There are many shepherd-type dogs in development, and it can be confusing to keep them all straight.
If you’ve heard of a Lycan Shepherd or seen pictures of a stunning dark dog with light eyes and are wondering more about them, here’s what you need to know.
What is a Lycan Shepherd? A Lycan Shepherd is a stunning new breed currently being developed from Blue Bay Shepherds, working-line German Shepherds, and Belgian Malinois. The goal is to produce dogs with a superior intelligence, wolf-like appearance, and dependable disposition.
Up-and-coming breeds are always exciting to learn about, and the Lycan Shepherd is certainly one that is destined to cause quite a stir.
Let’s take a sneak peak at this breed in progress.
What Is a Lycan Shepherd?
The Lycan Shepherd is a new breed in the very early stages of development.
Lycans are the combination of Blue Bay Shepherds, German Shepherds, and Belgian Malinois.
Because the Lycan Shepherd is still a very new breed, any of the breed traits of the origianl breeds can come out in the puppies.
Since one of the breeds that goes into the Lycan Shepherd is partly composed of wolf dogs, unpredictable characteristics coming out can be highly undesirable.
(You can learn more about wolf dog behavior here.)
The founder of Blue Bay Shepherds worked extensively to eliminate aggression and shyness in her wolf dogs before introducing them to the founding German Shepherds to create her new line.
However, by breeding these dogs back to German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois, there is a potential for aggression to be reintroduced.
This may not be an undesirable trait for many of the people who want a Lycan Shepherd, since the ability to protect the home as well as being a loyal family companion may be desirable.
You can see these amazing new dogs in action for yourself in the following video created from one the breeders in the Lycan Shepherd Project.
What Characteristics Should a Lycan Shepherd Have?
- Superior intellect – The Lycan Shepherd is bred to have a larger brain relative to its body size, along with increased intelligence and problem-solving ability.
- Wolfish appearance – Lycan Shepherds should have a wolf-like appearance with a dark coat, light eyes, large heads, and relatively small ears compared to German Shepherds.
- Obedience to people – The hope is that the Lycan Shepherd will retain a wolf-like intelligence but have a devotion to people that you’d expect from the Belgian Malinois or the German Shepherd.
Why Is the Lycan Shepherd Not an AKC Registered Breed?
The AKC is extremely demanding in what it requires for registration.
Dogs must have very reliable traits passed down through generations before a line can be considered a breed.
Founders of developing breeds rarely see their breed registered with the AKC in their lifetime.
It may take as long as a hundred years of consistent breeding before AKC registration and generally takes at least 40 years before the AKC will even consider a breed.
The Breeds Behind a Lycan Shepard
Blue Bay Shepherd
Blue Bay Shepherds have been in development for over 20 years, but they still don’t have AKC registration.
All Blue Bay Shepherds can be traced back to their founder in Palm Bay, Florida.
Blue Bay Shepherds were developed from wolf dogs and blue Old German Shepherd Dogs out of a European line from France.
These dogs naturally had the blue coloration, which is extremely rare in German Shepherds.
However, GSD puppies born blue often developed a saddle marking and lost the blue look as they aged.
At the time, the breeder was working at breeding wolf characteristics into German Shepherd lines.
She wanted to develop a breed that had the wolf’s intelligence and appearance without the characteristic shyness and fearfulness of humans.
Finally, she found two German Shepherds with smaller ears, the correct color, and the calm temperament that she was going for.
The puppies produced from the Shepherds and wolf dogs were the foundation for the Blue Bay Shepherds known today.
The blue Shepherds were bred with wolf dogs five generations removed from a pure wolf. Then, Blue Bay to Blue Bay were, and continue to be, bred.
No more wolves will be added to the development of the breed.
All of the desirable characteristics in appearance and intelligence from the wolves are hoped to remain.
All puppies that can be considered Blue Bay Shepherds will have lineage and papers going back to this initial line.
All puppies sold as Blue Bay Shepherds will have a certificate, an identifying number, and a hand-signed registration from the founder.
Thorough documentation is essential if this breed is ever to achieve AKC registration status. Any dog sold without this certificate isn’t a Blue Bay Shepherd.
Appearance of Blue Bay Shepherd
Blue Bay Shepherds should have a wolfish appearance with a dark blue coat and light-colored eyes. They tend to have longer hair around their mane and a lush, blue to black coat.
Don’t miss our Blue Bay Shepherd articles for more information on appearance, size, and temperament traits.
Working German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is the dog world’s all-around worker. They excel as police and military dogs, personal guard dogs, seeing-eye dogs, and as herding shepherds.
Working German Shepherds come from a number of different lines from Europe and Czechoslovakia.
Working dogs generally have less intense angles than show dogs, which result in fewer hip problems.
Furthermore, working dogs have distinct temperaments with high drive but very steady self-control that make them excellent for work or as family companions.
These are extremely loyal dogs who form intense bonds with their handlers. They’re willing to do just about anything that is required of them by their family.
German Shepherds tend to be aloof and wary of new people, and some lines can be prone to aggressiveness.
Be sure to read more about this magnificent breed in our German Shepherd articles.
The Belgian Malinois is an intense working dog that is very similar to the German Shepherd, with a few key differences.
Belgian Malinois are more squarely built with a less angular back than German Shepherds. They tend to be smaller but have more energy.
These dogs are intensely athletic. Many individuals are able to climb trees, ladders, or tightropes with relative ease.
They are extremely loyal and dedicated to pleasing their people.
Belgian Malinois may be a bit more likely to give into instincts than German Shepherds. They also tend to be quite reserved with strangers.
A strong protective instinct and aggression with people in some circumstances is not unusual in the breed.
We have several articles here dealing specifically with Belgian Malinois that you are welcome to read to learn more about these intelligent, fascinating dogs.
Ideal Lycan Owner
If you’re considering the Lycan breed, know that these dogs are hard to come by as they are still being developed and are not right for everyone.
Potential owners must possess certain characteristics before even considering this breed.
Tolerant of Unpredictability
Your Lycan puppy is unlikely to grow into exactly the dog you are expecting him to be.
Because these dogs are recently bred from three different breeds and have not been in development long, there is relatively little predictability about how the puppy will turn out.
Your dog could be very much like a working-line German shepherd, similar to a Belgian Malinois, or exactly like a Blue Bay Shepherd.
Keep in mind that Blue Bays have unpredictable breed characteristics too, as they are a relatively new line that is not yet an established breed.
Able to Provide Lots of Training and Stimulus
Whatever characteristics come out in your Lycan, expect them to be extremely intelligent and highly driven.
This is a dog that does not want, but needs, your constant interaction and plenty of things to do.
Depending on your individual dog’s level of prey drive, distractibility, and trainability, the work you can do with him may vary.
Some dogs will thrive on work, while others will be more shy and do better on long walks alone with you.
Regardless, you’ll definitely want either a secure collar or correctly fitted harness (this one is excellent) and leash to keep him safely by your side.
You’ll need to find out what works for your individual dog and meet his particular needs.
A Controlled Household
The Lycan may or may not do well with children and other pets in the home. Behavior may change until the dog is up to three years old.
While neutering or spaying will have some effects on instincts, your dog could still start showing unexpected behaviors.
These include strong prey drive towards smaller animals in the home, aggression towards other dogs, or high preference for one person in the household.
It is important that you have control over your household and can keep everyone involved from being in a dangerous situation, including your Lycan Shepherd.
Blue Bay Shepherd image credit: Christine Kao