Blue Weimaraner

Blue WeimaranerWhy So Blue?

Breed standard Weimaraners emerged in the late 18th century. They were originally bred as all-purpose gun dogs for German nobility and are named for the city Weimar in Thuringia, Germany. The typical Weim has a gray or silver-gray coat; it is unclear when and where the Blue Weimaraner variety came into being.

When referring to dogs’ coats, “blue” is a somewhat whimsical term for a diluted black color with a silver sheen (as opposed to gray, which is a diluted brown). A blue dog is not necessarily darker than a gray; the “blue” comes from tone, not darkness.

Some speculate that the Blue Weim’s color is a genetic mutation. Others insist that the first Blue was a result of cross-breeding with a Doberman. The truth may never be confirmed, as most of Germany’s Weimaraner documentation was lost in World War II.

Blue is a dominant gene in Weimaraners; at least one Blue parent is necessary to breed Blue Weim puppies.


The Turbulent History of the Blue Weimaraner

The history of the blue-coated Weimaraner in the United States is fraught with controversy, but it wasn’t always that way. Everything was peaceful in the 1944 American Weimaraner Standard, where the blue color was listed under “General Appearance” as a variation of Dark Gray.

But a dog named Cäsar von Gaiberg (nicknamed “Tell”) upended the Weim world when he arrived in the United States in 1949, in the care of American captain Harry J. Holt. Holt was stationed in Germany during World War II, where he befriended the Secretary of the German Weimaraner Klub, Mr. Fritz Kullmer. Kullmer recommended and oversaw Holt’s purchase of Tell, a Weimaraner of excellent bloodline. Though Tell’s color was officially marked as silver-gray, he was in fact the first Blue Weim in America.

The year after his arrival, the Weimaraner Club of America conducted a serious inquiry of Tell’s origins, going so far as to refer to him as “the black menace.” In 1952 the WCA sought disqualification for Blues on the basis that only a narrow range of gray-colored coats were acceptable. But the blue color was falsely labeled a recessive trait, and the AKC nixed the disqualification.

Heated debate resumed in early 1970, when the WCA Board tried and failed again to disqualify the Blue. They continued to push anti-Blue content in Weimaraner Magazine; they uncovered, translated and published a letter from the German Klub that supported their bias.

In 1971, amidst much controversy, the WCA voted again to DQ the Blue, grouping “distinctly blue or black coats” together in the referendum. This time, they succeeded–though some alleged that the words “or black coats” were crossed out on the ballots.

The AKC approved the revision, and Blue Weims are disqualified to this day. However, the dogs can still be registered as purebreds with the AKC and compete in agility competitions, obedience contests, hunt tests, field trials and more.


The Blue Weim Basics

Blue Weimaraners are highly active, people-oriented dogs with great tracking and hunting abilities. Their short, stiff coats are easy to maintain and sleek to the touch. Because they have no undercoat, they should not be raised in extremely cold climates. They have gray noses and striking gray or amber eyes. Adult females are 22-25 inches tall; males are 24-27 inches tall.

These intelligent, charismatic dogs need plenty of mental and physical stimulation. They excel at doggy sports like canicross (cross country running for dogs) and agility. If they don’t get consistent exercise, they will become destructive in the house.

The Blue Weim loves using its mouth. Since it was bred to hunt, it is predisposed to fetching objects and playing tug of war. But it also takes to chewing on inedible objects when stressed or nauseous.

Most weimaraners are attached to their owners, sticking to their sides and acting like lapdogs, despite their size. They suffer separation anxiety if kept in a kennel. On the other hand, they act disinterested and aloof around strangers. Though loyal and loving, this dog will not warm up to everyone.

Their life expectancy is 10-12 years.


Health issues

With its deep chest, the Blue Weimaraner is at risk for gastric torsion, a life-threatening condition in which its stomach twists due to excessive gas. It is also prone to elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, distichiasis, cryptorchidism, and skin allergies.