Blue dogs, like a Blue Heeler or Kerry Blue Terrier, have a dilute black coat or patterns that give them the “blue” name. Some dog breeds come in blue as a standard color, while others may just have a high likelihood of producing blue pups.
Here are the 14 blue dog breeds and the patterns they can come in.
How Are Blue Dog Breeds Classified?
Several dog breeds have a blue color, but it’s not actually blue. It’s more of a silvery gray or ice color, which is known as “blue.” It can be light or a steely shade. Blue dog breeds carry the recessive genes for blue coat coloration from their parents. As long as both parents have the gene for a diluted black coat—which is “blue”—they will produce blue pups.
Some dogs have blue as a known coloration, while others may get a blue coat or patterns outside of the breed standard.
Top 14 Blue Dog Breeds
1. Australian Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog has the nickname Red Heeler or Blue Heeler, the latter of which refers to its common blue-mottled or blue-speckled coat. These dogs usually have some true black or tan markings, but the overall impression is blue or red. Despite these good looks, the Heeler is an intelligent and resilient herding breed designed to work livestock, which can be a bit much for a new owner.
2. Kerry Blue Terrier
One of the largest terriers, the Kerry Blue Terrier is a famous, blue-coated dog that comes from Ireland. Bred for farm work and as a watchdog, the Kerry comes in stunning shades of deep slate to a light blue-gray. These dogs also have characteristic beards that help protect them while hunting vermin like rats, rabbits, and ferrets.
The Weimaraner is a steely gray hunting dog with a dilute brown or black coat. Known as “Gray Ghost” of Germany, the Weimaraner is a beloved hunting dog with a velvety coat and amber or blue-gray eyes. The standard colors for the breed are blue, gray, and silver-gray.
The Chihuahua is one of the smallest dog breeds and comes in a variety of types and colors, including a blue coat that comes from a relatively rare recessive gene. This typically shows in a full blue or blue with tan, white, fawn, or brown markings. It’s possible in both long-haired and short-haired chihuahuas.
5. Bearded Collie
The Bearded Collie is a droving dog from Scotland that comes in a distinctive blue coat color. They typically have shaggy coats with white markings on the face, chest, legs, and tail but a solid blue from the shoulders back. Some Beardies are born with a darker coat color that lightens as they mature.
6. Boston Terrier
Dubbed “The American Gentleman,” the Boston Terrier is a lively dog with a tuxedo pattern that comes in many colors, including blue and white. Blue is a recessive gene that isn’t part of the AKC breed standards, but it’s highly sought after among pet owners.
7. Italian Greyhound
The Italian Greyhound is a miniature version of a standard Greyhound used for coursing or as a companion dog. Like the Greyhound, the Italian Greyhound has a graceful, elegant body and smooth coat that comes in a steely gray color. These dogs aren’t exclusively blue, but they carry a gene for a dilute black coat that gives them a deep steel color and blue cast.
8. Blue Lacy
The Blue Lacy is a rare dog breed that isn’t recognized as a breed at all by kennel clubs. The dog was developed as a rancher’s companion and herding dog in the 19th century. These dogs carry a recessive gene for a blue coat, as well as red, cream, or tricolor coat.
9. Neapolitan Mastiff
The Neapolitan Mastiff or Mastino Napoletano is an Italian breed of dog of the mastiff type. They descend from the traditional guard dogs of central Italy. Large and imposing, the wrinkled Neapolitan Mastiff comes in several colors, but blue is one of the most common. Black, mahogany, tawny, and brindled colors are acceptable colors in the AKC breed standard.
10. Shar Pei
The Shar Pei is known for its endearing winkles and guard dog capabilities, but they’re also one of the blue dog breeds. They come in a variety of coat colors, according to the breed standard, as long as the color is solid or sable. Blue Shar Peis can be lighter blue-gray or a deeper slate color, some with shading along the back and ears. No matter the coat color, Shar Peis have a blue-black tongue.
11. Irish Wolfhound
The Irish Wolfhound is one of the tallest AKC breeds used for big-game hunting, yet they’re a loyal and gentle companion. The gene responsible for blue coats is strong in the Irish Wolfhound, giving them a bluish-gray color with a distinctive blue tint. Most of the blue Irish Wolfhounds have liver-colored paw pads, noses, and eye rims, providing an attractive contrast.
12. American Staffordshire Terrier
The American Staffordshire Terrier is a stocky, muscular bull-type terrier with a stiff, glossy coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns, including a steel gray color. Aside from Blue, Staffies may be a blue fawn, blue fawn brindle, and black brindle, which give them a blue look.
13. Bluetick Coonhound
The Bluetick Coonhound is a beautiful and sleek hunting dog that’s named for their mottled—“ticked”—black and blue pattern. This gives them the impression of a navy-blue color with a black head and ears and tan markings on the face, chest, and legs.
14. Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd has a unique merle coat pattern that comes in a variety of colors, including a mix of gray shades that appear blue. The blue merle Australian Shepherd typically has a combination of black, blue, gray, and white colors. Some blue merle Aussies have blue eyes or even one blue eye, though most have brown or amber eyes.
What Is Color Dilution Alopecia?
Color dilution alopecia (CDA) is a genetic recessive inherited condition that causes patches of hair thinning or loss with flaky skin. Typically, color dilution alopecia occurs in dogs with dilute colors, such as blue or fawn dogs. Fortunately, other than appearance and skin issues that need treatment, color dilution alopecia isn’t associated with any other health problems.
Blue dogs come in a variety of breeds. If you have your heart set on a blue dog, there are plenty of options for hunting, sporting, and companion dogs alike. It’s important to consider not only the dog’s looks, however, but their temperament and energy levels to ensure they’re a good fit for your family.
Featured Image Credit: L.A.Kennedy, Shutterstock