Blue German Shepherds
Blue German Shepherds have a color variation that simply comes from a recessive gene.
Blue shepherds can be born in a litter with traditional colored puppies. The blue gene dilutes the black pigment on the dog, so areas that are normally black will appear in various tones of blue. Their coat will have somewhat of a grey or silver "dusty" look.
They can be somewhat hard to find. Many breeders will not typically breed for blue (or liver) German Shepherds. They are still AKC recognized, but the blue color is considered a serious fault.
They can compete in all AKC events, except for conformation, since the purpose of the conformation ring is to show a dog who most closely exhibits the breed standard (all pigment is required to be black, etc.)
As puppies, blue shepherds are easy to spot. They are born a silver/grey, which soon turns to a bluish gray.
Noticeable differences can be seen on the foot pads, nose and eye color.
Blue Eyed German Shepherd
As puppies, their eye color may be blue or green. A blue Shepherd puppy's eyes will usually change to amber, light brown or gold by the age of six months or so.
When a dog has light colored eyes, they are often known as "Bird of Prey" eyes. A GSD can have light eyes without having the dilute blue or liver recessive gene.
Steel Blue vs Powder Blue
The Blue shepherd normally falls into one of two different classifications, which are basically darker and lighter variations of the same blue dilution gene. Variations can cause either of the following:
Steel Blue German Shepherd
This color GSD is especially hard to spot as an adult, since they are much darker than Powder Blues. They can be so dark, they may be mistaken for solid black German Shepherds.
An easy way to tell a Steel Blue from a black German Shepherd or a traditional black and tan is to stand them side by side. Then, the color differences can easily be seen. Especially on the nose, eye color, eye rims, lips, toenails and foot pads.
Powder Blue German Shepherd
Powder Blue puppies are born with a silver sheen on the tip of their fur. This remains until after the first week or two. The silver/grey color will eventually become a blue/grey.
Their coat and eye color alter will drastically during the first year. After that, changes occur at a much slower rate in the following years.
Double Recessive Gene
A pup can also inherit 2 copies each of the recessive blue and liver genes. They are located in different areas of the chromosome, which is why a GSD can carry both. A rare fawn color can form from this pairing, resulting in Isabella German Shepherd puppies.
Health and the Blue GSD
While the blue color is cosidered a fault, a German Shepherd with this gene is no different from traditional colors. Some breeds have issues with blue coat color. Doberman's, for instance, can suffer from Alopecia (loss of hair). But in GSD's the blue pigment will not affect their health.
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