Home Info Features of a Sable German Shepherd You Will Love

Features of a Sable German Shepherd You Will Love

by David W.
Sable German Shepherd

If you want a German Shepherd that looks different from its counterparts, think about a sable one. It is not a crossbreed or mutation. Sable is an initial color of the breed, and it is dominant, so it is actually a true German Shepherd with all the amazing qualities of this perfect breed.

However, this dog looks a bit different from others. It is a perfect working dog and a very loyal one. In fact, it has the same qualities as GSs of other colors. These dogs can be used in the military, police, and social services.

We have provided interesting facts about these fascinating sable German Shepherd dogs. So, continue reading.

Some Facts About the History

Sable color is a result of a dominant gene that was original in all German Shepherds. This color is accepted as a standard one by many kennel clubs, including the AKC. 

The origin of this variety is closely connected with the origin of the entire breed. The retired captain Max Von Stephanitz decided to breed these dogs for his farms to herd sheep. So, he bought a male Horand by name whom he saw at the show, and the start was made.

Horand was a sable colored German Shepherd, and its litter was bred with the GSs with similar qualities. Horand itself had 84 puppies. 

The breed arrived in the US in 1906 and was recognized in 1908. It also had the name the Alsatian Wolf Dog. It got popularity among bootleggers and gangsters because it was strong, courageous, and very intelligent. 

These dogs were also widely used by Nazi Germany, and Adolf Hitler preferred them to any others. Therefore, the pups were considered dangerous and fierce. That reputation has lasted for many years, and many people nowadays also believe it is true. However, their temperament allows for perfect socialization and quick training, so you can receive an obedient and loyal friend. 


Sable German Shepherd dogs do not differ much from the dogs of other colors, so they have almost the same characteristic and equally even temperaments. However, this color is rarer, and the puppies are more expensive. You can get one at the price of $800-$1,500, while the common Shepherds cost $300-$700. 


Sable GSD

These dogs belong to a large breed. They have a dome-shaped head, erect ears, and a long neck. They are very similar to their wolf ancestors. Their muzzle is the same length and square, and the color of the coat is very distinctive of these canines. The ideal body proportions imply that the dog should be longer than taller – 10:8.5. The tail is bushy and can form a hook. They can lower their heads like wolves when they are running.

These Shepherds have double coats, and the outer layer is very dense and stiff, while the undercoat is soft. The length of fur differs too. It can be either medium or long. Sable German Shepherd dogs can vary in color a bit. You can come across a silver sable German Shepherd, or a black sable German Shepherd. In general, sable is lighter than other common colors, and the dog can look gray. The term for this color is common in the US, while in other countries, including Germany, such dogs are considered gray.

These pups shed a lot, so it is not an animal for those who suffer from allergies. You need to develop an appropriate grooming schedule for your pet, so the amount of fur all around and, correspondingly, the amount of mess will reduce.

Temperament and Training

The color does not impact the temperament at all. These dogs are extremely obedient and family-protecting. They are working dogs, so their job is to guard someone or something and protect them from possible dangers. 

These pups socialize easily at any age, but you can start the appropriate training at a very early age. The sable German Shepherd’s temperament, however, is softer than that of its counterparts, so you can enjoy the company of your well-trained friend to the fullest. 

On the other hand, these dogs are very energetic. They are always eager to learn, but they can also get into trouble because they run and jump around all the time. These Shepherds are very playful, and they love to please their owners. Their intelligence needs mental stimulation. The puppies don’t like to be left alone, so they can start chewing and biting everything they see. Such destructive behavior can lead to psychological problems that are difficult to cure. So, do not leave your puppy alone for a long time.

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 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.

Sable German Shepherd running

Your sable dog can start barking every time it feels something dangerous or suspicious. So, you can completely rely on its loyalty. However, it is not aggressive at all, and it quickly understands that your family is its pack. 

The unfair reputation of aggressiveness originated in the past when these beautiful dogs were used in the wrong way. Sable Shepherds are commonly associated with severe barking and bites, though, if properly trained, this can be excluded. However, the dog is a very strong animal, and the force of its bite is above 1,060 newtons. This is something in-between a Rottweiler and a Pit Bull.

These pups are very curious, and that helps them become efficient searchers and rescuers. The immense energy and high levels of activity allow them to become well-trained and helpful working dogs in many different jobs and challenging tasks. They are reward-oriented, so they are ready to serve your purposes better if you give them a treat and praise.

Due to the extreme levels of energy, 60-90 minutes of exercise per day minimum is required. Though, be careful about puppies. Do not over-exercise them because their musculoskeletal system should develop in the right way. Therefore, a puppy aged 6 months can exercise for about half an hour at a time. 

Your young and energetic sable color German Shepherd will make a great company for your walks, bike rides, and hikes. You can take it to the river or lake for swimming sessions. However, small apartments are not suitable for this animal because it is a large breed that needs a lot of space. If you have a backyard, it is ideal for your doggy. It can run and jump there and never get bored. Getting bored for such a dog means getting frustrated, so a good deal of mental stimulation will help a lot. Puzzle toys can be very helpful here.


