The Blue Weimaraner
By Homer L. Carr
The warm, slate-gray color, otherwise known as "blue" in the Weimaraner dog is the result of what the science of genetics calls a mutation. Available evidence appears to indicate that this same mutation has appeared at rare intervals during the entire history of the breed. So far as is known, this blue mutation has occurred only twice in the last quarter of a century, both times in Europe. In Austria, a single blue puppy appeared in the 1940's in a litter of silver-gray puppies owned by Robert Pattay, past president of the Austrian Weimaraner Club. In Germany, a single blue puppy appeared in a litter of silver-gray puppies, whose parents were owned by Ludwig Gaul of Gaiberg, a village near Heidelberg. This puppy, born Feb. 25, 1947, is Cäsar von Gaiberg, who is the progenitor of the blue Weimaraner in America. During the Second World War, Capt. Harry J. Holt was connected with the American Army's automobile tire rebuilding establishment in Germany. In the course of his duties, Capt. Holt, who is an experienced dog fancier, traveled extensively through all parts of occupied Germany. Mr. W. A. Olson of Minneapolis, Minn., an old-time friend of Capt. Holt, requested the captain to be on the lookout for an outstanding Weimaraner and to purchase such a dog for him if he could find one. In the course of this search, Capt. Holt visited many of Germany's most prominent Weimaraner breeders, but it was not until he saw Cäsar von Gaiberg that he that he found a dog which he considered to be basically sound. Capt. Holt purchased Cäsar von Gaiberg from his breeder, Ludwig Gaul, and shipped him to Mr. Olson in Minneapolis, who still owns Cäsar. Cäsar von Gaiberg was registered by the German Weimaraner Club, and his official pedigree was signed by the president of the German club.
After Cäsar von Gaiberg arrived in the United States, Mr. Olson entered the dog and showed him at American Kennel Club dog shows until Cäsar had won 10 points towards his bench-show championship. When this requirement had been fulfilled and the American Kennel Club had checked and approved the dog's German pedigree, Cäsar von Gaiberg was registered by the American Kennel Club under the number S-390,759. When bred to A.K.C. registered or approved bitches, Cäsar's progeny are eligible for A.K.C. registration as pure-bred Weimaraners.
Genetically, the blue color in the Weimaraner is dominant over the more common silver-gray color. The blue color is definitely not a recessive trait as stated in error in the present (1957) Weimaraner standard. The silver-gray is recessive to the blue. The blue color is not "throw-back," an unscientific term which is sometimes applied to the re-appearance of a long-buried recessive trait.
The chances against the appearance of another blue mutation are almost astronomic, but barring such a chance, it is genetically impossible for a blue Weimaraner to be produced from the breeding of two silver-gray dogs, regardless of the color of the parents or other ancestors of the dogs being bred. Barring a mutation, the only way that a litter can be produced which has one or more blue puppies in it, is for one or both parents to be blue. In the determined effort to smear the blue Weimaraner, which has been going on steadily since 1950, many deliberately false and malicious statements have been made, verbally and in print, regarding Cäsar von Gaiberg. Most of these statements either hit that his German registration and pedigree were falsified (a charge rejected by the A.K.C.) or that there was a prohibition against breeding endorsed upon Cäsar's official German pedigree, which was signed by the president of the German Weimaraner Club. I have personally seen the original of that pedigree and I have in my possession a certified photostatic copy of it.
A certified translation of the endorsement on the pedigree reads as follows:
"Use for breeding permissible only if the qualifications for first or second prize under the regulation of the organization for Jugendprüfung (youth trial) are subsequently approved. Since Cäsar von Gaiberg has a black nose, blackish tinge on his back, relatively proportionately short ears and his eye color is not pure amber, one should be careful concerning his descendants and in doubtful cases, inform the office of the keeper of the stud book."
The first sentence of the above endorsement appears on the official German pedigrees of many of the Weimaraners imported from Germany. I have a copy of Ch. Burt v.d. Harrasburg's German pedigree and several others which bear the same first sentence endorsement. The provisions of the endorsements are no more effective against Cäsar von Gaiberg than against any other dogs, who, like Cäsar, were brought to America before they could be entered in the German youth trials.
