Featured Image Credit: @lyla.gsd_ (IG)
German Shepherds have been globally famous for so many years now, but have you ever heard of an isabella German Shepherd? They’re fascinating not just for their looks but also for their wits and strength.
When it comes to German Shepherds, we’re so used to seeing them in their standard color. But they also exhibit various fur colors because of their different color genes.
If this is the first time you’ve heard about the isabella German Shepherd and you’re curious about it, you are on the right page.
Let’s break down more details about this attractive German Shepherd from history, health, genes, and so much more as you scroll down below.
What Is an Isabella German Shepherd?
An isabella German Shepherd is a rare GSD color variation that results from the combined effects of blue and liver dilution. This dilute coat color is often manifested by recessive genes. An isabella GSD is also sometimes called a lavender or lilac German Shepherd.
The word isabella can make you think of royalty and long-flowing princess gowns in history. But where were isabella German Shepherds based, and where did they really come from?
Looking back, there is no known documentation of the first-ever isabella German Shepherd and when or where it was first produced. However, we do know that the peculiar color manifested from two recessive genes.
In addition, an isabella German Shepherd is typically the same as the regular GSD when it comes to temperament, height and weight, and health issues. The only difference is its color and how rare it is to come out of a litter.
The isabella color can be interchanged to silver fawn, isabella fawn, silver beige, lavender, and lilac. However, the term isabella German Shepherd may be breed-specific to this breed.
Are Isabella German Shepherds Rare?
Yes, isabella German Shepherds can be considered rare. Isabella Shepherd’s rarity is based on two recessive genes that undergo double dilution; thus, they are not that many in the German Shepherd breed.
Their parents must have one pair of a particular recessive gene for them to be produced. But then, even when both parents have a pair of these recessive genes, it is not guaranteed that they will have a litter of isabella dogs.
You will need a meticulous and reputable breeder to ensure that a puppy has a pair of recessive genes that can produce an isabella dog. This may take a lot of time and, honestly, can be very impractical on the breeder’s side.
Isabella German Shepherd Appearance
Isabella German Shepherds are large-sized dogs with solid pale-gold or diluted brown-colored fur. This is considered rare in German Shepherds since it takes a long process for them to be produced.
As they grow, the isabella coloration can further lighten. However, you may not see it instantly since it’s already light in color. Isabella German Shepherds also have long furs that are straight and naturally silky.
Meanwhile, due to the double dilution of their genes, isabella dogs usually have gray or blue eyes. They can also sport sea green or blue-green eyes occasionally.
This is also why an isabella GSD’s nose does not have the same color as the traditional tan German Shepherd. Generally, they usually have a much lighter pink or brown nose.
When it comes to size, they are 22 to 26 inches tall and weigh between 50 to 90 pounds. They become full-grown adult isabella German Shepherds at 12 to 18 months. Like other GSDs, they sport an athletic and muscular appearance.
Overall, only their coat, nose, and sea-green colored eyes are what set them apart from standard German Shepherds. They are the same hyper, smart, and loyal companions as other GSDs.
Isabella German Shepherd Color Genetics
Like most color variations, the isabella color occurs naturally and is inherited from the German Shepherd’s parent genes. However, these genes are recessive, and they are not as straightforward as other traits.
Color genetics may be a complicated thing to look through. Still, it is essential to know that each gene occupies specific locations (loci) in chromosomes, and they are responsible for the color of your puppy’s fur and body.
The presence of two recessive genes in isabella German Shepherds suppresses the locus genes responsible for the dilution of chocolate or brown fur and the black-colored fur.
This dilution process ensures that the dog will not have any black hair since the blue gene dilutes black and further lightens the chocolate-brown pigmentation. This results in the rare isabella color.
Moreover, you can tell if there are two recessive dilution genes specifically through their noses.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), standard German Shepherd dogs, such as the sable ones, have pure black noses. However, when there is a dilution gene in the process, their nose changes into a lighter color.
When blue genes dilute, it exhibits a bluish-gray nose, while a liver dilution will cause their nose to have a brown or chocolate color. Since they are from recessive dilution genes, an isabella GSD’s nose is never black.
Do Isabella German Shepherd Puppies Change Color as They Grow?
An isabella German Shepherd does change color as they grow, just like black hair German Shepherd and other varieties. It usually starts on their face, neck, chest, and gradually to their whole body.
Since these isabella German Shepherd dogs are already light-colored, you may not recognize the color change instantly.
This happens when the fur of an isabella puppy is brushed off, and the adult fur settles in their body. The same thing happens when they are shedding. Usually, it starts at around two months until two years of age.
