The Weimaraner is an elegant dog with a fascinating history. These dogs have roots in Germany and were bred as gun dogs to accompany hunters scouting for large game animals. These dogs are incredibly high in energy and are quite strong. They are known to be a handful and need owners that can handle their demanding needs.
One variation, the Blue Weimaraner, has some controversy surrounding it. One of the main debate points is whether this is a rare variation or an indication of poor genetics. The discussion began back in the 1940s and continues today.
The Blue Weimaraner is a dog with a big attitude, an elegant face, and a complicated reputation. Learn more about the breed and what caused the controversy around this particular shade of coat color. Let’s jump right in and get to know this beautiful yet debated breed.
The Weimaraner can be traced to 19th Century Germany, where they were initially bred as gun dogs used by royalty in big game hunts. These big strong dogs were bred to stand up to large game animals, including wolves, bears, and deer. The muscular pup was originally developed in the court of Weimar and bred by noblemen to be a brave and intelligent hunting dog. This dog was originally called the Weimar Pointer. These dogs were believed to be bred with other breeds like the Great Dane, English pointer, and Huehnerhund to create the modern Weimaraner.
These big beauties are also called Weims, Gray Ghosts, and Silver Ghosts. It is commonly accepted that the breed developed in Germany in the 19th century, though history has many references earlier than that to dogs that look remarkably like the Weim.
The breed’s development was rigidly controlled by the German aristocracy. The German Weimaraner Club was formed, which monitored and supervised the development of the breed. They employed a very strict process, and only people with membership in the club were able to own one. It wasn’t until an American sportsman by the name of Howard Knight joined the German Weimaraner Club in 1928 that these dogs moved to America. This process was not without controversy. It is said that the German Club sent sterilized male dogs to Knight to be bred to delay the dog’s growth in the U.S.
After working through several struggles, American-born Weimaraner puppies were born in the late 1930s. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in 1943. They quickly jumped in popularity, particularly in the competitive dog community. Today it is a breed that is very popular as hunting dogs and family pets. There are quite a few famous Weim owners, including former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, as well as the subject of famed photographer William Wegman.
Coat color comes in a range of silvery shades, genetically a form of dilute brown or black. These dogs are usually a shade of gray, anywhere from silver to a deeper gray. They can come in blue and black, though these colors have been disqualified by the AKC.
The blue-coated Weimaraner has been surrounded by controversy since it first appeared on the canine scene. A Blue Weim has a charcoal gray colored coat, at times almost diluted black, in contrast to the diluted brown of the Weimaraner. The coloration is not about the darkness of the color. In fact, many gray Weims are darker than blues. The main characteristic to look for is the tone of the dog’s coat. The blues will have charcoal tones regardless of how dark their coat color is. Traditional Weims will have brown tones. Blues will have hints of the blue color in their coats, and often the difference between a blue and a gray can only be seen in certain light.
The controversy surrounding the Blue Weim dates to the 1940s. The first Blue Weim known to the masses was a dog by the name of Caesar von Gaiberg. This dog went by the name Tell. Tell was born in 1947 in Germany. He came from high-pedigree German bloodlines and by every account, was an incredible dog with an unusually dark coat who sired several high-quality offspring. Tell was purchased by an American military officer during his time in Germany.
Before the dog came to America, he was issued papers in 1950 by the German Weimaraner Club that certified Tell as a pure-bred dog. Once he was in America, he was registered as a Weimaraner with the AKC. This is when the controversy started. A few months after being registered in America, the president of the German Weimaraner club wrote to the Weimaraner Club of America. The claim was made that Tell was not a purebred dog and indicated he was a crossbreed. The story varies here, but some say the papers were revoked, or otherwise deemed invalid, based entirely on the color of the dog’s coat.
Unfortunately, there has been no way to trace the origin or existence of these papers, as many historical documents were lost in Germany after World War II. After the indication that Tell was not a purebred dog, the movement to disqualify the Blue Weimaraner began. After multiple unsuccessful attempts in the early 1970s, the Blue Weimaraner was disqualified by the Weimaraner Club of America.
