Most Intimidating GSD Color - German Shepherd Dog Forums
View Poll Results: Which GSD color do you think is most intimidating?
Black 12 52.17%
Sable 9 39.13%
Bi-color 1 4.35%
Black/tan 0 0%
White 1 4.35%
Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Most Intimidating GSD Color

I was looking at pictures of GSDs with my mom in preparation for my puppy coming home sometime this summer, and every time I showed her a picture of an all-black GSD or dark sable GSD, she said she didn't like them because they were too scary looking. I personally don't find them more intimidating than a black/tan or bi-color, but apparently she does.

It got me thinking... What color do you think is most intimidating on a GSD? Have you noticed that one of your German shepherds of one color gets/got more discrimination than your other German shepherd of another color?

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 07:19 PM
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The only GSDs that are not intimidating to me are the ones I know personally, no matter their coat's color. I find an unfamilair alert GSD, no matter the coat's color, hard to read. And before I know more about them or their owner, I avoid close contact.
Many find me too cautious about approaching unfamiliar dogs but in my 30 + years of having trained pet dogs, I have never been bitten.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 08:57 PM
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I don't know about color, but our coaties often seem to be viewed as "big fuzzy wuzzy's" and need to hugged.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 12:35 AM
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I think the sables are really rough and dangerous looking (and cool), but my wife said it had to be a black GSD. Jupiter is very scary!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 07:03 AM
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"A 2013 study by Penn State psychologists revealed that people find images of black dogs scarier than photos of yellow or brown dogs-respondents rated dark-furred animals less adoptable, less friendly and more intimidating."
There are other studies that show just the opposite.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 08:04 AM
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I don't really have an opinion on which color is scarier. In my area, it seems like my female who is a very melanistic bi-color, is scarier than my giant 9 month old dark sable boy. She is more aloof than him, which might be why. Or the fact that her eye color is lighter on her dark face.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 08:36 AM
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I think asking here will not yield you the results you are looking for, since most here are GSD knowledgeable and wont equate color coat with "scary" maybe just assumptions on vs work..and what characteristics are known in each. What would make me pucker would be a GSDs, any GSDs body language.

As for the the public ..I find people assume Sables are military or LEO. Or assume they are Malis lol There have been studies that indicate people are intimidated by black dogs.

To answer your basic question, from my experience, it is hard to tell if people give my sable a wide berth because of his color or his size. He is pretty big.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 08:41 AM
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I don't find any color any more or less intimidating than any other. I do find it funny how many people don't even know that GSD's come in colors other than saddle patter black and tan.

I have people fairly regularly ask what kind of dogs mine are .. Jazz is blanket black and tan, Omen is dark sable. Still people insist they must be mixed with something else since they don't look like the stereotypical saddle pattern GSD
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 09:05 AM
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I think people have an issue with big black dogs. Dark eyes can blend in with the face and expression is harder to determine. On the other hand, I have had people ask me if my sables were hyenas. I sent a picture of three sable puppies to a friend recently who is on his third German Shepherd and he thought they were hyenas at first too.

I have seen the studies of people fearing the black dogs the most, but I have to wonder if the study included a number of sables in the study as well. It has been my experience that my sables get more respect than my black dogs. Are people thinking that the blacks are part Lab while the sables are part hyena? LOL I don't know.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 10:17 AM
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It's interesting, my mom really loves German shepherds now that she has known mine and always tells me about the beautiful, well behaved GSDs she sees out and about. I have made a convert out of her- it's good for the breed to see well trained, attentive, GSD out training with their owners. It does make a difference as far as public perception.

As for most intimidating, I've found any well trained GSD, of any color variety, is going to be intimidating to most of the general public. I find a dark sable with intense eyes most impressive, but I have a soft spot for saddleback black and red, too.

The only exception would be a white GSD, I do not find them intimidating... although I will admit they are pretty dogs... also they tend to be softer temperament- overall.
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