What Did German Shepherds Originally Look Like?

Historical color photographs of German shepherds are scarce, but they probably looked like black dogs with some white markings on their chests and paws.

German Shepherds were bred to act as guard dogs for farm animals. Black dogs blended into the darkness at night or during long winter nights, providing an invaluable service to the farmer who might otherwise lose his livestock to thieves.
The original selection for color was not genetic color (i.e., blue DNA) but rather mostly a visual signal that helped shepherd’s pick out their dog in dark places where both were standing together; it also had advantages before modern floodlights because some colors would shine brightly at greater distances than others so you could pick our your dog more readily…

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