Before the disqualification, there had been considerable interest in breeding the blues. Once the breed was disqualified, breeders largely abandoned their efforts. Currently, the AKC does not recognize blue as an accepted color. There is a loophole that allows Blue Weims, who are purebred, to be registered. Because Tell was registered as a purebred, any of his offspring are considered purebred. A purebred Blue Weimaraner can be registered by the AKC but will be disqualified from the show ring. They are allowed to participate in performance events, but this is a moot point due to color disqualification. Efforts to overturn the disqualification have been resumed periodically but so far have been unsuccessful. Currently, there is no way to pursue a new breed status, as this is not a different breed of dog, simply a dog with different coloring.
To this day blue and black-coated Weimaraners are disqualified by the American Kennel Club. Additionally, the Weimaraner Club of America does not condone the breeding of blues. They consider the breeding of this dog to be unethical. In some cases, blues and black Weimaraners may be marketed as rare in hopes of attracting buyers or charging a higher price. It is important to point out that blue and black Weims are exactly the same breed as the traditionally colored Weims.
The truth of the matter is that no one truly knows exactly how the color of the Blue Weimaraner happened. Sometimes, it is said that a Blue Weimaraner is a lower quality dog than traditionally colored. It has been said that the blue coloring may result from these dogs being a mix of Dobermans and Weimaraners. Another theory suggests that blue coloring is a genetic mutation triggered by inbreeding. Yet another school of thought simply says that this coloration always existed naturally but it was only ever paid attention to after the controversy surrounding the dog Tell.
There is absolutely zero scientific evidence or proof to back up the idea that a blue-colored Weimaraner is a lower-quality dog, sick, weaker, or inferior in any way to a traditionally colored Weim. Other than coloration, these dogs are exactly the same as the traditional Weimaraner. The blue color genes are dominant to gray, so to get a blue-colored dog, one parent must be blue. Two gray-colored parents will not make a blue offspring.
The significant danger surrounding breeders of the Blue Weim is that many may be breeding specifically for coat color without taking anything else into account. This is an unsafe practice and can lead to unhealthy dogs. As with any dog, if purchasing from a breeder, it is essential to research the breeder, their practices, and history. Because there is so much controversy surrounding them, the Blue Weimaraner is not officially recognized in any country. They are not rare but are often billed as such. Prospective owners should always take great caution when adopting these pups to ensure they are getting a healthy dog produced under safe, approved methods.
This breed is very high in energy and can be described as high-strung. They are very needy because of this amount of energy. They are not a great choice for first-time or very inexperienced dog owners. Despite the need for a lot of exercise time, these dogs do better in calmer households than in ones that are very busy and have a constant stream of activity. This pup is described as fearless and obedient and makes a wonderful protective animal.
Weims are very friendly, loving pups known for being loyal and devoted. They are really good for active families that spend a lot of time outside. Thes pups get along very well with children and truly enjoy being around them. However, due to their high energy and generous size, they can get over-excited. It is important to always supervise small children around these dogs.
One thing owners need to know is that this dog has an extremely high prey drive. They have a history and genetic predisposition to hunting, which means they often like to chase smaller animals and it can be risky to have around other indoor pets. To keep one of these dogs in a home with smaller pups, cats, birds, or rodent-type pets, it is essential to make sure they are socialized often and early.
Because of their considerable energy, intelligence, and hunting skill, these pups are often used as K9 police dogs. They also make wonderful service animals as long as their owners give them enough exercise.
Size & Appearance
Weims are medium to large-sized. They will reach anywhere between 55 and 90 pounds fully grown. Males will stand about 26 inches tall at the shoulders, and females about 24 inches. These dogs are often described as regal, aristocratic, or elegant because of their long ears and faces. Their expressions have been described as friendly, kind, or intelligent, however, they can be very intimidating if provoked. They usually have eyes of gray, amber, or bluish-gray.
Weimaraners have muscular, sleek bodies with tall shoulders and long ribs. They are built for running with long muscled legs and strong bodies. The AKC requires this breed’s tail to be docked. This practice originated to prevent tail breaks when hunting. In modern times this practice has become less customary.
