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Pet Information: German Shepherd Dog

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"Socialization is a must, the more positive experiences around different people, different animals, sights, noises, etc that a GSD puppy experiences as he grows up, the more confident and stable in temperament that dog will be. Obedience training is also a must. A GSD is much like a smart 3-year old child, he will test you to see what he can get away with and push you as far as you let him. Positive consistent obedience training until a dog reliably and quickly obeys you, will help you and your dog form a good master=dog bond, can PREVENT many problems from occurring and in some cases may even save your dog's life. Once you've lived with a well-trained dog, you will never want to live with an untrained dog again!!! A GSD NEEDS things such as obedience exercises to learn and do, to keep him from getting bored. A bored dog, especially one used to doing as it pleases, is likely to wreak havoc on its environment as it digs, howls, barks, chews things up, and engages in other undesirable behaviors to relieve its boredom. GSDs come in a variety of colors and patterns. The dominant pattern for distribution of the black markings over the red/tan/cream/silver ground color of the GSD, is the agouti (called sable in the USA and grau or gray in Germany=neither which correctly describes the pattern). Second to agouti is the two-tone pattern with the two colors, the ground color and the black markings being fairly clearly divided (the familiar black and tan dog is of this pattern). Third comes the darker dogs, blankets and bicolors (for which there is no standardized degree of black, thus what different people claim is a blanket or a bi, may differ from others opinions of what constitutes a blanket or bi. Most recessive in this series is the solid black which frequently isn't actually solid black but shows hints of ground color, often called shadings or bleedthrough, in the lower legs, inside of the hindlegs, and around the anus. The ground colors are red/tan/cream and silver, with variations in intensity and clarity. Puppies ground colors are usually muddied, with grayish tinges, and intensify and get clearer as the puppy grows. The marking color is usually black, although there are two different recessive dilutions, liver and blue. Liver or blue merely changes the black pigment on a GSD to blue or liver. An agouti/sable puppy is born fairly dark, then the black tipping fades until the puppy at 7 to 8 weeks of age is a dull grayish tan with very little black on it. The black tipping comes back in and the puppy darkens again at around 4 months of age. There is another stage at around 7 months of age where the black tipping in an agouti/sable puppy fades again, but the second fading of the black is much less obvious than the first one. After that the puppy's color will get richer and darker and as an adult the puppy will overall be approximately as dark as he was as a newborn. There is also some minor seasonal variation in the appearance of the black tipping. An agouti/sable may appear lighter in overall color in the winter when he has a lot of undercoat, and darker in the summer when all that light undercoat has shed out! A two-tone puppy is born much darker than he will be as an adult. As the puppy grows, the ground color (red/tan/cream/silver) steadily spreads upward and outward. Thus, a puppy that is destined to be a saddle black and tan adult, will be quite dark with the black color extending to the elbows and will steadily keep getting lighter in appearance until he reaches his adult saddle pattern. White is on a totally separate locus. A white GSD is a GSD of any of the possible agouti series colors/pattern combinations from agouti/sable to solid black, that has its pattern and colors masked by the white gene, just as if you would drop a white sheet over the dog. White dogs whose ground colors are genetically reds or rich tans, tend to have reddish, orangish, etc tinges in their coats. Whiter whites are usually genetically creams and silvers (ground colors are what affects the degree of white in a white dog, not the black marking color/pattern) Mutations in colors/patterns are always possible in the GSD, just as they are in any species. Recent color/pattern mutations include the Panda shepherd, a mutation for large white markings and sometimes change of eye color to blue and also at least two instances, one positively confirmed by DNA, of spontaneous mutation of ground color to brindle. "
"The Whisperer"

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