What is a blue color coated dog?
In short – blue is diluted black.
These dogs are not blue in the truest sense of the meaning – but shades that appear as dark, silver-grey.
True blue dogs are black coated breeds that are naturally lightened (or diluted) to a paler shade due to inheriting a pair of recessive gene mutations.
Dilution can happen with almost any breed, although exceptionally rare with some.
Three known gene variants are known to produce dilute coloration, but for this piece we will simply refer to it as the ‘dilute gene’.
What is a True Blue dog?
“True blue” coloration is defined as a partially or fully black coated dog that carries the dilute gene, and is therefore a lighter pigmentation.
By this definition; some dogs that naturally appear dark grey or silver, or black dogs that fade over time, may not be considered blue (despite looking very similar).
The following are common “look-a-likes”:
- Kerry Blue Terrier
- Blue Heeler
- Bedlington Terrier
- Bluetick Coonhound
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Bearded Collies
- Norwegian Elkhound
This might sound a little strange seeing as how some breeds literally have blue in their breed name. And some even have all the characteristics described above.
However, going purely from a genetics standpoint – these dogs do not express the dilute gene.
Check the Nose Color
Pigment dilution doesn’t just occur within the coat. It can also apply to a black nose.
If the nose appears lighter in color, or “blue”, then you absolutely have a dilute dog.
True blues are born blue.
While some dogs will be born black and fade as they mature – giving the appearance of blue. This is usually due to the presence of the Merle Gene, which gives a bluish or greying affect, or fading gene.
Rare in Some Breeds – Common In Others
The dilute gene is ever prevalent in some breeds – so much so that it’s quite common to find blue dogs within the breed (such as Italian Greyhounds).
While in other breeds it’s exceedingly rare.
It’s not uncommon for owners to seek out rare colors and pay a hefty sum to adopt one. Unfortunately, this can lead to unethical breeding practices.
Breeding Color For Profit
Have you ever heard of a Silver Labrador? There is no such thing. However you may have seen some for sale at astounding prices.
Silver Labs are the result of cross breeding a Labrador Retriever and a Wiemeraner.
I use this specific example to create some awareness that breeding for color and profit is very real, and can often involve trickery.
Breeding strictly for profit may also lead unhealthy puppies as they are raised in poor conditions and environment.
Characteristics of Blue Coats
Some dogs may be entirely blue, but more often there is a combination of colors, patterns, and markings.
- Ticking – Colored freckles or spots.
- Brindle – Striped patterns that can resemble tiger stripes.
- Merle (or Dapple) – A pattern of irregular patches or splotches of dark pigment overlaying a lighter color.
- Sable – Black tipped hairs (while the rest of the hair transitions into a different color).
- Piebald – Spotted or multicolored coat.
10 True Blue Coated Dog Breeds
Remember, dilution can occur with nearly all breeds. These are 10 common breeds with the dilute gene.
1. Italian Greyhound
While the Italian Greyhound can certainly be athletic you’ll most often find them lounging and relaxing instead. A warm spot in the sun is their favorite pass time.
They typically become love-stricken with their owners. However they become shy around strangers, or when traveling outside the comfort of their home. With early socialization they build confidence and overcome their nervous behavior.
Training can sometimes be challenging, and especially frustrating with potty training. However, these dogs are incredibly sensitive, so positive training is the only method that will work.
2. French Bulldog
There is no dog quite like a “Frenchie”. Their unique bat-like ears, their large square head, and not to mention their silly personality.
French Bulldogs are friendly, curious, and wrinkly little comedians. They’re good at making friends and fit quite well into family life. They typically don’t bark much, but they do tend to grunt when excited or annoyed.
Due to being flat-faced they tend to have trouble breathing. Too much exercise, or too much heat exposure should be avoided. Also, Frenchies can’t swim, so be extra cautious when bathing or near bodies of water.
3. Great Dane
Great Dane’s are arguably the most laid back of all the dogs. They spend their days casually observing or napping in the sun. And while they prefer to relax, their sheer size presents some problems.
There’s no exaggeration with the word “Great”. They are great in size and height.
These gentle giants don’t always realize how big they are. So a little training can go a long ways when it comes to walking and maintaining your home.
Similar to the Italian Greyhounds, Whippets are a popular racing breed, and were once used for hunting rabbits. Because of their athleticism and intelligence, they excel in agility and obedience courses.
But even with all that energy these dogs are surprisingly very relaxed and quite enjoy a good nap.
They love spending time with your entire family, and can adapt to nearly any type of home. Also, they rarely bark, and the only time they tend to make noise is when they’re left alone.
You might think that owning a dog that can run as fast as a car down a highway might cause problems. But Grehounds have earned the name of “The World’s Fastest Couch Potato”
As you may have surmised, these dogs much prefer napping, lounging, and hanging out in a warm blanket.
Greyhounds rarely bark or make noise, unless left alone for any extended period of time. And they’re incredibly bright, making training an absolute joy.
They can be a very timid breed, and may show signs of nervousness around strangers and new dogs. That’s why it’s recommended you socialize them at an early age to develop some confidence.
6. American Staffordshire Terrier
Looks can be deceiving with this muscular breed. While “Staffies” are depicted as being fearsome and fierce, they are actually quite affectionate.
Keep in mind this is a powerful dog, and they can put those powerful muscles to use to pull you on a leash. Not to mention the biting power behind their jaw means they can chew and destroy most toys (or furniture if they’re bored).
The American Staffordshire Terrier is intelligent, loving, and athletic. Making a loving companion that is a joy to train.
7. Neapolitan Mastiff
Mastiff’s are somewhat of a couch-potato. While they’ll never say no to a walk, you can usually find them napping or soaking up some sun. Their very mellow demeanor makes them surprisingly suited as apartment pets (if you can accommodate their size and drool.)
Their short coat makes them very easy to groom. However, the mastiff’s jowls pose another problem: drool. So much drool.
Training can also be challenging, as their stubbornness will challenge your patience. They require firm but fair leadership or they’ll take up that roll for themselves. Early training and socialization are an absolute must to curb bad behavior and even aggressiveness.
8. Border Collie
Fiercely intelligent and ready to work, that’s the Border Collie in a nut shell. This is a working and herding breed. As such, Collies excel when given a job or something to keep them occupied.
There’s no end to a Border Collie’s energy. You will constantly be tasked with keeping them mentally and physically stimulated.
If you want a dog that is affectionate, clever, and very active – this is your next best friend.
Shar-pei are loyal to a fault. They typically respect their immediate owner and nobody else. In fact, these dogs can have a very unkind manner towards kids, dogs, and other people.
While they make excellent guard dogs, their short temper makes them a handful for the typical owner. Without an assertive leader they’ll likely take over the home as the new boss.
Dachshunds (or “Doxies”) are wonderful little companions that spend their days playing and napping. They adapt well to just about any family routine, as long as it’s with the ones they love.
These little dogs are incredibly bright, which makes teaching new tricks and routines an absolute joy. However, they are known to be stubborn in some aspects, especially when it comes to potty training.
Blue dachshunds may not be as common as some of the others on this list.
Dachshunds do come a much wider variety of colors than you might expect. See more about Dachsund colors.
Of course, we need to explain why Weimaraners are not technically on the list.
While the Weimaraner is a dilute carrier – they are considered Isabella, which means brown (not black) faded to a lighter pigment. Therefore, they are not blue, despite sometimes having a silver-grey appearance.
Another fun fact: the Weimaraner is only one of two breeds that come entirely dilute and no other color (the other being the Slovakian Pointer).
Source – The Dilution Gene and Breeds – http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/dilutes.html