Blue German Shepherd- The Complete guide

blue shepherd

The Blue German Shepherd is a rare German Shepherd color variation with a distinct blue sable, blue-grey or blue tan coat. Blue German Shepherds also have striking Blue eyes and were recently recognized by the AKC.  This adds to the list of recognized German Shepherd colors. 

Many of us are familiar with the traditional German Shepherd, the one with a tan coat and a black saddle.

So, how is the Blue German Shepherd different to the tan or any other German Shepherd. In this guide, am going to cover how the Blue German Shepherd is distinguishable from other variations.

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Let us jump right into it. 

About the Blue German Shepherd

The biggest difference between Blue German Shepherds and other types of German Shepherds is the coat color eyes.

These pooches are different in that they have a distinctive blue-gray coat and blue eyes. As for the temperament and personality, you should expect this blue variation to be like any other GSD.

There are three main variations of the Blue German Shepherd;

  • The blue and black variation.
  • Blue and tan variation.
  • The Blue and sable variation

This color occurs as a result of a genetic mutation of the melanophilin (MLPH) gene causing the black color dilution. The MLPH gene is the one that provides instructions for the formation of melanophilin proteins which causes German Shepherd to be black.

Most German Shepherds have 2 genes that determine the color and appearance of the coat.

The first gene determines the coat color that is going to be expressed by the second gene determines whether this dog is going to have markings or not and if the former is the case, how the markings are going to be distributed on the dog’s coat.

Blue German Shepherd genetics

A blue GSD is created when the dog inherits a double blue recessive gene (2 recessive blue genes).

When this happens, the coat that would have otherwise been black turns blue. This is because 2 blue genes partially block the black genes from being expressed.

The Liver German Shepherd is another color variation of the GSD that is also created in the same way. This happens when a German Shepherd inherits two liver recessive genes.

What sets these two colors apart is their visual appearance. The blue gene only partially blocks the black genes while the liver gene fully blocks the black gene from being expressed.

A Blue GSD can have light black markings but the liver German Shepherd will not have black markings at all.

Pros and cons

Pros

✓ They are great working dogs.

✔ These dogs are highly intelligent and trainable.

✓ They are pleasing to look at.

Cons

✘ They are heavy shedders.

May suffer from hereditary health conditions.

✘ They are not suitable for apartment living.

General appearance and characteristics

Blue German Shepherd summary table
Height Males: 24-26, Females: 22-24 inches
Weight Males: 65-90 pounds, Females: 50-75 pounds
Lifespan 9 to 13 years
Breed Type Herding
Purpose Working and companion dog
Suitable For Experienced dog owners
Grooming requirements High
Color Variations His coat can be blue or a combination of blue with tan/black or sable
Health concerns skin allergies, eye problems, and Joint Dysplasia
Temperament bold, tenacious, intelligent, energetic, affectionate, devoted, loving, and protective
Other Names Blue Deutscher Schäferhund, Blue GSD

Physical appearance

There is no doubt that the Blue GSD is highly attractive.

These dogs have an alert expression, well-muscled bodies, blue intelligent almond-shaped eyes, and upright triangular ears. The eyes can, however, be yellow or amber also.

These dogs are longer than they are tall with smooth curves other than having angles and a long muzzle with a black nose.

blue german shepherds

Coat appearance

The coat of a Blue German Shepherd can either be;

  • Long-haired
  • Short-haired

The Long-haired Blue  GSDs have a double coat with a soft and thin undercoat and slightly wavy thick topcoat.

Short-haired Blue Shepherds do not an undercoat and have a straight coat.

The coat of the Blue German Shepherd may appear to be kind of washed out. In other cases, you may have a blue Shepherd that has a coat that is blue and tan or blue and sable.

Do Blue German Shepherds shed?

The blue recessive gene that we talked about does not affect the quality or type of coat. What this means is that the Blue German Shepherd sheds like any regular GSD.

