Brindle German Shepherd

Unusual Dogs: The Brindle German Shepherd

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The German shepherd dog is well-known for its intelligence, courage, and loyalty. The breed was accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1908.

The breed is often used for police work and excels as a protector of home and family. They can also be trained to sniff out drugs, weapons, or other contraband, and they can track criminals or lost children when necessary.

Formerly classed as a member of the AKC’s Working Group of dogs, along with the many other intelligent and hardy breeds the German shepherd was placed into the Herding Group in the 1980s.

These dogs have a strong herding instinct but are better known for other working traits.

It is possible to find German shepherds that are trained to herd cattle or sheep, but it is not as common to find them herding as it is to find them in other lines of work.

With their high level of intelligence, German shepherds can be trained to do almost anything, but their power and drive make them especially suited for protection work.

What is a Brindle German Shepherd?

The term “brindle” refers to a specific color pattern. A brindle German shepherd has the same build and behavior as any other German shepherd, but its coat appears to be striped. This striping is what is known as brindle. It can appear as one of four main color types.

Tan Brindle German Shepherd

A dog’s coat is referred to as having a brindle and tan color pattern when it displays dark brindle markings on a differently-colored coat. The base coat can be tan, black, blue, or liver. It can also be a light cream or yellow color known as isabelline.

Black Brindle German Shepherd

A dog with a black brindled coat has a dark base coat, usually black, but it can also be dark brown. It is overlaid with light stripes of tan, silver, or blue. The overall appearance is that of a dark dog with light stripes over most of its body.

Sable Brindle German Shepherd

The brindle and sable German shepherd is essentially a sable or brown, colored dog with black brindle stripes all over its body. These stripes are typically found on the legs as well as the main part of its body. This type of brindling is typically the clearest brindle pattern found on German shepherds.

Gray Brindle German Shepherd

A brindle and gray German shepherd also referred to as a gray brindle, has one of the hardest brindle patterns to discern. It is not unusual for the main coat color and the brindling to be very similar so that the brindling appears only as points on the dog’s coat if it can be seen at all.

Are Brindle German Shepherds Rare?

Brindle German shepherds are not common because the coloration is considered undesirable by the breed standard.

Because of the unusual coloration, they may also be mistaken for other breeds or for mixed-breed dogs. When they are seen and recognized, it is usually a sable brindle, as these are most easily identified.

Can Brindle German Shepherds be Shown?

According to the American Kennel Club’s German Shepherd breed standard, “Strong rich colors are preferred.

Pale, washed-out colors and blues or livers are serious faults.” Because brindling is most often considered to be a pale color, brindled German shepherds are not seen in the AKC show ring. They are typically dismissed, or at least not placed among the winners.

Where Did this Color Come From?

When the German shepherd was first developed, brindle was one of the main colors of the breed. Since the black gene is dominant, this is the body color most often seen in the breed.

However, brindle is a genetic variation of black, so it is possible for black-bodied dogs to produce one or more brindle puppies.

Why is Brindling a Fault?

There is nothing wrong with a brindled German shepherd in terms of conformation, temperament, or intelligence.

The choice to disallow brindle dogs to enter the show ring is more a fashion choice than anything else. White German shepherds, too, are not allowed to be shown in AKC conformation shows.

What can Brindled German Shepherds Do?

With the exception of being shown in the AKC conformation ring, a brindle German Shepherd can do anything that his more “acceptably-colored” relatives can do. He’s just as intelligent and capable as any of his breed, and he’s strong and loyal as well.

Winning Ribbons with a Brindle German Shepherd

For those who love competing and want to get involved with the formal competition, obedience work is an excellent choice for any dog.

This includes brindle German shepherds. A well-trained dog can win ribbons, trophies, and even titles in AKC obedience competition. Color doesn’t matter.


German shepherds have an excellent sense of smell and can be taught to follow a trail. This is a fun hobby for many people, and there are tracking competitions where a trained dog can win titles and awards, just like with obedience. It’s also a fun way to spend time with a bright and energetic dog.

Service Dog

Service dogs are trained to aid their human companions in a variety of ways. German shepherds of any color make excellent service dogs, opening doors and picking up dropped items for their owners and similar tasks.

They can also be trained to help people with seizures by sensing the seizure before it occurs and getting the person to safety.

Companion and Family Dog

While any color German shepherd can make an excellent family dog, brindles may end up as family dogs more often than those with other colors.

This is because brindle German shepherd dogs are unlikely to be kept for breeding or sold to people who want a show dog, so they end up being sold as family pets and personal companions.

How Big can a German Shepherd Get?

German shepherds come in a variety of sizes, but according to the German Shepherd Dog Club of America males are 24 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder, and females are 22 to 24 inches tall. Their weight should be proportional to their height. Their bodies should also be longer than they are tall.

What Else can Cause a German Shepherd to be Brindle?

Dogs that are the result of a cross between two different breeds will typically carry some of the characteristics of both breeds.

When a German shepherd is crossed with a breed that has a brindle coat, such as pit bull or great Dane, the resulting puppies may have the appearance of German shepherds but carry the brindled coat of the other parent.

Is it Possible to Buy or Adopt a Brindle German Shepherd?

It may be possible to locate a brindle German shepherd that is available for sale or adoption. Since the color is unusual, it may be necessary to wait to find the right dog.

If a brindle German shepherd is in a shelter it may be a mixed breed rather than a purebred, but could still make an excellent companion.

Which Color of Dog is the Smartest?

There is no evidence to indicate that the coat color of a German shepherd is linked to intelligence. While some people will maintain that their color of the dog is the smartest, based on all available evidence that’s a matter of opinion, not fact.

German shepherds are considered to be highly intelligent, but that applies to all colors.

Are Brindle German Shepherds Smaller than other Colors?

The size of a German shepherd is unrelated to its coat color. Brindle dogs have not been found to be smaller than those of other colors. They’re also not any bigger. The size of the dog depends on its parents, not its coat color.

Brindle dogs that are found to be consistently bigger or smaller than those of other colors may be the result of a cross with another breed.

What is a Dutch Shepherd?

The Dutch shepherd has a similar look to the German shepherd, but there are some differences in general size and behaviors.

The Dutch shepherd is also highly intelligent, plus it is very active. The coloration differs as the AKC standard for Dutch shepherds specifies that they can only be brindle. This helps to distinguish them from German Shepherds immediately.

In conclusion, a German shepherd is an intelligent and loyal dog that can be trained to work. It also is an awesome breed to serve as a family dog or for personal protection.

According to Animal Planet’s Dogs 101 episode that features the German shepherd, this dog is devoted to its family and will stop at almost nothing to take care of them.

Choosing a coat color is a matter of personal preference and is not linked to the dog’s size, behavior, intelligence, or other characteristics.

It is more a fashion choice than anything else. Even when the coat color is specified for a certain breed, choice of color comes down to how the dog looks, and nothing else.

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