Dog Knowledge

Sable German Shepherd – Dog Breed Facts and History

sable german shepherd

The Sable German shepherd is the purest variation of the shepherd dog family. The Sable German shepherd got its name because sable is its dominant coat color. 

The main difference between german shepherds and sables is this distinctive coat color difference. Regular german shepherds are more tan and light brown across their bodies. Sables have lighter roots with dark black tips that resemble wolf-like colors. 

What Are Sable German Shepherds?

Sable is a term that is used to describe the color of some German Shepherds. Sable is a color that is commonly used to describe dog breeds but it is used within the art world as well. The color is commonly categorized as “black” in color but it actually is a transitional color. This means the color of the root of the fur or the fur closer to the body is lighter compared to the end of the fur which is typically black. Most Sable German Shepherds will have a light brown or gray fur at the roots of the fur and then the fur will transition to a black color at the tips of the fur. This term has become popular when describing the color of different dog breeds.

History of The Breed

The first German shepherd was a sable, identified and pronounced by Max Emil Friedrich von Stephanitz. Von Stephanitz came across the sable breed by attending his country’s largest dog show, and on the spot, paid for the brilliant dog. 

Von Stephanitz named his dog Horand von Grafrath and no later than a month, Von Stephanitz founded the world’s first german shepherd club. 

Von Stephanitz moved on to breed Horand, fixing his traits and appearance. As the war approached, Von Stephanitz classified Horand as a service dog – and succeeded. The German shepherd breed was the world’s first working dog from then on.

Sable German Shepherds Temperament

There is no significant difference between a regular german shepherd and a sable shepherd except its coat. German shepherds are loyal, independent, and playful dogs, ideal for patient owners willing to spend the time and energy.

German shepherds need to be mentally and physically stimulated to have a long and healthy life – which is why they are widely used as service dogs. 

If the sable is left alone for too long, they can become quite aggressive out of boredom and frustration. However, shepherds are not naturally aggressive dogs. Sables aim to please among other characteristics:

  • They are self-assured
  • They are incredibly loyal and protective
  • They adopt “pack” behaviors
  • Very intelligent
  • Friendly and gentle (if socialized from a young age)

Common Health Issues

Like most large dog breeds, the Sable German shepherd is historically susceptible to elbow and hip dysplasia. Dysplasia is a malformation in the joints and is very painful for like-breeds. 

To prevent hip and elbow dysplasia, ensure your sable gets enough exercise and nutrition throughout its life. After seven years, sables may begin to show symptoms of myelopathy, a degenerative spinal disease.

Sable German shepherds are prone to these diseases mainly based on early inbreeding practices. As your sable ages, it’s best to get them an orthopedic pillow or bed to lay on as it will take pressure off the bones and joints. 

The life expectancy in a healthy Sable German shepherd is a little over ten years old. 

Exercise Requirements

The Sable German shepherd is a high-energy dog, so at least two hours of daily exercise is needed for this breed. Pups cannot run for extended periods until they reach about seven months old. 

German shepherds are herding animals, so allow them to engage in herding activities such as piling their toys in one area, herding balls, and moving items. 

Sables are excellent climbers and swimmers, so ensure lots of hikes and lakes are in your near future if you own a German shepherd. The shepherd is a dog that needs lots of space for physical and mental stimulation.  

Trainability and Intelligence

Sables are reward-oriented dogs, so training is at a relatively easy level as long as you know how to train. The Sable German shepherd is perfect for owners who want to learn dog training. 

German shepherds have a stubborn streak that stems from their instinctual “pack” days along with their independence, so it’s never best to scold or punish them during training.

The sable will learn fastest and easiest by enforcing positive attitudes, patience, and lots of bonding as they can also be picky with who they choose their master. 

It is imperative to have them undergo socialization training early on so that there are fewer misunderstandings. They are temperamental, but their intelligence is remarkable and endearing.

Food and Nutrition Requirements

Large dog breeds need approximately 1600 calories a day to stay fit and healthy. Due to common health problems, it’s not wise to feed your shepherd too many treats (keep those for training purposes) or table scraps. 

As a puppy, your sable shepherd needs to be fed little meals three to four times a day until it reaches adulthood. As an adult, aim to feed your shepherd at least two times a day of high-quality dry kibble.

It’s always good to get wet food for your German Shepherd to ensure it is getting its healthy dose of protein from meat and animal organs. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Sable German Shepherds

Many questions stem from owning a Sable German shepherd, and many owners question whether they should adopt one. Here are some common questions people ask about sables.

Are Sable German shepherds Good Family Dogs

Sable German shepherds are the perfect family dog right for any busy or active household. Their high-energy, playful attitude and easy-training behavior will make any family feel at home. 

Are Sable German shepherds for First-Time Owners?

Due to the Sable German shepherd’s ability to learn quickly, first-time owners can take the responsibility of owning a sable. 

However, German shepherds need a commanding presence around them. Otherwise, they’ll quickly become alpha.

How Common is the Sable German shepherd?

Compared to other German shepherds, the Sable breed is rare, so a sable puppy is expensive. 

Are There Any Disadvantages to Owning a Sable German shepherd?

German shepherds are known for their herding behavior and ability to work and train hard. 

Due to the pack-leadership and confident characteristic, the Sable German can represent territorial and protective attitudes. 

Be sure that proper socialization and basic training take place right from puppyhood. 

Bottom Line On Sable German Shepherds

The name “sable” comes from the first color variant of German shepherds. Noticed by Von Stephanitz at a dog show is how the Sable German shepherd became known. 

Over time, the Sable German shepherd has become rare to spot compared to their classic counterparts, but they are not impossible to find. 

Overall, the German shepherd dog breed makes for fantastic family and house pets and even better-working animals to this day.

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