Discover the Secrets of the Liver German Shepherd Dog: The Ultimate Guide


The liver German shepherd is a beautiful and regal dog breed that is also one of the most versatile. With their strong sense of smell, they are excellent at detection work, and their loyalty and protective nature make them great guard dogs. They are also intelligent and trainable, which makes them popular pets.

However, the liver German shepherd is not without its challenges. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about this unique breed, including its history, temperament, health concerns, and more.

What Is a Liver German Shepherd?

Let us first give this gorgeous breed a proper introduction.

A liver German shepherd is a variation of the standard black and tan German shepherd. this breed has distinguished colored eyes, noses, and coats. Their noses are usually brown and, in some cases, pink. as for the eyes, they are commonly a lighter brown or a lighter amber.

Liver-Colored GSD have a life expectancy of 9 to 13 years. Both males and females can grow up to 24-26 inches. However, the males are always bigger than females; weighing an average of 30-40 kg; whereas females weigh around 20-32 kg.

German Shepherds are known for shedding all year round. This is caused by their double-layered coat; the topcoat is composed of stiff guard hair and is usually water repellent, serving as a protection for the shepherd’s skin and undercoat against weather and other factors. 

As for the inner coat, it serves as insulation keeping the dog warm and the skin dry during winter. In the summer, the coat provides a sort of air conditioning system, regulating the temperature of the shepherd and keeping it cool.

What Causes the Liver Color?

You might be wondering how the German shepherd has this beautiful colored coat, to answer this question, let’s have a quick dive into genetics, shall we?

This color is caused by a recessive gene called B Locus or the liver gene. This gene suppresses eumelanin pigmentation, the factor responsible for black or dark brown pigment.

A German shepherd puppy gets delivered color when at least one of the parents possesses the B locus gene or if both parents carry it in their chromosomes.

We can find various coat patterns such as:

  • Saddleback pattern
  • Solid liver
  • Panda pattern
  • Sable pattern
  • Bi-color pattern

What Does A Liver German Shepherd Puppy Look Like?


Once the little German Shepherd Puppy comes into this world, their skin and fur are liver-colored, their toenails are usually white, their footpads and little noses are pink and to top it off their little eyes are usually blue or green for the first 6 months.

However, most of this changes as the puppy grow. the toenails, footpads, and noses all turn to the liver and the eyes later change to light brown or amber once they are adults.

Does Liver German Shepherd Color Change By Age?

As mentioned before, the Liver German Shepherd puppy has Liver-colored skin and fur except for the toenails, footpads, nose, and eyes that eventually all become liver-colored themselves. this is the only change in appearance that a Liver German shepherd undergoes, meaning once the puppy becomes an adult in around 6 months, there will not be any changes ever since.

Are Liver German Shepherd Dogs Purebred?

At first glance, many mistaken Liver German shepherd dogs as not purebred because of the different attire than the standard GSD. Nevertheless, since none of the parents is a mix, the liver German shepherd is purebred.

Are Isabella German Shepherds and Liver German Shepherds Similar?

Although Liver German Shepherd is a rare breed, the Isabella German Shepherd is even a rarer breed. Both variations indeed have a very close resemblance, but they are not quite equal. Isabella German Shepherds are usually referred to as “diluted livers” or “double dilutes” because they carry not only one but two of the B locus genes. In addition to that, they also carry another blue pair of recessive genes resulting in more color change.

As mentioned before in this article, the B locus gene is responsible for preventing the pigmentation which leads to brown-reddish color. The Blue gene further dilutes this brown color resulting in a lighter brown, in other words, fawn color with a liver or pink nose or in some cases gray nose.

Are Liver German Shepherds Prone to Health Problems?

If you wonder whether the color might affect the German Shepherd’s health, here is the answer to erase any doubt about the matter: No. The health of a German Shepherd Dog has nothing to do with its color. Unless your intention is not only to adopt a puppy but to also help it, you should be careful when choosing it no matter the breed.