Watch this cute video to see a stunning lilac German Shepherd puppy enjoying the great outdoors:
Do Kennel Clubs Recognize Isabella German Shepherds?
Unfortunately, isabella is not an accepted German Shepherd color in the AKC, UKC, CKC, or any other major kennel clubs worldwide. That said, you won’t really see these dogs competing in a show ring.
They may excel like standard GSDs, but they are still considered faults and heavily penalized during shows despite their intelligence and unique appearance.
Isabella German Shepherd Temperament and Personality
Lilac German Shepherds are great working dogs since they are athletic, energetic, and highly active, especially outdoors. They are confident and patient at the same time, that’s why dog lovers admire them.
In addition, they are protective and loyal to their owners. However, they need to learn to be independent since they are prone to be overly attached to their families.
They can further develop separation anxiety and destructive behavior if left alone for long periods.
An isabella German Shepherd requires a firm owner during training since they tend to be stubborn despite being highly intelligent. They are one of the fastest learning dogs, so training them will be swift.
Overall, they are great family dogs. However, it is also important to note that they have a high prey drive.
That’s why, at an early age, a socialized lilac German Shepherd should be established to avoid accidents with smaller pets and children.
Isabella German Shepherd Lifespan and Health Issues
Isabella German Shepherds may not be in the same color as the traditional GSDs but they are similarly healthy and can live up to 10 to 14 years on average.
As long as they are from a reputable and responsible breeder and you give them high-quality care, they won’t be susceptible to severe diseases.
However, like other dog breeds, health problems can sometimes be inevitable or genetically linked.
To help you get an idea of what they could be prone to health-wise, here are some common health problems your isabella German Shepherd puppy may encounter:
- Hip Dysplasia: As large dogs, isabella German Shepherds can be prone to hip dysplasia. This condition can be described as an abnormality of the hip bone’s development, resulting in pain and deterioration of posture.
- Bloat: This condition is also known as gastric dilation volvulus (GDV), and it happens when the stomach gets filled with gas, fluid, and food, which results in twisting. Pet owners should always take this as an emergency as it progresses quickly and can sometimes be fatal.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy: PRA in dogs occurs as a group of degenerative diseases that affect photoreceptor cells, resulting in deterioration and blindness. There are no treatments available for this condition. However, vitamins and antioxidants may reduce eye stress and delay the formation of cataracts.
- Diabetes: Diabetes occurs when your dog’s body cannot produce enough insulin, does not respond to it appropriately, or does not have it at all. However, this condition is successfully managed through monitoring, maintenance meds, and regular vet visits.
These issues can be prevented and are manageable as long as you keep your eye on your isabella dog.
Taking them to regular vet check-ups and keeping their vaccines up-to-date will keep them healthy and improve their quality of life.
Isabella German Shepherd Grooming
A lilac German Shepherd dog sheds frequently, so you should put in extra effort when it comes to their grooming needs.
Brushing their hair regularly can keep their coats shiny and healthy, and it can significantly contribute to the severity of shedding every time the climate changes.
Giving them sanitary hair trims can help maintain their cleanliness, too.
Occasional bathing is advised for this dog breed, so their coats won’t dry up, and their fur’s natural and essential oils can be preserved. In addition, wiping and washing their paws is necessary after walking or strolling outside.
Chew toys or chew treats are a great way to strengthen their teeth and gums, on top of regular teeth brushing.
However, we should always be mindful of the number of chew treats we give our dogs since giving too much can be unhealthy for them.
Regular ear cleaning and nail trimming are a must. If you don’t know how to do it, bringing them to a professional groomer may be the best option.
How Much Does an Isabella German Shepherd Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses
An isabella German Shepherd puppy costs around $1,500 on average. On the other hand, adopting this GSD color variation may cost about $150 to $300.
Note, though, that finding a lilac German Shepherd may be pretty challenging, considering it is rare.
There are a lot of factors surrounding puppy prices. Some of those include lineage, breeder’s reputation, location, health tests, and initial vaccinations.
It is also essential to know that having a puppy is not a one-time purchase. You have to look through imperative needs and expenses before you decide to open your home to your new isabella German Shepherd.
