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Discussion Starter #1
My first Sable. Puppy came from inland, in the last of the cold weather (Our seasons are opposite yours, Down Under)..
As it warmed up he was not used to the heat, so has been raised in air conditioning. Born July, dead of winter, off the coast where inland it is cold and frosty 2 1/2 hours away... Now he is four months old.

His adult fur started growing in, and it was black. It is my understanding (correct if wrong) Sables turn more black in the cold weather and then tan in the hot weather to reflect the heat. Now here is my problem, he was whelped in the cold weather but is now on the coast in warmer weather.. It is going into Summer here and the Tip of his fur is cold weather black to absorb heat. He does not like being outside in the heat very long... Look at his coat in the first picture, it looks like just the tip is black, and the rest of the adult fur is tan...

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I am thinking of getting him groomed, to cut off that outer layer of black so he can acclimatize the coastal hot weather...
Right now he does not like being outside very long in the hot sun as a 4 mo old puppy. The sun heats him up too much. I was thinking this might help him get through his first hot summer... January here is like July for you up there.. February like August.. We are just going into Summer Down Under in Oz..

It is routinely in the 80's and 90's (F) and can get hotter. Please correct me if I am wrong:
1) I was told many Sables change colour with the climate, darker in winter to absorb the heat, more tan in summer to reflect the heat...
2) To help him not suffer, I was thinking about getting a slight groom/trimming job to remove that outer layer of black hair that seems to have all turned red tan underneath as the weather heats up... YOUR Thoughts please:

Thank you in advance, my first Sable, fifth Shepherd, lone Ranger out on the Frontier in Australia
 

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i didn’t even read your post... only the subject line. don’t you dare trim a thing!!!
sables will lighten and darken and lighten and darken then darken then darken until they seasons change then they’re light then dark again. it’s what you signed up for getting a sable. at 4 months if i remember correctly, he’s no where hear his final color regardless of climate change.
 

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As a groomer, no. Just no.
 

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I know with emus, the end of their feathers are black tipped, (kind of like a sable german shepherd), which transfers heat away from the body, meaning they can cope with desert conditions. The black tips may help with regulating body temperature. I exercise my dog at dawn to beat the Queensland heat. Humidity is harder for a dog to deal with than heat.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
i didn’t even read your post... only the subject line. don’t you dare trim a thing!!!
Maybe have a quick read, he is suffering a little..
He came from a frosty clime and is not in a hot climate and suffering in the sun....
 

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Maybe have a quick read, he is suffering a little..
He came from a frosty clime and is not in a hot climate and suffering in the sun....
i went back and read... my opinion stands. he’s not suffering, he’s acclimating. change your schedule / routine to make him more comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
No offence Fodder, I will consider your opinion, certainly cheaper... I was just thinking of a ONE OFF trim to help him acclimate from frosty to hot climate that I thought affected his Sable fur...

But thank you for your response, Sable is new to me, and I do LOVE HIM TOO MUCH!!!
 

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It has been scientifically proven that a dog's natural coat keeps the dog cooler than any trimming. I am too lazy to look for the actual research. Don't muck with his coat.
 

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let his adult coat come in fully first.... then let it do whatever it does naturally each season.

also, the light/dark phases that sables go through has more to do with their undercoat and shedding cycles. the individual hairs aren’t actually changing colors.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
OK, I will go with the consensus... I will not groom him to cut off the black tip of his fur. HOWEVER: I raised a normal saddle back black and tan, and a female that was black and more silver and tan. Then my next pair were an all black male and a bicolour female, black with partial tan legs and feet. The more black ones did seem to suffer more in the sun of summer.
Per my original post I was just trying to make a little easier for him to aclimat
 

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During handler training and pre-deployment certification, we went from northern Indiana with freezing temperatures to Yuma Arizona with temps often over 100°F. Some dogs were effected more than others, seeking shade, lower drive, higher body temperatures while working.

Coat color and length were not as big a factor in performance as cardiovascular conditioning. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the best way to help the dog acclimate is to provide long duration, low intensity exercise while monitoring the fatigue level of the dog. Provide ample water and shade. Adding in short, fun exercise in the sun shows the dog that heat doesn't suck.

A best case scenario is trotting the dog on a treadmill outside in the shade, a break to allow the dog to cool down, and then short duration high intensity fetch in the sun.

Sucking it up is worth it.

His coat will adjust accordingly.
 

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It is my understanding (correct if wrong) Sables turn more black in the cold weather and then tan in the hot weather to reflect the heat.
That is incorrect. Sable coats change the most of all GSDs. Black and tans will start out the darkest they're going to get, and then lighten up as they mature. Sable pups can be very dark at first, then become quite light, only to go dark again. Once they're fully mature, that's the coat they'll have for the rest of their lives. It's not seasonal and has nothing to do with the current weather.

This was Halo at 3 weeks old



Same puppy at 3-1/2 months old



And 6 years old



Look at his coat in the first picture, it looks like just the tip is black, and the rest of the adult fur is tan...
You're describing a sable coat. 🙂 Each hair shaft has bands of color, with darker tips.
 

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Black dogs in the south Jersey sun can heat up in an instant. Ever pet a black dog in the 2:00 PM sun?

It’s equally about monitoring. Mine are not outside above 85 degrees and no breeze. There’s plenty of room in the shade, under a deck with a huge exterior fan mounted for them, etc, but above 85 - they’re just not outside for any real extended period of time.
 

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Clipping a double coated dog can permanently damage the coat. Guard hairs may not grow back at all or may grow back inconsistently leaving a patchy appearance. Removing guard hairs will not make your dog cooler, removing dead undercoat will help. Find a groomer who will do a deshed treatment. The soft under coat is what helps trap heat again the body, much like a down coat. Puppies are also not as good at regulating their body temperature as adult dogs are. Plan the bulk of your activity for the cooler parts of the day, morning and evening.
 

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Don't mess with his coat!! I once saw a GSD with a Labradoodle clip. Crazy! GSDs don't need to see groomers as long as you are able to brush him and shorten his nails yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
All of you have been a great help... I will not trim his Sable coat... It is approaching summer here, and he goes to the beach early for a good play, and out again late in the afternoon. I am taking your advice on my first Sable, Wolf looking coat...

Blessings from Australia, like America in the 1960's sort of...

lone Ranger in Oz
 
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