Short-haired Blue German Shepherds shed less due to the absence of an undercoat. However, the double-coated Blue GSD will shed moderately throughout the year with two blowout seasons during fall and spring.

What you should know 

A blue GSD is a rare dog that you won’t see most of the time. This is because blue was not a recognized German Shepherd color until recently and therefore, breeders rarely breed Liver or blue GSDs. It is called the fault of conformation.

However, having a blue color does not make this German Shepherd inferior to the rest.

Temperament and Personality of the Blue GSD

The color of the Blue GSD does not in any way affect their behavior or personality.

Many people find this dog’s personality to be very appealing.

These dogs are very loyal, fearless, brave, loving, and nothing more than adorable to the owner. They are also not aggressive.

However, they can be possessive with their owners and aloof towards strangers.

This is a trait that they get back from their past herding days and if they do not have a flock to herd this character may be directed towards humans, especially kids. But with the right training, you easily get rid of this trait.

When left alone for long periods they could suffer from separation anxiety and even become destructive. This is something you should consider if you have a busy schedule.

Traits Rating
Friendliness
⭐⭐⭐
exercise needs
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Trainability
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of care
⭐⭐
sociability
⭐⭐⭐

Is the Blue German Shepherd a good family dog?

These dogs are great for families and  they get well with young children and other pets. The Blue German Shepherd is a good-natured family dog and his alert nature makes him a great watchdog.

They are a popular choice for many different people.

And although you do not see them much in the military or the police that does not mean that they cannot be trained to do the same job done by their cousins.

blue gsd

Frequently asked questions

Is the Blue German Shepherd rare?

Unlike the sable or black and tan German Shepherd, the blue German Shepherd color is considered to be rare. One of the reasons for this is that breeders refrain from breeding this dog due to conformation faults.

What is the rarest German Shepherd color?

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

You can learn more about this dog by visiting this dog breed guide.

Blue GSD puppies

When a Blue German Shepherd puppy is born, his eyes are light blue.

In most cases, the puppy may retain this color for longer than the other German Shepherd colored dogs do.

As the puppy ages, the color turns into a more golden color.

Litter size:

The Blue Shepherd litter can have between 1 to  14 puppies but has an average litter size of 8 puppies.

How much does a Blue Shepherd cost?

The average price for one Blue German Shepherd puppy is between $1200 to $1500. In case of an increase in the demand for these dogs, the price is likely to up.

But keep in mind that finding a reputable breeder for this dog is harder than for the others.

2 ways you could get a Blue German Shepherd puppy;

  1. You could find a breeder that deliberately breeds a line of Shepherds with a diluted blue gene pool.
  2. And the second option is that you could find a breeder that has an accidental Blue Shepherd in a litter and would be looking for someone that could take the “defective” puppy home. They are not defective and you can as well make a deal before someone takes him home.
  3. There is also the option of adoption which cost around $200 on average.

Some people may see this dog as a weaker canine and give him up and in the process, the pup ends up in a dog shelter or rescue.

The German Shepherd Club of America has a list of rescue centers that where you could find yourself a new blue furry friend.

Blue German Shepherd Puppy

Grooming requirements

The coat type will affect this dog’s grooming requirements. Whether he is long-haired or short-haired, he will have a different grooming requirement.

You should never clip the haired a long-haired GSD as you could interfere with their heat regulation. 

A German Shepherd’s coat should be brushed 3 to 4 times in week getting rid of loose hair and keeping the fur shiny.

Brushing is very important because this dog sheds throughout the year and blows out his coat twice a year but you will just need to have the right tools to do it.

Do not bath your Blue Shepherd too often as this could make the skin dry, irritated, and flaky.

Bath your GSD only when he has started to smell or when he has spent his day playing in the dirt.

Use a shampoo that is formulated for the dog’s skin and never use human shampoo.

Also, do not forget to clip the dog’s nails and brush his teeth regularly for proper dental hygiene.

