Isabella German Shepherd – What is the Name and DNA Guide

Seeing the name Isabella most likely conjures images of beauty, royalty, and romance. I always picture ancient Spanish castles and long flowing Princess gowns.

Have you ever seen Isabella and German Shepherd together in the same sentence? When I first saw the term Isabella German Shepherd, I glossed over it as a term for a specific kennel or an expensive type of GSD.

I never knew how Isabella referred to the German Shepherd until I started running across a lot of research about lilac Siamese cats and French Bulldogs.

The Isabella German Shepherd a beautiful dog which he is, but this is also one of the rarest German Shepherd colors. This shepherd has a dilute coat color, also known as Lilac, that is not common in many dogs.

For a start, all German Shepherds are adorable and very intelligent dogs and perhaps one of the most popular breeds. These dogs are brave and protective by nature, which has been coupled with his loyalty, which has made the GSD a cherished dog.

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What is an Isabella German Shepherd?

What is an Isabella German Shepherd?

If you are looking for more information about the Isabella German Shepherd, you have come to the right place. We are going to see at all that you need to know about Isabella GSD from his looks to his behavioral traits, and you will also learn how you can take care of him.

Isabella is an exceedingly rare color variety of German Shepherds that results from the combined effects of blue and liver dilution. Carried on recessive genes, the probability of acquiring both chocolate and gray for one GSD is very low.

Adding to the Isabella Shepherd’s rarity are the penalties placed on the liver and blue show dogs by the AKC and the resulting suppression of the colors by breeders.

Isabella German Shepherd History

Isabella, about color, may have originated as early as 1492. Spanish Queen Isabella proclaimed she would not change her gown during the Seige of Granada until Spain prevailed. In the interim, her dress altered to a nondescript color of reddish with remnants of white and black.

A racier story refers to a similar story about underwear and the Seige of Ostend but places the events after the term’s coinage. Other historians say Isabelline could have stemmed from the word Zibellino, which described the color of animal pelts popular in the early 1600s.

The color was a pale gold similar to that of cougars and lions of specific shades. Nevertheless, the first known use of the term Isabelline was in 1600, referring to the color of a particular fashion trend in dresses.

People soon interchanged Isabella and Isabella to describe the unusual color, and its use for bird plumage and specific bear species became more prominent in 1859. Isabella is noteworthy in that it can be breed-specific in its use.

You will see Isabella and not lilac German Shepherds, although the terms refer to the same color. Weimaraners, universally dilute dogs, can be referred to as lilac, gray, or Isabella unless they are blue.

French Bulldogs are commonly lilac. Other words that describe the same color as Isabella but are not used for the GSD are Isabella fawn, silver beige, silver-fawn, or lavender.

How You Get Certain Colors in German Shepherds Like Isabella

How You Get Certain Colors in German Shepherds Like Isabella

The Isabella or lilac color comes from the dilution of the loci and the liver color in any dog. Color genes are found in specific locations or loci in chromosomes, and they are the ones that dictate what color or pattern is going to be on a dog’s coat.

There are several loci found in a dog, with some loci being dominant over others. In German Shepherds, the agouti or A-locus gene is responsible for their colors. They also dictate the base color for most of the dogs, and the color only shows up if there are no other dominants loci.

There are four types of agouti-locus in dogs, and they are also known as alleles. These are responsible for four different German Shepherd colors, and these are.

  • Fawn and Sable GSD coloration
  • Wild sable expression
  • Bi-color or black
  • Tan/tri-color and black colors

Getting into details about each one of them and others is beyond the scope of this guide.

Dilution Loci and the Liver

So, we have said that the A-locust is responsible for the base color, but another locus may transform it. For example, a recessive liver gene found in the B-locus is accountable for the chocolate or brown color in our furry friends.

This then suppresses any black color in German Shepherd with all black hairs turning liver with the tan hairs being unaffected. The pads, lips, and nose turn pink or brown, and the eyes turn amber.

When this happens, a GSD that would have otherwise been black and tan turns liver and tan. Unlike the liver GSD, the Blue GSD inherits 2 D-locus recessive genes.

The blue genes dilute the black color, and you are left with a blue expression. Dog with a D-locus dilution has various blue shades that can range from steel blue to light gray.

An Isabella German Shepherd has a double dilution involving a pup that inherits 2 recessive genes that suppress the D-locus genes and 2 B-locus genes.

