A golden-colored or blonde German Shepherd is a sight to behold. The Blonde German Shepherd is an uncommon GSD color variation characterized by a light-colored cream to yellowish coat. The yellowish shade mostly appears on the dog’s posterior section/dorsal surface with interspersed cream to beige hairs, especially on the dog’s underside, below the neck and inner legs.
This GSD has similar genetics to the white ivory German Shepherd, but it is still unclear what causes this slight difference in the shade color.
However, these golden dogs appear slightly yellowish compared to their white counterparts, although they are similar at the basic level. Blonde GSDs have more pheomelanin pigments than white GSDs.
But like any other German Shepherd, these are exceptional working and family dogs. They are purebred dogs and share all the other German Shepherd traits except color.
You may find this interesting.
- German Shepherd colors 101
- Cream German Shepherd (What You Should Know)
- Bicolor German Shepherd 101 (Saddle tan & Black & tan)
- Grey vs Silver German Shepherd (What You Should Know)
To learn what causes the golden coat color, scroll on.
Blonde German Shepherd genetics
Two genes cause the blonde coloration: One pair allows the dog to produce a red pigment on the coat. The other pair controls the amount of red pigment produced, which regulates the intensity of red pigment, diluting the red pigment to appear yellowish to whitish.
Pheomelanin is one of two pigments responsible for all possible coat colors on any dog. This pigment is red by default but can be modified by intensity genes to various degrees to shades ranging from deep red, like in Irish setter, to an off-white shade. Pheomelanin pigment is only found on a dog’s coat.
Eumelanin is the second color pigment that is black by default. It makes up the pigment on all parts of a dog, including the inner ear structures, bones, eyes, nose, and skin, but it can also be found on the coat if other genes do not block its production.
A blonde German Shepherd only has red pigment on the coat and eumelanin on all other body parts. This is because the recessive red genes inhibit the black eumelanin pigment on the coat.
Recessive red gene
The recessive red gene is a mutant variant known as MC1R that controls whether a dog’s coat produces red or black pigment. In its original form (wild type), MC1R promotes the production of eumelanin pigment. Still, the mutant variant, denoted as a lowercase “e” black eumelanin production, promotes pheomelanin production loaded to the coat’s hair shafts.
But this “e” gene is recessive, and two copies, one from each parent, should be present to make the coat red for the “e/e” gene combination. The “e/e” gene is dominant over all other genes when inherited as a pair by a pup, and thus, a dog that is “e/e” on the E-locus will always produce a red pigment on the coat regardless of the other genes that the dog inherits.
But a blonde GSD is not red. This is because of the second pair of genes, the intensity gene. The intensity gene regulates the concentration of red pigment and, in the case of golden dogs, causes fewer red pigments to be produced, causing the coat to appear blonde to white. This intensity gene is denoted as lowercase “i” and is also recessive; thus, two copies should be present to dilute the coat.
All German Shepherds with e/e on the E-locus seem to i/i on the Intensity-locus. However, it is unknown exactly what governs the color variation from blonde to white on GSDs with this gene, but research is still ongoing. But blonde GSDs have more red pigment compared to their white counterparts.
And this is what is currently known about this yellowish-colored German Shepherd.
Blonde German Shepherd price
Blonde is a rarer color and is costlier on average than the dark-colored GSD counterparts. You can expect a Blonde German Shepherd’s price to range from $800 to $2500 on the higher end. Of course, the cost will depend on the breeder, location, line of puppies, pedigree, and other price factors.
Although Blonde GSDs are purebred dogs, they are not recognized by any major kennel clubs. Blonde is deemed a major fault and disqualified in the show ring, though these dogs are allowed to participate in other events such as agility, tracking, obedience, etc.
Can German Shepherds be golden?
Yes, Blonde German Shepherds appear golden but are not as golden as German Shepherds; they have a lighter yellowish shade. These golden hairs are mostly concentrated on the dog’s upper surface, including the top of the head, the ears, the dog’s back, and the upper section of the tail.
Are blonde German Shepherds rare?
Blonde German Shepherds are rare and less common than their darker-colored counterparts such as the sable, black and tan, saddle tan German Shepherds, etc.
To sum Up
Blonde German Shepherds are a true definition of rare beauty and a sight not seen daily.
If you are on the market for one of these pups, your best bet is breeders specializing in white German Shepherds. White GSD litter ranges from yellowish (blonde) to ivory white (cream-white).
Even then, ensure the breeder has a great reputation for producing healthy pups and avoid unscrupulous breeders who are just in it for the hard cash. By all means, avoid buying pups online unless you can meet the breeder, the pup’s parents, and other pups and can inspect the breeding premises.
Did you find this article useful? Let us know in the comment section below.
There you go, WOOF!