Variegated coat with a lighter background coat and dark tipping at the ends of the hair. Some individual hairs may be dark from root to tip. Dark tipping if cut off may not return. The black overlay may be heavy or sparse making some sables appear darker and others lighter. The eyerims, lips and nose are black.
A dark face mask may be present. Mask may range in intensity and extent from a simple darkened muzzle to a raccoon-type mask around the eyes to a full dark face extending into the ears. Some sables also have a dark dorsal stripe, dark tail and dark paws.
Many variations occur. The coat may appear lighter or darker depending on the colour of the undercoat as well as how sparse or extensive the black tipping is. Depending on the colour of the base coat and the extent of the overlay, a sable can have the overall appearance of cream, gold, red or silver.
As the sable coat grows and matures, there is a tendency for it to appear much lighter than it did in the young puppy. This is because many of the apparently dark hairs are actually only "tipped" with the darker colour, with the main shaft being the predominant base colour. As it grows, the sable coat often appears to be "dusted", with the darker colour visible only at the ends of the coat. As the dog matures, the dark hair may disappear, although there may be some dark hairs distributed throughout the entire coat, with the ears and tail typically retaining some dark hair throughout the life of the dog.