Is the Blue German Shepherd really blue? Find out here!

Last Updated on April 25, 2023

Blue German Shepherds are truly a sight to behold because they have a bluish-grey tinge to their fur that makes them look like mythical creatures. 

Paired with their wolf-like features, it’s not hard to imagine that you’re looking at something made from the stuff of fairytales. But these doggos are real and you can learn all about them below!

A Blue German Shepherd biting a branch on a hike

Is there such a thing as a Blue German Shepherd? 

Diluted black pigment is referred to as blue, it comes from a recessive gene hidden in normal-colored dogs.

Solid black dogs will either have the DD or Dd genes, whereas dogs with the blue coat will have the recessive dd genes

Since they are recessive, you can only get a blue puppy when you put together parents that each carries at least one small d in their genes.

A concern about this is that their bloodline will become too saturated as dogs with the blue gene aren’t very common. This is what happened to the Doberman, a breed that is now horribly inbred.

This makes them incredibly rare, especially since the AKC considers them to be a serious fault. This has caused breeders to avoid breeding them, but they’ve become quite popular in recent times.

Blue isn’t the only color with the diluted gene. Liver dogs are also a product of dilute genes. On the left, you’ll see a Liver GSD with saddle and tan markings, and a Blue Shepherd on the right:

A saddled and tan GSD with a Blue GSD sitting
Source: cmo_adventures / IG

If a Blue and Liver GSD mated, they would likely produce an Isabella Alsatian. Fascinating, isn’t it? You can learn more about German Shepherd colors from our guide.

German Shepherds aren’t the only breed of dog that has the dilute gene. Many other breeds carry this recessive gene, but it’s most commonly seen in the Weimaraner and Slovakian Pointer.

Other breeds that express this coloring are Italian Greyhounds, Whippets, Mastiffs, and can even be found in the Labrador Retriever.

Dogs that often express this dilute gene are often regarded as not true to the breed standard, and therefore not purebred.

However, one should understand that many undesirable dogs were culled in the past. It is something that is no longer practiced today due to ethical reasons. 

If not for the current trends of social media, these colorings would likely stay hidden and misunderstood.

With that said, the American Kennel Club recognizes all German Shepherd colors, but faults the Blue, Liver, and White German Shepherds in the show ring. Conformation dogs are often Black & Tan or Black & Red.

What does a Blue German Shepherd look like?

The German Shepherd looks like a wolf, with its sharp snouts and long muzzles. Their wolfish appearance can be attributed to the fact that they were once bred to wolves.

But not to worry, they are domesticated dogs that look like wolves and do not exhibit the behavior of their ancestors. 

Blue German Shepherds look just like any of their siblings in features and build. The one thing that sets them apart is their stunning coloration.

The pigment for their noses, eye rims, paw pads, and wherever is supposed to be black, will be a steel grey-blue.

A wet blue GSD laying patiently on the beach
Source: @cmo_adventures / IG

They can even have amber or blue eyes. This has sparked debate on whether the Blue GSD is purebred, or if they are mixed with Huskies or Belgian Malinois.

It doesn’t help that they also look strikingly similar to the Blue Malinois. This has caused a divide between Alsatian lovers as others believe they are purebred and shouldn’t be considered a fault.

Size: How big does a Blue German Shepherd dog get?

High-energy dogs very rarely make good apartment dogs, especially if they are as big as the GSD.

Even if you were to adopt a Miniature German Shepherd, they will need as much activity as their standard-sized counterparts. 

A standard sized male German Shepherd will grow to be 24 to 26 inches (60 to 66 cm) tall and weigh around 65 to 90 lbs (29 to 40 kg).

Females grow up to only 22 to 24 inches (55 to 60 cm) tall and will be around 50 to 70 lbs (22 to 31 kg). Color isn’t a factor in determining their size and you can expect GSDs of all colors to be around the same size.

These dogs need space to explore and require space to run. If you are able to give them the stimulation they need, they could potentially live in an apartment, but landed properties are definitely a better choice.

Blue GSD’s Coat Color

Blue Alsatians can have different coat patterns, such as solid blue, saddle, bicolor, or sable. In fact, there’s also the blue and black Panda German Shepherd, which is a rarity indeed. 

There are also color variations between Blue GSDs. You can get a light powder blue or the dark steel blue.

Darker blues look like Black German Shepherds, but if you put them next to an actual Black GSD, you’ll notice the stark differences. Click here to learn all about Alsatian colors.

Now, depending on whether you have a long-haired or short-haired German Shepherd, the density of the German Shepherd’s coats can vary.

Most of the long-coated dogs have very sparse undercoats, which means they won’t look as shaggy. However, there have been instances of dogs with very full coats and it makes them look almost like Malamutes.