As a result, the German Shepherd will have no black hair. It also suppresses the chocolate-brown pigmentation because there are no more black hairs that they can act on. Most Isabella GSDs often have blue-green or sea-green colored eyes.

Isabella German Shepherd Identification

The Isabella German Shepherd is not recognized by any of the major kennel clubs as this is not an accepted German Shepherd color.

HeightGerman Shepherds male 24 to 26 inches female 22 to 24 inches 
Weight77 to 95 pounds for the male  55 to 73 for female
Lifespan9 to 13 years
Breed typeMixes
PurposeHerding and companion dog
Best forLarge dog lovers
Grooming needsNormal
Color variationlilac
TemperamentLoyal, loving, friendly, Energetic
Other namesIsabella GSD, Lilac German Shepherd or Isabella Alsatian
Health issueship and elbow dysplasia, pannus, and allergies

Size of the Lilac German Shepherd

Isabella German Shepherds are classified as medium to large-sized dogs. Male Lilac GSDs can reach a height of wherever between 24 to 26 inches and weigh between 77 to 95 pounds.

While their female counterparts can reach heights of between 22 to 24 inches and have weights of within 55 to 73 pounds. This does not apply to the mini German Shepherd that can be much smaller.

Lilac German Shepherd Physical Appearance

It is no secret that Alsatians are super attractive dogs, and this applies even to the Lilac GSD. Lilac German Shepherd dogs have an athletic and muscular appearance and are also lean but sturdy.

According to the breed standards of a GSD, the nose should be black, but this is not the same for a Lilac German Shepherd. Because of the gene dilution, Isabella GSD’s nose is going to be lighter.

A liver GSD will have either a reddish or brown nose while a blue one will have a grayish nose. This adorable pooch may also have sea-green or blue-green almond-shaped eyes with a long muzzle.

Isabella German Shepherd Coat Appearance and Shedding

The Isabella German Shepherd can have either a long or medium coat, which can be relatively straight or coarse. Their double-coats help to protect them against the elements, and they can thus endure harsh weather conditions.

Temperament and personality of the Isabella German Shepherd

German Shepherds are incredibly confident dogs that are also very patient. These are some of the features that make them great working dogs. They are also very well natured with a strong instinct to defend their owners.

People that have owned a GSD before know how loyal and loving they can be. Isabella German Shepherds also have a high prey drive and should be socialized and taught at an early age.

Socialization is also important because they can be wary of strangers, and doing this can significantly reduce it. These pooches do not tolerate being left alone for extended periods as they easily suffer from parting anxiety. This can also lead them to become destructive as they look for a way to entertain themselves.

How to Get an Isabella German Shepherd?

How to  Get an Isabella German Shepherd?

Remember the loci we keep mentioning? The A-locus is your base color, but another named locus may transform it. A specific liver inactive gene, for example, resides on the B-locus and is responsible for a brown or chocolate color in dogs.

The liver is a dilution in German Shepherds. The B-locus suppresses the appearance of any black in Shepherd’s coat. All black hairs become chocolate or liver, tan areas remain unaffected, lips, nose, and pads turn pink or brown, and eyes are amber.

Since the A-locus affects color pattern, otherwise, bi-color and recessive black Shepherds will show as solid liver in dogs with B-locus dilution, and black and tans will express as liver and tan.

Blue German Shepherds acquire two recessive dilution genes on the D-locus. Unlike the liver gene, the blue gene dilutes black without completely removing all pigmentation.

As a result, dogs with dilution at the D-locus will be various shades of blue, normally charcoal, to light gray to steel blue. Gray or mouse German Shepherds can be blue and tan, solid blue, or blue bicolor.

Blue GSDs usually have gray or blue eyes. Blue GSDs are distinct from silver dogs who are modifications of black and tan. An Isabella dog is a double dilution that involves a puppy inheriting two recessive suppressing genes on the D-locus and two on the B-locus.

The recessive liver gene guarantees the dog will have no black hair. The dilution gene further suppresses pigmentation in the chocolate brown areas since there are no black hairs upon which to act. Isabella dogs often have sea-green or blue-green eyes.

Interesting History of Isabella Color

This color may have existed as early as 1492. The Spanish queen, Isabella, proclaimed that she would not change her gown until Spain prevailed during the Siege of Granada.

This made her dress shift to a reddish color that had black and white Other historians claim that Isabelline may have come from the Zibellino word that described the color of popular animal pelts in the early 17th century. This color was pale-golden.

