While the Blue Bay Shepherd as a breed is still being developed, it is an extraordinary new wolfdog mix already taking the internet by storm. Blue Bay Shepherds retain their distinctive wolf-like appearance but with the personality and loyalty of a German Shepherd. Currently, they are not recognized by any major kennel club.
History of the Blue Bay Shepherd
Florida is the birthplace of sunscreen, key-lime pie, and, you guessed it, Blue Bay Shepherds. Southern Breeze Ranch, to be specific.
Vicki Spencer is the founder and only breeder of Blue Bay Shepherds. For the past 20 years, she has worked on the development of the breed, with the first litter of puppies being born in March 2011.
She had a very specific list of traits she wanted her dogs to exhibit and ones she didn’t want.
- Striking Blue Color
- Wolfish Appearance
- Loyal and Affectionate
- Better Health
- Very Dark Eyes
- Large Ears
- Aggressive Temperament
- Sloped Backs
The original cross was between a blue-coated German Shepherd from France and the wolf-dogs she’d been producing in anticipation of finding the right old-world style blue GSD.
Her wolf dogs were a mix of an east timber wolf and a variety of unknown dog breeds. Since the first generation, Vicki has added other breeds to the gene pool, but she has kept them secret from the public to prevent other breeders from trying to make a “lesser quality Blue Bay Shepherd.”
How Did Blue Bay Shepherds Get Their Name?
The naming of the Blue Bay Shepherd is very simple, ‘Blue’ for their color, ‘Bay’ for Palm Bay, Florida, where the breed started, and ‘Shepherd’ for the German Shepherd Dogs in their ancestry.
Are Blue Bay Shepherds Rare?
Blue Bay Shepherds are extremely rare dogs, partly because they are a new breed and also because they are only produced by one breeder. It’s estimated there are about 200 Blue Bay Shepherds in existence.
The first notable thing about a Blue Bay Shepherd is the deep blue coat color they have. The blue color comes from a recessive gene that dilutes the black pigment they’d normally have into a dark blue/grey.
Depending on the level of dilution, their coat color can appear anywhere from light silver to dark charcoal. Achieving a deep blue color remains the goal of breeding, though. Some pups will have white markings on their face, chest, or paws, which is perfectly acceptable.
Blue Bay Shepherds also closely resemble a wolf in appearance, with long legs, long muzzles, and lean bodies. Their eyes should be yellow or amber, much like a wolf, but they can have blue eyes or exhibit a green tint as well.
They have pointy, erect ears and long, bushy, curved tails.
The average height of a Blue Bay Shepherd is between 26 to 30 inches at the shoulder, and average weight is between 80 to 120 pounds. Like most dog breeds, males are usually larger than females.
Blue Bay Shepherds are bred to be intelligent, sweet, and loyal dogs with less aggression than their parent breeds. Because of their wolf blood, they can be somewhat stubborn and reserved, and training can be more time-consuming.
They can be great with children if they are socialized and trained properly. This has nothing to do with being a wolf dog, the same can be said for any dog breed.
Blue Bay Shepherds are highly active dogs, they need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. As such, they are not typically suitable for apartment living unless you get them out frequently.
Hiking, running, swimming, and exhaustive games of fetch or great exercise ideas for this breed. They will also benefit from mental challenges like training (obedience, agility, fly-dog, etc..), puzzle toys, or interactive games.
Blue Bay Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs; they learn quickly and easily but also get bored just as quickly. They are capable of learning anything from basic commands to advanced skills.
They are still too new of a breed to be used as modern working dogs, but they should be fully capable of serving as therapy dogs, service dogs, search and rescue dogs, or whatever else you can come up with.
One of the main purposes of breeding was to limit the aggressive nature their parent breeds sometimes present with. Blue Bay Shepherds may still have some natural protective instincts toward their family or territory, but they are typically more tolerant of strangers.