Now, to answer the health problem question, Liver German shepherds are known to be generally healthy dogs. Evidently, the health of a dog depends on various factors such as its size, work type, level, and the care offered. However, here are a few health-related conditions that this breed is prone to:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Diabetes
  • Corneal dystrophy
  • Aortic stenosis
  • Musculoskeletal issues
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Bloat
  • Hemophilia
  • Epilepsy

To assure optimal health for your dog, keep track of his diet and make sure it is a balanced one to boost his immunity. Inevitably, it is your responsibility to be up to date with all his vaccinations. If given the right amount of care and attention, the Liver German Shepherd will live a disease-free life.

What Is the Best Diet for a Liver German shepherd?

The best diet for German Shepherds is a high-quality protein-rich diet consisting of 18-22% protein. They can also derive nutrients from grains, fruits, and vegetables. However, dogs need to ensure they have the right balance of protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber for optimum health.

When considering the best diet for a German Shepherd, choose foods with high-quality animal-based protein sources such as beef, chicken, lamb, pork, eggs, fish, and plant-based proteins, such as grains, legumes, and vegetables. Also, the food should be abundant in fats, vitamins, and minerals.

The main nutritional requirement of a German Shepherd’s diet is protein. Protein has several functions:

  • Provides energy.
  • Builds and repairs muscles
  • Forms new skin, hair, and nail cells.
  • Keeps the immune and musculoskeletal systems strong.

Finally, always seek professional advice from your vet depending on the age, gender, and activity levels of your dog.

Are Liver German Shepherds Easy to Train?


Liver German Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs, which makes them very easy to train. They take instructions well and have good memory retention abilities. All you need is patience and a strong sense of leadership.

When they are under 2 years old, liver Shepherd puppies might lack the attention span for some advanced training. But the puppy’s basic training can start at just a few weeks old, such as:

  • Potty training
  • Socialization with humans and other dogs
  • Socialization with other animals
  • Obedience training and simple commands
  • Crate training
  • Leash training

Do Liver German Shepherds Make Great Family Dogs?


If Liver German shepherds are properly trained, they can be very gentle companions and family protectors. They have about the right amount of temperament for it. They are loving, gentle, loyal, and protective, especially towards their favorite family members. It is indeed a perfect breed for active households, and it makes a good choice for families with children.

Like every being on this earth, every dog is different, and each one of them has a personality. Keeping that in mind, there is no guarantee that all liver German shepherds will make similarly good pets. With some love and patience, you can shape your dog into the ideal pet you always wanted.

Does the Liver German Shepherd Get Along With Other Pets?

If introduced during puppyhood, German Shepherds get along well with cats, but they need time to get used to the two animals being one and get used to each other’s presence and personalities.

Additionally, German shepherds may tend to chase cats and other small pets and may not be a good fit for a multi-pet household unless raised together. They may also not get along with strange dogs, especially those of the same sex, which may be a problem when you visit a dog park.

As for other dogs, if the German Shepherd is raised with them, they are likely to get along very well. Some of the compatible dog breeds are Belgian Malinois, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Boxer, and other German Shepherds.

However, studies suggest that German Shepherds are above average in aggression towards other dogs. It is very important for you to be very serious when it comes to training the dog, which would prevent any sort of unfortunate behavior. 

Can the Liver German Shepherd Breed Be Helpful as a Working Dog?

Liver German Shepherds are adept at many working applications. These include:

  • Search and rescue
  • Law enforcement
  • Military
  • Detection
  • Nose work
  • Tracking
  • Herding
  • Guard work
  • Acting and entertainment
  • Guide dogs
  • Therapy dogs

Is the Liver German Shepherd a Recognized Breed Standard?

The American Kennel Club has certain standards when it comes to the German Shepherd Breed. The Liver German Shepherd is viewed as having a flaw because of its color. According to the The AKC, “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.”


If you’re looking for a loyal, loving, and protective dog, the Liver German Shepherd is the perfect breed for you! They make great family pets and are great with children. Be sure to give them plenty of exercise, as they are a high-energy breed. If you’re ready to add a furry friend to your family, contact your local German Shepherd rescue today!

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Written by Jack

Jack is the founder of Germanshepherdsfamily, a german shepherds specific website where you'll find everything you need to know if you are a true lover of the German Shepherd breed!

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