The German shepherd dog has always been known as one of the world's most beautiful dogs. One of their distinguishing features is their ears, which are erect when they are alert. For the German shepherd dog, this is almost all the time. German shepherds also come in many different colors. The most common color for the shepherd is black and tan, although there are many other variations.
Due to the variations of breeding, many colors are now showing up in German shepherds. The black and tan has often become black and cream or black and red, depending on the genes from both parents. Sable, which has the appearance of salt and pepper, is a very common and beautiful color in the German shepherd. It is often a mixture of black and tan together or silver and black. All black German shepherds are beautiful, but they are not very common. Some owners have all white German shepherds. Although beautiful, the all white German shepherd is unacceptable in the American Kennel Club.
The genes of the dog determine the colors of the dog and their offspring. Genes are dominant, co-dominant or recessive. Dominant genes are "in charge" over recessive genes if both dominant genes are there. For instance, if two black and tan dogs are bred, there will not be a sable puppy because the two black and tan genes were dominant. However if a dog is a sable and is bred with a black and tan, the puppies can be a combination of both.
Color is not the only variation in the coat of the German shepherd dog. The German shepherd of today has either a flat short coat or a long coat. The German shepherd with a long coat is known as a "coat" or a coated German shepherd. German shepherds generally have two coats. One is an under coat and the other is an outer coat. A German shepherd that is a long haired shepherd will not have the under coat. One sign that a German shepherd is a true long hair is if his coat is silky and smooth. It is silky and smooth because there is not an undercoat underneath like a short hair shepherd.
One way to tell if a puppy will be a long coated dog is if he loses his puppy coat at around 4 months and has tufts of hair between the toes or in his ears. German shepherds that have the true long coat (silky and smooth) lack the undercoat that gives the shepherd the ability to withstand extreme cold temperatures. This is the main reason why this type of long coat is considered a fault by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Although the true-coated shepherd may be considered a flaw by the AKC, many people think they are beautiful to look at with their smooth long flowing hair.