Blue dog breeds have a distinctive blue-sheen that's quite unlike any other coat out there! Blue breed varieties can include the likes of the hard-working Australian Cattle Dog, the rapid Italian Greyhound, and the loyal Kerry Blue Terrier.
There are lots of different breeds that can exhibit a blue sheen, and they all have unique attributes to offer - on top of their lovely, blue, shiny fur coats!
Blue dog breeds are quite rare, as the coloring is caused by a combination of recessive genes that need to match up for the blue to shine through; however, there are several breeds that are more likely to produce a blue puppy than others.
In this article, we explore what it means for a dog to have a blue coat, then we run down the most popular blue dog breeds out there!
What is a blue breed?
Okay, so unless you're familiar with dog breeding, you might be wondering what exactly we mean by a 'blue breed' - after all, how many blue-coated dogs do you ever see being walked in the park?
It's a bit of a misnomer because blue dog breeds are dogs that have just a very small tinge of silvery-blue to their coats. It's often a very subtle blue-grey hue, or it can be more pronounced. Blue-coated dog breeds aren't dark blue in color but rather are bluey-silvery, in addition to their breed's other predominant colorings and markings.
It's quite rare, although as we mentioned already, some breeds are more susceptible to this hue than others - including the following:
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Australian Shepherd
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Bearded Collie
- Blue Lacy
- Bluetick Coonhound
- Catahoula Leopard Dog
- Chinese Shar Pei
- Chow Chow
- English Setter
- Great Dane
- Kerry Blue Terrier
- Italian Greyhound
- Irish Wolfhound
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Thai Ridgeback
- Yorkshire Terrier
Why is a blue dog breed blue?
If you're looking for a blue dog breed, then don't expect to find a dog with a bright blue, or dark blue coat. Rather, they are subtle in their unique colorings, but all the more beautiful because of it!
Blue dogs exhibit this blue-silver sheen because of recessive genes (which is why some breeds are more predisposed to it than others). This makes the blue coat rare, though, because both the mother and the father need to have this recessive gene (which they may have, even if they are not 'blue' themselves) for it to then become dominant in their puppies.
The blue gene causes parts of what would normally be a black coat, to become more silvery-blue - essentially lighter in tone and color. The blue is often most pronounced on the dog's nose or running down the spine of their coat. It can also be found in blotches or in streaks, and it really does vary from one dog to the next. These breeds commonly have lovely blue eyes, as well as a blue-silver coat!
Top blue breeds
Let's take a look at a selection of the most popular blue breeds in more detail. There are large and small blue breeds (some are small enough to need a bed ramp for dogs to get up and down from the sofa!), and there are breeds with all sorts of great qualities and characteristics.
Australian Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog is one of the most popular blue dog breeds out there, so much so that this breed has the nickname, the 'Blue Heeler.'
This hard-working cattle dog was bred specifically for the harsh, arid climate of the Australian Outback, where they've found fame for their intelligence and work ethic, as much as for their blue coats.
Australian Cattle Dogs usually have dark or tan fur that's significantly tinged all over with a unique blue hue. They'll often have bright blue eyes, as well.
The Blue Lacy dog breed is so blue in color that there's blue in their name. This is a Texan favorite (it's the state dog!), a working dog that was bred for a hard day's work on the ranch in tough and exhausting conditions.
Somehow, though, the Blue Lacy still looks good, despite the hours they put it. The Blue Lacy is highly regarded for its smooth, shiny coat that's dark, with a blue hue when the right genes match up. Non-blue Blue Lacy dogs are still gorgeous, with super sleek fur coats that are often red or tan in color.
The Italian Greyhound is a fast-paced, miniature version of the full-sized Greyhound breed. Standing no more than 15 inches high and being of athletic, slender build, these sighthounds are super speedy!
It also commonly exhibits blue coloring when those recessive genes match up. They have smooth, silk coats, and they are perfectly friendly, intelligent, and surprisingly laid-back, given their ability to race.
Kerry Blue Terrier
The Kerry Blue Terrier is a classic Irish breed that was originally bred for vermin control and sheep herding. They are super-fast and easily trained, with excellent speed, stamina, and endurance.
This mid-sized working dog has a distinctively curly coat that's often grey-blue in color. In fact, the Kerry Blue Terrier's shiny coat has seen this dog make it to the winning podium of many an international championship (including Crufts!).
The Shar Pei is best known for its wrinkles, as much as it is for its silvery-blue coat, and consequently, this is one dog that constantly looks to be deep in thought.
The Shar Pei is short but tough because originally, they were bred in China for dogfighting. The Shar Pei can be born with a variety of different coats, ranging from light brown to dark shades of tan or dark grey.
Many Shar Peis are often born with either light blue hues or with more distinctive blue sheens that line their silvery fur.
The Weimaraner is a large breed of dog that is revered for its shiny grey-blue coats. Their coats can be brown or grey in color and many shades in between, but the breed is often characterized by a blue tinge when the recessive genes match up.
Originally of German origin, the Weimaraner was bred for hunting, and they were known to take on even the fiercest of predators (wolves and bears!). This is a loyal, working dog with a beautiful coat of blue fur!
What's your favorite blue breed?
Are you a fan of the hard-working Australian Cattle Dog, or do you prefer the laid-back style of a wrinkly Shar Pei?
Whether you're looking for a blue large breed dog or a blue small breed dog, there's definitely a blue dog for your household!
If you're searching for your new four-legged friend, then why not bookmark our guide to blue dog breeds?