Brindle German Shepherd: 8 Rare Facts and Info


We’ve already put together a guide outlining the different types of German Shepherds – we make mention of Brindle German Shepherds in that guide.

The Brindle German Shepherd is one of the rarest forms of the GSD (German Shepherd Dog) that belongs to the dominant Black German Shepherd gene series.

Below we’ve brought you 8 of the rarest facts on the Brindle German Shepherd.

From how they achieve their coloring pattern, to Brindle Shepherd puppies, and even Brindle German Shepherd mix dog breeds, it’s all covered.

Let’s get into it …


(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)


Brindle German Shepherd: 8 Rare Facts and Info


1) What is a Brindle German Shepherd Dog, and What Do They Look Like in Appearance?

Brindle German Shepherds are a very uncommon color variation of the German Shepherd dog breed. 

They have brindle coloring to their coats/fur (normally along the legs) and tend to develop in 4 Brindle color variations per (some of these variations are extremely) :

Brindle/Sable German Shepherd – solid brindle (possibly with darker areas on the back and head where the tipping on the sable would be)

Brindle/Tan German Shepherd – dog will be black (or liver/blue/isabella) with brindle points

Brindle/Grey German Shepherd – effect on dog is unknown. Would most likely appear to have brindle points, or brindle may not appear at all

Black Brindle German Shepherd (recessive) – dog will be solid black, liver, blue or isabella (recessive black does not allow the production of phaeomelanin/the base color in the coat)


Click on the links above for photos of these variations.


2) What Causes a Brindle or Solid Brindle GSD, and Where Do They Come From/What is their History?

What Causes A Brindle GSD

The Brindle gene, which usually appears as black stripes on a tan/red base on a German Shepherd’s legs, is part of the K series/K Locus of genes that contains the Dominant black, recessive brindle and recessive non-solid black genes.

One dominant black gene will stop the development of a Brindle GSD, but the following recessive color genes can produce different variations of the Brindle Colored German Shepherd: 

Merle (and harlequin),


Dilution colors,


Red (in the red and tan),


Tan and black


The stripes and base can have different thicknesses, patterns, and white coloring and ticking (spotting) can appear on Brindle GSDs.


History of Brindle GSD

By now it should be fairly obvious that there is little information out there on the Brindle German Shepherd.

Perhaps this is because of their patchy origins, or that some people even claim Brindle GSDs are completely extinct (which they aren’t).

The first registered German Shepherd, Horand von Grafath, is the dog from which all current day purebred GSDs get their DNA material from.

Horand had 33 sons, and there were only a few black and white photos taken of his sons.

It is believed by analysing the photos that at least 2 of the sons displayed Brindle color patterning. explains:

“Max Von Stephantz (breed founder) wrote: ‘No good dog is a bad color’…..[but] The SV (original GSD governing body) decided to eliminate many colors and patterns that the GSD came in.  The colors eliminated to be eligible to be shown include; blue, liver, white and patterns– brindle and blue merle.”

The rarity of the Blue, Liver, White, Brindle and Merle German Shepherds can be traced back to this time where these colors were being eradicated in Europe before coming over to America.

It appears the rarity of the Brindle colored German Shepherd in particular may be because there just wasn’t as much an emphasis or concern to breed and increase the numbers of Brindlge GSDs after their partial elimination in Europe.

It is thought the Brindle Dutch Shepherd, or Brindle Shepherd as some people call it, was bred and registered to the AKC as an attempt to breed a similar looking but still distinguishable dog to the Brindle German Shepherd.

Like the American Line German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds are herding dogs bred from the continental herding dogs.


3) What Do Brindle German Shepherd Puppies Look Like?


“Brindle typically appears as black stripes on a red/tan base…merle (and harlequin), liver, dilution, greying, and recessive red can effect the stripes…white markings and ticking can occur on any brindle dog [or puppy]”

You can have a look at photos and images of Brindle German Shepherd Puppies here.


4) Brindle German Shepherds and the AKC: Standards and Conformance

Brindle is not recognised as one of the 11 German Shepherd color variations by the AKC.

The AKC standard for German Shepherds states:

“Strong rich colors are preferred. Pale, washed-out colors and blues or livers are serious faults. A white dog must be disqualified.”

Brindle fits into the ‘washed-out’ pattern color and therefore does not conform for showing – at least in America.


5) Do Brindle German Shepherds Have Health, Intelligence, Working Ability or Temperament Problems Caused By Their Color?

Not likely.

Like all other recessive and non-standard color variations, the Brindle colored German Shepherd has absolutely no impact on health, intelligence/obedience, working ability or temperament of the GSD.

Color is determined by the color and color pattern genes. It is not a mutation.


6) Where Can I Find Brindle German Shepherd Breeders, and Brindle GSD Puppies for Adoption? 

You can adopt from a shelter or rescue centre, or buy from a breeder.

It is encouraged to adopt as a first priority because there are so many loving and sociable dogs that are looking for a caring owner and loving home.

Good breeders that care about their dogs can be hard to find, but they are out there.

When looking at buying or adopting a GSD, have a read of these guides first:

Things To Consider When Adopting or Rescuing A German Shepherd

What To Look For When Buying A German Shepherd Puppy: Ethical Step By Step Guide

Where To Find A German Shepherd Rescue or Shelter Near You

Where To Find The Best German Shepherd Breeders Near You


7) Brindle German Shepherd Price/How Much Do They Cost?

What you pay for your Brindle German Shepherd will depend on the morals of the breeder, and how much they perceive these dogs to be worth – which varies breeder to breeder.

For comparisons sake, on average, you might pay anywhere from $500 to $1500 for a pet, or family dog type Brindle German Shepherd from a breeder.

For Brindle German Shepherds with pedigrees, papers, working titles, specific lines, and puppies who have a proven regulated breeding history – you can pay thousands of dollars.

Don’t get ripped off or buy from shady or unethical breeders – read this guide carefully.

When adopting a Brindle German Shepherd, you might pay anywhere from $50 to $500 – which covers adoption fees.


8) Brindle German Shepherd Dog and Puppy Mixes – Lab Mix, Boxer Mix etc.

Two of the more popular Brindle Colored German Shepherd Mix breeds are:

The Brindle German Shepherd Labrador Mix (the Labrashepherd) 

The Brindle German Shepherd Boxer Mix (the Boxer Shepherd)


Check out Brindle GSD mix photos of dogs and puppies by clicking on the links.


More Information & Facts About The German Shepherd Dog Breed

We’ve put together this guide with over 100 interesting pieces of information and facts about the German Shepherd Dog Breed.


Friendly Disclaimers are not veterinarians, or animal professionals/experts. Information provided is for informational purposes only – it is not a substitute for professional or qualified advice.

The information is based on either our own thorough research, and/or own experiences, as a means of free speech.

By consuming this information, you accept that do not have client or patient relationship with you, and are not advising you to act on anything you read.

You should always consult your own veterinarian, animal expert, or health care professional and follow their advice before making decisions on all matters.


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