This breed has sleek single-layer coats of short hair. They are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming. These pups do shed a good deal and are not a pup that is recommended as hypoallergenic. They should be brushed once a week to remove extra fur. Rubber brushes work very well on this short, sleek coat. Regular brushing helps remove dander and dirt as well. They do not need bathing often, only when they are very dirty. Their big ears need to be cleaned very regularly as they can gather wax and dirt buildup.
When it comes to energy, this breed is about as high as it gets. They must spend a lot of time doing high physical activity daily. Owners should expect to spend at least two hours every day of the week exercising this breed. They love to walk and spend time outside. As born hunters, they have a high prey drive and love to explore. This is an excellent breed for taking long walks and hikes, as well as playing games that require lots of running. This high need for exercise makes this a good pooch to take to off-leash dog parks or out in open spaces where they can have room to run.
Weims are incredibly smart, and because of this, they can get bored. They need to have variety in their exercise routine. Playing games, lots of different toys, walks, and occasional adventures like swimming or going to new places are all included. This dog also needs a big, fenced-in outdoor area to use. These pups are not a good choice for small yards or apartments. Preferably this high-energy dog will have a yard where they can spend time burning off that energy.
Living Conditions & Care
They love to be around people and prefer to spend their time hanging out with their humans. They are extremely easy to train and love to please their people. These dogs make very good companions in homes where people are around to keep them company and take them for at least two walks a day. Because they have a single coat of fur, these dogs do better in warmer climates. Despite their generous size, they can get cold quickly. Those that live in winter weather or colder climates may need to wear jackets or sweaters outside.
Weimaraners have a lifespan of about 12 to 15 years. They can be prone to some health conditions throughout their lives. It is essential to understand the health needs of both puppies and adults. Owners may want to consider pet insurance to help protect against high vet bills for emergency treatment costs.
This breed can be at risk for:
Hip dysplasia can affect this breed and is a result of a deformity that occurs when the hip is growing. The femur and pelvic bones do not grow appropriately to fit together the right way. Extra pressure and friction are put on the bones, which can develop into painful arthritis as a dog ages. This genetic disease can be affected by environmental factors that include diet, growth rate, muscle mass, hormones, exercise, and breed. It is more commonly seen in large or heavy-set canine breeds. This is a condition that is usually screened for by reputable breeders, however, it can still develop in these pups.
Gastric torsion is also called bloat and happens when a dog’s stomach becomes distended with air and then becomes twisted. It is a condition that can affect dogs like the Weim. Gastric torsion occurs when a dog eats or drinks too quickly or overexerts itself physically directly after eating. It is very dangerous, causing a dog’s blood pressure to drop rapidly. They cannot expel anything from their stomachs which can cause their bodies to go into shock. Excessive drooling, distended belly, elevated heart rate, restlessness, and unproductive vomiting are all signs. Below is an emergency condition, so contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect this.
This is a disease that affects the neck and cervical spine. It is common in larger dogs and often seen in older Weims. It can happen to younger canines as well. Compression on the spinal cord and nerve roots results in an extremely painful neck area and affects how the nervous system works. It is called wobblers syndrome as dogs with this condition will be very uncoordinated, especially in their rear legs, making them wobble as they walk.
Blue Weimaraners are big and highly energetic, and they need food developed to support their generous size and high energy. Their life-long health greatly depends on a high-quality, well-balanced diet. Stay away from brands that use artificial colors or flavors. Owners can occasionally mix in canned food and fresh or freeze-dried food. Always discuss any specific nutritional concerns or needs with your veterinarian before making any major switch to your dog’s diet. They will need to be on puppy-formulated large-breed food for at least the first year of life.
Owners should know that Weims tend to overeat and put on weight quickly. Healthy fats, vegetables, and high-quality proteins are key. Some owners and veterinarians may recommend a raw food diet for this breed. Always make sure that you are consulting with your veterinarian and following appropriate nutritional guidelines to make sure your dog is getting what they need. Owners need to remember that this is a very high-energy dog, so they will need a high number of calories. It is not unusual for an active adult of this breed to need 3500 or more calories daily.
