Do German Shepherds Coats Change Color As They Grow?

Do German Shepherds Coats Change Color As They Grow?

There are many different colors of German Shepherds that are recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Each color has its own specific traits and uniqueness.

However, there are some interesting facts about the coloring of German Shepherds that make them even more unique than some other breeds of dogs.

German Shepherds are one of the few breeds of dogs who’s puppies change color as they grow to adults.

This is a trait that is common in only a few other breeds of dogs, and it makes German Shepherds unique and extra interesting.

These color changes can, however, make it challenging when you are puppy shopping, especially if you are looking for a particular color. 

Here are some common questions about the coloring of the German Shepherd dog.

Are All German Shepherd Dogs Born Black?

cute german shepherd puppy

The answer to this question is, “no,” all German Shepherd dogs are not born black. However, some German Shepherd puppies will change color as they grow.

German Shepherd dogs are born one of three colors, and may or may not change color as they grow, depending on the color of their parents and their genetic lineage.

All German Shepherd puppies are born either black, grey or white.

Over time, the puppies will start to show their true colors, but only black German Shepherds will stay black, and white German Shepherds will maintain their white color.

Grey puppies will generally change color to blue or sable Shepherds, while black puppies can become change to be a number of different varieties of Shepherds such as black and tan or black and red.

It is important to note that a pair of black German Shepherd dogs can produce a mixed litter of black and black-tan puppies.

If you are looking for a black German Shepherd, you will want to make sure that your wait until the puppies are at least 8 weeks old before you pick your puppy.

Otherwise, you may end up with a dog that changes color.

How To Tell What Color a German Shepherd Puppy Will Be

White german shepherd puppy will be white

German Shepherd puppies will change coat color and pattern up to around 2 years of age.

However, you can tell much sooner what color your puppy will be, just by being observant.

Since all German Shepherd dogs are born one of three colors, you will need to watch closely as they start to grow if you want to determine which color they will be.

Black and Tan puppies will start to show patches of tan coloring around 8-weeks of age. However this coloring will be subtle, and you need to look closely in some cases to see the changes.

Sable German Shepherds will start out black but will start to show hints of grey around 8 weeks old.

If you are wanting a black German Shepherd for your family, you will want to wait for puppies to start showing alternate colors in their coat, before selecting your puppy.

This will ensure that you will actually bring home a black puppy, and not a black and tan or sable puppy instead.

Black or white German Shepherd puppies will not change color. White German Shepherds are born white and will remain that color throughout their life.

Black German Shepherd puppies will remain black, but remember, as we mentioned above, black parents can also have black and tan puppies, so it is important to watch closely to make sure that your black puppy will stay black.

German Shepherd puppies will continue to change their coat color and pattern until they are about 2 years old. Until that time, your German Shepherd will alter in color and arrangement of color.

However, these changes will not dramatic and will not completely alter the color of the puppy.

Once you have determined that your puppy is the desired color, you can rest assured that while their color and pattern will change slightly, you will not have to question the color of your pup.

If you are looking for another more scientific way to determine the color of your German Shepherd puppy, you should meet its parents.

Unlike other breeds, you can be fairly certain in determining the color of your German Shepherd puppy based on the color of its parents.

Black and tan parents will produce black and tan puppies. White parents will produce white puppies. You can also be fairly certain that sable parents will produce puppies of the same color.

The only time that this theory can be questionable is with black parents. Two black parent can produce black and tan puppies.

The black and tan coloring is a recessive trait for black German Shepherds, so if the combination of genes is right, two black parents can have a combination of black and black and tan puppies.

Because of this possibility, if you are looking for a black German Shepherd, it is a good idea to wait until around 8-weeks of age before you select a puppy from a litter from two black German Shepherd parents.

Selecting too soon may cause you to end up with a black and tan puppy instead.

How Often Do German Shepherd Dogs “Change” Their Coat?

color change of a puppy

German Shepherd dogs will change their coat color fairly consistently from the time they are born until they are about 2 years old.

This change in color is the most dramatic during the first 8 weeks of life.

During this time German Shepherd puppies will change from their birth color to the young coat that will resemble their coat as an adult.

This means that their soft puppy fluff will change color for some breeds, and will also start to change in texture.

Over the first two years of life, your German Shepherd puppy will change its coat frequently.

These changes will alter the coat color, growing in the color and pattern that your dog will possess for the bulk of its adult life.

During this time your German Shepherd will also lose the soft coat of a puppy, and grow a more dense, coarse coat of an adult.

You will also start to see your puppy’s coat develop the distinct traits of the short, medium or long coat.

Changes in coat length, coarseness and color will progress during the normal pattern of molt. You will notice obvious patterns of shedding or molting in your German Shepherd, generally, two times per year.

Most dogs, molt during the fall and during the spring. Your German Shepherd puppy will also molt during these times, and until it is around 2 years old, you will notice changes in your dog’s coat color and texture.

It is important that you are diligent during these times of molt with grooming your German Shepherd dog, especially if your dog is long coated.

German Shepherds, especially long coated German Shepherds, are prone to matting due to their coarse coat texture.

Matting can be painful for your dog, so make sure that you brush them often during these times of molting.

Good grooming of your German Shepherd during molt will also help to keep your home free from excessive amounts of hair.

Change in Color of Older German Shepherd Dogs

As your German Shepherd dog ages, you may notice that their coat will change as well.

The changes that you will notice in the color of your German Shepherd dog will be subtle and are similar to the coat color changes that most dog owners will notice with their pets.

You shouldn’t be alarmed to see that your German Shepherd is changing color as it ages.

Just like people, German Shepherds will start to show a greying of hair as they age. You will notice this change, particularly around their eyes and muzzle.

This change will be particularly noticeable on German Shepherds that have dark faces, or on black German Shepherds.

Besides the graying of the face, you may notice that your German Shepherd’s coat becomes less lustrous and duller as they start to age.

This change in their coat may make your German Shepherd look less colorful than they did as a younger dog.

Along with graying and a dulling of the coat, you may notice that your German Shepherd is losing more hair, and their coat seems thinner, as they get older.

This, like a change in face colors and a duller appearance are natural progressions of aging.

However, if you notice that these changes happen very rapidly, you may want to visit your veterinarian. Rapid changes in color or coat thickness can be in an indication of a more serious problem.

If your German Shepherd starts losing hair in thick patches or has rapid change in color this could indicate health problems like thyroid issues, cancer, or liver issues.

As a German Shepherd owner, you may not be able to stop the natural change in coat color as your dog ages, but you can take steps to help keep their coat soft and thicker as they age.

Adding fish oils and natural fats to your dog’s diet can help them retain more of their coat as they age, and can help keep a German Shepherd’s coat soft and shiny, despite their age.

German Shepherds are great family companions, and they have many unique traits that make them amazing, special dogs.

Their coloring and change in color as they grow is one of the most interesting and unique features of the German Shepherd.

As we’ve learned, this change in color is well known within the German Shepherd community. However, it can make it more challenging if you are new to the breed and are looking to buy a puppy of a specific color.

In the long Run

German Shephards Colors in the long run

Our advice when you are shopping for a German Shepherd puppy, in a specific color is to work with a reputable breeder.

Good breeders will be able to help a new German Shepherd owner or one that is looking for a particular color, find the right puppy to add to their family.

And remember, rapid changes in color can be a sign of serious health problems, and should be addressed by your veterinarian.

However, it’s expected that your young German Shepherd will change color, losing their puppy coat and growing their adult coat, and older dogs will grey.

These are the natural color changes you can expect with your healthy German Shepherd dog.

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