blue bay shepherd

What are blue bay shepherd?

Last Updated on May 23, 2024 by Amin Tawar

People might have a lot of questions about these striking, wolfish-looking dogs with their sweet personalities and light eyes. First of all, are they actually blue? Or do they come from an area called Blue Bay? Do they actually have any shepherd dog genes? Why are they only found in one place in the world and how rare are they exactly? We shall endevor to answer all these questions in addition to further questions about their appearance and behavior.

What Exactly Is a Blue Bay Shepherd?

blue bay shepherd
What are blue bay shepherd?

An American Blue Bay Shepherd is a certain breed of dog found only in one kennel in the world. They’re part wolf and part German Shepherd and they were bred very carefully by a woman named Vicki Spencer. Bred because she wanted them to have a certain look (‘blue’ colored fur being one of the aspects), these dog breeds are also very intelligent and sweet by nature.

They have a wolfish look, which is because of the fact that they do have some percentage of wolves in them. (In fact, Blue Bays qualify as wolf dogs even though the wolf percentage is quite low in this breed.) But they combine that wolfish look with blue fur and light eyes, which they have gotten from a certain kind of longhaired German Shepherd.

Thus, their name – Blue Bay Shepherds – where ‘blue’ stands for their color, ‘bay’ for the Forida area that they come from and ‘shepherd’ for their ancestry.

Vicki Spencer and the Origin of Blue Bay Shepherds

For many years, Vicki Spencer wanted to create a dog that was extremely loyal, trainable and eager to please, just like the German Shepherd, but coupled with good health, an endearing temperament and the look of their wolfish ancestor. This was a project that she undertook in the 1990s but it was a challenging one. 

The most challenging aspect? Finding the right dogs to create the breed. She knew that she wanted the German Shepherd but the typical German Shepherd with its tan and black coloring didn’t look wolfish enough. She knew that if she used the rare blue German Shepherd, she’d be able to get the look that she desired. But they weren’t easily available and the ones that she got weren’t solid blue. They just had the bluish saddle marking and usually lost the blue coloring with age. 

She nevertheless bred these blues with wolf dogs that had a traceable wolf heritage. She wanted to create biddable, outgoing dogs and remove the timid and shy nature that many wolf dogs retain. Then she received a breakthrough in the form of an email from the French Legend of Darkness Kennels. They had blue, dilute German Shepherd dogs that were much criticized by many kennels because they supposedly had some wolf heritage.

Spencer started an exchange program with them and took on two of these GSDs. One was a male and one a female. With them she created the first litter of Blue Bay Shepherds in March 2011. She claims that these were Blue Bays F6, which means that they are five times removed from their original wolf ancestor. She aims to keep the wolf percentage down to 6 percent though some Blue Bays might have as much as 16 percent wolf blood.

Wolf Dog Hybrids – Safe Or Not?

Many people find wolf dog hybrids dangerous. They’re ranked as some of the most aggressive dogs in the world because of their high prey drive and any hybrid with high percentages needs to be registered. They can be typically quite disobedient and unbiddable. They also suffer from shyness and timidity which isn’t a desirable trait in domestic dogs.

Spencer claims that her wolf dogs have such low percentages of wolf genes that they’re much sweeter and more trainable by nature. The German Shepherd genes override the wolfy ones. There is some controversy about this because she hasn’t been transparent about the lineages of her dogs and people can only speculate. 

So far, she is the only breeder and it is only right that you do due diligence before you choose to get one. These dogs aren’t for everybody.

Are Blue Bay Shepherds Rare?

Yes, they’re rare. They’re bred exclusively by Vicki Spencer at her Southern Breeze Kennels in Florida. She and a few of her employees are the only ones that oversee their breeding and she does not allow anyone else to know her process. Each Blue Bay Shepherd is registered and the certificate is signed by Spencer herself to give them the stamp of legitimacy.

She’s quite selective about the breeding as well. Spencer set out to create a dog with a certain kind of look and now she adheres to those standards. This means that not many Blue Bays are produced each year. While they are slowly gaining popularity, with a Blue Bay Shepherd called Kurgan having thousands of subscribers on Youtube, they are still not widely found.

Invariably there will be people who will try to develop a dog with the same look and market it as a Blue Bay Shepherd. But you should know that they are not what the breeder claims them to be. Another point not to be forgotten? The Legend of Darkness Kennels also had a couple of Spencer’s original wolf dogs. The kennel still exists (under a different name – and still breeds blue colored hybrid dogs. They have named these the Timber Shepherd. While they certainly look like wolves, these dogs don’t look like Blue Bays at all and can’t be mistaken as such.