Sable colored GSD lying on the grass

The sable German Shepherd lives approximately the same number of years as the Shepherds of other colors – 9-13 years is their usual lifespan.

The health problems are also similar to all the German Shepherds because many of them are inherent to their breed.

The most common disorder is an elbow or hip dysplasia. It is a disease caused by malformation of joints. They become loose with time, and very painful, so the dog can become lame or even disabled. 

This issue can be transferred genetically, so you need to ensure that your puppy’s parents did not suffer from it. Ask the breeder for certifications about the clearness of the genetic set. However, sable color can often be received by inbreeding, so the risk of the issue increases. 

Though, you need to organize veterinary checks regularly to be sure that the condition does not start developing. You can also prevent the development of dysplasia by appropriate nutrition and correct amounts of exercise during the growing period. You should also provide a comfortable orthopedic bed for your dog at a senior age. It will help not only reduce the possibility of dysplasia, but also the development of arthritis and other joint pains.

Degenerative myelopathy is one more dangerous condition in the sable coloured German Shepherd. It is a severe disease of the spinal cord that can appear at the age of 7 years and leads to movement problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get a sable color German Shepherd if I don’t have experience with dogs?

These dogs are very intelligent and highly trainable. If your adopted dog is already well-trained, you won’t have any issues with it, even if you are a first-time owner. However, they need to feel your leadership and authority, so a German Shepherd is not a dog for everyone. You can deal with it only if you can control it. Moreover, if you are afraid of dogs, especially big ones, they will feel your response and that may cause serious issues and lead to challenging situations.

Can I get a sable Shepherd if I have a small apartment?

A sable Shepherd is a big dog. So, it cannot live in a small space. It will feel uncomfortable and may even get ill if it does not receive much exercise. You should think about large spaces, both indoors and outdoors. It must have enough space to run about, play, jump, and dig. Moreover, even if you have a backyard, it should be reliably fenced to prevent incidents.

Do I need to have an active lifestyle to get a sable German Shepherd?

Surely. These dogs are very energetic, so be ready to walk with your pup at least twice a day, play with it a lot, go for runs, rides, and hikes, and arrange swimming sessions and weekend adventures for it. If it is not for you, you had better not adopt such a dog.

Do I need a lot of time to raise and train a sable Shepherd?

Yes, these dogs prefer to spend a lot of time with their owners. They are pack dogs, so they love company. Moreover, they need a lot of mental stimulation. If you have to be away from home for eight hours or more every day and cannot take the dog with you, it is better not to adopt it. Someone in your family can take care of your pup when you are out, but if you live alone, this dog is not the best variant for you.

What color is sable German Shepherd?

The Sable is dark grayish. It is a unique color that was initially inherent in Shepherds. The hair roots are usually lighter and tips are darker, almost black. The color looks very nice, so if you want a dog with a magnificent look, you can have this Shepherd.

How are sable German Shepherds different from GS dogs of other colors?

Sable is one of the standard colors in this breed. So, there is not much difference. The most important peculiarity is the color itself because it is considered rare nowadays. Sable is caused by a dominant gene, so the temperament, health issues, behavior, and nutrition needs are also the same.

Are sable Shepherds good for a family?

All German Shepherds no matter what color are great as family members if they are properly trained and socialized. They are reliable, loyal, obedient, and very protective. They treat children very well, even the small ones, but you need to supervise the situation because accidents can happen if your dog and kid do not know how to deal with each other.

Is there anything bad about sable Shepherds?

German Shepherd dogs, irrespective of their color, are territorial proprietors, so they are overprotective. It means that if your dog, is not properly trained and socialized, you may have problems with unfamiliar people who walk past your backyard. Your dog may bark and behave aggressively with strangers. You need to consider this part of its behavior when someone comes to see you.

Are sable German Shepherds rare?

Sable-colored dogs are quite rare, yet it is the original color of the entire breed. The characteristics and temperaments of Sable German Shepherds are virtually identical to those of other colored German Shepherds. However, this color is more uncommon and the puppies cost more. The most notable distinction is the color itself, as it is rare in modern times. A dominant gene produces the sable hue.

Final Thoughts

Sable colored German Shepherd swimming

There are several features and peculiarities you need to consider when you adopt a German Shepherd puppy or adult dog. Sable German Shepherd dogs do not differ much. So, we have compiled the set of such features and how to deal with them in this article. We hope that this information will be useful for you.

The dogs of sable color are rather rare, but it is the original color of the entire breed. Your dog will look beautiful and magnificent. You will also enjoy its behavior if it is properly trained. It will also be pretty intelligent, protective, helpful, and loyal. Such dogs are great companions and family members. So, if you have decided to adopt a puppy, think about a sable color German Shepherd. That will be a great addition to your everyday life.

You may also like