This term, Isabelline, may have first been used in 1600 to refer to a color of a particular trending fashion of dresses. People would soon interchange the word Isabella and Isabella to describe the same color.

In 1859, the use of this word in bird plumage and some bear species became more prominent. It is worth noting that this can be used in specific breeds. You may often see Isabella German Shepherds instead of Lilac German Shepherd, although they refer to the same color.

Isabella fawn, silver-fawn, and silver beige are other terms that can be used instead of Isabella but are not used to describe GSDs.

Isabella German Shepherds Health Problems

An Isabella color occurs naturally in the GSD breed, albeit with the correct alignment of different criteria. Blue Germans Shepherds do not have blue alopecia dermatitis common in other diluted breeds like the Doberman.

Isabella German Shepherds thus far have no more health problems than dogs of the more basic and standard colors. Because dilution is a recessive trait, selecting for Isabella German Shepherds based on increased interest and need could promote health problems that would be difficult to anticipate.

As always, if you desire an Isabella dog, go through a reputable breeder to avoid practices such as overbreeding and inbreeding that could lead to detrimental health concerns.

Go to a reputable breeder to avoid health issues that are caused mainly by inbreeding and other bad breeding practices.

However, even a well-bred Lilac GSD is also predisposed to some health issues such as.

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Pannus

Lilac GSD Diet and Training Requirements

The Isabella German shepherd requires a high-quality protein-filled diet. Their diets also need to provide them with sufficient energy to keep them going. A raw meat-based diet is an excellent option for a lilac GSD.

But you should note that some raw diets do not give this pooch with other essential nutrients such as minerals and vitamins, and you, therefore, need to supplement them if this is what you decide to be feeding him.

You must consult your vet before doing this or making any changes in the dog’s diet. Even if kibble is your option, you should make sure that it is high class, and it goes according to the AAFCO regulations.

Puppies should be fed 3 to 4 times a day while adult Isabella German Shepherds should only be fed twice in a day.

This dog is known for his intelligence, work ethic, and is very trainable. It should be no surprise that training this canine is more comfortable than other breeds.

Positive reinforcement and reward-based training methods are the best ways you can use to train your Lilac German Shepherd. Socialization is also very essential when you are raising this dog, and you should be consistent by introducing him to different animals, people, and environments.

Exercise Needs of an Isabella German Shepherd

However, when Isabella German Shepherd is still in his puppyhood, you should not expect him to become an instant champ as it takes time for his joints to become strong enough.

Once he reaches his adulthood, he should be able to go for regular jogs and runs with no issues. About 90 minutes of physical stimulation should be enough for this doggo, coupled with some play sessions.

They will also be happy to go for swims and participate in other competitive sports such as dock diving. Being a big boy does not mean that you should not get him toys. These can help keep him busy when he is home or when you are working.

Grooming Needs of Lilac German Shepherd

The grooming requirements for a Lilac German Shepherd is the same as for any other GSD color. This dog sheds frequently and may blow out his coat twice every year.

It would help if you brushed the coat to reduce shedding and to keep it looking healthy. Bathing an Isabella German Shepherd should only be done when it is necessary, like when he goes to play in the muds or when he decides to rolls in his poop.

Over bathing, this pooch could irritate the skin as it strips the coat of its natural and essential oils. The canine’s teeth should also be frequently brushed to remove plaque and reduce infection risks.

Frequently Asked Question about Isabella GSD

What is an Isabella German Shepherd?

Isabella German Shepherd is also known as a Lilac German Shepherd, and it results from the recessive gene dilution making him have a washed-out color known as Isabella. Isabella dogs are somewhat rare. One should always get them from a reputable and responsible breeder.

What is the cost of an Isabella German Shepherd?

Getting an Isabella German Shepherd Puppy could cost you around $1500 but the price could change depending on your location and breeder.

Final Words

The Isabella German Shepherd also is known as the Lilac German Shepherd is a rare GSD color variation that makes him very unique. These dogs are known to be protective, confident, loyal, loving, and intelligent which not only makes them great working dogs but also great companions and family dogs.

There is hardly anything bad you can say about a well trained and socialized Lilac German Shepherd. If you show them that you care, they will shower you with love and affection. If you want to know more about German Shepherds mix-breeds do let me know through the comment section, So that I will provide you more information through my blogs.

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