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Sable German Shepherd

The Sable German Shepherd is a recognized variation of the German Shepherd breed. The Sable color is the most dominant coat color of all Shepherds and is the only color which fits the dog’s founding member’s strong ideology of a true Shepherd dog.

Although these dogs look different to other German Shepherds (GSD), they carry the same traits and characteristics as other variations of the German Shepherd breed and are known to be very loyal. These dogs are bred to produce the perfect working dog and German Shepherd dogs have gone on to have careers in the military, the police force and as other service dogs.

If you’re interested in learning more about this dog, read on below as we go into detail about their history, their characteristics and what caring for this pup is like.

History Of The Sable German Shepherd

The Sable coat of the German Shepherd is caused by a dominant gene and was the first of the German Shepherd species. It is also the only coat color which did not stray from the German Shepherd’s founder’s ideology of the breed. German Shepherds are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the sable color is recognized by the breed standard.

Breed Origin

To understand the Sable German Shepherds’ breed origin, we should look at the German Shepherd’s breed origin. They were first discovered by Von Stephanitz who spotted the German Shepherd at a dog show and decided that this breed was the perfect standard for a working dog. He adopted one of these dogs and named them “Horand” and then created the “Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde”, the Society for the German Shepherd Dog.

Horand was the first breed standard for the German Shepherd breed and was bred alongside dogs with a similar appearance to give German Shepherd litters. They are thought to have first appeared in the United States in 1906 and were recognized by the AKC in 1908.

Sable German Shepherd dog

Characteristics Of The Sable German Shepherd

Because the Sable German Shepherd is not a mixed breed and simply a variation of the standard GSD, these dogs carry the same characteristics and temperament. Sable German Shepherds are, however, often more rare than other colors of German Shepherds, which can make them more expensive as puppies.

The litter size for these pups will normally be 5 and 9 puppies. For a standard GSD you can expect to pay anywhere between $300 and $700 for a puppy. For the Sable GSD, it is likely you will spend anywhere from $800 to $1500 per puppy.


As we’ve mentioned above, the Sable German Shepherd is very similar to other German Shepherds and the main difference is the color of their fur. They are a large breed dog and the males will weigh between 75 to 95 pounds and stand up to 26” tall. The females are always slightly smaller and will weigh anywhere between 55 to 73 pounds and stand no taller than 24”.

These dogs have a domed shape head with a long, square muzzle. They have erect ears and long necks, which sit low when running or prowling. They are a very strong breed and often are said to resemble their wolf ancestors.


German Shepherds will have one of two coats, either a medium coat or long coat. They are both double coats, having a more dense guard layer with a softer undercoat which helps to keep them warm when they are out as working dogs.

These dogs are known to shed so they may not be the doggie for those with allergies. However, a proper grooming regime, which we will go into more detail about below, is important to reduce the amount of shedding and the amount of cleaning up!


The sable color of the German Shepherd means that almost all their hairs will have a black tip to them, while the rest of the hair can be a different color. Normally this other color is tan, but there are a range of colors that the GSD can come in. These include white, parti, blue, liver, red and gold.


The color of your German Shepherd’s coat has no effect on their temperament. They are extremely loyal and very family orientated. Because they are a working dog, they will believe that their job is to protect you as a family and are known for being alert and watchful, sometimes barking if they feel like they are in danger. Although socialization is important for a dog at any age, proper socialization for a German Shepherd will ensure they can interact with the family properly. Socialization is also important around young people.

These dogs are very playful and active and love to be outside getting physical exercise. They also need a lot of mental stimulation as they are very intelligent and do not like to be left alone. If they are left alone for long periods of time they can become bored and begin to exhibit destructive behaviors, so it is important they spend most of their time with people or they are trained correctly to understand what behaviors are desirable.


The Sable German Shepherd has an average life expectancy of between 9 to 13 years.

Known Health Issues

Unfortunately, as with any dog, a Sable German Shepherd can be prone to some health problems. Many of the problems they are more likely to develop are the same problems that other breeds of German Shepherd deal with.

The most common health problem for the German Shepherd dog breed is elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia. Dysplasia is a condition that is seen in many large dogs and is a disease of a malformation of the joints. The joints can become very painful and may worsen over time causing lameness.

The best way to ensure your pup is less prone to any of these conditions is to buy from a reputable breeder and to ensure you get health clearances from both parents. You should also check your dog often for any signs of these issues and take them to the vet regularly for checkups.

The Sable German Shepherd - Top Facts & Guide - Animal Corner

Daily Life

Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the Sable German Shepherd, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these dogs on a day to day basis is really like. We will cover their food and diet, their exercise requirements and their grooming needs.

Food And Diet

The Sable Shepherd is a large dog so their diet should also be large. It is recommended that you feed them a diet specially formulated for large dog breeds and you should always check the back of the dog food packet to see how much food you should be feeding your doggie based on their weight.

Experts recommend that a Sable German Shepherd should be eating 20 calories per lb of body weight a day, which may come to around 1500 calories. This is around 3 cups of food.

As a puppy, they should be fed three to four times a day. This is particularly important in the larger breeds as they are most predisposed to bloat, where the stomach becomes bloated and twisted and is usually fatal. These three to four meals can then be decreased to two meals a day as an adult. However, if you have a busy lifestyle then this can just be one meal a day.

