Isabella German Shepherd: Facts, Genetics, Pictures & More

Isabella German Shepherd resting on the grass
Image credit: lyla.gsd_ / Instagram

If you want to own a unique-looking big dog, the Isabella German Shepherd Dog should be on your radar. This canine boasts a pale gold coat, which stands out against its blue or sea-green eyes.

Further, Isabella German Shepherds are often known as gentle pups, adding to their already endearing appearance. This makes them even more appealing to pet owners who have long admired German Shepherd Dogs.

However, if you’re considering bringing home an Isabella German Shepherd puppy, note that there are several things you should know before making the decision. This article will highlight the things you must know, so read on!

What Is an Isabella German Shepherd?

Isabella German Shepherd by the beach
Image credit: lyla.gsd_ / Instagram

An Isabella German Shepherd is a rare GSD color variation characterized by a brownish-lilac coat. Its coat color is a product of the blue and liver dilution in its genes. This dog is also called the Isabella Shepherd, German Shepherd Isabella, lilac German Shepherd, or lavender German Shepherd.

Before diving into the details of what an Isabella German Shepherd Dog is, it’s important to understand what the word “Isabella” actually means.

For starters, it was documented that the term “Isabella,” or the Isabella color, was derived from Queen Isabella of Spain, the daughter of King John II of Castile and Isabella of Portugal.

In the 1400s, Spanish Queen Isabella proclaimed that she would not change her gown for the duration of the Siege of Granada. So when it became stained brownish-lilac from wearing it so long, this color then got its name.

Now, it probably makes sense as to how the term “Isabella German Shepherd” was coined; it refers to a GSD exhibiting fur colored in shades of light chocolate or brown, pale gold, and lavender.

While the term Isabella is commonly used exclusively for GSDs, others may find similar coloration in other breeds. After all, Isabella fawn, silver beige, and silver fawn all closely resemble the Isabella.

Aside from being known as the effects of two recessive dilution genes, though, nothing else is much known about the first Isabella German Shepherds.

Having said that, it’s worth noting that these pooches’ overall appearances, sizes, and origins are pretty similar to traditional German Shepherd Dogs.

Are Isabella German Shepherds Rare?

Yes, Isabella German Shepherds are among the rarest German Shepherd variants in existence. These canines are incredibly challenging to locate and can be very expensive.

The Isabella Shepherd’s rarity is mostly due to the fact that it is difficult to breed. In particular, for this dilute coat color to occur, a process called double dilution must take place.

This means that two recessive genes — liver and blue gene — must be passed down from both parents for a dog’s coat to have an Isabella color.

For this reason, even seasoned breeders cannot guarantee that they will produce an Isabella-colored German Shepherd, which makes these dogs quite scarce in population.

Isabella German Shepherd Appearance

Isabella German Shepherd stepping on a tree stump
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Similar to typical German Shepherds, the Isabella German Shepherd flaunts an all-around athletic and muscular appearance. Size-wise, it usually stands between 22 and 26 inches tall, with a weight averaging from 50 to 90 pounds.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to a mini German Shepherd, which is considerably more diminutive in size. The same is true with giant GSDs, which are much larger dogs.

When it comes to its coat color, the Isabella dog comes in a variety of shades. For instance, some Isabella German Shepherds may appear reddish, while others may sport a pale chocolate brown pigmentation. 

Some Isabella German Shepherds may even carry a mix of lavender and muted gold, making them seem purplish.

In terms of facial features, the color of their eyes, snouts, eyelids, and ears are what sets them apart from other types of German Shepherds. Aside from these features, they are pretty much identical to other GSDs.

Another striking feature about the Isabella German Shepherd is its sea-green colored eyes, also known as blue-green eyes.

Isabella German Shepherd Color Genetics

Interestingly, while not very common, the Isabella color occurs naturally in the GSD breed. But how exactly does this color manifest?

Scientifically speaking, Isabella is the result of recessive genes — liver and blue color genes. 

For starters, the recessive liver gene is responsible for producing a liver, brown, or chocolate coat in German Shepherds. 

