Blue German Shepherd: Facts, Genetics, Health, Pictures & FAQs

Purebred blue German Shepherd with tan color markings

Blue German Shepherds are sought after because of their bluish or grayish colorations, which become more prominent when sunlight hits their coat. Not to mention, most of them also have appealing blue eyes!

However, some believe that the blue German Shepherd’s color has adverse effects on their health. But, could this claim be true?

If you are intrigued by the blue German Shepherd, you should stick around and read this guide. I’ll walk you through the facts and FAQs about this blue shepherd dog! 

What Is a Blue German Shepherd?

The blue German Shepherd is one of the standard coat colors of the German Shepherd breed. Depending on the intensity of dilution, they may appear to be steel blue, powder blue, or dark gray when under the sun.

Blue German Shepherd dogs are quite uncommon. Their coloration is a result of genetic modification that washes or fades out the usual black coat color. 

Aside from a solid color, blue German Shepherds can also exhibit blue and tan, blue and sable, and blue bicolor coats.

Unfortunately, blue German Shepherd dogs are frowned upon on show rings because the breed standard prefers intense, rich colors. 

In fact, the blue color is considered a severe fault in dog competitions, even though blue is a standard color for the German Shepherds. Hence, these blue Shepherds are often sold only as companion pets. 

In terms of personality, blue German Shepherds are not different from their other siblings. They remain loyal, courageous, obedient, and confident pooches. Thus, they are perfect for guarding duties. 

Are Blue German Shepherds Rare?

A blue German Shepherd dog is difficult to find and is considered rare. It is mainly because of its coat genetics. 

The gene responsible for blue pigmentation is recessive. You’ll need to breed two blue German Shepherds to ensure that the puppies will be blue-coated.

On another note, some breeders are discouraged from breeding blue GSDs since it is considered a severe fault in conformation shows. This dramatically affects the production of these blue puppers.

Blue German Shepherd Appearance: What Does a Blue German Shepherd Look Like?

Except for coat color, the blue German Shepherds share the same characteristics and physical traits as their other siblings. 

They are medium to large-size dogs with muscular and well-balanced figures. Their overall appearances display nobility, intelligence, and composure.

A male blue German Shepherd dog usually stands between 24 and 26 inches tall and weighs around 65 to 90 pounds. Meanwhile, its female counterpart can reach 22 to 24 inches in height and weigh between 50 and 70 pounds.

What most people consider appealing about blue German Shepherds are their blue eyes, thanks to the dilution gene. However, some may also have yellow or amber eyes. 

The head of a male blue German Shepherd dog should look masculine, while a female blue GSD should be distinctly feminine. They also have slightly pointed ears and long muzzles. 

Blue German Shepherds have medium-length double coats. Their outer hairs should be dense, straight, harsh, and lying flat close to their bodies.

The tones of the blue pigmentation vary depending on the intensity of dilution. Some may exhibit rich blue color, while others may sport a grayish-blue hue. 

Here’s how a blue German Shepherd puppy looks:

First Ever Video!! Dilute German Shepherds

Aside from a solid blue color, blue German shepherds can also sport bicolor coats: blue bicolor, blue and tan, and blue and sable.

Here’s what the different variants of blue German Shepherds look like:

Blue Bicolor German Shepherd

The coat of a blue bicolor German Shepherds is entirely blue except for a few tan points on the chest, under the tail, on the legs, and abdomen. 

Blue and Tan German Shepherd

Blue and tan German Shepherds are often mistaken with blue bicolor GSDs because of their similarities. However, the coat of a blue and tan German Shepherd has larger tan areas than the blue bicolor GSD coat.

Blue and Sable German Shepherd

The sable coat is a natural color variation of the German Shepherd breed. A blue and sable German Shepherd’s coat has lighter roots that become darker as they extend to the tip, giving the coat the grayish-blue coloration.

RELATED: Sable German Shepherd: Interesting Facts You Did Not Know

Blue German Shepherd Color Genetics: What Makes a German Shepherd Blue?

Dogs have two primary pigments in the body called eumelanin (black) and pheomelanin (red). Through gene modification, other pigments such as blue, gray, and yellow are produced out of the two primary colors. 

The gene responsible for the blue coloring of blue German Shepherds is known as the dilution gene. 

This particular gene lightens up or washes out the rich and dark base colors, turning black into blue or gray and red into yellow or cream.

So technically, blue German Shepherds are black dogs whose colors are washed out or lightened up by the dilution gene.

The dilution gene is recessive. Meaning, a German Shepherd puppy must inherit two copies of it to exhibit a blue coat. This is one of the reasons why blue shepherd dogs are rare sights. 

Do Blue German Shepherd Puppies Change Color as They Grow?

For the blue German Shepherd’s coat, it’s not the colors that change but rather the tone or intensity of the pigmentation.

The color of a puppy, in general, is predetermined by genetics. You cannot expect a puppy with black color genes to grow up having a yellow coat. That is not how it works. 

