=

Blue Steel Panda German Shepherd 101: Temperament, Care, Health and More

Categorized as German Shepherd Types and Mixes
Featured image for an article about Blue Steel Panda German Shepherd 101: Temperament, Care, Health and More

The Blue Steel Panda German Shepherd is a rare and visually stunning variety of the classic German Shepherd dog breed. With their distinctive steel blue and white coats and captivating blue eyes, these dogs attract attention wherever they go.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about this unique type of German Shepherd – from their origins and temperament to grooming needs and potential health issues. Read on to learn what makes the Blue Steel Panda Shepherd so special!

PuppyAdultSenior
FoodHigh-quality puppy food, 3-4 meals per dayHigh-quality adult food, 2 meals per dayReduced calories/higher fiber adult food, 2 meals per day
Exercise15-20 minutes per day, focus on socialization60-90 minutes per day30-60 minutes per day, low impact exercise
GroomingBrush every 1-2 days to get used to handlingBrush 2-3 times per weekBrush 2-3 times per week, may need help reaching areas
TrainingPositive reinforcement, focus on socialization and mannersObedience training, new commands, dog sportsMental games and exercises to keep mind sharp
Vet VisitsEvery 3-4 weeks for puppy shots/examsAnnual wellness visit; urgent care as neededSemi-annual wellness visits, senior bloodwork

Overview of the Blue Steel Panda German Shepherd

The Blue Steel Panda Shepherd is a color variation of the standard German Shepherd dog. It gets its name from its signature blue-gray coat coloration and distinctive facial markings. The coat has a mix of steel blue and black hairs mingled with white accents on the face, chest, legs and belly.

In addition to the coat, Blue Steel Panda Shepherds often have striking ice blue eyes which stand out against the cooler coat tones. The eyes may also be amber or brown.

These dogs are still purebred German Shepherds – the blue coat and eyes are simply a result of diluted pigment genes being expressed. It’s the same genes that lead to the iconic black and tan or sable coats in standard German Shepherds.

While German Shepherds are among the most popular dog breeds in the US and worldwide, the Blue Steel Panda variety is still quite rare. Because of their unique look, they tend to cost significantly more than standard German Shepherds when purchased from a breeder.

Quick Facts:

  • Origin: Germany
  • Height: 22-26 inches
  • Weight: 50-90 pounds
  • Coat: Steel blue, black and white
  • Eyes: Blue, amber or brown
  • Life Span: 10-14 years

Temperament and Personality

Despite their unusual appearance, Blue Steel Panda Shepherds have the same personality traits and temperament as the classic German Shepherd.

They are highly intelligent, loyal, courageous and eager to please their owners. German Shepherds are working dogs at heart, so they excel at various jobs – from police and military work to service and therapy roles.

The Blue Steel Panda variety bonds very closely with their human families. They aim to protect their loved ones and are instinctively wary of strangers. Early socialization and training is essential to teach them how to properly interact with new people.

With proper training and socialization, these Shepherds make wonderful family companions. They adore kids and quickly become attached to all members of their human pack.

However, their protective nature means they must be supervised around very young children. Their large size and tendency to herd can accidentally knock over a small child.

The Blue Steel Panda Shepherd thrives when they have an active job or role to carry out. If left untrained and underexercised, they may become anxious or engage in destructive behaviors like chewing. Providing both mental and physical exercise is key to keeping them happy and well-balanced.

Potential owners should be prepared to provide firm, consistent training to manage their natural protective instincts and high energy levels. When raised correctly, these Shepherds are gentle family guardians with unwavering loyalty.

Training Tips for Blue Steel Panda Shepherds

The Blue Steel Panda Shepherd is eager to work and highly trainable, just like any German Shepherd. But they do best with an experienced owner who can provide clear direction and structure via positive reinforcement training methods.

Here are some top training tips for these intelligent dogs:

  • Start training early – Begin basic obedience as soon as you bring your Shepherd puppy home. This establishes you as the leader and prevents problematic behaviors before they start. Use treats and praise to reward good behavior.
  • Focus on socialization – Expose your Blue Steel Panda Shepherd to new places, people, dogs and experiences starting at a young age. This teaches them how to interact properly and prevents over-protectiveness or skittishness.
  • Provide structure – Shepherds thrive on consistency and rules. Set clear house rules and stick to a routine for feeding, walking, training and playtime. This satisfies their need for structure.
  • Give them a job – These dogs were bred to work. Give them a role or task such as agility, obedience competitions, or even carrying a doggy backpack on walks. This provides mental stimulation and an outlet for their energy.
  • Use positive reinforcement – This breed responds best to reward-based training. Praise, treats and toys are the most effective way to motivate them and reinforce good behavior. Avoid punishment or harsh corrections.
  • Exercise regularly – Shepherds need over 2 hours of activity per day. Take them on long walks, play fetch and consider a dog sport like agility or flyball. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog!