This gene can only be expressed if it’s paired with another gene from either parent. In other words, both parents must carry this dilution gene for it to occur in their offspring.

On the flip side, the same goes for blue color genes. Blue genes dilute the black color or the K locus. Two copies of this gene are needed for a true dilution effect to manifest.

In the case of Isabella German Shepherds, both the liver and blue genes must be present in the breeding stock to increase the chances of getting Isabella puppies.

That said, however, having the ideal breeding stock will not guarantee 100% Isabella puppies. The presence of Isabella dogs in a litter can still vary depending on how genetics plays out.

Do Isabella German Shepherd Puppies Change Color as They Grow?

Isabella German Shepherd during fall
Image credit: lyla.gsd_ / Instagram

As with other GSD varieties, an Isabella German Shepherd puppy will change color as it grows. It will be darker at first, but as it reaches maturity, its fur shade will lighten slightly.

It’s also worth mentioning that color dilution alopecia is commonly observed in blue-colored dogs and may affect Isabella German Shepherds too. 

This condition causes the coat to become coarse and dry, and it can lead to hair thinning if left untreated. 

Other reasons for a sudden color change in an Isabella German Shepherd’s coat include medicinal side effects, malnutrition, stressors, and extreme sun exposure.

Do Kennel Clubs Recognize Isabella GSDs?

Most major kennel clubs do not recognize the Isabella GSD as one of the standard German Shepherd colors.

In fact, the American Kennel Club (AKC), German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA), and The Kennel Club all prefer German Shepherds with rich black coats and apparent tan, gray, or gold markings.

What’s more, even if pale, washed-out liver and blue German Shepherds are allowed to compete in the show ring, they are considered “faulty” and “undesirable” in the eyes of the breed standards.

It’s also necessary to remember that Isabella German Shepherds often display a brown nose and gray or blue eyes. These features disqualify them from competing in well-known dog events.

Isabella German Shepherd Temperament and Personality

Isabella German Shepherd biting on a ball
Image credit: dave.thegsd / Instagram

According to many fur parents, the Isabella German Shepherd is a very friendly canine that loves attention from its family. This dog also gets along well with children and other dogs.

The intelligence of these Isabella-colored pooches is off the charts as well. It wouldn’t be surprising for them to be able to learn new tricks in a short amount of time.

Still, Isabella GSDs will need plenty of training from their owners in order to become well-rounded companions.

Luckily, learning about early socialization, proper training, and positive reinforcement is easy enough, even for first-time dog owners. However, patience and consistency are needed to achieve best results.

You should not anticipate overnight results; instead, keep your expectations realistic and stick with the program. Ultimately, your hard work will pay off; you’ll have a loyal Isabella Shepherd companion for years to come.

Check out this video of a lavender German Shepherd having fun in the sun:

Izzy the Isabella German Shepard dog.River Humber.

Isabella German Shepherd Lifespan and Health Issues

Generally speaking, the Isabella German Shepherd has a life expectancy of 7 to 10 years. It’s the same with other GSD varieties, but if you take care of your furry pal properly, its lifespan can be much longer.

With that being said, there are still some things you need to watch out for as your Isabella German Shepherd ages — particularly when it comes to health issues.

To help you get a sense of what Isabella German Shepherds might be prone to, refer to the list below:

  • Hip Dysplasia: Given that Isabella GSDs are generally large-sized, they’re likely to develop hip dysplasia. This can lead to arthritis and other mobility issues as the canine gets older.
  • Bloat: Bloat is a common health problem for Isabella Shepherds. It’s an enlargement of the stomach, which is caused by trapped air. Bloat is usually a result of eating too quickly or drinking too much water.
  • Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA): Like other dogs with diluted coloring, Isabella German Shepherds may develop CDA. This condition is characterized by hair loss and hair thinning on the face and body.

Overall, though the Isabella-colored German Shepherd often lives past their expected lifespan, it’s important to take care of them to ensure they stay healthy all throughout their life.

