Sunday, August 9, 2009

Brindle German Shepherd Dog - The Lost Pattern

The Lost Pattern in German Shepherd Dog Breed - Brindle GSD

Colors and patterns in German Shepherd Dogs
have always allured the breed’s lovers. Sadly some colors and patterns are no longer existing in the German Shepherd Dog breed, as far as my knowledge goes. Blue is one of the rarest colors in the breed, while merle and brindle German Shepherd Dogs are almost out of existence. This post is about the brindle German Shepherds and is dedicated to those readers of my blog who really spare thoughts about colors and patterns in German Shepherd Dog breed. Irresponsible breeding program and negligence have thrown many patterns and colors into extinction; and brindle is just one of those extinct patterns in German Shepherd Dogs. I think it’s just because of the illogical decisions of some Kennel Clubs that many breeders and owners do not prefer keeping and breeding certain colors and patterns. I want to show my heart felt gratitude to those organizations that are working to prevent certain pigmentations and patterns from going extinct. Remember, there are NO problems related to health, genes, behavior and more specifically the working ability of the breed just because of its color. If a dog has a sound health and temperament and sound working ability, he is a good dogs, and Max Von Stephanitz – the breed founder said, “No good dog is a bad color.” So what ever color gene we have today, we need to deploy them to correct breeding program in order to prevent them from extinction like brindles and merles. These are all simply variations in color genes and do not affect the character of the dog.

brindle gsd, colors and patterns inn german shepherd dogsBrindle German Shepherd Dogs or Brindle Black Tan had been one of the founding patterns of the breed, and we have lost it, quite unfortunately. This particular gene actually affected the tan marked ground. This, in turn, made bi-colors and black tans show marble marks or dark stripes over the tan grounds, just like the brindle boxers. Candidly speaking, I have never seen a brindle dog, but I can guess who beautiful a brindle German Shepherd Dog would look like owing to the contemporary anatomical structure! We could develop the anatomy of the breed – beyond doubt! We have developed the structural aspects such as angulations and top line, but sadly lost certain genes like Brindle. Hopefully, if the brindle pattern re-appears, today’s German Shepherd breeders and owners will embrace it with love, and with a mission to protect it from further extinction. The brindle German Shepherd Dog was last surveyed in the year 1922, and unfortunately no GSD with brindle gene has been recorded in the books of any kennel club.

Eye pigmentation has always remained un-related to that of coat. Brindle coats appeared in both dark and faded versions. Many dark brindle black tan German shepherd Dogs were in the possession of faded eye color, while some dogs that had brindle markings on faded tan grounds had rich eye pigmentation.

This picture of the brindle Alsatian dog has been taken from the book on German Shepherd Dogs, authored by Brian H. Wootton. I would earnestly request my readers to help me out by providing more information about the brindle German Shepherd Dog. Also please provide me with pictures of brindle Alsatian dog, if someone has any. I promise to give you a credit for the picture in my blog.

Thanks a bunch in advance.

Many many thanks to Mary Mcintire from Michigan for sharing with us an excellent photo of her brindle GSD, named Rue.

Check out White German Shepherd Dogs FAQs

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Bonie Jones ,  August 9, 2009 at 8:29 AM  

Thank you Aringsburg for providing with great info about GSD. I have always loved your blog and your mission of sharing your knowledge on the breed. Your post reminded me of a photo of brindle GSD that I got from my grand father, who was a big fan of the breed and owned two, back in 1950s. But none of them were brindle GSD. I will surely look for the photo for you, as I think I have misplaced while relocating to Alabama. If I could find it, I will send a scanned copy to you.

Thank you once again for such great details about the GSD breed.

JaneB August 17, 2009 at 10:23 PM  

very informative post, if you ask me. Correct me if I'm wrong Aringsburg, but the white GSD's are not allowed in conformation shows, are they? anyway, whatever the color is, your post says it all: "No good dog is a bad color". by the way, speaking of dogs, you may also want to check this Facebook application for some fun tied to a feel-good cause to help dogs, check out Save a Dog:

Aringsburg August 18, 2009 at 12:32 AM  

Right Jane... white GSD's are not allowed in conformation shows. SADLY.