Here’s a list of the initial costs of owning a lilac German Shepherd:
|Type of Expense||Cost|
|Food and Treats||$100 – $120|
|Food and Water Bowls||$15 – $35|
|Bed||$50 – $200|
|Crate||$60 – $500|
|Leashes and Collars||$15 – $50|
|Toys||$30 – $50|
|Grooming Essentials||$40 – $180|
|Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications||$50 – $200|
|Initial Vet Visits||$100 – $300|
|Initial Vaccine Shots||$75 – $200|
|Neutering or Spaying||$50 – $500|
|Dog License||$10 – $20|
|Microchip||$40 – $60|
|Miscellaneous Supplies||$15 – $30|
|Total Initial Cost||$650 – $2,445|
The majority of these items are readily available in pet stores and clinics, so purchasing them would be easier. Some breeders also give them as freebies when you buy a pup.
Places to Find Isabella German Shepherd Puppies for Sale and Adoption
Getting an isabella German Shepherd can be like a mystery hunt. You will go through a lot of research in finding the right source, regardless of whether you are purchasing or adopting.
Before jumping into different breeders, you might want to check our complete guide on buying a puppy online.
Furthermore, to aid you with your search, here’s a list of reputable places where you can possibly find an isabella German Shepherd:
- K9 Pines – This kennel has been around for quite a while, and they are well known to be the home of German Shepherd dogs of different color varieties, including isabella German Shepherds. They follow a strict breeding philosophy, believing that “no good dog is a bad color.”
- Sprague’s German Shepherds – This kennel has been breeding GSDs as protective and loyal family companions. Their dogs don’t have a high prey drive and are generally calm. They cater to different color variations of GSDs and may have an isabella German Shepherd on their kennel.
- Ruskin House of Shepherds – This kennel has been breeding German Shepherds since 1985, so they have quite a reputation as breeders. According to them, they produce GSDs in all colors, so you might as well inquire about isabella German Shepherds here.
For more breeder options, here’s a list of reputable German Shepherd breeders with their respective websites, contact details, and location, so you won’t have difficulty reaching out to them if you have inquiries and questions.
Although it’s challenging, if you want to adopt and give a pup another chance at life, then here is a list of rescue organizations and shelters where you might find the isabella German Shepherd you’re looking for:
- German Shepherd Rescue – This organization is dedicated to German Shepherds of all colors and sizes. The adoption fee is around $250, and they advocate for responsible ownership. Overall, they aim to bridge loving families that German Shepherds deserve.
- Southern California German Shepherd Rescue – This organization was founded in 2006 and has been connecting loving homes to GSD rescues. They prioritize health above all, specializing in helping neglected pets regain their quality of life.
- Coastal K9 German Shepherd Rescue – This is a non-profit charity dedicated to German Shepherds regardless of color. They advocate against neglect and abandonment, and they wish to provide a new beginning for all their shelter dogs by connecting them to loving families.
To further equip you when finding a puppy to adopt near your area, we’ve listed some tips in this comprehensive guide. Additionally, you may also want to check our article enlisting our top 10 picks for German Shepherd rescues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Isabella German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, an isabella German Shepherd dog’s coat is not hypoallergenic. This dog breed also does shed a lot, so you can expect a lot of fur in your home, especially during shedding season.
It is strongly advised to check in with your doctor first if you are sensitive to allergens or you have asthma before opening your home to an isabella German Shepherd.
What Is the Rarest Color of the German Shepherd?
Out of all German Shepherds, the isabella GSD is considered one of the rarest German Shepherd colors.
This is because of the recessive genes present in their parents, specifically those that are born from liver, blue bicolor, or solid blue German Shepherds.
With this dog breed’s light coat color due to the dilution gene process, it is incredibly challenging, and you will have to need a lot of patience before you can get your hands on one.
How Many German Shepherd Colors Are There?
The famous and admired German Shepherd dogs are known to have 15 different colors, although some may be rarer than others. However, fewer color varieties are recognized by the AKC.
Most GSDs are black and tan dogs, while others sport pure black, blue, and sable coats. Solid and rich colors are preferred, while diluted colors like chocolate or brown are considered to be serious faults.
The same goes for light gray or silver dogs, as well as GSDs with various blue shades, steel blue, and variants of the liver color.
Final Thoughts: Is an Isabella GSD the Right Dog for you?
The isabella German Shepherd is undoubtedly a unique color variation of the GSD breed. They are great dogs for everyone, especially when properly trained and socialized.
However, they may need bigger space to stay and play. They may also be a bit clingy and stubborn, so you need to be firm if you decide to have one.
Furthermore, they are great companions, but their high energy should match an active lifestyle.
So if you think an isabella GSD fits your day-to-day activities and you can cater to all their needs, you might be the perfect match for them. Let us know in the comments below if you think so, too!
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.