Their food should be healthy and nutritious. It should cover all the nutrients that a dog of this size needs, including proteins, fats and carbohydrates. High-quality dry kibble is a great option, although some dog owners opt to feed their pup raw food. Take a look at the food we recommend below.

Best Dog Food For The Sable German Shepherd

CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Adult Dry Dog Food

The Sable German Shepherd - Top Facts & Guide - Animal Corner BUY ON AMAZON

We recommend the CRAVE Grain Free High Protein dry dog food for your Sable German Shepherd. This food is formulated with 34% protein from real salmon, inspired by the diet of dogs’ wolf ancestors. This high protein helps to keep their muscles lean and healthy so they can stay active for longer.

This food has no grains present in the recipe but there are quality carbohydrates for sources of energy. There are also vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in the formula to provide your German Shepherd with a full and balanced diet. Even better, there are no chicken byproduct meals in this food, nor any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.


As a working dog and a breed that is often used as a police dog, the German Shepherd needs lots of mental and physical stimulation to keep them happy. It is not a surprise that this breed of dog is very active and has high exercise needs.

You should ensure that you are exercising your German Shepherd for 60 to 90 minutes a day. This includes walks, playing and mental games. Your dog will want a big back yard to run around in too, so they will not be getting the exercise they need if you live in a small apartment. Without adequate exercise, they can develop unwanted and destructive behaviors due to frustration and boredom.

These dogs love accompanying their owners on hikes and walks and love to go swimming too, so make sure you have the time to spend with them outside before purchasing this breed of dog. They can make the perfect exercise buddy!

Because this breed is a large breed, you should extra careful about overexercising these dogs when they are puppies. Too much exercise can be detrimental to their skeletal development. As a rule of thumb, you should only exercise them for roughly 5 minutes for every month of their age until they are an adult. So, for example, if your GSD is four months old, you should exercise them for twenty minutes.

Family Compatibility

A Sable Shepherd makes an excellent family dog. Because they are so loyal, they will want to protect you from anything harmful, which makes them an excellent guard dog. However, you will need to train them from a young age to understand that not everything is a threat, otherwise they may well bark for hours!

It is no lie that this pup needs a lot of exercise and so will thrive in an active family who are willing to spend time playing with them. They need both physical and mental stimulation and will benefit from a big yard that they can run around in and from people who want to want to teach them tricks.

This breed does have a naturally high prey drive, so you will need to take care when introducing them to children for the first time. That being said, when socialized properly, German Shepherds love children and will even take your children under their wing. They also get on very well with other family pets, so there will be no issue there and they will become a loved family member.


The Sable German Shepherd is a very intelligent dog and is therefore very easy to train. You should train them from a very young age and always use positive reinforcement and reward based techniques. This can include verbal praise and yummy treats to show them that they are doing a good job.

German Shepherds can be a little stubborn, so you should never punish them or scold them. They’ll also do a lot better if you have given them a lot of time to exercise before you decide to conduct a training session. They are great detectives too, so hiding treats and getting them to sniff the treats out makes a fun game to play!


We touched on the fact that socialization of your German Shepherd is very important. This is because they are a working dog and will believe it is their job to protect you. They can also be a little aloof with children, thanks to their prey drive.

You should introduce your Sable Shepherd to new sights, sounds, places, smells, people and animals in a calm and controlled way from a young age, so they learn that there is nothing to be afraid of. Continued socialization throughout their life will help them to develop into a well-rounded dog, too.


The German Shepherd has a double coat and will shed a lot of the time. They will shed more at two times in the year and the rest of the time you can expect reduced shedding. Brushing them properly will always help with this. You can also visit a grooming salon which may help your dog’s coat become more manageable.

If you’re lucky and have a medium coated Sable German Shepherd dog, you may be able to get away with brushing them twice a week. However, if your dog has long hair, then you’re going to need to brush them daily to prevent knots and tangles forming. Either way, they are not the dog for those with allergies!

Remember to brush their teeth to prevent dental decay and gum disease, although you can give them dental chews every day to help keep their teeth clean. You should also check their erect ears because they are more likely to catch dust and dirt.

The Sable German Shepherd - Top Facts & Guide - Animal Corner

Sable German Shepherd FAQ’s

Are Sable German Shepherds different to other German Shepherds?

There is not much difference between a Sable German Shepherd to a standard GSD. The main difference is the color of their coat, which is down to a dominant gene that those dog’s with sable coats inherit. Otherwise, they have the same temperament and needs as other GSD’s!

How much does a Sable German Shepherd cost?

A Sable German Shepherd puppy can cost anywhere between $800 and $1500. For a standard German Shepherd, the price is a lot cheaper and is normally between $300 and $700 for a puppy.

If this is out of your price range or you would prefer to adopt, you can always take a look at your local shelter and see if there are any German Shepherds who need their forever home!


The Sable German Shepherd is a loyal and loving dog that will make an excellent member of the family. While they have a dominant gene that gives them a wonderful coat, these pups have the exact same fantastic temperament as their GSD brothers and sisters and make an excellent working dog as well as a guard dog. Although they can have high grooming needs and exercise needs, you will love spending time with your GSD outdoors playing games and they can make an excellent companion for running and hiking. So, what do you think? Is a Sable German Shepherd for you?

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