German Shepherd dogs are among the most popular dog breeds…
They’re mostly known for their magnificent tan and black coats.
But, there’s also a variation of their coat that’s either underrated or looked down on.
I’m talking about liver German Shepherd dogs.
Let’s get to know them better, shall we?
Continue reading to discover:
- How rare liver German Shepherds are.
- If the color of a liver German Shepherd can change by age.
- A liver German Shepherd’s trainability, temperament, and health issues.
- And much, much more…
Table of contents
- #1: What is a liver German Shepherd?
- #2: How rare are liver German Shepherds?
- #3: What does a liver German Shepherd puppy look like?
- #4: What does a liver German Shepherd adult look like?
- #5: Does the color of a liver German Shepherd change by age?
- #6: How much do liver German Shepherds cost?
- #7: Are liver German Shepherds good family dogs?
- #8: Are liver German Shepherds easy to train?
- #9: Are liver German Shepherds known to have specific health conditions?
- #10: Does AKC recognize liver German Shepherds?
- #11: Where can I buy a liver German Shepherd?
#1: What is a liver German Shepherd?
A liver German Shepherd dog is the same as every German Shepherd (GSD) dog. The unique thing about them is their color. It isn’t just their coat color that’s distinctive. Their nose color can also be brown or pink, contrary to the usual black. Then, their eyes are lighter or reddish-brown.
#2: How rare are liver German Shepherds?
Liver German Shepherds are understandably rare. That’s because most breeders don’t reproduce them. Then, only a few, and mostly backyard, breeders breed them to earn from their rarity.
Most of the reputable breeders don’t intentionally produce liver German Shepherd dogs.
That’s because its color is not up to show standards. I’ll explain more about that in answer #10.
With that, only a few breeders intentionally try to reproduce this breed. Some are doing it to earn extra.
That’s because liver German Shepherds’ rarity is a cause to cash in more money.
Now, only dog parents whose intentions are to take home a rare GSD will get one.
But liver GSDs aren’t favored if it were for the dog show business. With that, they’re bred less.
Moreover, the gene that causes this color is a recessive B locus.
To come up with a liver GSD, you’d have to have parent GSDs that have that recessive gene.
To be clear, let’s have a short genetic lesson:
The genetics behind liver German Shepherds
It all starts on the parents’ DNAs.
Each parent has a set of genotypes for colors.
Those genotypes consist of 2 alleles.
Now, 2 alleles determine the pigment of the brown color. They are:
|b||Recessive brown. This brings the liver color.|
Then, the placement of these alleles is called locus (loci if plural). That means location.
With all of that, it all comes down to what we call the B locus.
Now, according to VCA Hospitals, the recessive B locus is linked to the following pigments:
And, for those colors to come out, the recessive B locus must dilute the dominant brown first.
These are the parent genotype combinations that contribute to producing a liver offspring:
|Black (Bb) + Black (Bb)||Possible offspring colors: Black (75% chance) and Liver (25% chance)|
Liver gene carrier: Yes, offspring will pass on the allele to future youngs.
|Black (Bb) + Liver (bb)||Possible offspring colors: Black (50% chance) and Liver (50% chance)|
Liver gene carrier: Yes, offspring will pass on the allele to future youngs.
|Liver (bb) + Liver (bb)||Possible offspring: Liver (100% chance)|
Liver gene carrier: Yes, offspring will pass on the allele to future youngs.
Only a bb genotype can produce a liver GSD out of all those possible outcomes.
If the offspring’s genotype is Bb, their color remains black or tan. They only become a carrier of the gene for the liver color.
“What if one of the parents is colored black and the other is liver?
Will it produce a liver German Shepherd dog?”
That can only occur if the black-colored parent has a recessive brown gene. It’s similar to the second example from the table.
It won’t happen if the black-colored parent carries both dominant B locus (BB). That’s sure, even if they’re paired with a liver GSD.
However, if that’s the case, their young will carry a recessive gene (Bb).
When that offspring pairs with a liver GSD, there’s a possibility that they’ll produce a liver GSD puppy.