Many still retain a strong prey drive and will likely take off after small animals like squirrels, rabbits, and potentially cats if they aren’t used to them. Again, like other breeds, this is something that training and socialization can do wonders for.
Sociable With Other Dogs
Blue Bay Shepherds generally get along well with other dogs, especially if they were raised with them. In a group setting, like a dog park, they will often gravitate toward other dogs with similar size and energy levels.
They can show dominant behavior toward smaller or weaker dogs; proper introduction and supervision when meeting new dogs is always recommended with any breed.
How Much Wolf Is In A Blue Bay Shepherd
Genetically speaking, Blue Bay Shepherds are mostly German Shepherd with a smaller amount of wolf blood. The first breeding had as much as 30% Eastern Timber Wolf; subsequent generations have seen a decrease in wolf percentage. Long-term, Spencer plans for her dogs to have around 6% wolf DNA.
Blue Bay Shepherds should only have one coat color. Blue – As the name suggests.
The blue color can range from light silver to dark charcoal with a bluish tint, depending on how diluted the blue color is.
Are Blue Bay Shepherds Good Pets?
For an active or outdoorsy home, Blue Bay Shepherds will fit right in.
Their personality is well suited for a home with children or other pets, but their size can be a concern if you have small children. Even the nicest dog will knock a toddler over when they are excited.
Caring For a Blue Bay Shepherd
Blue Bay Shepherds will shed – A lot. They need to be brushed at least once a week, sometimes more, depending on the season. To remove loose hair and dirt, we recommend a slicker brush for dense-coated dogs like these.
Bathing should be kept to a minimum, once a quarter, unless they get excessively dirty. Use unscented dog shampoo, or they will likely be outside rolling in dirt immediately after to get rid of that nasty (to them) unnatural smell.
Blue Bay Shepherds should be fed a high-quality dog food that is suited for their age, health, and activity level.
Depending on your dog’s metabolism or lifestyle, they may need more or less food than the recommended average. If you are unsure, you should consult your veterinarian for advice specific to your dog.
I’ve mentioned the activity level of a Blue Bay Shepherd a few times already, and for good reason. They need an hour or more a day of exercise to stay fit and healthy.
When bored or left alone for long periods of time, they can become destructive and are prone to separation anxiety.
Where to Find a Blue Bay Shepherd Puppy
Blue Bay Shepherds are very rare dogs that are only bred by one breeder in Florida: Vicki Spencer of Southern Breeze Ranch. She is the only source of purebred Blue Bay Shepherd puppies in the world.
To get a Blue Bay Shepherd puppy from Vicki Spencer, one has to fill out an application form on her website and wait for her approval. She only sells her puppies to approved homes that can provide them with adequate care and attention.
She doesn’t ship her puppies to other states or countries, instead preferring to meet with potential owners in person and evaluate their suitability for owning a Blue Bay Shepherd. She also stays in touch with the owners and follows up on the puppies’ progress and health.
Therefore, anyone who wants to get a Blue Bay Shepherd puppy has to travel to Florida and visit her ranch. Be prepared to pay a high price for these rare and exclusive dogs.
Average Cost of a Blue Bay Shepherd
The cost of an American Blue Bay Shepherd (ABBS) puppy is between $1500 and $3000, depending on quality. However, this does not include the travel expenses, vet fees, or other costs associated with owning a dog.
Some puppies may have more desirable traits than others, such as a darker-colored blue coat or a more wolf-like appearance. These puppies will usually be sold for higher prices than the average.
Notable Health Concerns
Blue Bay Shepherds, as a breed, are healthy dogs, as they are bred from carefully selected parents who do not have any genetic health issues. In some cases, it is possible they have some common health problems, particularly ones attributed to large dogs such as these:
Regular vet check-ups can help catch potential problems early on, giving your dog the best chance of success if a problem arises. Keep in mind hip dysplasia can be detected in most dogs by the time they are 1 year old, even if they don’t show any symptoms.