Sable German Shepherd dogs have a silver, grey or tan coats with black tips. They are smart, loyal and energetic. This natural guard dog have a protective streak that makes them an excellent watch dog. However there are mixed opinions when it comes to the German Shepherd’s suitability to be a family dog. Today we’ll look at whether a sable German Shepherd is the right fit for your kids or lifestyle. And show you how to raise a sable German Shepherd puppy to be a friendly family member and companion.
- What is a sable German Shepherd?
- German Shepherd colors and patterns
- Are sable German Shepherds protective?
- Health and genetics
- Sable German Shepherd puppies
The most common German Shepherd pattern is sable. We’ll show you why you see this color so often, where it comes from and what makes it such a great choice for a new German Shepherd owner.
What is a Sable German Shepherd Dog?
The sable German Shepherd is has a rather special color. “But I see sable German Shepherds all the time!” I hear you cry. And that’s no surprise – genetically, sable is the German Shepherd’s dominant coat color.
In fact, their coloring is very similar to that of some wolves. Though wolves are the common ancestor of all dogs, very few dog breeds still carry the genes that give wolves their two-toned hairs. German Shepherds are one of them!
Are sable German Shepherds unique from other German Shepherds in any other ways? In this article, we take a look at whether coat color can affect a dog’s behavior and health.
German Shepherd Colors
The American Kennel Club breed standard allows German Shepherds in any color except white (although white German Shepherds do exist!) Strong, rich colors are preferred over pale colors. The most popular colors are
- black and tan
- red and black
- black and silver
And of course sable!
Sable coloring is when individual hairs have distinct bands of color along their shaft. So sable German Shepherds have silver, gray or tan fur with black tips.
Sable German Shepherd Temperament
German Shepherds are very intelligent dogs, which is exemplified by their popularity as police dogs and service animals. They are loyal, affectionate, and loving toward family members, but may be aloof toward strangers.
Are Sable German Shepherds Aggressive?
GSDs can also be protective, so it’s important to invest time in their training and socialization from a young age. Unfortunately, some studies have found German Shepherds to be more aggressive than other dogs. In one review, they were also one of the highest offenders of dog bites in children.
However, it’s important to understand that different studies observe different breeds and sources of information to come to a conclusion. Some small breed dogs may be far more aggressive than German Shepherds, but since their bites don’t typically require medical attention, they aren’t reported.
Not all German Shepherds are aggressive, but it is important to be wary of the possibility and take the proper measures to prevent such behavioral issues. But does the sable coloring play a part in this?
Are Sable German Shepherd Behaviors Different?
Though there is still a lot of research yet to be done, scientists have found correlations between a dogs’ coloring and their health. In some cases, color even seems to correspond to a dog’s behavior.
Depigmentation (typically white coats or pale eye colors) seems to affect behavior and health in various types of animals. It makes them more nervous and can even be linked with neurological and other types of disorders. So that’s a reason to stick with sable and not white German Shepherds, right? Or maybe not.
The links between coat color and health or temperament don’t stop there. For example, certain colors of English Cocker Spaniels are more aggressive, and some shades of Labrador Retriever appear to have longer lifespans than others.
However, though these studies provide useful insight, they cannot be universally applied to every animal, or even every breed of dog at that. This is because dogs are incredibly varied, with 344 breeds being recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (English: World Canine Organization).
Sable German Shepherd Health
Unfortunately, there haven’t really been any studies done about sable coloring in German Shepherds. Therefore, we have no evidence to suggest that sable German Shepherds are any different than other colors of German Shepherd, or that their coloring affects their health. However, scientists do know a bit about what causes the sable color in German Shepherd dogs.
Agouti German Shepherds
In German Shepherds, sable coloring is controlled by the Agouti gene. The Agouti gene has several variations, and while there may be some yet undiscovered, scientists know about four of them.
These four variations all code for wild-type black tipped hairs. Other genes also determine where on the body the shading appears.
Currently, the Agouti gene is not known to be related to any behavioral or health issues in dogs. So sable German Shepherds are exactly like every other color.
Sable German Shepherd Puppies
Scientists have come very far in their study of genetics, and have even been able to genetically map personality traits such as fear and aggression. However, your dog’s behavior isn’t just a product of genetics.
You’ve probably heard about the nature versus nurture argument a million times, and that’s because of how truly relevant it is.
The best way to ensure that your sable German Shepherd puppy has a winning personality and a healthy life is to work with a responsible breeder and socialize your puppy.
Choose a litter of puppies from parents that are relaxed around strangers. Then from the day you bring your puppy home at 8 weeks old, make sure you have lots of visitors. And take them to visit every sort of place you might go with them when they are older. You’ll need to carry them until they’ve had their jabs, but it’ll be worth the effort.