That’s why liver German Shepherds are rare
Liver GSDs can only show up when their genotype is both recessive B loci.
There’s only a quarter of a chance if the parents both carry the recessive gene.
For it to be 50/50, one of the parents must be a liver GSD. Then, the other must be a carrier of the recessive B locus.
And finally, chances are only 100% sure when both GSD parents are liver-colored.
#3: What does a liver German Shepherd puppy look like?
A liver German Shepherd puppy looks a little different from an adult one. To start off, their whole body won’t be all-colored liver. Then, their eyes are a different color, too.
Fur and skin of a liver German Shepherd puppy
Their entire skin and fur will be liver-colored.
But, a puppy liver GSD usually has white toenails.
Then, their footpads and nose are pink in color.
Their toenails, nose, and footpads will change their color to liver as they age.
The eye color of a liver German Shepherd puppy
GSD puppies tend to have blue eyes at first. Sometimes, they can even have green eyes.
But, it doesn’t always last long.
That’s because it’ll change as they grow older.
The blue or green color loses its shade and becomes reddish-brown.
In the case of liver GSDs their eye color will turn amber in about 6 months.
#4: What does a liver German Shepherd adult look like?
A liver German Shepherd adult looks like every GSD, but their entire body is liver-colored. Their whole body is covered with that color, including their nose and feet.
As I previously said, liver GSD puppies look different at first. Their body isn’t entirely liver-colored yet.
But, it all changes when the puppy turns 6-month old.
Their pink nose, footpads, and white toenails will turn liver color.
With that, they’re going to enter adulthood with a body that’s entirely covered in liver hue.
Then, their eyes are light brown, too. It’s usually described as reddish and takes the color of amber.
Those are the only distinct physical qualities of an adult liver German Shepherd.
With that said, liver GSDs still display the usual strong and majestic posture of every GSD.
German Shepherd dogs are known to have a solid and large build.
Then, contributing to their intelligent expression are their almond-shaped eyes. And for liver GSDs, it’s even more striking with their reddish-brown eyes.
Their ears are recognizable as pointy and erect.
It shows when they’re being alert, almost always as they’re great watchdogs.
Moreover, their tail is beautifully curved and covered with long fur.
And when their tail wags, the curvature is emphasized. It’ll also look like dancing curtains with the fur hanging and swinging.
Last but not least, let’s talk about their distinctive liver fur again.
They stand proud with a double coat, and their fur is medium length. Under that beautiful liver color is a thick undercoat with the same hue.
That second coat allows them to tolerate lower temperatures. That’s why they do well in cold weather.
#5: Does the color of a liver German Shepherd change by age?
The color of a liver German can change by age. It starts from the day they’re born until they reach adulthood. But then that’s it, and your liver GSD will always retain their color for the rest of their life.
As I said, liver GSD puppies have different colored toenails, noses, and footpads.
Then, the rest of their body is liver-colored.
Changes in the color of the mentioned body parts will show at 6 months of age.
That’s the only shift in color that liver GSDs undergo.
They don’t go through color changes like GSDs with black and tan coats.
Moreover, only sable GSDs get lighter or darker coats with age.
With that, the conclusion is:
Your liver German Shepherd dog won’t undergo any color changes after they reach 6 months. Their coat won’t get lighter or darker. It’ll stay the way it is.
#6: How much do liver German Shepherds cost?
Liver German Shepherds could cost more than the average GSD price. Usually, people think otherwise as AKC views liver GSDs as a low variation of the breed. But, their rarity contributes to their expensive price.
There’s no definite price range for liver German Shepherd dogs.
The only guide is to expect more than the average cost of a GSD puppy. Here’s the price in different currencies:
|Currency||The average cost of GSD|
|Australian Dollars||AU$ 1,685.00|
|Pound Sterling (UK)||£908.00|
|Euros (EUR)||€ 1,064.00|
Note: This is simply an estimation from the current market of GSDs. You can anticipate less or more.
Now, predict that liver German Shepherd dogs can cost more than that.
