(L-R) Rinty Tin Tin Brodsgaard, CD, Int. Ch. Odin von Buescker Schloss, PH, ROM, Bodyguards Rin Tin Tin II, CD


Let's talk about the Color Uglies. Here you did all your homework, selected a reputable breeder and purchased this darling puppy they called a Sable or a Silver Grey.

He will gorgeous they said; people will stop you on the street to comment on his beauty they said; yet when I look at him I see no color at all, well except on his face and the end of his tail.

What happened to my beautiful puppy? Will he always be this ugly?

Take a deep breath and don't worry. That ugly duckling laying in your lap will indeed become the Stunning Sable Swan you were promised.

Both Sables, a dominant gene, and Silver Grey, a recessive gene, go through about 3-4 color changes before they reach their final destination. And both can range from very light to very dark.

Basically what happens is the puppy is born with what looks like a black "stripe" down their back and some brownish, or in the case of a Silver Grey, whiteish hair on the remainder of their body. White or cream on the feet is also very common and does blend away. We have used lay terms here for easy understanding for a subject that, at times, has confusing language.For example, you may hear the term "Silver Sable." There is no such color. Silver is Silver and Sable is Sable. Silver is basically Black, White and Cream and Sable is Black, Brown and Cream. Those using the term incorrectly are probably trying to make a reference to the "agouti pattern" of the hair, which means rather than a solid black saddle, the dogs coat is a "blended" mix of the aforementioned colors. Each hair is banded by those three colors. See how complicated it can become.

In addition to the review below, Read this very informative article by John Ayotte about COLOR GENETICS in the German Shepherd Dog. Published with permission.

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This photo shows Rin Tin Tins Normandy, a Silver Grey at two days of age. Note the black stripe down the back and the lighter color along the sides.And the dark on the ears and face. As the pup ages the dark stipe wi spread out and down the side of the dog and look very much like his adult color.

This is a light Sable, Rin Tin Tins Quella, at age 4 weeks. Notice how the color has spread across the body and the puppy appears to be a Sable (or Silver as the case may be) and one would think the color would stay that way. But it will change dramatically before it does. Eventually it will come back to that.

When they start losing the "puppy fuzz" at about 7-8 weeks the "stripe" begins to disappear along with all the color on the dog. They become pretty much colorless with the exception of some black on their face, end of tail and at the base of the tail. This photo shows a Silver Grey, Rin Tin Tins Oooh-Ahhh at 8 weeks.

As the permanent hair begins to come in more Black hair will appear on the tail, back and sides. By 5 months the pup is presentable again and generally a little darker than he will ultimately be. This photo shows a Silver Grey, Rin Tin Tins Oooh-Ahhh at 5 months.

On the next color change, normal shed, he will darken again slightly and at about 15-24 months have his final color. This photo shows a Silver Grey, Rin Tin Tins Oooh-Ahhh at 17 months. (this photo was slightly over exposed)

And finally This photo shows the final destination of a Silver Grey, Rin Tin Tins Oooh-Ahhh. This photo was taken when he was 6 years old. The stripe blended down the side and the color evened out.

Examples of Silver
(L-R) Rin Tin Tins Oooh-Ahhh, Rin Tin Tins Lady Grace, Rin Tin Tins Vixen, Rin Tin Tins Popopedo, Rin Tin Tins Tia, Rin-Tin-Tin XXXVII (2 photos) Rin Tin Tins Lady Rachael,

Examples of Sable
(L-R) Rin Tin Tins Fire Fandango, Rin Tin Tins Quella, Rin Tin Tins Faith, Bodyguards Fido Jo, Rin Tin Tins Wizzard, Daphne's Xanadu, Aurora's Caesar, Rin Tin Tins Flashdance

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