What Is the Best Color for a German Shepherd? The Objective Truth!

There are over 10 different colors of coats that a German Shepherd can have. From their common black and tans to the rare German Shepherd colors of liver and blue, there are so many colors that are possible. But is there a fur color that is the best?

What Is the Best Color for a German Shepherd 1 1 What Is the Best Color for a German Shepherd? The Objective Truth!

What’s the best color for a German Shepherd?

For the average pet owner, any color of German Shepherd can be the best. However, for the show ring, the common black and tan coloring is the best. This is the most desired German Shepherd color according to the AKC.

When you have a dog that is going to be going into many shows, there are a lot of physical traits that you want to keep in mind. Every detail from their color pattern to their spine structure gets evaluated and these qualities are set from the German Shepherd’s birth. 

The AKC prefers both the more common German Shepherd along with the darker colors. In fact, there are many colors of German Shepherds that the AKC won’t except such as white, liver, Isabella, and panda. This is because these colors are too light and also too rare. 

Black and tan are one of the most common color patterns of a German Shepherd. This makes it both the most controlled color and the most desired color in the show world. 

What is the Second-Best German Shepherd Color?

When there is a first, there must also be a second. After black and tan coloring for German Shepherds, the next most desired color is sable. In German Shepherds, sable coloring is dark and rich. It’s also as common as black and tan German Shepherds. 

If you are having your German Shepherds compete in shows, make sure that they are either black and tan or sable. This will make them much more appealing to the judges, along with them having all of the other desired physical traits. 

Is There an Unwanted Color of German Shepherd?

The color of a German Shepherd does very little to impact their health, physical abilities, or anything else that can make one German Shepherd worse to another. However, there is a color of German Shepherd that is both not recognized by the AKC and is also stereotyped amongst other owners.

White German Shepherds are seen to be too light for the AKC, them being completely “faulty” and unable to compete at all. There is also a myth that white German Shepherds are too weak to be working dogs. Though, like any myth, this is very untrue. 

If you want a white German Shepherd to be a working dog, then that German Shepherd will still be a great fit. The only thing you need to be mindful of is that their white fur doesn’t provide them with as much protection from the sun. They might need sun protectants and will need access to the shade when outside. 

What Is the Best Color for a German Shepherd 1 What Is the Best Color for a German Shepherd? The Objective Truth!

What Are the Most Common Colors of German Shepherds?

With the wide variety of German Shepherd colors that are possible, there is a list of what colors are common and rare. Quite a few different colors and color patterns are considered common. 

Black and Tan

The show world loves common things. Black and tan colors for the German Shepherd are as common as things get. While the first German Shepherd in the show world wasn’t black and tan, this color pattern surpassed its popularity and availability. 

Usually, this color pattern is shown as a base of tan across the German Shepherd with large splotches of black going across their fur. This is the coloring that most people think of when they picture a German Shepherd.


This is what the original German Shepherds in the show world looked like. Sable can be described as fur starting with a light color while the ends are darker, usually black. There are different variations of sable, from tan sable to grey sable. Instead of the defined changes of color that black and tan German Shepherds have, sable German Shepherds have coat colors that look blended. 

When a German Shepherd has a deep and rich sable coat, it will do very well in the show ring. Sable is the second sought out color pattern for German Shepherds, as described previously. 

Black and Red

Similarly, to black and tan, a German Shepherd that has a black and red coat will have a reddish base with large black splotches across its body. To be specific, black and red are highly sought after in Show Line dogs according to the AKC, while black and tan are highly sought after in Working Line dogs.

A black and red German Shepherd can have a super-rich coloring that makes them beautiful. The red tone of their coat is described as deep mahogany that can range from a paler shade to a deep red. 


Bicolor German Shepherds are super common, though they aren’t always as talked about as the previous colors of German Shepherds.

As the name implies, bicolor German Shepherds are described as having two colors across their coats. However, unlike black and tan or black and red German Shepherds, a bicolor German Shepherd will have a dominant color across its body. 

Across most of the German Shepherd’s body will be one solid color, but then there will be splotches of another color and their legs will be a separate color. There are different variations of bicolor German Shepherds, though black and tan bicolor color patterns are quite common. 

It can be difficult to determine if a German Shepherd is a solid color or bicolor as a puppy. Breeders will look underneath a German Shepherd’s tail to see if there is another color. Hints of another color in the German Shepherd’s paws can also indicate a bicolor German Shepherd. 

What Are the Rarest German Shepherd Colors?

Along with there being an assortment of common German Shepherd colors, there its also an assortment of rare German Shepherd colors.


Liver German Shepherds are one of the rarest colors of German Shepherds across the world. This color is described as a light to dark solid brown. Liver German Shepherds are considered faults to the AKC, and they are completely faults if their coloring is light. 

A liver German Shepherd can have amber eyes instead of the typical brown, gold, or blue. This coloring is gained through liver recessive genes that both parents must possess to be handed down. 

It is highly unlikely that you will ever stumble upon a liver German Shepherd at an adoption center. Most people who have liver German Shepherds had to purchase them from specific breeders. 


Blue German Shepherds are beautiful dogs even if they aren’t literally blue. The blue of this coloring is actually a dark grey that has hues of blue. This creates a dark to medium grey-blue that makes many of these German Shepherds look a lot like wolves. 

This coloring occurs from a recessive gene that dilutes the black genes in these dogs. This creates the faded blue along with the grey. With their rarity and the complicated gene combinations that are required to breed these dogs, blue German Shepherds have faced controversy due to irresponsible breeding practices. 


Isabella, or fawn, German Shepherds have very pale reddish-brown coats that can be described anywhere from pink to cream to a pale liver. No matter how you describe the color of these German Shepherds, they are too pale for being recognized by the AKC. 

This coloration is made through recessive genes that black out the black color gene and dilute any red genes that the German Shepherd may have. The eye color of these German Shepherds is also as pale as their coats, usually being a light blue or hazel. 

Isabella German Shepherds are often considered one of the most beautiful German Shepherds even with their rarity. They are striking as much as they are uncommon. 

Final Thoughts

If you are just looking for a German Shepherd to bring into your loving home, the color of it doesn’t matter all that much. German Shepherd colors only start to matter when you put them into shows and competitions. Then, there is a selection of colorings that are accepted by the AKC, and they all must be dark and rich colors.

The best German Shepherd color, according to the guidelines of the AKC, is the black and tan German Shepherd. Next in line are the sable German Shepherd and the black and red German Shepherd. These colorations are deep and rich, making them highly desired in the show ring. 

If you are putting your German Shepherd into shows, then you must know that fur color is not the only thing that has strict regulations. Making sure that your German Shepherd has the best bone structure, posture, and eye color is important in show business. 

If you just want a friendly companion, then looks aren’t a big deal. 

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