Liver German Shepherd: 7 Interesting Facts


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

Below we’ve uncovered essential information about the Liver color GSD.

What you’ll find is that even though they are part of the German Shepherd breed, Liver Colored German Shepherds have an interesting background within the breed.

Let’s find out more!


(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)


Liver German Shepherd: 7 Interesting Bits Of Information Uncovered


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

Liver German Shepherds are a color variation of the German Shepherd dog breed.

They have liver coloring to their coats/fur, nose (brown or pink) and eyes (which appear amber), and tend to come in 3 main liver color variations:

Liver and Tan

Liver and White 

Solid Liver (recognised by the AKC)


Click on the links above for photos of these variations.


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

The Liver color in dogs and the German Shepherd breed is a brownish color, and is caused by the Liver recessive gene.

In order for a Liver GSD to be born, its parents both need to possess at least one liver gene, which are passed to the puppy in its DNA material.

It is possible that neither of the puppy’s parents are liver colored, as long as they both have the liver recessive gene (also known as the B locus).

We previously discussed how the blue recessive gene dilutes black pigmentation and makes is appear much lighter in the coat of a Blue GSD.

The Liver recessive gene blocks black pigmentation/coloring in a GSD’s coat altogether.

It is genetically impossible to have a GSD with both Liver and Black fur strands.

Sometimes, Liver coloured dogs in general are confused with Red dogs.

But, as explained above and as stated on the AKC’s officially recognised GSD colors, only Red and Black GSDs exist, not Liver and Black.

There is a second type of gene that determines what a Liver GSD looks like.

They have the markings or fur pattern gene which determines the distribution of the color across the fur on the body i.e. whether a GSD (German Shepherd Dog) is born a solid color, or bi-color.

This is what determines whether a puppy is born a Liver and Tan German Shepherds, or Solid Liver for example.


3) What Do Liver German Shepherd Puppies Look Like? explains that the liver gene:

“… causes a brownish color (in the coat). It turns the nose brown and the eyes amber (or light brown). Sometimes a liver dog can also have a pink nose. The nose color is the most reliable way of distinguishing a Liver dog.”

You can have a look at photos of Liver German Shepherd Puppies below –

Liver German Shepherd Puppies


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

The AKC (American Kennel Club) has their own standard when it comes to German Shepherds for showing events.

According to this standard, Liver German Shepherds in color are considered serious faults in an appearance based dog show:

“The German Shepherd Dog varies in color, and most colors are permissible. Strong rich colors are preferred. Pale, washed-out colors and blues or livers are serious faults. A white dog must be disqualified.”


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

From the information we came across – no.

The color gene likely only affects the coloration of the GSD and nothing else.

There are no scientifically proven health problems we could find that are associated simply with the liver color gene.


6) Where Can I Adopt A Liver German Shepherd or Buy From A Breeder?

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 Liver 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) How Much Do Liver German Shepherds Cost?

There is no doubt that Liver German Shepherds are rare and uncommon.

They generally come out of designer or specialty breeding programs, or sometimes come out randomly in litters of regular breeding programs. 

What you pay for your Liver 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 Liver German Shepherd from a breeder.

For 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 Liver German Shepherd, you might pay anywhere from $50 to $500 – which covers adoption fees.


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.



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