Blue German Shepherds are a rare and unique variation of the traditional German Shepherd Dog (GSD) breed. As their name suggests, these dogs have a distinct blue-gray coat color that sets them apart from their more common counterparts.
While they look different, Blue German Shepherds share all GSD qualities. These include being so intelligent that they seem equipped with a few commands and training straight from birth. This acute brilliance demands loads of mental stimulation with puzzles, dog sports, and obedience training.
So, What is a Blue German Shepherd?
A Blue German Shepherd is a rare color variation of the traditional German Shepherd breed. These dogs have a blue-gray coat that’s really just a faded gray, resulting from a recessive gene from both parents. This coloration is recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as a valid color but the club considers it a “serious fault” in the breed standard.
Well-bred Blue GSDs shouldn’t have a slew of health issues that result from genetic mutations, such as in Dwarf German Shepherds. However, since this color is rare and the AKC considers it a fault, blue German Shepherds are controversial. They can happen by accident in a litter, which is fine, but some breeders may breed specifically for this color.
This is because breeding dogs for rare colors, like blue, can help a breeder ask for exorbitant prices for their GSDs. Blue German Shepherd puppies can easily cost as much as $3000.
However, breeding any dogs specifically for color can often be problematic and result in behavioral or health issues later in life. When breeders breed for color, they often ignore their dog’s health or temperament.
Therefore it is absolutely vital to extensively research any breeder offering blue German Shepherds, or other colors, and speak to owners who got dogs from the same breeder before buying a blue German Shepherd puppy.
Blue German Shepherds are not nearly as common as traditional German Shepherds, but luckily, the AKC recognizes them. This increases the odds of finding a reputable breeder registered under significant kennel clubs.
Overall, Blue German Shepherds give you the entire German Shepherd experience but shake things up a bit with their looks. Many may confuse Blue German Shepherds and Blue Bay Shepherds, but these are separate breeds.
History of Blue German Shepherds
The German Shepherds Breed, or as the Germans love to say, Deutshe Schäferhund, originated in Germany in the late 19th century, and it was bred primarily for herding and guarding sheep. Captain Max von Stephanitz dedicated himself to refining and breeding the ideal herder.
The first German Shepherd got to the United States in 1907, and the breed quickly became popular with dog enthusiasts. With modern farming techniques, GSD enthusiasts smartly promoted the breed as the ideal K-9 worker, and GSDs have dominated the military since.
The blue coloration in German Shepherds is caused by a recessive gene that affects the pigmentation of the dog’s coat. The blue coloration is recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and other breed organizations, such as the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA).
Recently, there has been some controversy surrounding the breeding of blue German Shepherds. Some breeders have been accused of breeding dogs with genetic defects to produce blue coloration.
Responsible breeders ensure that their dogs are healthy and free of genetic defects before breeding them. Nevertheless, it is vital to do your due diligence before buying any blue German Shepherd puppy.
German Shepherd dogs can often be difficult for owners who are not experienced with the breed. They can also suffer behavior issues when they are not bred correctly, or they can suffer from health issues like cancer, hip dysplasia, or degenerative myelopathy.
This is a bold and courageous working breed that is ideal for many families, but one must be very careful not to support unethical GSD breeders.
Genetics Behind the Blue Coat
The blue coloration in Blue German Shepherds refers to a faded gray color. This gene is known as the dilution gene (d) and is responsible for diluting the black pigment in the dog’s coat to a blue-gray color. This gene is also responsible for other breeds like the Blue Frenchie and Pittie.
The dilution gene is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, meaning both parents must carry the gene for it to show in their offspring. When two carriers of the dilution gene breed, there is a 25% chance that their puppies will inherit two copies of the gene, resulting in a blue coat.
It is important to note that while the blue coloration is unique and eye-catching, health must take priority during breeding. The blue coloration does not affect the dog’s ability to perform as a working or companion animal.
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Physical Characteristics of Blue German Shepherds
How big do Blue German Shepherds get?
Blue German Shepherds are a large dog breed, and they can grow quite tall. Males typically stand between 22 and 26 inches tall at the shoulder, while females are usually between 22 and 24 inches tall. In terms of weight, they typically weigh between 50 and 90 pounds.
Coat and Color
The coat of a Blue German Shepherd is typically thick and dense, with a medium length. The fur is usually straight and lies close to the body, which helps to protect the dog from the elements.
