We report on a QCD analysis of the potential between heavy quarks. Our calculation includes light quark loops and is carried out on a 163 × 24 lattice for couplings β = 5.35 and 5.15 and a quark mass amq=0.010. We generated lattice configurations using a hybrid Monte Carlo algorithm for NF = 4 flavors of staggered fermions. We can explore distances between 0.12 fm and 0.9 fm for these parameters. The shape of the resulting potential is well described by the superposition of a term proportional to 1/ R and a linear confinement potential. This full QCD potential is compared to results obtained from quenched approximation simulations on lattices of the same size and with the same value of the cutoff. We discuss a rough estimate of the QCD coupling.