With patience and persistence, the Blue Steel Panda Shepherd can master basic obedience cues and become a joy to own. Their high trainability makes them wonderful competitors in canine sports too!

Grooming Needs for Blue Steel Panda Shepherds

While certainly eye-catching, the blue and white coat of the Blue Steel Panda Shepherd does require regular grooming. Their double-coat sheds moderately to heavily, especially during spring and fall shedding seasons.

Here are the key grooming needs for this breed:

  • Brush frequently – Use a slicker brush or undercoat rake 2-3 times per week to remove loose fur and prevent matting. Brush more often during shedding season.
  • Bathe when needed – Only bathe when dirty using a mild dog shampoo. Overbathing strips the coat of essential oils.
  • Check ears weekly – Floppy ears trap moisture, so gently wipe inside ears to avoid infection.
  • Trim nails monthly – Clip nails to prevent overgrowth and splitting. Avoid cutting too short.
  • Brush teeth regularly – Daily toothbrushing prevents tartar buildup and protects gum health.
  • Clean facial folds – Use a damp cloth to gently clean facial wrinkles around the muzzle to prevent bacterial infections.

Investing 10-15 minutes a day into brushing and basic grooming keeps your Blue Steel Panda’s coat looking shiny and helps minimize shedding around your home.

Grooming TaskFrequency
Brushing2-3 times per week
BathingAs needed, every 3-4 months
Ear CleaningWeekly
Nail TrimmingMonthly
Teeth Brushing2-3 times per week

Exercise Needs of the Blue Steel Panda Shepherd

The Blue Steel Panda Shepherd has high energy levels and needs daily exercise to stay fit and well-behaved. Without adequate activity, these intelligent dogs become bored and destructive.

This breed should receive at least 60-90 minutes of exercise per day. Their ideal exercise routine combines:

  • Long walks – These athletic dogs need long daily walks, preferably off-leash in a safe area so they can run. Hiking and walking are great low-impact activities.
  • Play time – Active games and sports like fetch, frisbee and tug-of-war allow them to burn mental and physical energy. Have multiple toys on hand to keep playtime interesting.
  • Training sessions – Incorporate short 5-10 minute training or obedience sessions into part of their exercise routine to tire out their minds too. Learning new things is very stimulating for Shepherds.
  • Backyard time – Turn your backyard into a playground! Add agility equipment or toys to chase and retrieve while supervised outside.

Satisfying their high exercise needs prevents problem behaviors like chewing, digging, jumping and hyperactivity. And remember – a tired dog is a well-behaved dog!

Diet and Nutrition Tips

German Shepherds are prone to health issues like hip dysplasia, so feeding your Blue Steel Panda Shepherd an appropriate diet is important to keep them healthy.

These energetic dogs need a high-protein diet with adequate fat and fiber levels. Meat should be the first ingredient in their food.

Look for a commercial dog food formulated specifically for large energetic breeds. Avoid excess calories as Shepherds are prone to weight gain.

Here are some tips on choosing the best diet for your Blue Steel Panda Shepherd:

  • Pick high-quality kibble – Choose a brand that meets WSAVA guidelines and has meat as the first ingredient. Avoid grain-free diets which may cause heart problems.
  • Check calorie count – Read feeding guidelines on the label and avoid formulas with excess calories or fat content.
  • Add supplements if needed – Supplement with joint support products and omega fatty acids to support bone/joint health.
  • Avoid table scraps – People food can quickly lead to obesity. Stick to designated treats like carrots or apple slices for rewards.
  • Provide fresh water – Keep clean water available at all times to aid digestion and hydration.

Following these nutrition tips will give your Shepherd the energy they need while also keeping their unique coat shiny and healthy! Consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s diet.

Health and Lifespan of Blue Steel Panda Shepherds

The Blue Steel Panda Shepherd has the same health issues and lifespan as the standard German Shepherd breed since it is simply a color variation.

The average lifespan for a German Shepherd is 10-14 years. Providing excellent nutrition, exercise, veterinary care and genetic health screening helps ensure your Shepherd lives a long and healthy life.