Breeders & Puppy Prices
Blue Weimaraner puppies cost, on average, about $800 to $1,500. This is a comparable cost to traditional colored pups. Prospective owners should stay away from any breeder that is charging more for a blue and calling them a rare color. Some pups may be more expensive due to a higher quality bloodline or pedigree. Show-quality puppies may cost more. It is important to pay close attention to a breeder’s reputation and conduct thorough research before adopting one of these puppies. Unfortunately, due to the controversy surrounding their coat color, there have been many low-quality breeders attempting to create blues and pass them off as rare or exotic pets. Always ask what health conditions have been screened for and inquire about the health of the parents as well as previous litters.
Shelters & Rescues
This breed can find its way to a shelter. This may be due to their high level of need and high energy. There are some groups dedicated to the rescue and rehoming of blues, including the Blue Weimaraner Club of America. While this group is not a rescue group, they work with many reputable groups around the country to rehome pups in need. Additionally, check with your local shelter, animal Humane Society, and veterinarian for recommendations on shelters and breed rescues.
As Family Pets
Blue Weims can make excellent family pets as long as owners know their special needs. Most importantly, this dog is a very high-energy breed, so they need a dedicated owner that has time and space to make sure they get enough exercise. This is important to their mental and physical health. Because they were bred as hunting dogs, they have a very high prey drive and need to be able to respond to those instincts by spending plenty of time outside. They can do well with other animals as long as puppies are socialized from a very young age.
They make excellent protective canines and are often used in law enforcement and as service dogs. Blue Weims are very good with children, though they should be supervised around younger kids due to their large size, high level of excitability, and high energy. They are quite affectionate, loving, and loyal, and enjoy being around people. Because of their large size and high energy, this dog eats a lot, which can get pricey for some owners. They will eat more than most other dog breeds. Despite being super high energy and eating a ton, these pups are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming. In the right home, with plenty of room and lots of people to give them attention, these dogs make wonderful canine companions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Blue Weimaraner really a blue color?
No, the coat color is not a true-blue shade. They are a charcoal-colored tone, which is a diluted black. The shades can be lighter or darker colored. Some blues are lighter than traditional colored Weims. It is the tone, not the darkness in the color, that differentiates them.
Why are Blue Weimaraners not recognized?
This breed is not recognized by the AKC or in other countries due to the controversy surrounding them that originated back in the 1950s. The largely unvalidated claims that the first blue was not a purebred cast a shadow upon this breed that remains today.
Are Blue Weimaraners rare?
Despite many claims and labels otherwise, these pups are not a rare breed. They are the same breed as traditionally colored Weimaraners. Stay away from any breeder or entity that claims this breed is rare or exotic. This is likely just a marketing ploy to raise the price tag.
Is a Blue Weimaraner an inbred dog?
There is no substantial evidence to suggest that this breed or coloring results from inbreeding. While this is one of the theories that surround their origin, there is no research or evidence that is notable on the subject. Most of today’s Weims are either purebred or mixed breed and usually come from high-quality breeders.
The Blue Weimaraner is a very loyal, gorgeous-looking, enjoyable canine companion. Despite the controversy surrounding the breed, these pups are known to be very loving, high-quality canine companions. They are quite energetic and require a lot of attention, so they may not be the best choice for first-time pet owners. This breed can grow to be large. Combined with their incredibly high energy and prey drive they need a home with plenty of room to move around inside and out. They can do well with other animals and children but should be socialized at a young age. Although this breed has a bit of baggage and controversy attached to its name, these are lovable dogs who will make amazing companions.
Becoming a pet parent and raising a dog like this is a wonderful privilege and a big responsibility. These pups are not easy to care for and require more attention than other lower-energy breeds. As long as owners can provide everything they need and ensure they have enough room, food, and exercise, these adorable blue pups will make an excellent addition to an active family.
January 21, 2023 at 7:18 pm
The AKC definitely DOES recognize blue as an acceptable Weimaraner color.
January 22, 2023 at 3:05 pm
Per the AKC breed standards for a Weimeraner, "shades of mouse-gray to silver-gray" are acceptable and "white spots resulting from injury should not be penalized." But, "A distinctly blue or black coat is a disqualification."