Make an effort to calm your dog when you are clipping his nails and reward him for every time he stays calm and relaxed.

The ears will also need to be frequently checked and cleaned to remove any bad odor and reduce the risk of infections.

Dip a cotton bud into an ear cleaning solution after which you will use it to clean the dog’s ears.

Make sure that you are cleaning the outer area as you do not want to damage the dog’s ears. Visit a groomer if you are not comfortable doing it by yourself.

Feeding the Blue German Shepherd

Several factors affect how much you can feed your dog;

  • age
  • size
  • Activity levels
  • Metabolism

Blue German Shepherd does well on three kinds of food whether they are wet, dry, or raw foods.

Whatever you choose to feed him make sure that you cater to his calorie requirements.

They will need about 1200 calories in one day with the majority of that food being protein.

Blue Shepherd Daily Food Consumption
Calories 1,200
Cups of Kibble 🍗🍗🍗

Get high-quality food and be consistent with meal times.

Changes in the diet of your dog could upset the pooch’s stomach especially if they are still puppies.

Some German shepherds do extremely well with raw feeds that are also known as BARF.

A healthy diet will consist mainly of protein as the main ingredient. The protein should be in high amounts and should be meat protein. Protein is very important as it helps in muscle conditioning of the German Shepherd.

Fats are also essential in keeping the coat of the Blue GSD soft.

It should also contain chondroitin or glucosamine, or both that help reduce the risk of hip dysplasia.

Fatty acids help in keeping the coat healthy and shiny. Omega-3 fatty acids also promote mobility and a healthy heart.

Some good sources of fatty acids include salmon and flaxseeds. Raw fish is a good source of proteins, fat, and omega-3.

Also, remember to keep this dog hydrated by providing clean water.

blue shepherd

Exercising A Blue German Shepherd

German Shepherds were bred for work and require lots of exercise. Once they are fully grown they will need at least 60 minutes of exercise daily.

Switch between running, playtime, and walks.

However, for much younger puppies, you should stick to the 5-minutes rule. Meaning that every time your puppy gets a month older add 5 minutes of exercise a day until he reaches maturity.

So, for example, if your puppy is is 6 months old the puppy should be exercised for only 30 minutes.

Failure to do this will make this dog destructive and even lower the quality of his life due to weight issues.

As much as Blue German shepherds require physical stimulation, mental stimulation is also important too.

Playing games such as hide and seek, fetch, and even hide and sniff may be a good way to entertain yourself as your dog gets the mental stimulation that he needs.

Such games could help your dog in improving his natural skills such as sniffing.

Training requirements

Training your dog can be a  very challenging task even for a person that has experience doing it and it is not for the faint-hearted.

However, just like we mentioned before the German Shepherd is a very intelligent dog.

Because they were bred to be working dogs, training these dogs will be easy as long as you give them the right encouragement.

Blue German Shepherd Health concerns

Hip dysplasia

This is an inherited condition where the bone at the thigh fails to fit the hip joint snugly.

Some dogs will show signs of pain on one or both of the rear legs but others may not show any sign that they are not comfortable.

To diagnose the best thing you can do is to get an x-ray screening. As the dog gets older he may develop arthritis

Genetic issues

The selective breeding and inbreeding of the Blue German shepherd of the same bloodline may cause some mutations and genetic issues.

These issues are such as Degenerative Myelopathy which is a slow and painless degradation of the spinal and can be fatal in the long run.

Summary

Blue GSDs barely do not differ from their cousins and are very attractive dogs.

There is not a health risk that is associated with the color of their coat. You only have a risk if the dog comes from a bad breeder just like with any other dog.

The blue German Shepherd is a very adaptable dog and makes a great companion for many people.

You will need to be an active dog owner that can dedicate time to this dog.

What does this dog make you feel?

You can leave a comment and tell us what you think about the Blue German Shepherd.

There you go, WOOF!!

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