Long coated GSDs should have finer fur, whereas dogs with short to medium-length coats will have harsh guard hairs.

Their coats are prone to changes until they are at least two years old, but their guard coat should come in at around 4 to 6 months.

Take a look at little Stormy getting one of her first grooming sessions, note how soft and fluffy her puppy coat is!

Temperament: Are Blue German Shepherds good family dogs? 

Good dogs are made through proper training and socialization. That being said, the German Shepherd dog is extremely trainable and they retain their training well.

Whereas other dogs may be prone to rebellion, GSDs are eager to please their owners and are loyally obedient. This makes them the perfect watchdog, family pet, and working dog. 

These popular dogs tend to be more protective towards their immediate family, and aloof with strangers, but extensive socialization can make them as friendly as a Golden Retriever.

While their image of being a police dog might not exactly scream “cuddly”, the fact is that they would love to curl up with you after a long hard day of work.

German Shepherds are also notorious for having separation anxiety. Don’t forget that from the moment they were born, they always had their mother or littermates with them.

There are some preventative steps you can take to ensure that they will be fine when left alone. 

A sleepy and droopy eyed Blue GSD laying on bed looking sad
Source: @blue_the_blue_gsd / IG

From the moment you bring them home, you should start addressing this issue and help them get used to being alone.

Leave them for 30-second intervals, returning with lots of praise each time. Over the next few weeks, you can leave them for longer and longer periods until they are no longer distressed when you leave

Pair this with crate training, and you should have a calm and happy fella waiting patiently for you to get home every day.

Another popular training method is using the clicker. You can get one cheaply off Amazon. It’s a great investment, especially for highly responsive dogs like German Shepherds.

One thing which is highly advised against is to use the dominance method in training. It is both outdated and unnecessary.

Your dog doesn’t have to fear you to respect you. Once your dog is properly trained up, you can trust him wholly. 

How to take care of your Blue German Shepherd?

The color of the Blue German Shepherd doesn’t make them harder to take care of, unlike the White German Shepherd that requires more attention to keep their fur pristine.

Taking care of your Blue German Shepherd is the same as taking care of a GSD of any other color.

Blue, sable, and white German Shepherd laying down on grass smiling
Source: @ines_germanshepherd / IG

Their dense double coats give them all the protection they need from the elements, this includes the harsh UV rays of the sun and the biting cold of winter.

They aren’t likely to require any additional protection, which is why you should never shave them.

Exercising your Blue German Shepherd

Many guides will tell you that GSDs need one to two hours of exercise per day, which is their bare minimum. Bear in mind that these dogs were bred to be alert and herding all day long.

If you really want to tire them out, you will need to challenge them both mentally and physically. 

Interactive games and activities are the best for GSDs as they will be able to bond with you as well as receive the stimulation they require.

High-intensity exercises such as trekking, running, bicycling, are all great activities for the Alsatian to undertake but you should always wait till they are two years of age. This is the age where your vet can clear their hips.

A Blue GSD puppy looking up and enjoying a walk
Source: @blue_the_blue_gsd / IG

A general rule of thumb is that you should add 5 minutes to their exercise regime for every month of their life. A two-month-old German Shepherd puppy shouldn’t be exerting themselves for more than 10 minutes.

At 9 months old, they should only be walked for about 45 minutes a day. You can divide this into two separate sessions if he’s struggling.

Exercise can be coupled with fun activities such as hide and seek, as this requires your dog to use his brain which is stimulating as well as rewarding.

This breed wasn’t bred for swimming, but you can definitely give it a try. It’s gentle on the hips and can challenge your dog at the same time.

Grooming: Do Blue German Shepherds dogs shed?

German Shepherds of all colors and coat lengths are susceptible to shedding. Long haired GSDs might have a thinner undercoat, but their silky fine fur can also invade your home and furniture.

Short-haired German Shepherds can have very dense undercoats and a short to medium-length guard coat.

They are not hypoallergenic and you will need to groom them quite frequently, especially when they are molting.

If you can give them a quick daily brush, that would be ideal, because their fur can get quite matted with debris, especially if they spend lots of time outdoors.

Even if they are indoor dogs, they can also benefit from having their coat brushed on a daily basis. This will keep your furniture fur-free and minimize their shedding.

If you don’t have the time to brush them daily, you should strive for two to three grooming sessions a week.

They don’t need regular baths, and they can stay relatively odor-free for a significant period of time.

If they don’t get dirty, you can bathe them once every four to six months, but if they have skin problems or are regularly filthy, you can bathe them once every six weeks and not any more than that.