Size and Appearance of Blue Bay Shepherds

blue-bay-shepherd-size
What are blue bay shepherd?

Since they’re primarily bred for appearance, Blue Bay Shepherds have a certain kind of desired look. Big and athletic dogs, they have long straight hair that is a blue or slate color. They have blue or black noses and light eyes, unlike most German Shepherds. 

In fact, Spencer specifically wanted those light eyes and didn’t like the dark eyes of GSDs. Most Blue Bays have eyes that range from yellow to amber. Some even have tints of green or light bue eyes.

They might look wolfy but given their size and the shape of their heads, they do also show their German Shepherd genes. They’re a new breed so it isn’t clear right away what their size is. But most fully grown males range from 85 – 105 lb while females weigh in at 70 – 85 lb. Some big males might even max out 135 lb.

Let’s Look At Color Variations (Despite the Name)

Yes, we know that their name is Blue Bay Shepherds. And that that was the desired color. And yet, we have to keep in mind that they are hybrid dogs. Other dogs were mixed in with blue German Shepherds to achieve the desired look. Thus, different colors do sometimes creep in.

These colors are cream, beige, beige and cream, black, white and black and tan. Perhaps, at some point, the Blue Bay Shepherd will be registered in different colors as well. But since the breed is still not standardized, that’s still some time off. For now, the objective is to breed blue colored dogs.

It is important to keep in mind that wolves themselves don’t come in solid colors. Timber wolves, or gray wolves as they are known and whose look Spencer so desperately wanted to create, come in various shades of black, white, cream, brown, and gray. Solid blue they are not.

Behavior and Temperament of Blue Bay Shepherds

blue-bay-shepherd
What are blue bay shepherd?

While Blue Bay Shepherds are admittedly bred for their looks, Vicki Spencer says that their personality takes precedence. She will sacrifice the desired look for her dogs but she won’t compromise on their temperament. She wanted to create a breed of friendly, approachable, easily trained shepherd dogs. And that is exactly what the Blue Bay Shepherd is. 

The objective was to get a great family pet. German Shepherds have a lot of great qualities but they can be skittish and wary of strangers. They’re even listed among the top ten most aggressive common dog breeds. Wolf dogs are even more shy and reserved. Not so with the Blue Bay Shepherd. They don’t have any of those aloof or aggressive tendencies. 

Blue Bays tend to be sweet and approachable. They get along well with other pets like smaller dogs and cats when they’re properly socialized. They also do well with children although homes with very small children might not be a good fit for them. They are gentle but they’re also huge and accidents can always happen.

Blue Bays do tend to suffer from social anxiety so they can’t be left to their own devices for long periods of time. They’re high energy dogs that don’t do well when cooped up in small apartments. Thus, an active family that can give their pup lots of time is the best kind of family for a Blue Bay Shepherd. Vicki Spencer herself likes to make sure that her dogs go to good homes so she will chat with the family to make sure they’re a good fit for her beloved Blue Bays.

Health of Blue Bay Shepherds

Blue Bays were created to root out some of the problems with the German Shepherd, such as the sloping back which can lead to hip dysplasia at a young age. She deliberately used the old-style German Shepherds that don’t have this newer feature. 

However, this doesn’t rule out either elbow or hip dysplasia since those are conditions that many big dogs are vulnerable to. Bloat is a common problem with big dogs as well. This happens when dogs eat too quickly and air builds up in their stomachs. It can be a fatal condition in dogs.

Blue Bays are a new breed and no baseline of their health conditions has been established yet. Some common problems GSDs suffer from and which can also affect them are epilepsy, eye problems, pituitary dwarfism and degenerative myelopathy.

As with many dogs that have the dilute color gene, they might suffer from alopecia. This is a skin condition that causes itching and hair loss.

Grooming and Exercise Needs of Blue Bay Shepherds

Finally, Blue Bay Shepherds are double coated dogs with thick, long hair. This means that they shed moderately through the year and especially during the spring and fall seasons. During this time, they need to be brushed daily to keep their shedding to a minimum. 

During the rest of the year, brushing 2 or 3 times a week is necessary. This keeps their fur free of tangles and matting. Trimming their nails might be necessary every 2 weeks although they’re an active species and often wear down their nails just by running around. Ears should be cleaned every few weeks as well to prevent ear infections (another common problem that affects German Shepherds).

They’re an active breed and daily walks and playtime is a must to manage their energy levels. They’ll get bored easily if they’re kept confined within an apartment. Thus, you have to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. This means adequate exercise. This also helps prevent obesity and bloating.

Conclusion

And that is all that you need to know about the Blue Bay Shepherd. I hope that this article was helpful and that you gained something valuable. 

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