It’ll also depend on the breeder that you’ll get them from. Usually, respectable breeders charge more.
That’s because they must practice responsible breeding of these dogs.
As I said, only dogs with the recessive gene can produce liver-colored offspring. That’s why breeders must carefully analyze them before beginning to reproduce them.
It’s a specific endeavor that requires more effort and attention.
Other expenses to expect
Moreover, there are many costs to consider.
Yes, even after finally paying for the liver GSD that you want…
You must prepare for more costs…
These are the expenses that might sneak up on you:
- Additional fees, like shipping.
Also, you should be ready for the cost of your GSD’s eating habits.
Did you know?
A German Shepherd dog must eat 3 cups of food per day.
All in all, the monthly cost of their nutrition can amount to:
|Currency||Average monthly nutritional cost of GSD|
|US Dollars||$ 55|
|Australian Dollars||AU$ 77|
|Pound Sterling (UK)||£ 42|
|Euros (EUR)||€ 49|
Moreover, you must split that requirement into 2. That’s because you must feed your GSD twice a day.
Although they can eat that in one go, it’s recommended to split it.
Eating so much food in one go can cause bloating (GDV) in dogs.
Warning: Research from AKC says that larger dog breeds are more prone to bloating. The list includes German Shepherds. That’s why you should be extra mindful of your GSD’s eating habits.
#7: Are liver German Shepherds good family dogs?
Liver German Shepherds are good family dogs. They’re as good with this role as any other GSDs. That’s because liver GSDs are unique in color, but their temperament is the same as every GSD.
With that said, liver German Shepherds will be a great addition to a family.
And that’s because…
First of all, they’re bred to be herding dogs. The job of those dogs is to gather and protect livestock.
They might not keep that job anymore, yet they continue doing it.
GSDs do so by applying the same thing with your family.
Yes, your kids aren’t sheep…
And yet, you could expect your GSD to nip your children’s heels playfully.
That goes to show that they’re still urged to herd. And with it, comes the tendency to be protective.
And it’s safe to say that your family is the herd that they’re guarding.
Their loyalty is unmatched
VCA Hospitals describes German Shepherd dogs as devoted companions.
Then, many dog parents attest that their GSD is the most loyal of all.
They claim that they’ve never had a dog as reliable as their GSD.
That’s why you can expect your German Shepherd dog to follow you everywhere.
They’re a big affectionate baby
Liver German Shepherds might look intimidating at first…
With their unmatched beauty and majestic aura…
But don’t let that make you hesitant to approach them or take them home.
They’re actually an affectionate dog breed.
If they’re used to it, German Shepherd dogs like to cuddle.
They’re also the kind of dog that’ll suddenly sit on you…
Yep, they would, even though they’re not a lap dog.
They do well with kids
Yes, you read that right…
Your liver GSD can be good with kids…
But provided that they’re properly socialized when they’re still a puppy.
Proper socialization can also help tone down your GSD’s protective nature.
Research says proper socialization during puppyhood plays a large role in their development.
Socialization is a crucial key to preventing behavioral problems in your dog.
So, if you want harmony with your kids and GSD…
Then, you must socialize your pooch early.
Are you getting your GSD from a breeder?
Then you must ask the breeder how well the puppy’s doing with their littermates.
Make sure that they’re not separated from their siblings. That they got to play together before they part.
Such is important information to gather.
Once you’re informed of this, you’ll know what behavior of the GSD to expect towards children.
Note: Don’t leave your kids alone with your GSD despite their amazing children skills. Always supervise each interaction between them.
Liver German Shepherd dogs can adapt to any lifestyle.
They’re known to do well with changes.
So, you can either have a large backyard or none…
It doesn’t matter for your German Shepherd dog.
As long as they’re with you and they’re well-maintained, they’re all set.
Note: Although it’ll be better for your GSD’s well-being to have a large backyard to run around in.
If you live in a small apartment with your GSD, make sure to compensate through walks and adventures.
Continue reading: 17 Reasons Why German Shepherds Are Good Family Dogs
#8: Are liver German Shepherds easy to train?
