Are German Shepherd Puppies Born Black? Facts and Myths


black german shepherd puppy

German Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds, and they can come in a variety of colors, but there are still many questions regarding what color German Shepherds are born as.

One of the most frequently asked questions is – are German Shepherd puppies born black?

German Shepherd puppies are born black, gray, and white, though their coat will take up to eight weeks to change into its final color. Generally, a puppy that is born black will stay black. However, their coat’s final color will depend on what genes interact with the pigments eumelaninOpens in a new tab. and phaeomelaninOpens in a new tab..

There are many misconceptions about what color German Shepherd dogs are born and questions surrounding the Black German Shepherd.

This article will describe what colors German Shepherds can be born and why their coats change as they grow.

It will also explore the common questions that surround black German Shepherds. 

German Shepherds Can Be Born in Three Different Colors

Even though German Shepherds can come in various colors, they are either born blackOpens in a new tab., white, or gray.

You will see their true color by eight weeks of age, but it often can take up to two years to see the final color.

For instance, if you have a black and tan German Shepherd, the tan color will slowly appear around their legs, stomach, face, and tail as they grow. 

If you are looking to buy a black German Shepherd, make sure that they are older than eight weeks, so that you know their true color.

If a GSD puppy is born black, they will either grow up to be black or another color. Here is a list of possible colors that your dog’s coat can turn into:

different color german shepherds
  • Gray
  • Sable
  • Black and tan
  • Black
  • Red and black
  • Brown
  • Black and silver

Not only is there a variety of colors your German Shepherd can be, but there are a few different textures their coat can be.

Hair lengthOpens in a new tab. can vary from short to long.

Additionally, their coat can be dense and thick, medium-thick, fluffy, and thick, or they can have long, thick hair.

Lastly, most of the hair will be in certain areas such as the ears, neck, tail, chest, and the back of their legs.

Even if you find yourself with a black German Shepherd puppy, the likelihood that she will grow up to be pure black is very slim.

You will most likely end up with a black and tan dog since black and tan is a recessive gene and one of the most popular colors. 

Why Do Golden Shepherd Coats Change Color? 

The genes of German Shepherds work very similarly to humans. The species has two pigmentsOpens in a new tab. called eumelanin and pheomelanin.

The two pigments interact with other genes and are responsible for what color the German Shepherd ends up being. 

Eumelanin Is Responsible for the Color Black

Eumelanin defaults to black. When other genes interact with it, though, eumelanin can result in different colors.

These shades can include yellow, off-white, or black with a blue tint. 

Pheomelanin Turns to Red

Phaeomelanin defaults only to red, but it can differ in the shade of red.

When different genes are introduced, the coat can turn deep brown to light brown to very pale gold or even a brighter yellow color.

The most popular color of red is red sable. 

Are Black German Shepherds a Different Breed?

Since black German Shepherds are very rare and make up only 6.8% of all German Shepherds, some might think that they are a different breed than other German Shepherds.

Although they are the same species, there are a few differences between the black German Shepherd and other dogs of the same species.

Let’s take a look at a few of these differences.

Black German Shepherds Have Some Physical Differences 

Black German Shepherds can often be larger than the standard variety.

They also can have a straighter back.

Lastly, they usually have a thicker coat, especially at the back of the neck, between the front and back legs, and near the ears and tail. 

Despite these physical differences, they also have lots of similarities to the standard species.

Some similarities include a strong build, erect ears, a fluffy tail, a double coat, and lastly, they are both heavy shedders. 

Black German Shepherds May Be More Expensive

Even though they are the same species, the black German Shepherd is almost always more expensive than any other color of German Shepherd.

This is because of how rare they are and how elegant and striking they look.

They can cost anywhere from $700 to $2000 depending on the breeder you buy from. 

Be Careful Where You Buy a Black German Shepherd From

black german shepherd puppy

Unfortunately, many black German Shepherd breeders are just in it for the money since they can charge so much for them.

This means that they put less care into raising them and do not pay as much attention to the dogs’ health.

This is why you should make sure that you are buying from a reputable breeder since health issues later in the dog’s life can be expensive or more expensive than the dog themselves. 

To make sure you have found a reputable breeder, be sure to ask for the puppies’ parentage and family history.

This will ensure the pup will be healthy and has been cared for properly.

Another easy way to find a good breeder is to look at breeders registered with the American Kennel ClubOpens in a new tab.

What Colors Would the Parents Have to Be to Produce a Black German Shepherd?

If you are hoping for a black German Shepherd or just curious, it is important to know what color the parents have to be to birth a black puppy that grows up with the same color.

The most likely combination is to have both of the parents be a solid black.

This will give you the highest chance of having an all-black German Shepherd. 

One other way to get a black German Shepherd is for both parents to be black and tan or have one parent black and the other black and tan.

While these two are less likely to result in a black puppy, there is still a chance.

If both parents have a solid black color recessive gene, then your pup will be born black and stay black. 

Do Black German Shepherds Have Health Issues?

A big misconception revolving around the black German Shepherd is that they have health issues because the color is seen as a fault.

This couldn’t be more wrong because black German Shepherds are the same health-wise as any other species’ color.

While the species is known for certain health issues, the issues have nothing to do with the black color. 

Another misconception is that black German Shepherds have different temperaments. This is also another myth.

These dogs have the same temperament as the standard variety: loyal, friendly, active, alert, and intelligent.

While they can be aloof at first, they will quickly warm up to you as you bond with them. 

For a complete overview of black German Shepherds, we have an excellent article for you right here:

The Black German Shepherd: A Complete Breed Guide

Final Thoughts

All German Shepherd puppies are not born black. They can be born either black, white, or gray.

The puppies can stay these colors for up to eight weeks, and then they usually change color after the eight-week mark.

Different genes will interact with the pigments eumelanin and pheomelanin, which can result in 13 different coat colors. 

To birth a black German Shepherd, both parents have to be either black or black and tan.

They will both also have to carry the recessive gene for an all-black coat to have a black puppy.

Lastly, if you have a black puppy, that does not mean they will have health issues or different temperaments. These are both big misconceptions. 

Hunter Reed

I've owned and trained German Shepherds for over 18 years now. I'm originally from Indiana, though I've lived in many different states and traveled extensively. The places change, my dogs don't. German Shepherds have been my constant companions. I love every aspect of training them and simply just having them around. I also enjoy sharing my knowledge about German Shepherds with the world, and I encourage all future dog owners to consider one as a companion as well. Read my story here.

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