- Overview of the German Shepherd
- Sable German Shepherd Differences
- Affects of Sable Coloring on Health & Behavior
- Predicting Sable German Shepherd Health & Behavior
- History of the Sable German Shepherd
- Care of Sable German Shepherds
- Temperament of Sable German Shepherds
- Training the Sable German Shepherd
- Further Reading About the Sable German Shepherd
Sable German Shepherds are seen as striking, stoic creatures that look incredibly similar to their wolf ancestors. Does the different color of their fur impact the way they act, think, and feel? You’re about to find out. In this article, you’ll learn the history of the Sable German Shepherd as well as how their temperament, care, training, and behavior differs from the classic black and tan German Shepherds.
Sable German Shepherd Fact Table:
|Height:||Females: 22” – 24”|
Males: 24” – 26”
|Weight:||Females: 55 – 75 pounds|
Males: 75 – 95 pounds
|Lifespan:||9 – 13 years|
|Suitable For:||Active individuals, couples, or families with children.|
|Color:||Sable, tan, gold, black, white, liver, and blue.|
|Temperament:||Self-assured, loving, loyal, protective, intelligent.|
Overview of the German Shepherd
While the coloring of various German Shepherds may vary, their temperament, health, and wellness needs are all generally the same.
The temperament of German Shepherds is loyal, highly intelligent, and protective. They pick up on new commands and activities quickly and obey without bribes. They usually identify with one family member as their master and stick by their side. They may become protective of their master by barking when a stranger enters the house or yard. German Shepherds may protect small children in the family, as well. They are highly loving creatures.
German Shepherds have double coats that protect them from heat and cold. Their coats need groomed – ideally, brushed on a daily basis and washed when extremely dirty. German Shepherds typically don’t need their fur trimmed. If you have a long-coat shepherd, you could get the ends of his long hairs trimmed to keep him looking sleek. Short-coat shepherds should not get buzz cuts since their fur protects them from heat and cold. People may see a dog with a thick coat panting and think a hair cut would cool them off. That is the exact opposite of the truth! Don’t shave or buzz your shepherd!
German Shepherds need daily exercise and two healthy meals. Shepherds should have at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. You could take a walk or play fetch. As long as your time adds up to 30 minutes, you’ve done your caretaker duties! As for feeding, German Shepherds need good quality food that fits their lifestyle. Do your research on kibble, moist food, and raw food. Speak with your veterinarian about what type and brand of food would be best for your shepherd.
German Shepherds are known for some health issues. You can take steps to prevent or prolong these health issues. For example, shepherds are known for developing hip dysplasia. You can give your shepherd Cosequin supplements while he’s young so that his hip joints stay strong and agile into old age. German shepherds are also known for bloat or Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) which can be prevented by slowing your dog’s eating habits and preventing excess exercise immediately after eating.
On the other hand, health issues such as epilepsy and cancer are difficult to prevent and impossible to cure. In these situations, the best you can do is keep your shepherd calm, comfortable, and happy as possible.
Other common health issues include diabetes, cataracts, allergies, urinary tract infections, bladder stones, thyroid issues, and pancreatitis.
You might want to read:
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Sable German Shepherd Differences
What makes a Sable German Shepherd different from other shepherds? Their wolf-like coloring! Instead of separate black and tan patches like a classic American shepherd, their black and tan coloring is mixed together. The individual hairs are two-tone with tan, silver, or white bases and black tips. The gene that causes this coloring is also carried by wolves. Very few domesticated dogs carry this gene.
Can you see the difference in coloring between these two dogs?
Now, does pigmentation of a German Shepherd affect more than their fur? Research is still in progress, but scientists have found correlations between the color of a dog’s fur or eyes and their health and behavior.
Further studies of dogs found that certain colors of English Cocker Spaniels are more aggressive. Studies also found that certain shades of Labrador Retrievers seem to live longer. The scientists conducting these studies, however, determined that they may have gain a small amount of insight into the science of animals but these correlations cannot be applied universally to all animals or all dogs. Dog breeds vary so greatly from each other. There is no solid way to determine health and behavior based solely on fur color.
Affects of Sable Coloring on Health & Behavior
Knowing what we know about the affects of coat color on animals, be it very little, what can we say about Sable German Shepherds? Not as many studies have been done about the affects of sable colors on German Shepherd health and behavior. There is not enough evidence to prove that Sable German Shepherds are different from black and tan German Shepherds or other colors of GSD.
Scientists do know, however, what causes the sable coloring. The sable is controlled by the Agouti gene. There are four variations of the agouti gene, which all code for the wild-type, black-tipped hairs. Other genes determine the location of these sable-colored hairs. The agouti gene is not currently known to be related to the health or behavior of dogs. This means sables are basically exactly like every other GSD.
Predicting Sable German Shepherd Health & Behavior
Scientists have come very far in the study of genetics and are able to map the genetic personality of dogs. Genetics does not, however, make your dog’s behavior unwavering. The concept of nature vs. nurture plays a major role in a dog’s behavior.
As a puppy, a dog may grow up with gentle and friendly parents and act the same way. But if a dog is mistreated, he may become fearful, skittish, or aggressive with age. The dog may not get along with other dogs or small children. A dog’s fear or aggression could become so specific as to only trigger towards tall, skinny men, for example.