Some blue GSD puppies may be born with seemingly black or darker coats, but they gradually lighten up and turn blue as they grow. 

The intensity of the pigmentation in the coat may change until they reach the age of two. Meanwhile, the tan points of bicolor GSDs might show up months after they are born. 

RELATED: Do German Shepherds Change Color As They Grow?

Blue German Shepherd Kennel Club Recognition: Can Blue German Shepherds Be AKC-Registered?

Yes, you can definitely register your blue German Shepherd to the American Kennel Club (AKC)! Blue is a standard color of the German Shepherd breed acknowledged by the AKC, along with black, gray, liver, sable, and white. 

However, blue German Shepherds are considered undesirable for conformation shows since the standard favors GSDs with strong and rich colors. 

In fact, washed-out hues such as blue and liver are marked as serious faults even though they are standard coat variations.

Likewise, the United Kennel Club (UKC) and Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) consider light colorations such as blue and liver serious conformation faults.

But then again, your blue German Shepherd can still join herding and sporting events without any problem sponsored by major kennel clubs!

Blue German Shepherd Temperament: Do Blue German Shepherds Make Good Family Dogs?

Coat colors do not affect the temperament and behavior of dogs. This is true for all pooches regardless of breed and color. 

The rare blue German Shepherd dog shares the same temperament as the other GSD variations. It is considered a loyal, courageous, obedient, and very intelligent dog that is perfect for guarding duties. 

To give you a more detailed overview, here’s how blue GSDs interact with others at home: 

  • With Family: Blue GSDs are very loyal and affectionate to their family members. They are also known to be calm, patient, gentle, and loving towards children. They will unhesitantly protect any of their family members if they sense any danger.
  • With Other Dogs and Pets: Blue GSDs get along pretty well with other pets and dogs, especially if they have been with them for a long time. If they are given early socialization and training, they will behave well around other pets and dogs. 
  • With Strangers: Generally, blue German Shepherds can be quite suspicious of strangers. A well-trained blue GSD will remain calm and patient around unfamiliar people but will always be vigilant. They are always ready to protect their families from possible threats. 

The individual temperament of each dog is influenced by the training it receives. If you want your blue German Shepherd puppy to have a befitting personality, make sure to provide training and socialization at a young age. 

Be aware that GSDs are active working dogs. They require regular exercises and tasks for physical and mental stimulation. You won’t want to witness what a bored GSD can do! Trust me; they’ll resort to destructive behaviors. 

Blue German Shepherd Lifespan and Health Issues: Are Blue GSDs Healthy Dogs?

Blue German Shepherds live as long as other GSD color variants. Their lifespans range between 9 and 13 years. With proper maintenance, some even exceed the breed’s life expectancy. 

Some believe that blue German Shepherds are unhealthy dogs. But this isn’t true. Their health conditions are exactly the same as their GSD siblings. 

Likewise, blue GSDs are also susceptible to the common health issues experienced by other German Shepherd variants. 

Like human beings, they might develop various health problems throughout their lifetime even though they are usually healthy dogs. 

Here are some of the common health issues of blue German Shepherds that you should be aware of: 

  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a joint-related disease that mainly affects large dogs. The deterioration of the joints in the hips results in severe pain, which could debilitate a dog. A blue German Shepherd suffering from this condition will show signs of lameness, decrease in motion, and reluctance to move.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy: This condition affects the spinal cord, which results in the slow progression of hind limbs, weakness, and paralysis. The exact cause of this disease is still unknown. At later stages, this condition could lead to immobility.
  • Hemophilia: Characterized by prolonged bleeding, hemophilia is a common severe ailment for blue German Shepherds. It is an inherited condition that results from the deficiency of clotting activity in the blood.
  • Aortic Stenosis: This heart disease occurs when the aortic valve of the heart narrows down. When this happens, blood circulation in the heart is affected, which could lead to other complications.

In terms of coloration, there is no substantial evidence that links the blue coloration in German Shepherd dogs to specific pigment-related ailments. 

Although the dilution gene is known to cause alopecia or hair loss in other dog breeds with blue coats, blue German Shepherds do not seem to be affected by this condition.

How Much Does a Blue German Shepherd Cost? Puppy Prices and Expenses

Blue German Shepherds tend to come with hefty price tags mainly because of their rarity. 

On average, a standard blue German Shepherd puppy from a reputable breeder costs around $1,000 to $1,500

However, this price range could pump up for puppies with champion bloodlines, with their prices ranging between $2,500 and $10,000

Here is a breakdown of the initial expenses in owning a blue German Shepherd puppy: 

Type of ExpenseEstimated Cost
High-Quality Dog Food$60 – $70
Food and Water Bowl$20 – $30
Crate $40 – $50
Bedding$40 – $45
Toys$20 – $25
Leash and Collar$20 – $30
Microchip$45 – $50
Cleaning Essentials$40 – $45
Grooming Essentials$30 – $50
Total Initial Cost$315 – $395

This means that you need to cash out $315 to $395 in welcoming your blue German Shepherd puppy into your home. Purchasing the listed starter supplies will not be difficult since they are readily available in pet stores. 

