Blue German Shepherds are a rare color among the different types of German Shepherds. Unlike the popular black and tan, blue German Shepherds are only recently recognized as a purebred dog by the official breed standard.
What makes the blue German Shepherd different from other types? Read this article to know the unique characteristics of blue German Shepherds, how the “blue” color began, and how to care for them.
Quick Info Guide for Blue German Shepherds
|Height||24-26 inches for males and 22-24 inches for females|
|Weight||65-90 pounds for males and 50-75 pounds for females|
|Breed Classification||Herding Group|
|Grooming||Daily brushing with baths when extremely dirt|
|Coat Color||“Blue” or a combination of blue with tan & black or sable|
|Temperament||Intelligent, loyal, loving, protective, energetic|
|Activity Level||High energy – requires basic and/or advanced training as well as exercise|
German Shepherd Overview
No matter the color of a German Shepherd’s coat, their temperament, health, care, and training are all just about the same. In some cases, nature versus nurture can affect a German Shepherd’s temperament and health, but otherwise, you’ll know what you’re getting into when you get this breed of dog.
A German Shepherd’s temperament is typically highly intelligent, obedient, loyal, gentle, and loving. They determine their master by the person who takes care of them most. If one particular person in the household feeds them, walks them, grooms them, and trains them, a German Shepherd will see that person as their master. They may still be very close to other members of the household, as well.
While training, a German Shepherd will pick up on commands and tasks rather quickly. They’re highly intelligent dogs who love pleasing their masters. They’ll do what you ask in exchange for a reward.
German Shepherds require at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. You may not be able to let your dog run every day but at least take them for a brisk walk to burn off some energy. These dogs have high energy and may destroy objects in your house if they do not have a way to release their energy.
As for their health, German Shepherds should see a veterinarian at least once a year for a general checkup. They need vaccines to fight off illness. They should be monitored for hip dysplasia, bloat, and cancer from a young age. These are common health issues in German Shepherds. If you take steps to prevent these issues when they’re only a year or two old, your dog may live longer with a healthier, happier life.
Differences in the Blue German Shepherd
Many breeders opt to breed the traditional black and tan saddle German Shepherd, making the blue German Shepherd very rare. Finding a good breeder of the blue may be more difficult. The American Kennel Club has a list of accredited breeders, which may make your search easier. If you’re opting to adopt, the German Shepherd Club of America has a list of rescues and rescue centers all over the country.
The main difference of the blue German Shepherd, however, is the reason for their name. The coat is a deep black that seems to have a hue of blue indirect light. They’re unique in comparison to classic black and tan, gray, sable, or white German Shepherds.
Effects of Blue Coloring on Health and Behavior
As discussed in a previous article, the coloring of a German Shepherd’s coat doesn’t have much effect on their health, behavior, temperament, care, or training needs. Besides coat color, blue German Shepherds act and think just like any other German Shepherd.
Predicting Blue German Shepherd’s Health & Behavior
To best predict the behavior of a blue German Shepherd, study the typical behavior and health of any other German Shepherd. The breed is highly intelligent, loyal, affectionate, pleasing, and energetic. They’re ideal for active families, with or without children.
German Shepherds require at least basic training. They thrive on having a “job” amongst the members of their “pack” so it’s best to teach them tasks. Reward these tasks so they know they’ve done the job well. Teaching them more advanced skills, such as search and rescue work, disability service work, agility, or military and police work, can further help them feel accomplished and valuable.
History of the Blue German Shepherd
It is unknown exactly when the blue German Shepherd first appeared. It is still a rare coloring of German Shepherds. More research is in the works about this type of German Shepherd.
Care of Blue German Shepherds
Care Tips of the Blue GSD
|Daily Exercise||At least 30 minutes|
|Daily Calorie Intake||1,200 calories|
|Training||Basic commands and/or advanced skills|
|Activities||Walking, running, chew toys, balls, bones|
|Grooming||Daily brushing with baths when extremely dirty|
Taking care of blue German Shepherd is basically the same as all other colors of German Shepherds. Blue German Shepherds are full of energy and require a decent amount of exercise each day. At least 30 minutes of walking, if not running, playing fetch, or another aerobic exercise. Blue German Shepherds need to burn energy or else they will get restless and chew on inappropriate objects such as furniture or shoes. Toys help with this restlessness. A bone to chew on or a ball to chase around helps keep their minds occupied and keep them out of trouble.