Some of the most common health issues to be aware of include:

  • Joint dysplasia – Hip and elbow dysplasia are common. Choose dogs screened for these joint issues.
  • Allergies – Both food and environmental allergies are frequently seen. Look for signs of skin irritation, itching or ear infections.
  • Bloat – Shepherds are deep-chested dogs prone to deadly bloat. Learn to recognize signs and consider a preventive gastropexy surgery.
  • Obesity – Weight control is essential. Monitor calorie intake and ensure your Shepherd gets adequate exercise.
  • Cancer – Hemangiosarcoma and lymphoma are cancers known to affect Shepherds. Routine vet checks allow early detection and treatment.

Discuss any health concerns with your veterinarian and follow their recommended schedule for exams, vaccines and preventative care. Seek immediate vet attention if you notice any signs of illness in your Shepherd.

Finding a Blue Steel Panda Shepherd Puppy

Finding a Blue Steel Panda Shepherd puppy can be challenging due to their rarity. Be extremely cautious of breeders offering these unusual dogs.

Always confirm health testing has been performed on the parents to avoid supporting irresponsible breeding practices just to achieve a certain color.

Here are some tips for finding a Blue Steel Panda Shepherd responsibly:

  • Vet prospective breeders – Choose breeders focused on overall health and temperament, not just coat color. Ask to see OFA hip/elbow scores for parents.
  • Consider a rescue – Check area rescues and shelters for an adoptable Blue Steel Panda adult or puppy in need of a home.
  • Avoid pet stores – Never buy puppies from pet stores or online ads, which typically source from puppy mills.
  • Wait for a litter – If going through a reputable breeder, get on their waitlist and be patient for an upcoming litter.
  • Expect a price premium – Due to rarity and demand, these pups often cost $2,500 to $5,000USD from ethical breeders.

Take your time to find a breeder carefully screening their dogs for good temperament, health and longevity – not just unique looks.

Is the Blue Steel Panda Shepherd the Right Dog For You?

Before seeking out one of these striking pups, carefully consider if the German Shepherd temperament and energy level fits your lifestyle.

This breed is best suited for…

  • Active families able to provide ample exercise and training
  • Experienced dog owners familiar with large breeds
  • Homes with secure fencing and no small pets to herd
  • Owners interested in dog sports like agility, obedience or scentwork
  • Families without very young children, just due to their large size

First-time owners, sedentary families or those often away from home may struggle to meet the needs of this energetic, intelligent breed.

While their blue coats may capture your eye, be sure you can fulfill the demands of this working breed before bringing one home! Proper training and care ensures your Blue Steel Panda Shepherd lives up to his full potential as a loyal companion.

Frequently Asked Questions

To wrap up this complete guide to the rare Blue Steel Panda Shepherd, here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about this breed:

Are Blue Steel Panda Shepherds aggressive?

When properly trained and socialized, Blue Steel Panda Shepherds exhibit the same loyal, gentle temperament of the standard German Shepherd breed. They bonds strongly with their families and can be distrustful of strangers without socialization.

Do Blue Steel Panda Shepherds have health problems?

No, they are just as healthy as standard colored German Shepherds. Reputable breeders perform all the same health screening to breed healthy pups, regardless of coat color.

How rare are Blue Steel Panda Shepherds?

They are still quite uncommon compared to the traditional black and tan Shepherd. Only a small number of selective breeders work with the diluted pigment genes that produce their distinctive coloration.

Do Blue Steel Panda Shepherds shed?

Yes, like all German Shepherds they have a double coat that sheds moderately to heavily year round, especially during the spring and fall. Expect dog hair on your furniture!

Are Blue Steel Panda Shepherds good family dogs?

When properly exercised, trained and socialized, they can be wonderful family companions, especially for active households. Supervision is recommended around small children due to their herding instincts.

Do Blue Steel Panda Shepherds need lots of exercise?

Absolutely! At least 60-90 minutes of rigorous daily exercise is crucial for both their physical and mental wellbeing to prevent destructive behaviors. They thrive on long walks, jogs, hikes and active play.

Conclusion

The Blue Steel Panda Shepherd’s striking steel blue and white coat makes them stand out from the standard German Shepherd, but they have the same loyal temperament and high exercise needs.

When purchased through responsible breeders focused on health and temperament, these dogs can become dedicated family protectors and adventurous companions for the right active owner.

Their high intelligence is both a blessing and a challenge – requiring devoted training time and mental stimulation. Put in the effort to properly care for and train your Blue Steel Panda Shepherd, and you’ll have a loyal canine friend for life!

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website TrainYourGSD.com - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.