The color of a Blue German Shepherd is, as the name suggests, blue (faded gray). This is actually a dilution of the traditional black coloration of a German Shepherd. There are several Blue GSD varieties, including:
- Blue and tan GSDs – They have a blue-gray coat with tan markings;
- Blue merle – These blue dogs have dark gray spots on a lighter background;
- Blue brindle, combining blue and brindle patterns;
- Blue fawn – They have a light gray shade on the face and a lighter, fawn-like hue on the body;
- Long-haired Blue GSDs; and
- Blue pied – They have a white base with patches of blue-gray.
What Do Blue German Shepherds Look Like?
While the blue-gray coat color sets them apart, Blue German Shepherds have the same physical characteristics as traditional German Shepherds, including their distinctive pointed ears, muscular build, and intelligent expression.
They have a strong, well-muscled, and balanced build. Their body is neither too heavy nor too light, designed for agility and endurance. German Shepherds have a deep chest that provides space for their strong lungs. Their body is moderately long and well-proportioned.
They have a wedge-shaped head and a long, proportional muzzle. Their ears are erect, and the eyes can vary in color, but they are usually light blue or gray. German Shepherds are known for their efficient and smooth gait, allowing them to cover ground gracefully.
Temperament and Behavior
Blue German Shepherds are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and protective nature. They are confident dogs who are eager to please their owners. They are also highly trainable and excel in obedience and agility competitions. Their intelligent but obedient nature is what makes GSDs the superior police dog.
Blue German Shepherds are typically calm and composed when it comes to behavior. They are not known to be aggressive unless they feel threatened or their family is in danger. They are excellent guard dogs and will protect their family and home at all costs.
Blue German Shepherds are also very social animals. They enjoy being around people and other dogs. They are great with children and make excellent family pets. They are also very adaptable and can adjust to different living situations, whether a large house or a small apartment.
Suitability for Families and Other Pets
Blue German Shepherds are great with children and other pets when socialized properly from a young age. However, adults must always supervise interactions between dogs and small kids to prevent accidents. Don’t take German Shepherds to doggy daycares or other places with too many dogs as they tend to become reactive quickly.
Socializing guardian breeds like German Shepherds means teaching them to be neutral toward other dogs and strangers by plenty of exposure and obedience training. It’s always better not to expect your GSD to be as friendly as a Labrador when it comes to strange dogs and people.
When it comes to other pets, Blue German Shepherds can coexist if introduced and socialized early on. Overall, Blue German Shepherds can make great family pets and are well-suited for households with children and other pets as long as they receive proper socialization.
Training a Blue German Shepherd
German Shepherds are the third smartest dogs after Poodles and Border Collies. They are said to be as bright as a 3-year-old, and that is based on our definition of human intelligence. They are also calmer than intelligent dogs like Malinois and Border Collies, making them ideal pets and working dogs.
Obedience, socialization, and crate training are essential for a Blue German Shepherd. Use positive reinforcement like treats, praise, and toys to encourage good behavior. Consistency is key, so make sure everyone in the family uses the same commands and rewards.
Health Issues Common in Blue German Shepherds
German Shepherds are not the healthiest breed, as they suffer from their own popularity. This means that GSDs are often badly bred, or bred to extremes such as overly sloping backs and angulated hind legs, leading to many health issues. A study of German Shepherds in the UK showed that the leading causes of death were musculoskeletal disorder (16.3%) and inability to stand (14.9%), and osteoarthritis ( 5.54%)
Color Dilution Alopecia
Blue German Shepherds are prone to a skin condition called Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA). This condition is caused by a recessive gene that affects the hair follicles, leading to hair loss and skin irritation.
CDA is more common in blue-coated dogs than in other colors. The symptoms of CDA usually appear between 6 months to 3 years of age and can include patchy hair loss, dry and flaky skin, and a dull coat.
Hip dysplasia is a common health issue in German Shepherds, including Blue German Shepherds. It is a genetic condition that affects the hip joints, causing pain, inflammation, and mobility issues. Hip dysplasia can range from mild to severe, leading to arthritis and other joint problems.
Blue German Shepherds are also prone to certain eye conditions, including cataracts, Pink eye, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and glaucoma. These conditions can cause vision loss and discomfort for the dog.
Blue German Shepherds have very sensitive tummies and are known to suffer from bouts of diarrhea. Their deep chests also increase their susceptibility to GDV or bloat, which is the twisting of the stomach.
Issues that contribute to these GI problems include Pancreatic acinar atrophy (pancreatic cell death), Megaesophagus (enlarged esophagus), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency causing indigestion and yellow poop.
