German Shepherds have a distinctive look that makes them instantly recognizable. Because of this, few people…
German Shepherds are best known for their tan or red coat with a black saddleback. However, those more familiar with the breed know of the other coat colors, like black, sable, white, and black and tan. Many people don’t know there are actually blue German Shepherds as well.
This article will dive into all the facts about blue German Shepherds and what makes them so unique.
What Is A Blue German Shepherd?
A blue German Shepherd is just like any other dog of its breed. The only difference is that their coat coloring is a more uncommon blue. Those that have darker-colored coats are commonly referred to as steel blue GSDs while those with lighter ones are called powder blue GSDs. Many of them come in a solid coat pattern of all blue or blue with a mix of black, sable, or tan.
In reality, these dogs are not actually blue colored but they don a certain shade of gray. Basically they’re technically a “diluted” version of the black German Shepherd.
How Is The Blue Color in Dogs Produced?
Genes are responsible for determining a dog’s appearance. In the case of coat color, genetic combinations control the production of pigments that ultimately determine what pigments are produced (i.e. what color or color combination the dog will have) and where those pigments appear (i.e. what pattern they will have).
The blue color in dogs comes from a mutation in the gene that causes a dilution of the black color. That variation is a recessive gene.
To produce a blue coat, the dog needs to have a double-recessive gene, meaning that both parents must pass along the recessive gene for the blue coloring. That’s why they’re so rare.
What Coat Combinations Usually Breed The Blue Color?
The blue color most often comes from black GSDs. However, German Shepherds of any color can technically produce blue puppies as long as both parents carry the recessive gene.
German Shepherds with a solid black appearance will either have the genotype DD or Dd, where the d represents the recessive dilution gene. Without genetic testing, it is impossible to tell whether or not a black GSD is a carrier of that dilution gene.
Through the gene charts below, you can see that having two black parents doesn’t guarantee a completely black litter. Likewise, having a blue parent doesn’t guarantee a blue offspring.
The only real way to guarantee blue offspring is to mate two blue parents.
Are Blue German Shepherds Purebred?
The blue coat color is a subject of much contention. Some argue that the “dilution” is a lack of pureness.
However, blue German Shepherds are purebred when they are the offspring of two purebred GSDs. No matter the color, a GSD cannot be mixed unless a parent is also mixed.
Additionally, the American Kennel Club (AKC), whose primary mandate is to maintain a registry of purebreds, recognizes that the blue German Shepherd is consistent with the breed’s standards. That’s why you can register blue dogs and even let them participate in AKC events.
However, the organization considers the blue coat as a serious fault (i.e. not desirable for reproduction). So, these dogs are unlikely to win conformity events.
How Rare Is The Blue German Shepherd?
The blue German Shepherd is incredibly rare because few genetic combinations will produce blue offspring. So, naturally, blue German Shepherds are not as common as other colors.
Additionally, breeders do what they can to avoid producing blue-coated dogs because of the attitude the AKC and similar organizations have towards them.
Most will test their breeding stock and mate only the combinations that won’t produce this type of offspring and, ideally, won’t pass on this recessive gene. Eventually, this practice will breed out the blue color from the gene pool entirely.
Today, blue German Shepherds are often produced through accidental mating. There are also the rare proponents of the color that purposely breed them.
Despite being discriminated against at shows, there are still those who love the blue coat and will do what they can to keep their gene pool active. Nevertheless, this rarity means blue German Shepherds are not only hard to find but will also likely be very expensive.
Typical Attributes of a Blue GSD
The genetic combination that produces a blue-coated German Shepherd may not only affect the coat but also the color of their footpads, nose leather, lips, and eye rims. For most GSDs, these areas are black. For blue GSDs, these could be lighter or even pink.
Many blue German Shepherds will also be born with light colored or blue-colored eyes. Some puppies might outgrow this feature while others carry it throughout their lifetime.
Apart from appearance, the blue GSD is just like any other German Shepherd. Their personality and temperament will differ between individuals but their care, training, and grooming needs are no different.
How Much Is A Blue German Shepherd?
German Shepherds usually range in price from $450 to $1,900 per puppy. Despite AKC discrimination, you can expect the price of blue-coated dogs to be on the higher end of the range simply because they are so rare. Those who specifically breed for them will even charge higher because of their more responsible breeding practices.
Nevertheless, since German Shepherds are among the most common breeds in animal shelters, you may get lucky and find a blue GSD at a local shelter to adopt for a minimal fee. If you find one, you will have a uniquely colored canine companion but also the wonderful opportunity to save a life.
Should You Get A Blue German Shepherd?
The blueness of a German Shepherd affects only its appearance, it doesn’t affect their health or the way you care for any GSD. So if you aren’t interested in joining dog shows or other conformation events, a blue GSD might be a unique and excellent companion for you.
However, make sure you consider both its physical and intellectual requirements before committing to getting any German Shepherd.
You really need to decide if a German Shepherd is right for you before worrying about which color to get. You should look to some of the common things to know about German Shepherds to help you in deciding.
The blue coat of a German Shepherd is only a variation in color and doesn’t necessarily mean they are not purebred. Blue German Shepherds are just like any other GSD and have the same requirements for exercise, mental stimulation, training, and affection. Blue or not, these dogs are excellent both as working dogs and household companions.