Coat color and temperament - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-18-2013, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Coat color and temperament

I have heard people talk about how a dog's color relates to its temperament, and I'm wondering how much truth there is to this.

For example, regarding GSDs, I've always heard that sables have more drive, and blacks are the most solid in nerve. So far, in general, I have noticed this trend to hold true. I remember reading a study that showed sable bitches are more likely to regurgitate food for their pups.

Some people swear that temperament differences relating to color holds true in other breeds, as well--that buff Cocker Spaniels are more sensitive than blacks, that red Poodles are the craziest, and that chocolate Labs are goofier than blacks or yellows.

Temple Grandin claims that white animals are often more sensitive in body and temperament than their colored counterparts; that their nerves are a bit thinner. They do tend to have more sensitive skin, for sure.

I was reading a study that showed there is a physical difference between the skin of black vs. yellow Labradors. The blacks have a higher pH to their skin. I have always noticed that black dogs have a particular odor, irrespective of breed. It's not usually an overpowering odor, just distinctive, and in my grooming salon I always notice it when I bathe black dogs. The more alkaline pH of the skin could account for this, as it could allow for the growth of certain microorganisms that cause odor, vs. a more acidic skin pH that would discourage such growth. If there are such physical differences, it's conceiveable that there could be physical differences that affect temperament as well.

What do you think?
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-18-2013, 01:23 PM
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I use to see this. In labs I think its true - chocolates are NAUGHTY.

However I think in our breed it is related to lines. Show lines tend to be black and tans, working lines tend to be sable. So in general those colorations are going to have different temperaments and drives. I've yet to meet a stable white GSD, but because most registries dont accept white finding a good breeder is very hard to find so a well bred white GSD is much harder to come by.

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-18-2013, 01:41 PM
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A comment that blacks seem to be more nervy was made to me yesterday.




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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-18-2013, 02:11 PM
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A comment that blacks seem to be more nervy was made to me yesterday.
I was told the same thing when I posted a picture of my new boy.

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-18-2013, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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"Nervy"... as in "nervous", or as in "strong nerve"?
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-18-2013, 03:21 PM
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I find ZERO correlation between coat color alone and temperament.

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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-18-2013, 03:26 PM
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The black dogs I've seen tend, in general, to be more nervy, but so far I've attributed it that until recently most of them came from a line known for nerviness. Since blacks are recessive, impossible to get ride of the nerviness without the color on a small population like the Chilean one until more new blood is imported.

I think that the color and the association with temperament is not due to the color itself, but the preferences of the breeders.

I have a theory with the reddest the dog...

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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-18-2013, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Freestep View Post
"Nervy"... as in "nervous", or as in "strong nerve"?
I was told he would have strong nerves lol.
Honestly, he's a pretty solid little guy so far. NOTHING scares him. And he's very alert. We'll see when he gets old enough for his courage test and when I get him assessed for herding...

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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-18-2013, 03:50 PM
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I think any correlation between color and temperament is controlled by breeders, not genetics.
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 08-18-2013, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freestep View Post
"Nervy"... as in "nervous", or as in "strong nerve"?
Weak nerves

Quote:
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I find ZERO correlation between coat color alone and temperament.
I agree. I think it's lines and breeding with the coat color being a zero denominator.




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