Isabella German Shepherd Shedding and Grooming

Isabella German Shepherd tongue out
Image credit: dave.thegsd / Instagram

Generally speaking, there are two types of Isabella GSDs available in the market today — the short-haired and long-haired Isabella German Shepherd. Regardless, bear in mind that both varieties shed a lot.

Given this, anticipate that daily brushing will be necessary to keep your pet clean and looking its best. Daily maintenance will help prevent the development of mats or tangles that could lead to skin infections.

Also, since an Isabella German Shepherd doesn’t have black hair but rather cream-colored fur, which shows dirt easily, bathing it once every two weeks is highly recommended.

However, you should note that too much washing can strip away the natural and essential oils from your pet’s coat. Thus, ensure to do it only when necessary and invest in a quality shampoo specifically created for dogs.

Finally, don’t forget about nail clipping, teeth brushing, and ear cleaning — all these practices will help keep your Isabella-colored German Shepherd healthy and happy.

How Much Does an Isabella German Shepherd Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

An Isabella German Shepherd puppy will run you between $800 and $6,000. This price range is dependent upon the breeder’s reputation, certain health tests, and whether or not you’re willing to pay for a pedigree.

If you’re keen on adopting, however, there are many rescue groups that offer Isabella German Shepherds for about $150 to $600.

That said, one should keep in mind that these Isabella dogs, whether bought or adopted, almost generate the same amount of expenses throughout their lifetime.

For starters, here are some initial expenses to consider if you’re thinking about owning an Isabella German Shepherd:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$80 – $150
Bowls$15 – $40
Toys$30 – $100
Beds$50 – $300
Collars and Leashes$15 – $50
Crates and Carriers$60 – $500
Grooming Essentials$50 – $250
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $500
Initial Vaccine Shots$50 – $300
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$40 – $300
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Microchipping$40 – $60
Dog License$10 – $20
Other Essentials$30 – $80
Total Initial Cost$620 – $3,150

Additionally, saving money for rainy days is always an excellent idea. Remember that emergency vet bills can be expensive, so before bringing an Isabella GSD home, make sure you have enough cash set aside.

On top of emergencies, it is worth noting that some expenses listed above are recurring. For instance, the cost of food, treats, and vet fees is something you’ll regularly have to pay for.

Places to Find Isabella German Shepherd Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Isabella German Shepherd puppy with blue eyes
Image credit: lyla.gsd_ / Instagram

If you want to add an Isabella German Shepherd puppy to your family, one thing to know is that there are not a lot of places to find them. Getting one from sources such as puppy mills and backyard breeders is not recommended.

To get you started, here are some of the best sources where you may find Isabella German Shepherd puppies for sale:

  • AKC Marketplace – Since the Isabella German Shepherd is still a purebred, it’s best to purchase one from a breeder that has been officially registered with the AKC. Fortunately, this club has a marketplace that offers a wide selection of breeders from all over the country.
  • GSDCA’s Breeder Directory – The GSDCA maintains an online directory of breeders who have met their standards. This directory can help you find a reputable breeder of high-quality Isabella German Shepherds near you.
  • Cross Timbers Kennels (CTK) – You can also try your luck with CTK. This kennel has been in operation for more than 45 years and has gotten an excellent reputation among its customers. They may have Isabella GSD puppies available for sale from time to time.

Meanwhile, if adopting a dog sounds like a better option to you, you’d be happy to know that there are adoptable Isabella GSDs from time to time.

Here are some shelters and rescue organizations where you may find a lilac German Shepherd:

  • American German Shepherd Rescue Association (AGSRA) – If you’re looking for an already microchipped, vaccinated, and socialized lilac German Shepherd, the AGSRA may have one in their care. They have a large network of volunteers who help find homes for dogs in need.
  • Second Chance German Shepherd Rescue (SCGSR) – For anyone located in East Bay, South Bay, Peninsula, San Francisco, Marin Greater Sacramento Area, and Placer, SCGSR can help you. Their adult Isabella German Shepherds cost around $350 to $400.
  • Woody’s Place Senior German Shepherd Sanctuary (WPSGSS) – Located in Philadelphia, WPSGSS is dedicated to providing senior Isabella GSDs with optimum care. Though this organization is more of a sponsor-type role than an adoption agency, they often have dogs available for adoption and will work with you to find the perfect match.

