Blue German Shepherds: What Are They? (Color & Controversy)

A Blue German Shepherd is a variation of the standard German Shepherd breed but carries a gene that dilutes its normally black pigment to create a blue-gray tint. This color is considered rare and is not widely recognized by various kennel clubs.

Their personality, behavior, and health characteristics are similar to those of regular German Shepherds: they are intelligent, loyal, protective and they are prone to some health issues like hip dysplasia, skin problems, and eye conditions. They can be great family pets when properly socialized and trained.

Last Updated on September 20, 2023

. This article will discuss the blue German Shepherd, as well as how he differs to the traditional German Shepherd black and tan HTML1. Technically, he’s not actually blue. He is more of a grayish color. These alternate colors are becoming more popular but are still very rare.

There is some controversy about the color of this pup, much like the White GSD. It is not considered an acceptable color like the black german shepherd , and the more well-known black and tan dogs. GSD’s with long coats are also considered to be faulty Some “faulty” dogs may also be confused by GSD mixes ..

He is a fun, intelligent, beautiful and great family pet. His color and controversy are all that distinguish him from his siblings. Let’s get to the point.

Blue German Shepherds

German Shepherd History

The German Shepherd’s journey began in the early 19th Century in northern Germany. The breeds of herding dogs were different from one area to the next. Von Stephanitz, a German Cavalry Officer, envisioned a standard dog that would be exemplary in his field of expertise. Across four decades, breeding the best canines from each district, Von Stephanitz engineered the German Shepherd that we know and love today.

The German Shepherd is currently ranked by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as the 2nd most popular dog in America. The popularity of the German Shepherd is not only based on how many working German Shepherd dogs there are in America but also the many that make them a great family pet HTML1.

It is not known when the first German Shepherd was born. However, according to the AKC, along with the liver color, the color is said to be a serious fault. There is a lot of controversy within the German Shepherd world about the blue coat. Many people believe that, despite their blue color, they are purebred and should not considered a fault. Some breed purists believe that the blue color is just a genetic mutation. The blue German Shepherds should not be bred. Some people advocate that the color be completely bred.

Blue Color Genetics

The color of the Blue German Shepherd is, in essence, a diluted version of the traditional Black Shepherd. When referring to variations in a color, geneticists commonly use the term “diluted” to refer to them. This is to indicate the color that has been diluted. The ‘Dd’ dilution gene affects coat color in the main, but can also change the color of eyes and noses.

All coat colors and patterns can be controlled by a group or set of genes that are connected. Standard German Shepherds will have descriptions and breakdowns of the A genes. These genes control the red and black colouring of the dog’s coat through the release melanin. This affects the base color and variations.

Gene Types

But the D gene is responsible for the color of the blue German Shepherd. This gene is found in all standard German Shepherds. The gene is responsible for both full color when active, and for diluted when inactive, just like an ‘on and off’ switch. The presence of both the big and small ‘D’ pairs is required to create the blue German Shepherd. The dominant gene is the big D, which produces full-strength coat color. The little d produces a dilute color, which is the recessive gene.

The blue German Shepherd is technically a dilute Black Shepherd. It comes from the following gene pairs:

  • Traditional Black German Shepherd: DD
  • Traditional Black German Shepherd: Dd
  • Blue German Shepherd: dd

To create the Blue Shepherd, he will need two copies of his dilute gene. To have dilute fur, one must be from each parent. He may be bred from two parents with the same color to get a particular color. Rarely, he may be born to non-blue parents. If they both have the recessive gene, this is possible.

Blue Color Variations

The Blue German Shepherd also takes three colors in blue. These colors include blue and black, blue-and-sable, and blue-and tan. Again, it all depends on the other genes. We won’t go into too much detail to avoid confusion.

Additionally, the blue German Shepherd can also be a variety of lighter and darker blues. Steel is the darker shade. powderblue the lighter one. It can be hard for a steelblue to distinguish on his own. You can tell the difference in color if you place him next to a black German Shepherd.

According to the AKC the blue color is a serious fault in their genes. While they can still be entered into activity events, they are rarely entered because darker German Shepherds are favored. Owners of unfavorable German Shepherds have reported that their dogs are subject to color discrimination at events, despite being allowed to participate. There are other similar breeds that will share the blue fault, like the GSD cousin – the Belgian Malinois.


Other than the color of his coat, the blue German Shepherd will follow the same characteristics of any standard German Shepherd.

The males will weigh between 65 and 90 pounds. They will measure 24 to 26 inches in height from paw to shoulder, also known as the withers. The females will weigh between 50 and 70 pounds and will measure 22 to 24 inches at the withers. In addition to the blue, the German Shepherd’s coat can also be Gray, Sable, White, Black, black and red, as well as other variations of these coats.

As we have already mentioned, the color “blue” is not actually blue. It looks like a dark grey .. Imagine a black German Shepherd accidentally dropping a bag full of flour on him. This is how this gorgeous color looks. The AKC finds the color to be a serious flaw despite his beauty.