In 1968, White German Shepherd Dogs had been officially barred from being shown in the conformation rings of AKC, although

AKC-registered white GSD are still allowed to compete in the performance events. The White Shepherd Club of Canada

(WSCC) has been promoting and preserving the White Shepherd since 1971with fullest dedication. Thankfully again Agriculture

Canada took the responsibility of protecting the white GSD from the many attempts by the German Shepherd Dog Club of

Canada to the white genes disqualified from the CKC conformation ring. Some of the members of the White Shepherd Club of

Canada (WSCC) bravely shown their dogs in the CKC breed rings and had even earned points toward their dogs' CKC

Championships. Unfortunately, it was in 1998 that things got changed entirely. The white gene was officially disqualified from

the CKC German Shepherd breed standard. Good news is that White Shepherd Club of Canada is still wrestling hard toward

full breed recognition of the White German Shepherd Dogs as a separate breed with the CKC.The club hosts several shows

each year, sometimes in combination with the American White Shepherd Association.

I choose to voice against the recognition of the White German Shepherd Dogs as a separate breed.

GSD Colors ,  December 18, 2009 at 6:55 AM  

I've personally seen a bicolor black & brindle (the brindle affecting the ground color of the dog which normally would be red/tan/cream/silver, the black overlay (which more accurately should have been called the marking color) is unaffected. Thus if a dog is a saddle two-tone dog, the dog will have the black saddle as usual, the brindling will affect the lighter ground color areas of the dog. A dog CAN be brindle AND agouti/sable.
The brindle gene is dominant over the solid ground colors. The brindle I knew was a spontaneous mutation.. I called her "Pallette" because of her unusual markings. When she was a young puppy, I first thought she was a black with really strange leg shadings, but as she grew older it became obvious what she really was. I took her home to observe her color/pattern development and had intended to breed her. She was a very nice balanced moderately angulated bitch with very nice croup and tailset (really good fronts and croups are the two structural attributes most difficult to attain and keep in the GSD.)
Unfortunately, due to personal circumstances, I was put into a position where I couldn't breed so I sent her back to her breeder so she could be used in his breeding program. Since then, the breeder has produced more brindle descendants of this birch. I've seen photos of some of them.
I'm in a better situation now and I may attempt to see if the breeder will let me have her back.
I've also seen photos on the web of a saddle pattern black and brindle that I think, is in Alabama.
My own feeling is that brindle is a spontaneous mutation that occurs now and then in the GSD, but for it to come to the attention of serious fanciers, it would have to be born in a litter owned by a serious knowledgeable breeder who recognizes it for what it is and brings it to the attention of the fancy. (Unfortunately the breeder of the brindle I knew doesn't do much to promote his dogs, one reason I would like to get the dog back and work with her. While he has had generations of descendants from her, they haven't been brought to the attention of the fancy due to lack of motivation on the part of the breeder.)

Like any other GSD color/pattern, the brindle ground color pattern can be masked by the solid white gene.

Unknown January 25, 2010 at 6:21 PM  

We have one also. i can send you pics if you like.

Aringsburg January 28, 2010 at 9:13 PM  

thanx wendy for your help... please send me the pic of the G?SD - brindle version.

Anonymous ,  February 11, 2010 at 9:12 AM  

I have a mostly black GSD with brindle legs, alot of people say oh what is he mixed with... at first I thought he might be mixed with something since he had brindle legs... but after reading this I believe he could be pure. He looks exactly like a german just with brindle legs.

Rosanna P. Brost May 13, 2010 at 10:28 PM  

My mom grew up in northern Alberta and she had a purebred stud named Bimbo who was brindle. His puppies were always brindle like him, so obviously it wasn't a recessive trait. It's a shame I don't know what happened to his bloodline. It would be fantastic to have one of his descendants today. If I was ever to become a breeder I'd be adamant in bringing back the brindles, if only for my mom. It's ludicrous to discriminate a dog based on its pelt colour unless there's a good reason. White GSDs were present in the founding stock of the breed - why must kennel clubs be so idiotic? It's akin to racism, only with dogs for crying out loud.