The best breeders are passionate about promoting the welfare of the breed, and diligent about only using dogs with the most reliable temperaments to become moms and dads to the next generation.
Sable German Shepherds
Sable German Shepherds are intelligent dogs who are loyal and loving toward their family members. Their sable color from silver, gray or tan hairs tipped with black. At the time of writing, there is no evidence that their color affects their temperament or health.
What do you think? Does your sable German Shepherd have a personality which sets him apart from the rest of the pack?
Tell us in the comments box!
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Tess Smith says
My GSD puppy is Sable. I have another GSD older dog that is 6 now. And I always thought that I wanted ONLY black and tan dogs. NOW this Sable Puppy is MAGNIFICENT!
I bought him from a backyard breeder so I was expecting “problems”……..?
NOPE! My baby puppy is 7 months old, very BIG and has had ZERO health issues all his life!
He sees my VET often to get good regular checkups. He is NATURALLY SOCIALIZED! My other big GSD is not and will attack strangers! But my baby puppy is socialized and VERY smart! I did not train him except for basics. He eats often. Poops normal. Sleeps well and does not poop or pee in his crate after 4 months of age. He has infinite safe freedom in my fenced yard. The only thing that I do not do is leave my 3 dogs alone in the yard so that the bigger dogs do not harm the puppy since the puppy annoys them by jumping on them. LOL!
I have a 9 week sable GSD, she doesn’t eat properly is there any specific food i can give her? i feed her montego puppy food
Sabre the silver Sable says
Hey friend, GSD’s are funny dogs. I know how this sounds but cut up some hotdogs and put them in bowl with a little water. Place it into the microwave for about a minute or until slightly boiling. Pour it into a bowl of healthy quality kibble and mix it well. And I guarantee that your pup will eat. Let me know if that helps please. Any meat can substituted for the hot dogs. I use all beef uncured ballpark hot dogs. I only use two hot dogs for two cups of kibble. The kibble is lamb Eukanuba.
Sandy Run GSD Kennels says
I have an eighteen month old Sable GSD. I bought him from a terrible breeder whose dogs had cut worms and several others. Took her immediately to an emergency vet. She said 46% of the puppies weight was worms. The sable puppy, (Anna), had to stay in isolation for two weeks. I had also bought three other GSDs at the same time from different breeders. Back to Anna, I let her breed when she went into heat the third time. She is a great dog, along with my Black Czech and my White American Standard. Anna had her seven puppy liter on 6/27/21 and she is the best mother in the world.
I have a 4 month old Sable GSD and he’s pretty smart (even after having brain damage from a disease) he has survived Parvovirus lucky but we don’t know how he got it
My Sable German Shepherd Dog is very smart (had earned multiple trick dog titles only being a year old) and loyal, but very high drive. If she is not kept busy, she will sit around and whine. The more active she is, the easier she is to live with!
I have an opportunity to get a sable German Shepard …2 yo any thoughts on a older one???
Kristina Darling says
my sable is so loving and a cuddlebug. she is truly different then any of my other gsd at this time.
I have a cream sable shepherd and he is laid back, aloof and a bit nervous . He is very smart and quickly adjusts to new things even though he is a bit timid by nature. He’s a one person dog and likes to be a shadow and watch everything that goes on. He does have a high prey drive and likes to chase anything that moves.
I have a Sable German Shepherds he is so smart I tought him how to say I love you and out he was house broken at 3 months he also knows how to give you his paw and sit and lay on commands
Jeffrey Voelker says
Since I was a child I have had quite a few GERMAN Shepherd dogs. The ones that were a black and cream have always been the smartest with much better temperment.
Debbie Monroe says
Have you ever had a sable? She has a sense of humor, and will argue with a fence post. If you point your finger at her, she will give you a piece of her mind. Lol She is 91/2 weeks old, 17.7 lbs. I do not free feed her. She is potty trained to pass and outside. I am disabled and can’t always get her out on time. She sits, stays, and loves belly rubs. She plays fetch, and will bring you back to me. She taps on her food bowl when she’s hungry, and when the mood strikes, she can throw one heck of a tantrum! I just laugh at her. She starts training at 12 wks. By a trainer that trains K-9 dogs (mostly shepherds) so I hope he can even her out w/o her losing some of her special qualities. She will be a service dog for me. All dogs are special and unique.
How can I know if my german shepherd puppies are sable colored or just black and tan? Some of them have black tipped fur with grey like or cream colored undercoats. They are their parents are registered as black and tan .Thank you