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Can German Shepherds Have Blue Eyes? How Rare Is It?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

german shepherd dog with blue eyes

You have probably seen a cat or husky with blue eyes, but have you ever seen a German Shepherd with blue eyes? Probably not. Although it is very rare, German Shepherds can have blue eyes because of a recessive gene that dilutes the dog’s eye and coat colors.

To learn more about German Shepherds with blue eyes, read on. This article covers everything you could possibly want to know about German Shepherds with blue eyes.

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What Causes a German Shepherd to Have Blue Eyes?

A German Shepherd’s eye color is determined by its genetics. The majority of both purebred German Shepherds and mixed German Shepherds have brown eyes because it is the dominant trait. In contrast, the blue eye color is a recessive trait.

In case it’s been awhile since your last science class, dominant traits beat out recessive traits, which is why brown eyes are more common in German Shepherds. For a recessive gene to appear, both parents must have the same trait.

Interestingly, the recessive trait that causes German Shepherds to have blue eyes is also found in humans, but it is simply more common in humans. You’ll sometimes hear this gene called the “Liver Recessive Gene” or “Double Blue Gene.”

What makes the Double Blue Gene so unique is that it causes the dog’s pigmentation to appear diluted. Thus, the German Shepherd has a bluer appearance, and its eyes are blue instead of brown. Although it may sound weird that blue eyes are blue due to lack of pigmentation, the same is true of human blue eyes.

german shepherd dog with blue eyes walking on water
Image By: TheOtherKev, Pixabay

What Will a Blue-Eyed German Shepherd Look Like?

Whereas humans with blue eyes can come in all sizes and races, German Shepherds with blue eyes tend to look the same, but they look different from the classic German Shepherd. German Shepherds that end up having blue eyes are called Blue German Shepherds.

A Blue German Shepherd can come in three colorations, including blue and black, blue, and dark brown, and blue and tan. Often, the blue and black coloration makes the dog appear dark gray all over.

Even though Blue German Shepherds can have blue eyes, it’s important to note that these German Shepherds can also have light brown or yellow eyes. So, the recessive gene doesn’t guarantee blue eyes, but it makes it more likely.

Is It Rare for a German Shepherd to Have Blue Eyes?

It is considered very rare for German Shepherds to have blue eyes. Not only must the German Shepherd have the recessive gene, but it also must have blue eyes. Plus, most breeders prefer not to waste time breeding Blue German Shepherds for reasons we will discuss next.

In other words, it’s a gamble as to whether a German Shepherd will have blue eyes, and the odds are very low.

Are Blue German Shepherds Sickly?

This recessive gene can be seen in other dogs, such as Dobermans. In Dobermans, the gene can cause the dog to have certain skin conditions. In German Shepherds, there is no negative health link between the recessive gene and the dog.

That being said, many breeders avoid breeding Blue German Shepherds because kennel associations view them as a defect. What this means is that you cannot present your German Shepherd at dog shows because the blue coloration is a fault.

Of course, you can always find a Blue German Shepherd if you want one specifically and have no intention of showing it. You will likely have to pay extra money for this dog since many breeders don’t waste their time on them and it’s not guaranteed the dog will turn out with a blue coat or eyes.

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Final Thoughts

If you have seen a German Shepherd with blue eyes, you have seen a real treat. German Shepherds can have blue eyes only if they have the recessive gene. Even though the gene is not associated with any health defects, kennel associations view the color as a defect and most breeders view it as a waste of time to breed these dogs.

So, not only is it rare for a German Shepherd to have blue eyes based on its own genes, but it’s even rarer to find a German Shepherd that was bred with such genes. Despite the rarity of blue-eyed German Shepherds, they will bring you just as much fun, love, and companionship as a classic German Shepherd.

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Featured Image Credit: Tsworld, Pixabay

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