In addition, asking your local vet may prove helpful when searching for Isabella German Shepherds. They may have heard of some breeders or know about other people who have one or two of these dogs at home already.

Best Dog Names for Your Isabella German Shepherd Puppy

Surprisingly, naming Isabella German Shepherds isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are so many factors to consider, including your own preferences and style, as well as the personality of your pupper.

To help you choose the best dog names for your male Isabella German Shepherd puppy, check out the list below:

  • Cricket
  • Pepper
  • Benji
  • Rocky
  • Frank
  • Gizmo
  • Milo
  • Oliver
  • Blu
  • Spike
  • Clover
  • Taro
  • Smokey
  • Skye
  • Juno
  • King
  • Aspen
  • Dallas
  • Teddy
  • Zeus
  • Rex
  • Charlie
  • Skipper
  • Sirius
  • Lucky

In contrast, the following are the best dog names for a female lilac German Shepherd puppy:

  • Gracie
  • Stella
  • Sophie
  • Izzy
  • Maggie
  • Isabelle
  • Cleo
  • Libby
  • Maya
  • Violet
  • Isabella
  • Holly
  • Chanel
  • Jazzy
  • Dixie
  • Lyla
  • Vinnie
  • Quincy
  • Indy
  • Koda
  • Polly
  • Lila
  • Morgan
  • Biscuit
  • Emma

All in all, giving your Isabella German Shepherd a name should be a fun experience. You’ll want to choose something unique and special to you but one that is also easy for others to pronounce and remember.

Frequently Asked Questions

Isabella German Shepherd in the forest
Image credit: lyla.gsd_ / Instagram

Are Isabella German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?

As with other German Shepherds, Isabella German Shepherds aren’t hypoallergenic. This breed of dog sheds frequently and can trigger allergies in individuals who are sensitive to dander.

Thus, it’s best to consider whether or not you’re allergic to dogs before you add an Isabella German Shepherd to your family. This way, you can take the necessary precautions for your safety and well-being.

How Many German Shepherd Colors Are There?

On average, there are about 15 different colors for German Shepherds.

While the AKC only recognizes 11 shades — black, black, and cream, black and red, black and silver, black and tan, gray, sable, white, blue, bicolor, and liver, three more exist.

These three additional colors are Isabella, panda, and albino.

What Is the Rarest Color of the German Shepherd?

When it comes to rarity, one hue of the GSD breed stands above all others: the Isabella German Shepherd or lilac German Shepherd.

This is because it’s extremely difficult for a canine of this pigment to be born. Specifically, the Isabella German Shepherd requires two recessive genes from each parent in order for this particular coat color to show.

The same goes for German Shepherds with a light gray, steel blue, solid blue, and liver color. However, they don’t need both the liver and blue genes to have pale coats — they only need one — they are hard to produce too.

What Is the Most Expensive German Shepherd Color?

The Isabella German Shepherd, also known as the lilac German Shepherd, is probably the most expensive German Shepherd Dog color.

Unlike with black and tan dogs, creating this fur shade requires a lot of time and patience on the breeder’s part. Further, the process is not foolproof; it may take several generations before you actually get an Isabella puppy.

Final Thoughts

The Isabella German Shepherd is steadily growing in popularity in the canine world, and it’s easy to see why. This is not only because of their rarity but also because of their eye-catching coat color.

Furthermore, Isabella German Shepherds don’t just look good — they also have impressive personalities. In fact, when given proper training and socialization at an early age, they can make wonderful family pets.

So even though this isn’t an accepted German Shepherd color, it’s not surprising that many would want an Isabella dog for themselves.

Should you decide to add an Isabella Shepherd to your family, ensure that you provide it with adequate care and a healthy lifestyle. This way, you can guarantee your pet will live up to its full lifespan.

What do you think about these Isabella dogs? Share your thoughts about the Isabella German Shepherd in the comments!

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