I want a brindle dog like Bimbo someday. My mom speaks very highly of him. He was a good working dog, with good German bloodlines. It makes me sad that I don't even have a photograph of him.

Myout June 19, 2010 at 4:57 PM  

I have an adopted (pound)pup that looks German shepherd, but full brindle. Please email me numbers of any breeders with brindle pups..would like to buy one...

Unknown July 23, 2010 at 7:49 PM  

I have a German Shepherd mixed breed dog who has some brindle coloring. If you want a pic, please tell me where to send it...

Kathy ,  August 20, 2010 at 2:10 PM  

We had a DNA test done on our dog. The results came back, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Chow, and an unidentifiable percentage, do to the generations being so far back, or that they don't have that certain type of dog on file. After research, and finding your post, we are excited to say we believe we know where her brindle coloring comes from. We believe she has Brindle German Shepherd in her. Her coloring looks exactly like you post! Thank you for your information.

Anonymous ,  November 24, 2010 at 11:10 PM here is a link of a picture... The Dutch Shepherd. They are often mistaken for a "Brindle German Shepherd". Here's some info: The Dutch Shepherds are a Holland breed. They're known as the Hollandse Herdershond in Europe, They were originally sheepdogs, and were also used by Dutch farmers as a general purpose farm dog. They are very similar to the Belgian Malinois, except for the color. They are not a brindled German Shepherd. A very good Dutch Shepherd breeder, Rob Hillebert from Land of Oz Kennel described the Dutch Sheperd as "having the high drive of a malinois but the sense of a german shepherd". (above photo of a short haired Dutch Shepherd)

The Working Dutch Shepherd is bred to do Police Type Work. Etc......

Suzanne ,  May 17, 2011 at 7:27 AM  

What is even MORE of a shame is the way breeders have bred the GSD to have such a sloping back and messed up hocks. While sitting in the veterinarian's office in Germany, I picked up a book on the history of the breed. In the book were copious photographs of the breed from the early times onward. It was shocking to see that the hind end of the current GSD breed is completely malformed to the point that MANY dogs cannot even walk properly. It is happening worldwide, though there are a few brave souls who are working diligently to preserve the breed as it should be.

I can see why the author of this article mistook the Hollandse Herdershond as a German Shepherd...THAT is what the earlier GSDs looked like! They had a nice straight back (which is essential for working) and MUCH shorter hocks. What you will see today in most breed rings in the AKC and the FCI is a bastardization of the breed that is unable to properly function because of the back end.

If you are a breeder perpetuating the current "look" of the breed, shame on you! If you are a breeder who is unwilling to foist current trends on the breed and are breeding to the old (original) standards, kudos to you!

When our GSD dog died, we wanted to get another but had difficulty finding an ethical breeder. We switched to a less popular breed because we knew there would be FAR fewer problems with the breeding, health, and construction of the dog.

gsd May 18, 2011 at 9:45 PM  

@ Suzane... very thoughtful comment and thanx to you for taking time in reading my blog & placing your thoughts about GSD breed. I totally agree with you. I am scared that the breed may ultimately disappear for so-called breeders' tendencies to breed wrong structured dogs. The constitutional (construction) problem has spread so desperately that even I have seen videos of some of the reputed shows where I found malformed hind quarters.

boxer August 24, 2011 at 4:17 AM  

I have personally seen a GSD with clear brindling in his tan areas. The dog seemed purebred. I agree about the extreme back/rear end trends in GSDs. I think it is ruining the breed - or already ruined.

Anonymous ,  October 13, 2011 at 1:22 PM  

gsd About 25 years ago I literally turned my car around in the road to see the most beautiful GSD I had ever seen. I grew up with 3 shepherds and now have Niki a beautiful black, brown and tan gsd. This dog was a true brindle which I had never seen. The owner had been given the dog as a gift from a breeder in California. At that time they were selling for well over a $1000. I have never seen one since. I love all gsd's. My girl is 11 and has hip replacement at which time her femur was broken. I don't think there is a breed that has been asked more of or given more than the gsd.

andrew October 24, 2011 at 8:48 AM  

I believe you have a picture of a Dutch Shepherd.

