When Do German Shepherd Puppies Change Color?   


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It comes as a shock to most new GSD owners that German Shepherd puppies are not born with their signature black and tan colors. In fact, most German Shepherd puppies are born completely black. So it’s natural to wonder, when do German Shepherd puppies change color?


The simple answer is that German Shepherd puppies usually start to change color around 24 months of age. Read on to learn more about the GSD color change timeline and what causes it.


When Do German Shepherd Puppies Change Color?


From the moment they are born till they are around two years old, the coat color of German Shepherd dogs can change in a rather constant manner throughout their whole life. The first eight weeks of a puppy’s existence are when its coloring transforms the most noticeably.


During this period, German Shepherd pups will change from the color they were born with to the color of their young coat, which will be similar to the coat they will have when they are adults. This means that the color of their fluffy puppy coats will begin to change, and in certain breeds, the texture of their coats will also begin to change.


Your German Shepherd puppy will go through many coat changes in its first two years of life. Because of these changes, the coat color will change, eventually settling into the hue and pattern which your dog will have for the most part of its adult life.


During this stage, your German Shepherd would also shed the fluffy coat that it had as a puppy and replace it with the denser, rougher coat that adults have. In addition to this, you will see that your puppy’s coat will start to take on the characteristics of either a short, medium or long coat.


How Do You Tell What Color a German Shepherd Puppy Will Be?


A puppy’s coat will go through several phases throughout the course of its life, and during these periods, it will undergo significant changes. Their coat is undergoing a transformation with them as they develop and gain new skills.


The following is a timeline that illustrates what their coat could look like at various stages:

At the Time of Their Birth


The pups have finally arrived! The first few weeks of a puppy’s life are some of the most thrilling since they are when they are just starting out. Puppies of the German Shepherd breed are born completely black.


It is difficult to predict what color they will be at this stage, and they need to continue growing before you will be able to be certain of what color they will be.


0-2 Months Old


During this development phase, you will begin to see significant differences in their coat. You would be able to determine if they will have a coat of pure black like a traditional German shepherd or if it will be a different color.


It is also at this stage that you will be able to determine the type of fur that will cover their body in the future.


3-6 Months Old


Your new puppy is experiencing rapid development and intellectual progress throughout this period of time. During this stage, your puppy will begin to develop and may even start to shed its coat.


Your puppy will be going through a period of fast development and shedding, and at this time, its colors will really shine through and may even change drastically.


7–18 Months


Your once-young puppy has almost reached the maturity level of an adult dog at this point. Believe it or not, even though your dog must be fully grown at this point, the coat on their body might still go through changes.


Due to the changing of the seasons and the fact that your dog sheds their coat, it is not unusual to see a further change in their coats.


19-24 Months


The color of your German Shepherd’s coat will not change again after this, as this is typically the final time you will see it.


You can be pretty positive that this is how your dog is meant to appear after it reaches the age of two (or 24 months), which is when they reach its full adult size.

Do German Shepherd Puppies Get Lighter or Darker?


There are several breeds in which the grownup coat is lighter than the puppy coat, but there are also breeds in which the adult coat is darker than the puppy coat.


The age where the puppy coat begins to shed varies from breed to breed, but in general, most puppies have shed their first coats by the time they are six months old.


Bottom Line


So, when do German Shepherd puppies change color? German Shepherd puppies are born with a black coat that, around the age of 2-3 months, begins to change into the dog’s adult coat color. Remember to take your pup to the vet regularly during this time to make sure their coat is healthy and they are on track developmentally!


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Doug Burke

Doug Burke

We love Frank, our German Shepherd - he's basically part of the family.
But you know how it is - there are challenges and questions that every dog owner faces, so here's what I discovered about German Shepherds while raising him.

About Me

We love Frank, our German Shepherd – he’s basically part of the family.
But you know how it is – there are challenges and questions that every dog owner faces, so here’s what I discovered about German Shepherds while raising him.

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