Are you looking for a dog with the beauty of a wolf, but with the temperament and loyalty of a German Shepherd? A Blue Bay Shepherd may be just what you’re looking for.
However, this is a very pricey Shepherd variety, and for a good reason—it’s also a partial hybrid and a very new breed still under development.
They’re not right for every home, but could be an excellent match for the right family. Today we’ll look at the Blue Bay Shepherd, who it will suit, what special traits it brings to the table, and other important facts you need to know about before you buy a pup.
What is a Blue Bay Shepherd?
Crossbreeding canines to create new sub-breeds and variants is not a new idea. We’ve been doing it for millennia, helping to create dogs with the look, working drive, or temperament we want.
The Labradoodle is a famous modern breed that was created this way, and the Blue Bay Shepherd doesn’t have different origins.
It should never be done willy-nilly, however, and is best done very carefully and selectively over the years by dedicated breeders with the knowledge and ethics to create a healthy, happy dog.
We’ve seen this with the Lycan Shepherd recently as well, with a similar aim—a wolf look, without the stigma and worry of wolf genes.
The Blue Bay Shepherd is one such sub-breed, created by Vicki Spencer. For the last two decades, she’s been perfecting this unique new breed, hoping to create a wolf-like dog with a dog’s stable temperament, loyalty, and human-focused nature.
Actual wolfdogs often get a lot of stigma from the community and vets alike, so she hopes to keep the unique wolf look but with “clean” genes that will disassociate from that stigma.
They’re a cross between the more common (although still rather rare) Blue German Shepherd variant and wolfdog hybrids with blue coats. They’re immediately noticeable for that same “blue” coat (a term for specific rich grays in the dog world) and pale eyes.
The “Bay” in their name came about because they were developed in the Palm Bay, Florida, area at Southern Breeze Kennels.
Because it’s a very new breed—in fact, there’s an argument that it isn’t a full breed yet—the look of the breed may change over time, and it’s possible to get “throwback” Shepherds in Blue Bay litters.
Vicki Spencer is still actively trying to breed them towards an even more wolf-like appearance. This means you won’t find much information about them on the Internet.
Luckily, you have us to help you decide if this brand-new hybrid breed is a good match for your home. If you’re looking for an American Kennel Club-recognized Shepherd, this is not the breed for you.
Because of their high registry standards, the AKC doesn’t just recognize any dog as a new breed; this breed is still being actively created. It will be many years, if not decades,- before it gets an official breed status.
Remember, you should never choose a companion animal for looks alone. You must educate yourself on the breed and its quirks and ensure that you have the right family dynamic, lifestyle, and home for the dog. That’s why we bring you these breed profiles, to help you decide.
Only a few people currently own blue Bays, and their owners do love them. They’re said to have one of the sweetest natures around. So, let’s find out how they came to be, and why their owners love them so much.
Blue Bay Shepherd Physical Appearance
While there isn’t a particularly strict breed standard for the Blue Bay Shepherd right now, here are some key physical characteristics:
- Straight-backed and well-muscled
- Upright, proportional, triangular ears like the German Shepherd
- A “lanky” look that disguises a lot of power
- A head shape that’s very similar to the German Shepherd
- A long, deep blue coat
Their size can vary quite a bit, as the breed is still in development. They’re typically between 85 pounds and 105 pounds (males) and 70 to 85 pounds (females).
Most of these dogs average around 30 inches tall at the shoulder, with females leaning smaller and some males taller.
The temperament of a dog is just as important as its looks. The Blue Bay is bred to be an excellent family dog with a stable temperament. Here are its key characteristics:
- Couch potatoes, but with a lot of energy to burn. They may get destructive if under-exercised
- Sweet and affectionate
- Non-aggressive to livestock and small animals
- Not timid around people
- As trainable as a standard German Shepherd
- Powerful chewers
Remember that every dog has a unique personality. To be happy, healthy, and stable in temperament, dogs need to be well raised, socialized and trained.
Just like any other dog, Blue Bays need intensive care and love from their humans. Any dog can be aggressive if raised that way or if its natural need for mental stimulation is ignored, and the smarter the breed, the more stimulation they need.
This is a very high-energy breed, despite the sweet temperament, so plan to spend a good few hours a day exercising the dog. They don’t bark or yap repetitively like other dog breeds but do love to mimic sounds, such as howling along with you.
They likely will not have a hypoallergenic coat, although it’s a little too early in their development to say for sure.
How Much Does a Blue Bay Shepherd Puppy Cost?
As a “limited edition” breed, Blue Bay Shepherds are very expensive, and you will have to be lucky to find puppies for sale at all. Currently, you can expect to pay about $2000–$3500 a pup. In addition to those $3500 for the pup, you should also consider vet consult, shots, food, and more.
