Eyes open!

All eyes were opened yesterday. Hard to get good pics when they are so dark! The puppies have not really integrated the use of sight yet. They are still going on heat, vibration, and smell to find mommy and each other to nurse and stay warm. Check out those toenails! Ready for a first nail trim.

This is “Yellow Girl”


Most breeders have some way of identifying puppies when they are born, so they can keep track of things like who is getting pushed aside, who is whining a lot, and who is first to nurse most often. In small litters or ones where there are obvious characteristics like different colors, marking the puppies may not be necessary. But with a litter of 11 all Black and Tan German Shepherd puppies, Rick-rack is the way to go. It helps so much when evaluating temperaments as they get older, because it is very visible from a distance when they are out playing in the yard. Here’s Jane with her now very colorful puppies.

Colors coming in!

In these pics you can see varying degrees of tan coming in on their faces. Their eyes are starting to open, but I couldn’t get a decent pic of eyes open. They are just little slits. I will try again tomorrow. Notice that the pads have gone from pink to almost black. The toenails will almost certainly turn dark as well. Check out the “ghost!” on the chest!

How does this even happen?

I go to check the puppies, and they are all perfectly arranged in one corner, sleeping soundly, all carefully piled onto the pink blankie. This is totally not staged. Heat seeking is all I can think of. The pink blankie must hold heat better than the sheet. And they all figured it out on their own, instinctively. Jane was not in the box. Their eyes are not open yet.

Jane the Genius

I don’t know how she does it, but Jane consistently separates the puppies into groups of five and six, and nurses them separately, thereby avoiding too much competition and dissatisfaction. She will awaken sleeping puppies by gently licking them and cleaning them, and they will then naturally start nursing. When they get their fill, they fall asleep. Then Jane gets up and lays next to the other group on her other side, and wakes them up the same way, and lets them nurse. That’s what ya gotta do when you have more puppies than you do nipples!

Vet check!

Jane and her puppies went to the vet yesterday! Jane is doing great! She is eating well and continues to take fantastic care of her puppies! The puppies were all checked and rear dew claws were removed. The vet says they all seem very healthy so far. There is one boy who is the smallest that I keep a special eye on. Whenever Jane comes in from a potty break, or gets up and rearranges herself, I make sure that little boy gets on first! That way he doesn’t have to fight as much to get nutrition. Those bigger puppies will push the little ones off! Well, someone has to be the littlest! Doesn’t mean he’ll stay that way!

Are they all black?

Short answer, No! They certainly look all black, with a tiny bit of white. And black German Shepherds are not uncommon. But Jane and Cash’s puppies are definitely “black and tan”. In German Shepherds, “black and tan” isn’t just what color they are, it is a genetic expression of a color and pattern.
All “black and tan” puppies are born black or almost all black, like Jane’s. Then as the puppies grow up, the “tan”, which may in fact be anywhere to a light cream to rich red-brown, expands and covers the legs, belly, under the tail, up the sides a little, and into the face. “Black and tan” is the traditional coloring seen on most German Shepherds. Adult dogs end up with varying degrees of black on the face, called a “mask”, and on the body, which might be called a “saddle”, a “split saddle”, or a “blanket”. Then there is the “bicolor”, which has the same colors as a “black and tan” but only the legs are tan.

Another genetic color and pattern in German Shepherds is “sable”. Jane’s puppies will not be sable, because both Jane and Cash are “black and tan”. At the risk of getting too complicated, a sable dog can carry the gene for “black and tan”, but a “black and tan” dog cannot carry the sable gene, because “black and tan” is recessive. Sable puppies are born tan, and become more black as they grow up, the opposite of “black and tans”. They end up sometimes looking similar, because they have the same colors, but different patterns, especially as they mature.

There are all kinds of websites about coat color on the internet. These few paragraphs only hit the main ideas which everyone accepts as true. Some more detailed topics are still being researched, and there is some controversy among geneticists and breeders.


Shepherd Sight blog dedicated to Jane’s latest, last, and biggest litter!

Jane Morgan Out of Sight whelped eleven puppies on February 6th, 2021. She had 5 boys and 6 girls! Jane is doing great, and her puppies are vigorous and healthy! She is a great mom, and takes wonderful care of them. Here are some early pics!

Puppies are just a few hours old in this pic.
On day two, Jane is keeping them all warm and fed. How can those tiny pink feet grow into big dog feet??