Sable German Shepherds

photo by GerdesHaus

Sable German shepherds are known for their rather unique color. Because of this, they’ve always been satisfying to look at, whether it’s a black sable German shepherd or a silver sable German shepherd. Their individual hairs vary in color, some are darker, some are light, and some are pure black. Their unique trait allows for a variety of shading in their coat color, which is what makes them attractive dogs.

Alas, this trait also causes confusion to many dog lovers. This is especially true when talking about the many colors sable German shepherd has. So this blog post aims to clear the misunderstanding about the sable German shepherd’s coat pattern.

Sable German Shepherds as Agouti or Wolf Grey

Believe it or not, the so-called “sable” GSDs are actually an agouti. If you don’t know what an agouti is, it refers to a color gene widespread throughout mammals. It’s present with certain types of deer, rabbits, and rodents, but they’re especially known for being the color pattern of wolves, hence the “wolf grey” name. This pattern is mainly for their camouflage.

The closest variants to a wolf are the dark sable German shepherd and the silver sable German shepherd.

While the agouti pattern is present throughout the whole body of rodents and other animals, the gene works differently in wolves and dogs. For some reason, it only affects the upper body of creature.

Agouti is best known for being a banding of colors. This means the cells of the pigment will constantly change as time passes by, which takes us to the next topic.

See also  The German Shepherd Labrador Mix: Sheprador

Sable GSDs Gets Darker/Lighter with Age

As previously mentioned, the sable German shepherd’s color has a lot to do with the pigment cells. This means that as the dog grows and the sable German shepherd’s coat continues to become longer, the cells of the pigment will change. This will eventually lead to the pigment’s current type to transition to another.

DarkeningSome sable German shepherds develop their color from light to dark as they age. In such cases, the part mainly affected is their back. This is mainly seen in dark sable German shepherds.

Lightening – However, in the case of dark color getting lighter, it happens across the sides. As you probably guessed, this happens mostly on silver sable German shepherds.

Both – Gold, mahogany, and red sable German shepherd are some of the cases where it’s difficult to figure out if their coat color will darken or become lighter.

So unlike any other German shepherd breed, you won’t know about the eventual color unless they have fully matured.

That’s why even if you’re not planning on breeding them in a show line, sable working line German shepherds can still be qualified in shows.

Different Coat Patterns of Sable German Shepherds

Since sable German shepherds are an agouti, the different variations in the sable German shepherds coat is in line with agouti coat patterns.

Although there are normally four types, but only three of them can be seen in the color of sable German shepherds.

Sable Types

The “sable” category can be divided into three: the tipped sable, the clear sable, and the shaded sable.

  • Clear sables have the least black hairs, but they are still red dogs. 
  • Tipped sables is characterized of a red body and a hair with a shade of black.
  • Shaded sables is similar with tipped sables, only with the difference of more black hairs.
See also  German Shepherd Mastiff Mix: Mastiff Shepherd

Body parts that are affected in all three mainly include their ears, head, tail, and back. The majority of sable GSDs that belong in these category are red sable German shepherds

Tan Points

Sable German shepherds that possess this coat pattern is characterized of tan patches mainly found in their legs, chests, tails, and cheeks.

Those that belong in this category will start out as black sable German shepherd puppies and gradually lighten, until their back is the only part that is completely black.

Recessive Black

This is the rarest type of sable German shepherds . Such dogs are known for being all-black and at the same time carrying sable or tan-point genes.

Since their black gene is recessive, their true color won’t be revealed. This is also mainly seen in the working line of sable German shepherd since the majority of them are black-colored.

Other Parts of a Sable German Shepherd

The eyes of sable GSDs are typically black, or it should at least be a color that makes a great combination with the sable German shepherd’s color.

When it comes to sable German shepherds, the color of the nose will always be black. Otherwise, they can be considered as result of a genetic fault, just like the long-haired German shepherd.

Sable German Shepherds are German Shepherds After All

With the exception of the sable German shepherd’s coat, they are technically identical with the standard German shepherd.

Their color or hue doesn’t affect their temperament, health, and so on. So you will need to feed, groom, and train them the same as you do with standard German shepherds.

See also  Different Colors of German Shepherds

How to Get Sable German Shepherd Puppies

Since sable German shepherds are very similar with standard German shepherds, you may be looking at spending anywhere from $300 to $700 for sable German shepherd puppies for sale.

However, you may not easily identify if the sable German shepherd is purebred. If that’s the case, I’d suggest looking at their pedigree.

If it’s your first time working with the breeder, you may also request a DNA test of the puppy. Otherwise, you can rely on the breeder to provide you the same reliable services as they did before.


Sable German shepherds are often seen with admiration of their coat color. The hue and shading of their individual colors are eye candy to dog lovers. But unlike any other dogs, there are some misunderstanding with their coat color.

That’s why this blog post helped you learn about their color pattern, which turns out to be agouti. We also talked about some of their body parts and how their coat color is involved.

At the end of the day, they’re still German shepherds. So you need to take care of them normally, regardless of their color.

Previous Article
20190425 8

Long Haired German Shepherds - A Complete Guide With The Most Asked Questions Answered

Next Article
german shepherd puppies for adoption

German Shepherd Puppies for Adoption

Related Posts