Remember that these costs cover the care, attention, and careful breeding dedicated to the new line by the current breeder. It’s an enormous amount of work, and a unique breed, so a high price tag is to be expected.
Also, remember that there is only one Blue Bay breeder. If you see any listed somewhere else, or people claim to have Blue Bays that are not from Vicki Spencer, it will be a scam, so proceed accordingly.
You also won’t find one in a rescue or shelter anywhere. The Spencer-bred Blue Bays all have a registration certificate and a unique number.
If a breeder claims they have a Spencer dog and are breeding it, ask to see the parent’s certificates—and report it immediately to the Southern Breeze kennel, Vicki’s kennel name.
Why Are Blue Bay Shepherds So Expensive?
This is, quite literally, a rare breed. So rare that you can only get it from one breeder, Vicki Spencer. The breeding stock for this dog is incredibly rare, too. Blue German Shepherds are not unknown but are definitely not common or easy to find. The same goes for blue wolfdog hybrids.
Surprisingly, Vicki struggled to find the right Shepherd more than the right wolfdog, which she had previous experience with breeding and handling. When she encountered a beautiful and intact blue wolf-dog hybrid, she set out to find the perfect partner for them.
The original Blue Bay stock was bred from a litter she was offered, but the need to bring in new genes and keep the temperament balance she wants makes this a very long-term and careful project.
They’re likely to remain exceedingly limited for many years to come. The first Blue Bay Shepherd litter was born in 2011. The parents were a French-bred Blue German Shepherd and her existing blue wolf-dog stock.
In a unique and new hybrid breed like this, there isn’t even a guarantee that breeding a Blue Bay dog to another Blue Bay dog will give a litter that solely consists of Blue Bay puppies.
It’s very common to get “throwbacks” to the original breeding stock. Again, you can look at the older Labradoodle hybrid breed for more about this phenomenon.
Current Blue Bay stock may have up to 30% wolf genes because of their hybrid nature. While that’s not a lot, Vicki still wants to lower that percentage.
However, the very first official Blue Bays were 5 generations away from the pure wolf line. Once Blue Bays can be bred exclusively to other Blue Bays, this will reduce with time.
It’s important to realize that “blue”, in the dog world, actually refers to a rich slate-gray color. You also see it on the Russian Blue cat.
With fresh wolf-hybrid DNA in their breed and careful selection of breeding stock, they don’t have a lot of genetic health issues. However, the German Shepherd’s risk of hip dysplasia is also present in this breed.
All large-breed dogs with deep chests are also at risk of bloating. Unlike how we use this term in humans, this is a severe issue for dogs, where the gut twists and “blows up”, and it can be fatal if not properly treated. Avoiding strenuous activity for 2 hours after eating will prevent bloat issues.
It is important to stress that this is a very new breed. There may be hidden issues we don’t know about yet. This lack of fixed literature on the topic must always be kept in mind when discussing the Blue Bay.
Remember that you need to budget for regular vet checks at important milestones, their annual shots, and have good pet insurance (or personal funds) to provide veterinary care as needed.
You should never buy a dog of any breed on a whim, but instead, make sure you have the money and time to devote to making a happy, healthy hound.
Diet and Food Costs
A great diet is critical for the health and well-being of this unusual breed. They typically need at least 5 cups of food daily, and it should be a well-balanced, high-quality brand with premium ingredients. Keep in mind that some Blue Bays are prone to sensitive stomachs.
Most high-quality dog foods cost around $2–$3 a pound. A 30-pound pack will likely contain 120 cups, which will last for approximately 20–24 days, depending on the dog’s size, life stage, and appetite.
Some owners prefer other feeding regimes, such as raw feeding. It’s difficult to price this one out, as it depends on your choices and local sources, but it can be very labor intensive and you will need a dedicated dog meat freezer.
Remember that self-hunted meat is not good for a raw dog diet, as there’s no chance to control any potential parasites because you won’t be cooking the meat.
While the Blue Bay Shepherd coat is designed to look a little wild and rugged, it will still need careful care to keep it clean and mat-free, and to remove loose hairs.
They may also need their ears and eyes cleaned on a regular basis. It’s perfectly possible to perform this level of care yourself, but you can use a professional groomer if you prefer.
It will cost about $75 to groom a Shepherd-like breed at a professional grooming salon. If you send a pup to a groomer, ensure it’s well socialized to touch, especially by a stranger, for the dog’s comfort and the groomer’s sake.
The Blue Bay Shepherd is the culmination of one woman’s lifetime of work and her urge to create a legacy dog with the looks and robust good health of a wolf mixed with the sweet tempers of a tenacious, loyal, and big-hearted breed like the German Shepherd.
We think she’s done a spectacular job, even if there’s more to come for this breed.
If you fell in love with the Blue Bay Shepherd’s charming nature, stunning look, and personality, be prepared to part with a lot of money. Still, the years of loyalty and love will be worth it for the right dog.