Feeding: Blue German Shepherd Food Consumption

Adult German Shepherds need around 1200 calories a day, that’s if they aren’t working the whole day. Dogs that are always on the go will naturally require more calories.

But, since they are prone to bloat, you shouldn’t feed them less than twice a day. Instead, split 3 – 4 cups of kibble over the course of the day. 

The kibble that you’re feeding your dog should not only meet their caloric intake but also meet their nutritional requirements according to the stage

Generally, though these dogs require lots of protein and some carbs to keep up with their high energy levels.

They can also have rather sensitive stomachs, so you need to find a formula that’s suited to your dog. If they are having the runs frequently, you might want to look into a different brand.

It’s entirely possible to make home-cooked meals for them and we’ve included a recipe on our guide to the best dog food for German Shepherds. 

What health problems do Blue German Shepherds have?

The dilution gene that causes the color to look washed out often causes a skin disorder called skin alopecia. However, this is not the case with German Shepherd dogs.

There have been no records of their coat color putting them at risk for any health issues that other colors are not prone to.

A portrait of a Blue German Shepherd standing on grass

German Shepherds, like many medium to large breeds, often suffer from joint problems such as elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia.

This is why proper feeding and age-appropriate exercises are so important. Aside from that, the breed is also prone to skin, eye, and ear infections, as well as stomach sensitivity and bloat.

Other things that you should be aware of is that the breed has a history of developing degenerative myelopathy, congenital heart defects such as aortic stenosis, pulmonic stenosis, and patent ductus arteriosus. Panosteitis, pannus, and hemophilia are also not uncommon.

With that in mind, GSDs are a rather healthy breed and if you acquire your puppy from a reputable breeder, your puppy will most likely grow up healthy and live up to 10 to 13 years.

You can check out our comprehensive guide to learn more about the lifespan of German Shepherds.

How much does a Blue German Shepherd puppy cost?

A Blue GSD puppy tilting its head for a picture

While breeders shouldn’t charge extra for different colors, it is a common practice. Blue German Shepherds tend to be rarer and slightly pricier than standard colored dogs.

The one thing that can really increase the price tag is if they have a champion pedigree. That’s why some dogs can go from $1000 to $10000. Adoption fees often range from $50 to $350. 

Blue German Shepherd breeders

When searching for a particular color or breed, you want to be sure that you’re buying from the very best.

Reputable breeders care immensely, not just about their dogs, but the breed as a whole. They should have a comprehensive breeding program and don’t just focus on color, but temperament as well.

You should also be prepared for the breeders to vet you as well. They might question you about your intentions of getting a dog, down to your lifestyle.

Don’t take this the wrong way, it merely means that they care where their dogs are going home to.

If they seem dodgy to you in any way, take it as a sign to look for another kennel. Also, don’t fall prey to kennels that gloss over the pedigree of their dogs.

Some Blue German Shepherd breeders actually do mix their dogs with other breeds.

For instance, Blue Bay Shepherds began with mixing German Shepherds with wolfdogs, to achieve their lupine features. Always do your research! Here are a couple of Blue German Shepherd breeders to start off with: 

  • Kitson’s AKC “Steel Blue” German Shepherds (Belle, MO)
  • K9-Pines Kennel (Saluda, NC)
  • Ruskin House of Shepherds (Ruskin, FL)

Blue German Shepherd rescue and adoption

There’s nothing more fulfilling than successfully rehabilitating rescue dogs. Most of the time, dogs are surrendered purely for aesthetic reasons… This is why we don’t recommend getting a dog for their looks. 

Some German Shepherds might never achieve the erect ears of the breed standard, but that doesn’t mean that they are bad dogs. As the founding father of German Shepherds once said, “No good dog can be a bad color.”

As long as the dog lives up to its temperament and purpose, it is a good dog. However, some new dog owners are mistaken in their beliefs that their dogs will be perfectly trained from the get-go.

On the contrary, a lot of effort goes into training and caring for a dog so that they grow up to be the perfect pet.

Since Blue GSDs can be quite rare, you might have a better chance of finding them at breed-specific rescues like:

  • Virginia German Shepherd Rescue
  • Canine Pet Rescue (Lawrenceville, GA)
  • Mid-Atlantic German Shepherd Rescue (Mt. Airy, MD)

Who should get Blue German Shepherd?

A Blue German Shepherd puppy with sunflowers
Source: @thehikingshepherds / IG

If you’re planning to show your dog, you’re better off with a classic Black & Tan German Shepherd, with a black saddle and rich pigments.

If you simply want a family dog and he happens to be blue, all the more power to you.

Just remember that they aren’t a fashion statement and loving their aesthetics isn’t enough. You need to be a committed dog owner who is dedicated to them.

Further Reading: Other Blue Dog Breeds


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