The standard colors of tan and black come in several pattern variations. The typical German Shepherd dog is tan with a black saddle and mask. This saddle can extend further across the back and is then considered a blanket, or a large blanket if it extends further down toward the belly.
A bi-color German Shepherd is mostly black, with tan or red points on its legs, tail and muzzle.
Sable German Shepherds do not usually have the saddle or blanket of black, but will have the colors interspersed throughout their coat, with each hair being tipped in a lighter shade.
Blue German Shepherds are less common, but are a result of a recessive gene that dilutes the black in their coats. Blue is a serious fault in the show ring.
Solid black German Shepherds are just that – all black. These are less common and perhaps more beautiful because of their rarity.
Solid white German Shepherds are also very rare. All white is an automatic disqualifier in shows, but for a person who does not breed or show, white German Shepherds can be appreciated for their unique beauty.
While tan and black is the standard color combination for German Shepherds, you can see there are many variations in colors and patterns. These only serve to make the German Shepherd dog more versatile and beautiful.