Liver German Shepherds are easy to train. They’re as smart as every other German Shepherd dog. With that said, your liver GSD won’t disappoint when it comes to their training.
As I said earlier, the only distinct quality of a liver GSD is their color.
After that, they take the same traits as their GSD siblings.
Among those many traits is their intelligence.
They’re not only loved for their loyalty, companionship, and good looks…
German Shepherd dogs are also highly appreciated because of their wit.
In fact, they rank 3rd among AKC’s list of smartest dog breeds.
Then, add the truth that they’re highly obedient dogs.
With that, you get…
An easily trainable pooch!
That’s why when most people are asked to imagine a police dog…
Guess what dog breed they visualize?
A German Shepherd dog that’s wearing a K9 or police vest.
Why German Shepherd dogs are easy to train
Their temper and learning ability make German Shepherd dogs the perfect police dog.
Moreover, GSDs are kind of an overachiever.
It all started a long time ago, specifically in the late 19th century.
As I said, they’re bred as herding dogs. That used to be their job at that time.
They patrolled their guardian’s cattle and livestock.
And to do so, they must remain watchful. If there are any peculiarities, they have to be agile and ready.
So, they’re trained to listen, watch, and act quickly. And, they didn’t disappoint with that at all.
Oh, how well GSDs have done their previous work…
And they did that job for a lot of years.
A lot of time has passed before they become the domesticated and smart dogs that humans know and love…
Regardless of the long history, German Shepherd dogs keep that personality.
Now, humans take advantage of a GSD’s need and tendency to excel.
That’s why GSDs are mostly involved in the police and search and rescue groups.
Moreover, dog parents don’t have a lot of trouble with training their GSDs.
That’s because they do well in reward-based training…
So, add treats into the equation, and you can watch your GSD work for it.
The price for an obedient German Shepherd dog
However, training doesn’t fully depend on your dog’s abilities …
It’s a collective effort.
Your liver German Shepherd does their part, and you do yours.
What do I mean?
I’m saying that there’s a price to pay to have an extremely obedient GSD.
And no, money has nothing to do with it…
In this scenario, patience, effort, and consistency are the currencies.
Moreover, you must provide your GSD with the following to get the best from them:
This is an important part of any dog’s life.
And with an intelligent dog like a GSD, it’s much more essential.
Without proper exercise, you might put their wit in vain. They can become stubborn and troublesome.
So, let’s not let that happen, shall we?
To avoid it, you must regularly exercise your German Shepherd dog.
According to experts, GSDs need at least 2 hours of exercise per day.
“That’s a lot…”
It is, indeed…
That’s why you should be sure that you can provide this before getting a GSD.
They’re dogs that have high energy.
If this isn’t provided, many behavioral issues might occur. I’m talking about:
- Constant barking.
- Tendency to get bored.
- Becoming destructive with your belongings.
German Shepherd dogs are great companions, especially on adventures.
Moreover, they appreciate such activities.
Dog parents of GSD often bring them on their hikes or camping trips.
And everyone can say that both parties enjoy such exploits.
Aside from exercise, your GSD’s mind must remain sharp.
Yes, it isn’t just their physical needs that you must focus on.
You should also attend to their intelligence to keep it.
You must keep them stimulated, even at home.
You can start by providing your pooch with an interactive dog toy. I recommend this intermediate dog puzzle that reveals tasty treats.
Did you know? Such a toy can help aid your dog’s boredom, too.
Dogs are naturally social beings.
That’s why they do well if they’re given enough attention.
Moreover, dogs enjoy attention so much. They like being the star in your eyes…
So, if you want to train your liver GSD easily, be attentive to them.
No, not always…
But, be ready to sacrifice your time to focus on your pooch.
You can schedule a dog time where you give 100% of your attention to your fur baby.
As I said, GSDs do well in reward-based training.
So, ready those savory treats for your fur baby…
Oh, you might need a lot.
But it’ll all be worth it with your lovable and intelligent dog.
All those treats will contribute to having an obedient and happy pooch.