To keep their energy at a healthy level, blue German Shepherds need high-protein food to fuel their active lifestyles. Talk with your veterinarian about the ideal food for your blue Shepherd. Unless your dog has special diet restrictions, a blue German Shepherd will need about 1,200 calories daily. This calorie intake should be split between 2 or 3 meals. They can eat raw food, dry food, or wet food. Choose a brand that has between 18 and 24% protein and 7 to 10% fat. The protein will keep their energy levels up so they can stay active and happy. Lower fat levels prevent weight gain and lethargy.
To best feed your blue German Shepherds active brain, consider teaching him advanced skills. German Shepherds are popular for service work in a variety of areas. Many German Shepherds work in military or police work, as guides for the visually impaired, and assistants to disabled or deaf people. They also perform nose work by searching for drugs, explosives, cell phones, illegal objects, and missing persons. I’m not saying you have to enroll your dog in all kinds of classes if you just want a family pet. But you can teach your dog agility, basic nose work, or advanced commands. He will feel like he has a job to do and he will feel accomplished and valued.
German Shepherds, include the Blue, are known for certain potential health issues throughout life. The most common health issue is hip dysplasia, which is abnormal formation of the hip joint which slowly breaks down cartilage and causes pain when moving. Owners can help prevent hip dysplasia with supplements such as Cosequin. More extreme cases may require surgery.
Due to selective breeding and inbreeding of German Shepherds from a single bloodline, other genetic issues and mutations have developed other health issues. These include:
- Degenerative Myelopathy: a slow, painless degeneration of the spinal cord. Evidently, fatal.
- Congenital Heart Defects: aortic stenosis, pulmonic stenosis, and patent ductus arteriosus.
You may notice some other minor health concerns, as well, but these aren’t as serious.
- Panosteitis (growing pains) is a temporary condition noted by limping in dogs ages 5 to 18 months. You can acquire medication to ease pain but the issue usually resolves itself once the dog is full-grown.
- Pannus is an autoimmune condition affecting the eye. It is uncurable but can be treated and managed if caught early.
- Hemophilia is a genetic condition preventing the blood from clotting. It is better if caught, diagnosed, and treated early.
While all these conditions may seem daunting, keeping your Blue German Shepherd active, trained, well-fed, and happy keeps away most major health concerns. Take yearly trips to the veterinarian for instructions on how to best maintain your dog’s health.
Temperament of Blue German Shepherds
Overall, German Shepherds have very appealing personality traits. They’re great for families with or without kids. Even if you’ve never had a GSD before, do some research, learn from trainers and veterinarians, and they’ll be one of the best dog breeds you could choose.
Blue German Shepherds are highly intelligent. They’ll pick up on new commands pretty quickly. Shepherds are also eager to please so they won’t have a problem remembering your commands and performing them eagerly for a treat.
Blue German Shepherds are loyal and loving. They’ll protect their “pack” by alerting to people entering or passing by their home. They’ll keep a watchful eye on small children in their family. When a young one wants to play or cuddle, German Shepherds are gentle companions willing to entertain their tiny human pack members.
As with all dog breeds, however, German Shepherds have boundaries that people – especially children – need to understand and respect. Dogs can only handle so much fur yanking and ear pulling before they snap. If you have kids around a German Shepherd, teach them to respect the boundaries of dogs.
Training the Blue German Shepherd
Basic commands an absolute necessity with German Shepherds. They thrive on boundaries in their family. They need to know that you are their master and they must obey your commands.
As for further training, we discussed earlier some options for advanced skill training.
- Missing persons
- Disability assistant
- Guide for the blind
- Assistant for the deaf
- Alert dog for diabetes, panic attacks, anxiety, and seizures
- Show dog
If you’re interested, do some research of advanced training classes in your area. Your blue German Shepherd would love gaining more bonding time with you as well as more skills.