Blue German Shepherd guide (All questions answered)

blue gsd

As one of the most splendid working dogs out there, German Shepherds are a true dog lovers delight. They have expressive eyes and thick elegant coats of various textures and colors. Blue is one of the coat colors.

Blue German Shepherds are a rare color variation. Their coats are deep steel blue to pale blue-gray with hazel eyes and blue skin, eye rims, lips, and paw pads. This coloration results from a pair of genes that lighten black pigments to blue-gray.

Blue coats come in a variety of shades and patterns. Interestingly enough, other German Shepherds have yellowish or reddish coats but with bluish skins. Some blue coats may be dark enough to pass as black at first glance.

Scroll on to learn more.

Blue German Shepherd Genetics

Genes control most dogs’ traits including color. Two basic melanin pigments are responsible for all coat colors and patterns. Color genes control and alter these pigments to form all color shades. These melanin pigments are;

  • Eumelanin (black by default): Is present on the skin, coat, eyes, and internal parts. Genes can change black eumelanin to appear brown/liver, blue or gray, and isabella.
  • Phaeomelanin (red or yellow by default): Is only found on the coat and not skin or eyes. Genes can alter and reduce red pigment intensity for shades such as gold, cream, and white. 

The dilution gene denoted as lowercase “d” causes blue German Shepherd pigmentation. When 2 copies of this gene are present, it reduces the intensity of black pigment causing it to appear blue. 

A blue German Shepherd can’t have any black pigment. All black parts on any GSD with 2 copies of the dilution gene turn blue-gray. This includes pigmentation in the eyes, skin, coat, nails, and inner body structures.  Skin includes the nose leather, lips, eye rims, and paw pads. The eyes will be amber or hazel blue.

Non-dilution, upper case “D”, is dominant to dilution, lower case “d“. As such any dog that is D/D or D/d at the D-locus will not be blue. For a GSD pup to have a dilute blue coat, it should inherit a copy of dilution from each parent to be d/d at the D-locus.

Dilution is more pronounced on the black pigment. But, it only affects red or yellow phaeomelanin pigments to a minimal visible degree. On tan, yellow, golden, cream, or white GSDs, blue is only visible on the skin, nails, and eyes.

Diluted black or blue but is also known as silver-grey, ash-colored, or slate.

Blue German Shepherd Puppy
Blue GSD pup

Blue Color Variations

Steel Blue German Shepherd:

Steel Blue German Shepherds have deep blue coats that can be mistaken for black coats. But, their blue skin, paw pads, lips, eye rims, noses, and amber eyes are more notable.

The shade of the coat can range from dark blue to dark grey and may have a shiny silver hue. Shiny steel blue GSDs are also known as Silver German Shepherds due to their silver hue.

Powder Blue German Shepherd:

Powder blue is a paler or lighter shade of blue also known as blue-grey. These GSDs may have a silver sheen as puppies that lightens to a dusty shade of blue into adulthood. The coat appears as if dusted with powder hence the name.

Blue Sable German Shepherd:

Sable is a pattern of alternating tan yellow and black hair bands concentrated on the saddle. The hair tips on sable dogs are black. On a blue sable German Shepherd, all black hair bands and tips turn blue.

Blue Fawn German Shepherd:

Fawn dogs have predominant reddish to yellowish coats. These dogs may have black hair tips and a mask (melanistic mask) covering the face to the ears.

Blue Fawn German Shepherds have yellowish-tan coats with bluish skin and amber eyes. If a melanistic mask is present, all black pigment on it turns blue.

Blue and Tan German Shepherd:

Blue and tan German Shepherds are identical to black and tan but with blue hair instead of black. The coat retains tan color with all black hairs suppressed to blue. This Blue coloration is also visible on the skin, nose, eye rims, lips, and paw pads plus hazel blue eyes.

Blue Brindle German Shepherd:

Brindle is a pattern of light and dark stripes. Blue Brindle German Shepherds have blue instead of black and yellowish-tan stripes.

Blue Panda German Shepherd:

Panda German Shepherds consist of black, tan, and white markings. On a Blue Panda GSD, blue replaces the black markings on the face, ears, and backside from the saddle to the tail. White markings appear on the face, head, chest, legs, and under tail. 

Eye color

Blue German Shepherd puppies are often born with icy blue eyes. The eye color may change to a yellowish-amber color after a few weeks with varying shades of blue. Others keep their striking blue eyes into adulthood. Greenish or hazel blue, icy blue, and pale amber are all possible Blue German Shepherd eye colors.

Blue Vs Black German Shepherds

Black and blue German Shepherds are identical with exception of color. On a blue GSD, all black pigment on the coats, skin, and inner structures of black dogs dilutes to blue.  Black German Shepherds have black skin, noses, eye rims, lips, paw pads, and dark brown eyes. Some blue GSDs have dark blue coats that may pass for black at first glance. 

The dilution gene does not affect other traits including temperament.

blue german shepherds
Blue German Shepherd with hazel blue eyes

Blue German Shepherd price

On average, Blue German Shepherd puppies cost between $1500 and $3000. The price will depend on the location, breeder, demand, pedigree, and so on.

The pup should be from a reputable and trusted breeder. Always make an effort to meet the parents and pups before purchasing.

Health problems

While most Blue German Shepherds are healthy, some experience hair loss and skin problems. This is color dilution alopecia (CDA) and is a result of pigment dilution.

Only a small number of blue GSDs develop CDA.

FAQ

Why is German Shepherd skin blue?

German Shepherds have blue skins due to the presence of a dilution gene. This gene reduces the intensity of the black color pigment in the skin causing it to appear bluish.

How is a blue German Shepherd made?

The best way to get blue GSD puppies is by mating two blue German Shepherd parents. All puppies in the litter inherit a pair of dilution genes diluting all black pigment to blue. But, non-blue parents with hidden copies of the dilution gene can produce blue puppies.

Are blue German Shepherds recognized by AKC?

As per the breed standard, blue on a German Shepherd is a fault and is not recognized by AKC or UKC. This is only critical if you plan to take your dog to the show ring but will not matter for a companion or family pooch.

Is a Blue German Shepherd purebred?

The Blue German Shepherd is a purebred dog and is not a part wolf.

Is the Blue German Shepherd rare?

Unlike the sable or black and tan German Shepherd, the blue color is quite rare. This is because a pair of dilution genes (d/d) should be present to turn the skin and black hairs blue.

What is the rarest German Shepherd color?

The Isabella or lilac German Shepherd is the rarest German Shepherd color.

There you go, WOOF!

George

As a dog lover, George understands how they behave and how to best take care of them. He is also well versed with various dog breeds and loves writing about them.

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