#9: Are liver German Shepherds known to have specific health conditions?
Liver German Shepherds aren’t known to have specific health conditions. They share the same predisposal to diseases with other GSDs. That’s because their color is their only distinct quality from other GSDs.
The coat color of a liver German Shepherd dog doesn’t have anything to do with their health.
Liver GSDs have the same expected health as every other German Shepherd dog.
Now, German Shepherd dogs are known to be a healthy breed.
If you take care of them properly, guarantee that they’ll enjoy a long and healthy life.
That effort will make things easier for them…
Despite being predisposed to many diseases.
“What are those issues?”
German Shepherd’s predisposal to medical problems
This research gathered data from nearly half a million dogs. The numbers are from 430 veterinary clinics across the UK.
The data revealed the following:
Conclusion #1: German Shepherds are most likely to die from musculoskeletal disorders. Data shows that 13.6% of the participants are casualties.
Conclusion #2: 14.9% of cases of GSD deaths are due to the inability to stand up.
Conclusion #3: There are a total of 263 disorders that’s recorded in German Shepherds. Here are the most common occurrences:
|Disorder||Prevalence in the subjects|
|Inflammation of the ear canal||7.89%|
|Overweight and obesity||5.18%|
Let’s look at another study:
It gives us unfortunate news…
It says that GSDs are predisposed to almost 50 hereditary diseases.
The 7 most common of those are:
|Hip dysplasia||Results in instability of a dog’s joint.|
|Hemophilia A||It’s a blood clotting disorder.|
|Megaesophagus||Described as the loss of motility in the esophagus.|
|von Willebrand disease||An inherited bleeding disorder.|
|Pancreatic acinar atrophy||The immune system slowly destroys the pancreas.|
|Degenerative myelopathy||A disease that affects the spinal cord. It causes weakness in the limbs and paralysis.|
|Hereditary multifocal renal cystadenocarcinoma||It’s a naturally occurring cancer of the kidney.|
Also, check the way that they’re bred
I said that liver German Shepherd dogs are rare.
I also said that a lot of reputable breeders don’t intentionally produce them. The breeders that have them can be small or backyard breeders.
With that, you must be mindful of how breeders bore your liver GSD.
If possible, visit the location of their breeding den.
See if there are any violations of health codes. Or if the way of reproduction and containing is humane.
That can contribute to your liver GSD’s health if it isn’t.
#10: Does AKC recognize liver German Shepherds?
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes liver German Shepherd. Despite that recognition, AKC isn’t really in favor of liver GSDs. They use the term “faults” towards this variation of GSDs.
Now, why is there any bias against liver GSDs?
That’s because AKC favors those variations of GSDs with strong, rich colors.
Then, liver GSDs fall under those with pale or washed-out colorings.
This preconception is based on the standard of breeding.
AKC says that the absence of pigmentation might signify a weak gene.
With that, pale-colored GSDs are expected to be weak in the show ring.
That’s also why white GSDs are disqualified from any show.
In summary, liver GSDs are still recognized by AKC. However, they’re particular with the pattern.
AKC will only accept a liver GSD that has a solid liver coat.
If any other patterns are present in the dog, they won’t be up to the breed standards.
#11: Where can I buy a liver German Shepherd?
You can buy a liver German Shepherd from a few ethical breeders. Although that might be hard to find, you just have to keep looking. For sure, something will be available for your heart’s desire.
Here are some suggestions for our readers in the United States. You might want to look into the following:
They earned the title of being home to liver German Shepherd dogs. They believe that ‘no good dog is a bad color.’
Location: Saluda, North Carolina
Tip: They’re more active on their Facebook page.
Ruskin House of Shepherds
This breeder boasts their standard, being AKC inspected and approved. They have GSDs of all colors, including liver.
Also, they offer to ship your desired dog.
You can also check out their Facebook page.
Wolfgang Haus German Shepherds
Wolfgang breeders assure their buyers that their Shepherds are bred with quality. They claim their dogs to be stronger and sturdier, regardless of their coat color.
Contact: Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org (You can also call or text 210-584-7547)