You are right that a good dog is NOT a bad color. However, it seems that the author is arguing that we should preserve bad dogs if they have rare colors.

I disagree.

the GDS breed as all sorts of serious problems to work on before worrying about color or coat length. If people have a personal preference for a color, that's fine, take that into consideration AFTER general health, good hips, good temperament, adherence to standard.

The picture you have chosen is most likely a Dutch Shepherd based on the body structure and small head. The body is more of what a GDS should be.

If the dog in the picture really is a GSD, then I'd assume it was an extremely early example of a descendant of the land-race in the corner where the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany all come together. This land-race of dogs was the 'pool' from which the Dutch Shepherd and the Belgian Shepherd were draw...and a sub-section of this contributed to the GSD along with some landraces from other areas of germany.

I find it interesting that the Dutch and Belgian breeds retained the smooth coat, long coat, and wiry coat (curly) found in the land-race, while the early GSD breeders collected the short (stock) animals only for their breeding programs

Aringsburg October 24, 2011 at 9:48 AM  

@ ANdrew... you are right. This picture actually proves that the German Shepherd that we see these days has an origin or a root that had brindle gene. This is an example of a shepherd dog that you can consider on of the platform specimen of the kind of GSD that we find today. Thank you for your valued comment. Keep dropping by the blog as you get time. Thanx again...

Anonymous ,  May 7, 2012 at 6:59 PM  

I have a german shepherd mix with brindle coloring. The german shepherd appearance is most dominate in the face, but her ears can be floppy at times or stand up at times, which led her vet to thinking she was part lab. The only thing suggesting otherwise is the brindle coloring and the fact that generally german shepherd/lab mixes tend to take on more of the lab in appearance. She has what I consider a high curve that almost reminds me of greyhound though. I would love to send a picture and get any thoughts. I can't really say what her behavioral patterns point to because she doesn't seem to follow the characteristics usually stated with german shepherds as far as my knowledge goes. Either way she's the sweetest dog and I'm lucky to have her. :)

Anonymous ,  November 10, 2012 at 7:45 PM  

I just saw this. I have a brindle puppy he's 4 weeks old. I don't know if you will this comment but if you do I can send pics

Anonymous ,  November 10, 2012 at 7:46 PM  

I have a brindle puppy he is 4 weeks old. I can send pics,

Anonymous ,  January 9, 2013 at 7:43 AM  

I have a brindle German shepherd puppy that I stumbled upon, and he is wonderful, I was going to post a picture but can't figure our how!

Anonymous ,  January 11, 2013 at 11:59 PM  

My parents from Western Australia just lost their German Shepard Brindle dog today she was 13 years of age and they are very rare in Australia as well. Thank you for the blog.

Anonymous ,  March 13, 2013 at 11:18 AM  

Suzanne, you see this in American or show line breeding. Any good working bred GSD breeder, handler or owner will tell you the same. It was trait taken from teh org breed (the slight angle in the dog rear for easer gaiting and working while herding) and pushed to something that I as well as many GSD people would agree to ban all together. If you look up working dogs such as DDR or czech dogs you can see the difference.
As for the color thing, many many colors such as the brindle, blues, livers, white, merels, silvers and some others where bred out of the bred for reasons far beyond just wanting a certian look. Many of the odd ball colors like whites and blues lead to many health problems such as blindness, deafness, bladder or kidney problems, coat and ear problems as well as behavioral problems. When you start a breed you get many things like colors then as you work to prefect the breed you narrow those things down, for the better of the breed and for better working and show quiltiy. (manily working in this case).

You have many people trying to prefect the "old" look of the shepherd when all they do is mess things up. Such as the Shiloh or king shepherds. ALL based around the wanting a bigger, fluffier GSD... When they look at that they arnt seeing how a GSD was back when it became a breed but of the mixes that it took to make the breed as well as just for looks.
The GSD used to have different fur lenght type as well and sense then that has changed Several Kennel clubs don't rec the long/fluffy coated shepherd mainly for the same reason they don't like off colors. It was something bred out of the dogs and should stay that way!

