, many breeders will try to reduce the likelihood of breeding liver German Shepherd puppies.
What Causes a Liver German Shepherd?
Liver German Shepherds get their coat color from a recessive gene. To understand how this color presents, you need to understand more about German Shepherds as well as their color pigments and genetics.
The first thing you should be aware of is that liver German Shepherd genes contain a pigment known as eumelanin. This is the pigment responsible for the color black. When this pigment interacts with certain recessive genes, you get shades of brown.
There are eight canine genes that can dictate coat colors. Each of these genes contains a pair of alleles – a German Shepherd gets one from each parent. The alleles can be found in certain locations on a chromosome. This location is referred to as locus or loci.
For the purpose of liver German Shepherds, let’s focus on the B-locus. The B-locus is presented in two forms. First, there is the dominant (B) locus. When this is present in a dog’s genetic material, their coat will contain black.
The other form is the recessive (b) locus and it is sometimes called the brown locus. This is because it can dilute the color black to brown or liver colors. As such, when the recessive gene is present, it turns any black in the coat to the liver.
For this to happen, a German Shepherd must have two recessive alleles – bb. If a dog has Bb – one dominant and one recessive, then the dog will have a coat with black markings. A dog like this can still pass on this recessive gene to its offspring, however.
What Color German Shepherds Can Produce Liver Offspring?
For two German Shepherds to potentially produce they have to have the genetic presentation as follows:
- Bb and Bb
- Bb and bb
- bb and bb
It is only in the case of bb and bb that liver German Shepherd puppies are completely assured. All the above genetic combinations will also pass the recessive alleles down to their offspring. In turn, if bred properly, these dogs may also produce liver German Shepherds.
Here is a side note about these genetic combinations:
- BB and Bb
- BB and bb
If these dogs are bred together, then none of their offspring will be liver German Shepherds. All of their offspring will have recessive genes. If they are bred with the right German Shepherds, these dogs can produce liver German Shepherds.
Does AKC Recognize Liver German Shepherds?
Yes, liver German Shepherds are recognized by the AKC and many international kennel clubs. There is a downside, nevertheless. The lighter coloring is seen as a serious fault.
Liver German Shepherds are allowed to participate in competitions. They are almost always marked down for the deviation in their coat coloring, however. This is why the dogs are rarely ever crowned in championships.
This is why owners who want their dogs to compete in shows will avoid liver German Shepherds. As a result, many breeders don’t actively breed this coat color.
Do Liver German Shepherds Have a Different Temperament?
Contrary to popular belief, liver German Shepherds only differ from other dogs in their breed in their coat color. The rest of their genetic material is similar to other pups.
The temperament of a liver German Shepherd will depend on their breeding and training. Due to this, you can’t always predict the behavioral characteristics of these dogs. Their coat color, however, will not impact their behavior or capabilities in any way.
Are Liver German Shepherds Good Family Dogs?
Yes, like any other German Shepherd, liver German Shepherds can be good family dogs. They have the right temperament for it – they are loving and loyal, particularly towards their favorite family members.
These dogs are often wary of strangers and have to be socialized at a young age. As long as this is taken care of, your liver German Shepherd should get along quite well with people as they get older.
Every dog is different and they each have individual personalities. There is no guarantee that all liver German Shepherds will make equally good pets. Proper training and love can go a long way towards shaping your dog.
Do Liver German Shepherds Suffer from Special Health Issues?
Many people believe that liver German Shepherds may suffer from certain health issues. This is because their coat color is due to a genetic variation.
Despite this, liver German Shepherds are just as healthy as any other German Shepherd. At the same time, they may be prone to the same health issues and conditions common to the breed.
The biggest precursor for a healthy liver German Shepherd is breeding. As long as they come from two healthy lines, there is an increased likelihood of this generation being in good health as well.
Can Liver German Shepherds Be Working Dogs?
Liver German Shepherds may not do so well in dog shows, but they often make great working dogs. They have the same physical and mental capabilities as any other German Shepherd, so there is nothing to worry about.
This means that a liver German Shepherd is intelligent can be trained easily, and is great at carrying out a wide variety of tasks. For the best results, it is a good idea to look for German Shepherds that have specifically come from a working line.
Show dogs are typically only ever bred for their looks and aesthetic attributes. They don’t fare so well when it comes to learning tricks or carrying out physical labor.
How Much are Liver German Shepherd Puppies?
Although Liver German Shepherds aren’t prized at competitions or shows, they are still considered valuable dogs. Their rarity is what makes them sought-after in certain circles.
As a result, you can expect to pay a lot of money for this genetic variation. German Shepherd puppies can cost up to $1900 per puppy and liver German Shepherds will be closer to the higher end of the spectrum.
The price of a liver German Shepherd can also depend on availability. If there is a national shortage, for instance, the prices for such puppies may sharply increase.
Before you get a liver German Shepherd, it is important to remember that these dogs are just like any other German Shepherd. They require significant care, love, and attention. They are pets and not trophies. You will have to be prepared to look after them for many years to come.
Where Can You Find Liver German Shepherds?
As stated, finding liver German Shepherds isn’t easy. Their presence in German Shepherd litters tends to be pretty spontaneous. In many cases, only a few liver German Shepherds are born in each litter.
Due to this, you will often have to do quite a bit of research to find such a pup. You will most likely have to look out of state. In some cases, you may be placed on a waiting list.
What you need to keep in mind is that most breeders will not breed for coat color. Breeders are largely focused on the health of a dog. This is why they will almost only ever track and test for specific genetic disorders.
This is why you need to pay attention when it comes to choosing a breeder to get your German Shepherd from. Make sure that they run extensive health testing on their dogs and that they aren’t simply breeding liver German Shepherds to make a quick buck.
Remember, some nefarious breeders may resort to inbreeding to continue to produce liver German Shepherds. This can result in several serious health issues that can compromise the wellbeing and lifespan of your dog.
Look for reputable breeders that have a long history of producing healthy dogs. Some of these breeders may test their dogs for their coat color genetics. In doing so, they may be able to predict with a certain degree of accuracy whether any liver German Shepherds may be born.
This is a far more ethical approach to finding a liver German Shepherd.
Do Liver German Shepherd Puppies Change Color?
There are some German Shepherd puppies that can change color with time. They are born one shade and may slowly lighten with age.
This isn’t the case for liver German Shepherds, though. Remember, these dogs have a genetic disposition for being brown – they are unable to present as any other color. It may be possible for a pup to have a darker brown pattern interspersed with light brown, but this is the extent of the deviation.
Don’t believe anyone who tries to convince you that a darker or differently colored German Shepherd will present as a liver German Shepherd as they get older. This will simply not be the case.
This is what you should know about liver German Shepherds. For the most part, they are just like any other German Shepherd. Their genetic variation does make them look quite interesting, though, and certainly makes them stand out from the rest.
Although this can set them back in shows and competitions, liver German Shepherds continue to be a much-loved and fascinating variation of the traditional German Shepherd.