If your German Shepherd is pregnant or you are planning on breeding you may be wondering…
When choosing a companion dog, it is normal for coat color to be a major consideration. However, puppies don’t always don their permanent coat and their appearance could change as they grow up. But how about the German Shepherd coat? Do German Shepherd puppies change color?
This article will discuss German Shepherd puppy coat coloring and how that coloring changes over time.
Do German Shepherd Puppies Change Color?
Yes, German Shepherd puppies change color as they develop into adulthood. Apart from color, you’ll notice that the length, density, and texture will change as well. Even after they completely shed their puppy coat and grow their permanent adult coat, you can still expect to see some subtle changes in color.
When Do German Shepherds Lose Their Puppy Coat?
The GSD puppy coat doesn’t shed all in one go. Instead, it sheds and changes continuously from birth to around 6 months. During this time, the appearance of your German Shepherd’s coat will change drastically.
Once your German Shepherd turns 7 months old, the changes to their coat color will be more subtle. Nevertheless, it will continue to transform until they become adults at around 2 years old.
How Is The GSD’s Puppy Coat Different From The Adult Coat?
The most apparent difference between the GSD’s puppy coat and adult coat is the color. Although you can generally tell early on whether a puppy will be black & tan, sable, liver, or another GSD color, the change is quite dramatic from puppyhood to adulthood.
The texture is also drastically different between the German Shepherd’s adult and puppy coat.
Puppies are single-coated and their fur is generally soft and fluffy. Over time, they will shed that coat and develop a double-coat composed of dense fur and coarse outer hairs.
Why Do German Shepherds Lose Their Puppy Coat?
The primary purpose of a dog’s coat is to provide protection. So, it makes perfect sense that it naturally develops according to the dog’s needs.
Thick, downy fur helps puppies regulate their temperature within their first few months of life. However, their needs will change as they develop into adults.
The GSD adult’s double-coat offers ample protection through the changing seasons.
In the spring, German Shepherds blow their undercoats in preparation for the warm summer months. They will again shed heavily in the fall to develop a thicker and possibly darker winter coat.
How Long Does It Take For A GSD’s Permanent Coat Color To Develop?
By 7 months, you’ll have a good idea of what your German Shepherd will look like as an adult. However, their appearance will still change—possibly multiple times—until well into adulthood, which starts at around 2 years old.
Once the permanent adult coat has developed, there will no longer be any dramatic changes to your GSD’s appearance.
However, you may still notice some subtle changes in thickness as the seasons turn. The color might also change slightly due to various factors like diet and sun exposure.
German Shepherd Coat Development Stages
As your German Shepherd grows in size, so, too will the appearance of their coat. Here’s what to expect at every stage of development:
Birth to 1 month
German Shepherds can be medium or long-coated, and this can vary between puppies in the same litter. When puppies are born, it’s impossible to tell what kind of coat they will have as adults.
However, experienced breeders can often tell whether a puppy will be long-coated before they turn a month old.
1 to 2 months
Coat color changes are most dramatic within the first two months of your puppy’s life. Don’t be surprised if it lightens and darkens several times during this period. It is also common for some unique markings to appear or disappear at this time.
3 to 6 months
At 6 months old, your German Shepherd’s coat variation will become more apparent. Changes might not be too obvious in solid-colored GSDs but will be quite dramatic in saddled variants like the black & tan and black & red GSDs.
7 to 18 months
When GSDs turn 7 months, coat changes occur more subtly. Nevertheless, the change in appearance might still be significant between 7 and 18 months old.
Their shade could become darker or lighter, and their coat pattern can show some slight changes as well.
19 to 24 months
As your dog hits two years of age, you can expect their coat color, pattern, and texture to stay the same.
Changes could still occur as a result of diet, environmental exposure, or health issues. But your GSD’s overall appearance will be more or less permanent by this time.
Since a German Shepherd puppy’s coat coloring changes over time, you can’t predict exactly how a puppy will look when they become adults. Nevertheless, you’ll know whether they’ll grow up to be solid-colored, saddled, or sable. No matter what color you prefer, your German Shepherd will benefit from proper nutrition and supplements for dog coat growth.