Other Health Issues
- Spinal issues like canine degenerative myelopathy causes progressive disease of the spinal cord.
- Thyroid issues like hypothyroidism.
- von Willebrand disease (vWD), which is a bleeding disorder.
- Neurological issues like epilepsy.
- Mild to moderate issues like skin infections, obesity, allergies, and dental issues.
Caring for a Blue German Shepherd
Diet and Nutrition
A Blue German Shepherd requires a well-balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. High-quality dog food with a protein content of at least 25% is best. It is essential to avoid overfeeding, as Blue German Shepherds are prone to obesity.
German Shepherds are highly susceptible to bloat, so break down their food into smaller portions. They also have an incredibly sensitive stomach, so it’s best to introduce new diets slowly and monitor their reaction.
Blue German Shepherds are an active breed and require plenty of exercise. They should exercise at least 60 minutes per day, including walks, runs, and playtime in a fenced yard.
It is important to note that Blue German Shepherds are prone to joint problems, so it is important to avoid activities that put excessive strain on their joints, such as jumping or running on hard surfaces. Swimming is a great, low-impact exercise that can help keep them active and healthy.
Blue German Shepherds have a double coat that requires regular grooming.
- Brush their coats twice a week. They shed heavily twice a year, so brushing them daily during these periods is essential to prevent matting and tangling.
- It is also essential to clean their ears biweekly with canine wipes to prevent infections and dental problems.
- Brush their teeth at least twice a week and give them dental chews and rinses in between.
- Clip their nails every month with a canine clipper.
- Wash them monthly with a gentle dog shampoo.
Finding a Blue German Shepherd Breeder
When looking for a Blue German Shepherd breeder, it is essential to do your research and find a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs. Here are a few tips to help you find a responsible breeder:
Research for Blue German Shepherd breeders in your area. Check out their websites and social media pages to get an idea of their breeding practices, the quality of their dogs, and their overall reputation.
Attend dog shows and events
Attend dog shows and events in your area to meet breeders in person and see their dogs up close. This can give you a better idea of the temperament and physical characteristics of the breed.
Ask for referrals
Ask for referrals from other Blue German Shepherd owners or breeders. They can recommend a reputable breeder with whom they have had a positive experience.
Check for health certifications
Ensure the breeder you choose has health certifications for their dogs, such as hip and elbow dysplasia clearances and eye certifications. This can help ensure the puppies are healthy and free from genetic health issues.
Visit the breeder
Before buying, visit the breeder in person to see their facility and meet their dogs. This can give you a better idea of their breeding practices and the care they provide for their dogs.
Remember, a responsible breeder will prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs over profit. Take your time and research to find a breeder dedicated to producing healthy, well-tempered Blue German Shepherds.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the price range for Blue German Shepherds?
The price range for Blue German Shepherds can vary greatly depending on the breeder, location, and pedigree. On average, a Blue German Shepherd puppy can cost anywhere from $1500 to $5,000.
Where can I find Blue German Shepherd puppies for sale?
You can find Blue German Shepherd puppies for sale through reputable breeders, online marketplaces, and pet stores. It is vital to do research and only purchase from a reputable breeder to ensure the health and well-being of the puppy.
What are some health problems that Blue German Shepherds may face?
Blue German Shepherds may face health problems like hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, and skin allergies. It is essential to have regular check-ups with a veterinarian and to purchase from a breeder who conducts health screenings on their breeding dogs.
What is the rarity of Blue German Shepherds?
Blue German Shepherds are considered a rare color variation of the traditional black and tan German Shepherd. While they are not as common, the American Kennel Club still recognizes them, and you can find them through reputable breeders.
What is the difference between Blue German Shepherds and White Blue German Shepherds?
Blue German Shepherds have a blue or gray coat, while White Blue German Shepherds have a white coat with blue or gray markings. Some also call the Blue and White Shepherd Piebald Blue. They are similar to the Panda GSD.
Are there any reputable Blue German Shepherd breeders?
Yes, there are reputable Blue German Shepherd breeders who conduct health screenings on their breeding dogs and prioritize the well-being of their puppies. It is essential to do research and only purchase from a reputable breeder to ensure the health and temperament of the puppy.
Blue German Shepherds are a unique and striking variant of the German Shepherd breed. They are known for their beautiful blue coat that sets them apart from the traditional black and tan coloration of other German Shepherds.
Tamsin De La HarpeAuthor
Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.
Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.
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