Additionally, it is common for the blue German Shepherd to have lighter colored eyes. These eyes are often lighter than the dark brown, yellow or blue eyes in the other German Shepherds. This is again controlled by the above dilute gene.

Because of his appearance, the blue German Shepherd is often mistaken for a blue Malinois. With his yellow eyes he can even look similar to a dark gray wolf. It is believed that the wolf was an ancestor of the German Shepherd.


The German Shepherd is a favored family pet across the globe, and this is no different for the blue German Shepherd. They are known to be super affectionate with their immediate family and enjoy a cuddle on the sofa. This is particularly true of his master, or the one who he sees as his main caregiver, as the German Shepherd is known to be a ‘one-man dog’.

The blue German Shepherd is known for his confident and courageous personality. As long as he’s socialized and trained properly, his guarding instincts can be used in the home. However, he can be aloof with strangers, or outsiders of the pack, even if they are welcomed onto the estate. Once they approve newcomers, however, he will be just as loyal and sweet as with their pack.

Exercise & Training

The blue German Shepherd, like any other German Shepherd, is a medium energy dog and requires up to 60 minutes of exercise a day which needs to be high intensity exercise such as interactive games or agility courses. They excel in military and protection work.

He also will require mental stimulation throughout the day, such as playing interactive games with his master, patrolling the yard, or taking part in training sessions. Because of his guarding tendencies early socialization is key to a happy hound and household! It is critical for him to be exposed to a variety of situations and range of sounds, as well as other dogs of all shapes and sizes.

You’ll want to make sure that you train properly, especially if you plan to train your GSD with a harness. Because they are working dogs, they will pull if they’re not properly trained. Same thing with crate training – make sure you have the perfect sized crate.

Health & Nutrition

The blue GSD has the same health tendencies as the normal black and tan variants, and his lifespan is 7 to 10 years.

Unlike other breeds, such as the French Bulldog, the color blue is not indicative of health issues or problematic personality traits. Other breeds can also be affected by the diluted gene. The diluted gene can cause Color Dilution Alopecia (Weimaraners), but the blue German Shepherd has not been known to have this problem or any other diluted-color-related health issues. The blue German Shepherd is just a variation. Their health is the same as that of a traditional colored German shepherd.

The National Breed Club for the Shepherd recommends that his parent’s are tested for Elbow and Hip Dysplasia. They should receive a score of at most fair. The abnormal formation of the hip and elbow joints is called Elbow and Hip Dysplasia. This can lead to painful arthritis and joint pain.

The blue German Shepherd will eat, on average, between 3 to 4 cups of dry food a day. It is best to feed your dog in several places throughout the day, as he can be susceptible to bloating. The size and activity level of your dog will determine his feeding needs.


The blue GSD has a thick undercoat and an outer coat that is medium in length. He sheds a lot because he has an undercoat. Therefore, you should brush him 2 to 3 times per week . To keep your dog’s coat healthy during shedding season, you should brush him daily.

He should be washed at least once every 6-8 weeks to keep his hair clean and to help with his shedding. To help manage his coat, you can purchase specialist shedding products. Although he can have a longer coat than a medium one, it is less common than a shorter one.

As Family Pets

Blue German Shepherds are great family pet . They are intelligent, playful, loyal, protective, and trainable. If they are socialized from a young age they are great with children. Include children in your training program so your pup will see them as part the pack’s higher ranking.

Naturally, all dogs have their own quirks that make them unique. A blue GSD will not be any different from other human family members. German Shepherds are smart and fun to be around. They enjoy spending hours playing in the garden with their family. You can best see his personality in action by watching him play with his littermates.

Also, it is a good idea to inform your neighbors if you decide to adopt one of these adorable pups. It’s not a good idea to make your neighbors panic and assume you have a stray Wolf living in their yard. With that in mind, be sure to reinforce your fence and make it very high, as German Shepherds are known to jump 6-foot fences with ease, and the blue German Shepherd would be no different.

Price & Breeders

From a reputable breeder a blue German Shepherd will cost, on average, no more than a traditional GSD. This cost is usually around $1,500 and up. Due to their rare color, this breed may have a higher price.

On the other hand, if you are considering rescuing a German Shepherd, then the American German Shepherd Rescue Association has listed rescue centers dedicated to this breed, and there you may find some blues that need a home. With rescue costs being, on average, between $50 and $350, you will also be saving a life, and saving money that you can spend on extra toys!

Final Thoughts

Other than the color of the German Shepherd’s blue, there are very few differences between him and the standard-colored German Shepherd. He is the same breed but a different color. The blue German Shepherd is a popular choice for family pets, despite being a rare color. You can expect to pay more for a puppy because they are so rare. Do not be surprised if your name is on a waiting list.

If you’re looking for a German Shepherd to perform in a show, then you might consider a more traditional or darker color. You should choose the color and look that you like. They are the same color as the traditional German Shepherd color.

Being crowned the silver medalist in AKC’s popularity contest, you can be certain that the blue German Shepherd will be a wonderful family pet. He is affectionate and protective, and a great all-rounder.

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