You should also consider other potential expenses such as vet checkups, supplements, travel bags, grooming expenses, and boarding services you might encounter in your fur-parent journey.

If you are unsure which items to buy, you can ask breeders and blue GSD owners for recommendations. They might even give you some money-saving tips you can follow!

RELATED: How Much Does a German Shepherd Cost? (2023 Price Guide)

Places to Find Blue German Shepherd Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Finding blue German Shepherd pups for sale could prove to be a challenging task. These blue dogs are indeed rare! Also, there are only a few reputable breeders dedicated to developing blue GSDs. 

In purchasing a puppy, watch out for puppy mills and backyard breeders! You can check out our puppy buying guide to know what you should consider in choosing a breeder. 

Meanwhile, here are some of the reputable breeders where you can buy blue German Shepherd puppies:

  • K9 Pines – This breeding facility boasts itself as the true home of blue German Shepherds. All of their puppies are AKC registered and come with health guarantees. Aside from blue GSDs, they also have other diluted colors, such as liver and isabella. 
  • Sprague’s German Shepherd – Located in South Carolina, this breeder produces blue GSDs that are fit for companionship, sporting, and therapy services. They follow a rigorous breeding and rearing process to ensure that their puppies are of top quality in health and behavior. 
  • Mittelwest German Shepherds – Mittelwest has GSDs that come from champion bloodlines. They currently import top-quality GSD puppies around the globe, and they breed other German Shepherd colors aside from blue. You should visit their page as they regularly post available puppies, which might include a blue German Shepherd. 

Fret not if you still haven’t found a blue German Shepherd pup from the listed breeder above! You can check our guide for the best German Shepherd breeders in the United States. 

Another option you can do is to adopt. Adopting a blue GSD from rescue centers is both an economic and noble act. Rescuing a dog is indeed way more inexpensive than buying a puppy from a breeder!

RELATED: 10 Best German Shepherd Breeders (2023): Our Top 10 Picks!

Here are some of the rescues where you can find blue German Shepherds available for adoption: 

  • Westside German Shepherd Rescue (WGSR) – This non-profit organization rescues dogs from high-kill shelters, including blue German Shepherds. All of the dogs they take in are treated and sheltered until they find new forever homes. Typically, Westside’s adoption fee for adult German Shepherds costs $375 and $475 for puppies. 
  • German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County (GSROC) – This rescue takes in stray and surrendered dogs regardless of color. They prioritize applicants with no children or other pets at home. Occasionally, they have blue German Shepherds under their care. 
  • German Shepherd Rescue of New England (GSRNE) – GSRNE extends its effort in rehabilitating blue GSDs and other GSD variants across the six states in New England. This rescue successfully places each dog in loving homes that perfectly match the dog’s temperament and needs. 

There are a lot of reputable rescues across the United States that take in German Shepherds, including blue-colored ones. You can also check our German Shepherd rescue directory to find the nearest animal rescue in your area. 

RELATED: 10 Best German Shepherd Rescues for Adoption (2023): Our Top 10 Picks!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Rarest Color of the German Shepherd?

Among all of the German Shepherd variants, the panda German Shepherd is considered to be the rarest! 

This bizarre yet stunning coat color usually features black and white symmetrical patterns across the body, especially around the eyes. 

Panda German Shepherds were discovered just recently. The panda GSD’s exotic-looking pattern is caused by a mutation in the KIT gene, which is said to be a dominant gene. 

RELATED: Panda German Shepherd: Are Panda Shepherds Purebred?

Do Blue German Shepherds Have Blue Eyes?

Blue German Shepherds often have blue eyes. They usually have lighter colored irises compared to other standard German Shepherd variants. 

Nevertheless, not all blue German Shepherds have blue eyes, as some are born with yellow or amber eyes. 

Are Blue German Shepherds Mixed With Blue Heelers?

No. Blue German Shepherds are not mixed with Blue Heelers or any other dog breed. Blue German Shepherds are purebred dogs. They are only mistaken as crosses because of their rare color.

Final Thoughts

Breeders and dog owners would argue that blue German Shepherds are indeed great pets. They have good temperaments and overall impressive health conditions. However, finding one of these dogs will be difficult because of their rarity. 

Also, keep in mind that maintaining a blue German Shepherd will require you to be physically, mentally, and financially prepared. 

If you think you are up for the challenge of owning a blue German Shepherd, then there’s nothing to stop you from getting one.

1 comment

Lynn Jones August 20, 2022 - 11:56 pm

When I breed my two shepherds, I get one from the three pups that I would consider blue shepherds. This is most notable when they are blowing their puppy coat and it appears they are a steel gray color all over. They then become mostly black with the blue/gray color underneath around the neck, shoulders, and rear quarters. Not sure if this would be considered a blue shepherd or not since I have never had this color before in my breeding with other shepherds.


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