When it comes to the German Shepherd coat, most of us are used to the black and tan colors. However, this dog breed has various coat colors that can range from dark to light. Although the most common coat colors you can find are black and tan, I realized that I could find a rare and unusual coat color of blonde nature.
In this guide, I will highlight more regarding the blonde German Shepherd and factors that can contribute to the coat color of this breed.
How rare is a blonde German Shepherd?
When I compare the Blonde German Shepherd with other dog breeds, I realize that it has an unusual coat color. In this case, the coat color is extremely different such that getting a breed with blonde will almost be impractical.
When puppies are born, they have light colors that do not look like blonde. Such a color can make inexperienced breeders contemplate that their dogs have a blonde coat. With time when the puppy grows into an adult, it dramatically changes its color coat. That is why I believe that the German Shepherd within a blonde coat is rare.
A blonde coat might be white.
For the several years that I have interacted with the blonde German Shepherd, I have learned that the white coats are mostly produced when the breed does not have a color pigment. However, there is a section of coats that might have a white look. White is also one of the rare and unusual colors that have been found in the German Shepherd.
Blonde German Shepherds might be rare but possible.
Most of the breeds that are referred to as pure breeds were once mixed or hybrid breeds. Dog breeders produce purebred dogs through crossbreeding. Although the German Shepherds are currently one of the most famous dog breeds globally, they are relatively new. The first breed was born after 1889 when Max Von Stephanitz bred them.
In this case, he bred dogs mainly for shepherding, and eventually, he saw a dog that looked like a wolf. That dog has a gray and yellow color, and it attracted his attention. After that, he started to standardize his shepherd breeds leading to the creation of the German Shepherd dog. Due to the crossbreeding, some dogs end up having blonde coats.
Hybrid dog breeding has continued to become famous because most dog breeders try to create new breeds. I believe that the new breeds will be registered and recognized globally as pure breeds in the future. However, before that happens, I ensure that I determine the pedigree of the breeders before I get my lovely friend home and undertake a lasting commitment. I usually do that to ensure that I follow moral policies when conducting a dog breeding exercise.
Despite that, I have realized that breeders use their dogs as the making mill of puppies so that they make a lot of money. Such people only want to generate huge profits, and they do not conduct any health checks or offer proper food and nutrition to the parent dogs. Also, the dogs that are born are not pure breeds.
While people continue to discuss the health of their dogs, I have known that the German Shepherd has hereditary issues. That is why I prefer to buy my dogs from reputable breeders who assist me in getting the genetic information of the dogs and offer healthy puppies.
Factors that affect coat color change in German Shepherd
Genes play a critical role in affecting the coat color change. All dogs, regardless of the breed, have two major pigments which affect their coat color. The pigments include eumelanin and pheomelanin that are responsible for the genetics of my dog’s coat color.
Here I will explore the pigments in great detail and how they cause the coat of the German Shepherd to turn blonde.
Pheomelanin is a pigment that is associated with the red colors in my dog’s coat. I have found that the red color is causing the blonde color in my German Shepherd’s coats. That is why when I see a blonde, I know that pheomelanin pigment caused it.
Since the red pigment affects my dog’s coat, it manifests in different tones, starting from golden to light cream color. However, there are several lighter tones that most dog owners confuse with a blonde. For instance, some people confuse a white, golden, or light cream coat as being blonde. The pheomelanin account for the coat color of my dog.
In other cases, when this pigment is mixed with external factors, including excessive exposure to sunlight and health, they drastically affect the color of my dog’s coat.
I have noted that the pheomelanin happens only with the coat of my dog. Although there are pigments that can impact other parts, including the nose and eyes of my dog, pheomelanin does not.
Also, the pigment has only one color, which varies based on genes. Although the pigment contributes to the red color, it can change with time such that it will drastically appear different on several German Shepherds. It can also contribute to light tan, vibrant, and intense red color.
Eumelanin is responsible for black color pigment, but it can change due to various external and internal factors. Several colors manifest onto the coat of my dogs due to eumelanin. Surprisingly, the pigment is responsible for altering the color of some aspects of the coat of my German Shepherds.
For instance, it causes the color of my dog’s eye and nose to change. Further, the pigment is responsible for the different colors such as solid black, gray, and brown that I see on my German Shepherd.
Although eumelanin available in pure form is the darkest black color, it usually changes due to this gene pigmentation. It appears differently depending on the breed. Some of the most practical cases include:
Agouti German Shepherd coat
This coat has a basic color because it has a light color and dark hair tips that resemble the body of a wolf. I have unearthed that the coloration that is available from other variants of the agouti is golden. In this case, the golden color happens since the puppy originally had a sable coat with light grey color and coat that lightens gradually to a situation where it becomes blonde.
Sable German Shepherd coat
The basic black color can become sable, a pattern that includes black or dark pointers at the tips of the hairs. The American Kennel Club has recognized the sable coat and licensed it as a coat pattern for purebred German Shepherd dogs. When I look at the Pedigree Database individual forum, I see photos of German Shepherd puppies with blonde coats that grew and ended up having a sable color layer.
Liver German Shepherd coat
Black color can turn into the liver, a pale brownish shade that some people have mistaken for blonde. In reality, the liver is recognized by the American Club Kennel and licensed as a color for canine German Shepherds.
Other factors that influence coat color changes
Although genetics is the primary aspect contributing to the change in coat color change in the German Shepherd, I consider other factors. For instance, I have discovered that puppies will have different colors than adult dogs.
In this case, skin disease, nutritional status, sunlight, and medication include the factors that make the coat color of the dog change. In some cases, it can be that my puppies were exposed to a different nutritional background. Therefore, when I match their environmental and nutritional components, I influence their coat color changes.
Additional aspects about blonde German Shepherd
Now that I have explained the different factors responsible for the color changes that I see on the coat of my German Shepherd, I also highlight other aspects that I have found critical.
My German Shepherd has a double-layer coat.
I have realized that some dogs do not have a double-layer coat, but most of my German Shepherds do have. My German Shepherd has an outer and inner layer, whereby the inner layer is barely noticeable and cannot be detected.
On the contrary, the interior coat has one solid color, and it functions to keep my dog warm. The inner layer of my German Shepherd might be blonde, but I find it challenging to detect that because it is hidden and serves to protect my puppies from cold.
The outer layer has several more functions than the inner layer, including keeping my German Shepherd safe from external issues that might harm them. Although blonde can happen on any layer of my German Shepherd, I am likely to get a blonde coat on the outer layer of my puppies.
Coat color does not affect the health of my German Shepherd.
Although we can understand why and how certain German Shepherd breeds inherit their coat color, such pigments and colors do not affect their overall wellbeing and health.
That means that the drastic change in the coat color does not signify the health condition of my dog. This is a critical factor that I consider because I have found that other dog owners get worried when their dogs’ coat changes suddenly.
Also, if my dog German Shepherd puppies have large blonde coats and I notice that they start to darken when they get old, I should not worry because that would be a natural response.
The German Shepherd changes its coat frequently.
The German shepherds constantly change their coat color from when they are born when they are almost two years. The color change is usually dramatic during the first eight weeks after birth.
At this period, the birth color of the puppies will change to a young coat that resembles the coat of an adult dog. This implies that their soft puppy fluff might change in texture and color for some breeds.
After two years, the German Shepherd will frequently change their coat. The changes will alter the color of the coat. At the same time, the breed will lose its soft coat and start to grow a coarser and denser coat.