The best way to predict the health and behavior of a Sable German Shepherd is to speak with the puppy’s breeder about the health and behavior of the parents. Once adopting the puppy, keep him healthy and happy through proper nutrition, exercise, training, and socialization.
As with all dogs, it is important to keep in mind that Sable German Shepherds have the potential to become aggressive if not socialized properly or mistreated. For example, if a dog does not interact with other dogs for many months in the beginning of his life, he may be fearful and/or aggressive towards other dogs once introduced. A dog may also become aggressive to small children if they do not know how to treat a dog with kindness. If a child pulls on the dog’s ears, fur, or skin, the dog may reach his limit and snap. Owners must make sure their GSD is well socialized. Parents must make sure their children understand how to play nicely with dogs.
History of the Sable German Shepherd
The German Shepherd breed can be accredited to Max von Stephanitz. He began breeding German Shepherds with Hektor (renamed Horand von Grafrath) in 1899. Von Stephanitz founded the Society for the German Shepherd, followed by a breeding program. Hektor fathered 84 pups over his years.
The American Kennel Club first recognized the German Shepherd in 1908. Currently, the German Shepherd is the second most popular breed in the United States.
The Sable German Shepherd is known as the original dog since it shares DNA with its wolf ancestors. The sable is the dominant gene of the German Shepherd species. Sable is also the only color that fits the dog’s founding member’s ideology of a true shepherd dog.
Care of Sable German Shepherds
Essentially, the care of the Sable GSD is the same as all other colors of GSDs.
German Shepherds needs at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Something as simple as walking each day gives your German Shepherd the energy-burn he needs. Fetch, hiking, running, and agility are all good means of exercise for German Shepherds.
Training is important for mental exercise in German Shepherds. They’re highly intelligent creatures and their brains need just as much exercise as their bodies. To satisfy a shepherd’s mental stamina, he needs to feel like he has a job to accomplish each day. Training your dog basic commands is a good place to start. After he’s a year or two old you could train him in nose work, service work, search and rescue, or agility.
Toys play a major role in a German Shepherd’s happiness. They often love chewing on hard bones, bouncy balls, or squeaky plush stuffed toys. Chewing burns energy as well as trotting around the house and chasing balls. A German Shepherd without toys could get bored and chew on furniture or shoes. Nobody wants that!
To keep your German Shepherd full of energy, you need to find healthy high-protein food. Talk to your veterinarian about what brand and ingredients are best for your specific dog, but food that feeds his energy levels is important.
Temperament of Sable German Shepherds
Like the care of a Sable German Shepherd, their temperament is the same as all other shepherds.
Sables are highly intelligent and will pick up on new commands and tricks very quickly. They’re loyal to a fault and will stick by your side no matter what. Literally – there is no going to the bathroom alone when you have a GSD. You won’t even be able to walk into another room of your home without being followed! It’s precious how much these dogs want to be with their humans.
Sable shepherds are gentle and loving with a goofy side. They’re ready to work and be serious when the time arises but once you’re home and relaxed, they’ll play like care-free puppies.
Sable German Shepherds are absolutely great with kids but you need to understand that kids need to learn how to behave around a dog. Shepherds can be patient but if they’re picked on by a small child for long enough, they may snap. The same could happen with any breed of dog. Train your dog. Teach your kids. You shouldn’t have any problems.
Training the Sable German Shepherd
As with other German Shepherds, Sables need basic commands first. Start teaching the basics when they’re 8 weeks old. Those commands will instill in their brains for life.
Once the Sable shepherd is six months to one year old you can teach more advanced commands and tasks. These tasks will fulfill the German Shepherd’s working attitude. They love working as service dogs, search and rescue dogs, and nose work to search for drugs, guns, and criminals.
Sign up with a local professional dog trainer or dog training organization to thoroughly teach commands and tasks. Books can also be helpful in teach you how to teach your dog. Check out the list of books below!
Further Reading About the Sable German Shepherd
The Complete Guide to German Shepherds by David Daigneault is fun to read. It was written by a man who absolutely loves German Shepherds. He tells you all you need to know about your new German Shepherd pup.
Your German Shepherd Puppy: Month by Month by Liz Palika and Terry Albert takes you through the livelihood of your shepherd puppy one step at a time – specifically one month at a time. The needs of a German Shepherd puppy can change from one month to the next, especially when it comes to things like vaccinations and food. This book will walk you through all of that. The authors find the help of veterinarian Deb Eldredge and breeder Joanne Olivier to answer all of your questions.
The Art of Raising a Puppy by The Monks of New Skete is said to be one of the best books about raising a puppy. The Monks of New Skete are extremely knowledgeable from their years of breeding German Shepherds. The book goes further than simply training your puppy. It is insightful and goes into the mind of the young pup. It teaches you why puppies do what they do.
Bonus reading to do your own writing:
Sable German Shepherd: A Dog Journal For You To Record Your Dog’s Life As It Happens is a blank journal for you to preserve the memories of your dog for years. There are spaces for you to tuck photographs of your best friend. In the beginning, you’ll find pages to record birth information and vaccination records. You can even stamp your pup’s paw prints!
Thank you for reading all about the Sable German Shepherd. They’re gentle giants who will love you and protect you for their entire lives. We hope you learned a few new things about the Sable shepherd. Feel free to share your experiences and stories!