When you start to change something for you'r likes when its already prefected it leads to a mess of everything. Breeding for better health and keeping the looks of a working bred dog should all that needs to be done.
Also I've found that many BYB's or so called fancy colored breders like other off things of the breed like floppy ears, light or off eye colores, longer tails, feathering on parts of the body and more! That is a big no-no.

This breed needs to be love, respected and kept alive. Not changed or mutated (in any way from colors to looks) This all leads to many problems (again) not only for health but for temperament, workability, growth, trainability, over breeding and more. This whole brindle thing sickens me. It is a nice look, just like the blues and livers (even the rare panada and so forth) but its not something YOU or anyone should aime for when it comes to this breed. If you want brindle get a different breed like the Dutch Shep.

Unknown April 6, 2013 at 1:51 PM  

If you truly want to bring back the brindle German shepherd you will need to start breeding German shepherds with Dutch shepherds which are we're the first German shepherds came from. I have what I suspect is one that we rescued from our local humane society when he was 6 months old and discarded because of his brindle color. Very sad but good for us. I have pictures if you want to see him.

Unknown November 20, 2013 at 9:20 PM  

we have a beautiful brindle shepard she is almost 13. sadly she had to have a historectomy. she is the best dog in the world. my husband got her from a cop who said she wouldn't be a good cop dog trainer because she wasn't the right color. that is sad. I just read your post and I want to email my local police dept. because they lost out on a great loyal dog. we are the lucky ones though. she actually saved the life of an epileptic when no one was home and went and got the neighbor. I will forward pics as soon as I get them downloaded. we were told she was a sable shepard until recently when I looked on line and found no dogs that matched her description, until I found your website. thank you. by the way do you know what the life expectancy is?

Unknown November 20, 2013 at 9:31 PM  

we are the proud owners of a 13 year old beautiful brindle sheperd. we were told she was a sable sheperd. when I looked online there was no such thing. it wasn't until I typed in brindle and I found your post. it brought me to tears that this dog could be in extinction. she was given to my husband by a police dog trainer because she was the wrong color. they missed out. we're the lucky ones. she actually saved an epileptic life by going to the neighbor when no one was home. their loss. I am going to send an email to them hoping they will not discriminate in the future, because they are wrong. I will send you pics in a few days to verify.

kittenz December 13, 2013 at 8:46 PM  

I have just seen on facebook this evening photos of a purebred, brightly marked, all-over striped gray brindle German Shepherd. Sire was a white GSD & dam black & tan, rest of the litter was black & tan. If you want I can share the photos to you, that the owner posted. He is gorgeous and I hope that some serious breeder will try to determine whether the "lost" brindle pattern has resurfaced in our breed.

Anonymous ,  January 10, 2014 at 4:28 AM  

I strongly encourage people with brindled shepherds to research the Dutch Shepherd breed. This is an established, brindled pattern dog that resembles a German Shepherd, They are becoming more common--and unfortunately, many are ending up in shelters as they are working dogs for experiences owners. I own one--a rescue--and am picking up another from a shelter later this week. My concern is that people who happen to own a "brindled shepherd" will rush out to breed it, believing they have a rare colored German Shepherd. Please leave the breeding to the professionals. There are too many homeless dogs.

K9pines April 6, 2019 at 8:07 AM  

I have 2 separate lines of Brindle, one of which is related to Rue. I have sable brindle, fawn brindle, saddle brindle and blue fawn brindle currently. All AKC registered. My blue fawn brindle has complete dna breeder tests done through embark as 100% gsd and zero genetic markers that make her genetically inferior. I am expecting a new litter between the 2 unrelated lines M

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All you need to know about German Shepherd Dogs. Read out what I have to share with you regarding the amazing German Shepherd Dog breed. Are Alsatian dogs and German Shepherd Dogs same? Who was Max Von Stephanitz and What is SV? Also learn a bit more in depth on German Shepherd Dog training tips, German Shepherd puppy care tips, German Shepherd Dog behavior, German Shepherd instinct, German Shepherd Dog standard and history of German Shepherds.

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