Cäsar von Gaiberg, the progenitor of America's blue Weimaraners, has been bred to a very substantial number of silver-gray bitches here in the United States. Such breedings have produced litters in strict accordance with the Mendelian laws of genetics for simple dominants and recessives - taken as a whole, the litters have averaged close to 50 percent grays and 50 percent blues.
When a blue Weimaraner is bred to a silver-gray Weimaraner, there is no mixing or blending of colors. The two colors are two distinct entities or units, and they remain so. It is not like the mixing of cream or coffee, but rather like the mixing of 50 gray marbles and 50 blue marbles in a bucket. When you grab out a handful you will, on the average, get some blues and some grays, but no intermediate colors. If you grab out enough handsful, you will have 50 percent blues and 50 percent grays, just as you do if you breed blue Weimaraners to gray Weimaraners enough times to permit the law of averages to operate. These blue Weimaraner puppies will carry genetic factors for both the blue and gray colors and they are known as "Blue Dominants."
When the blue offspring, of one blue and one gray parent, is bread to another blue offspring of one blue and one gray parent, the genetic expectation will be for a litter of 25 percent pure grays and 75 percent blues. These grays will be pure grays; they will carry no blue factor and if bred to grays, they will never produce blue offspring in future generations. The 75 percent of the litter which are blue in color are, genetically, two different kinds of blue - pure blues and blue dominants. Twenty-five percent of the 75 percent will be pure blue; they will carry no gray factor and regardless of whether they are bred to blues or grays they will produce litters having nothing but blue puppies in them. The remaining 50 percent are blue in color, they are blue dominants; they carry factors for both blue and gray and if bred to grays will produce litters of 50 percent grays and 50 percent blue dominants.
Every gray Weimaraner, regardless of whether his parents and his ancestors are blue or gray, is a pure gray and carries no blue color factor. If he did carry a blue color factor, his color would be blue and not gray. However, there are, genetically speaking, two kinds of blues - pure blues and blue dominants; they can be identified or separated only by letting them grow up and by breeding them to grays.
An unusually large number of the silver-gray descendants of the blue dogs have won top honors as American bench-show and field-trial winners. Among them are:
... to say nothing of Ch. Von Gaiberg's Ord, the second dog in Weimaraner history ever to win the Best Dog in Show award at an all-breed A.K.C. show in the continental United States. Ord, the grandson and great-grandson of blue dogs also went Best of Breed at the 1957 national Specialty Show of the Weimaraner Club of America, the largest Weimaraner show every held with 114 entries. Ord also went Best of Breed at the 1957 show of the Westminster Kennel Club, held at Madison Square Garden, New York City. A truly remarkable record. He is an outstanding hunter and retriever.
The blue descendants of Cäsar von Gaiberg have also distinguished themselves for their excellent physical conformation and superb hunting ability. They have received less public acclaim than their silver-gray brothers, not only because of the vicious smear campaign, which has been conducted continuously against them, but also because the present Weimaraner standards classifies the blue color as a fault. Among the outstanding blue descendants of Cäsar von Gaiberg are Ch. Cäsar's Jobuc and Greta von Grafenstein who now has to her credit one five-point, one three-point and two two-point show wins, all of which have been awarded to her within the last two years, by some of America's most respected, famous and competent all-around judges, such as Isadore Schoenberg, Percy Roberts and Hans Oberhammer. The respected all-around American judge, Dr. A.A. Mitten, has stated in correspondence that during the years 1912 to 1914 he acted as judge in several dog shows in Germany and that at those shows he saw several highly regarded Weimaraners of the same general shade as Cäsar von Gaiberg, whom he judged at Waterloo, Iowa in 1950.
Ever since 1950, rumors have been circulated, constantly, in America that blue puppies have been born in litters whose parents have both been silver-gray but one or both of whom were descendants of Cäsar von Gaiberg. Zealous efforts have been made to authenticate such rumors, but so far every one of them was proven false, as was to be expected under the Mendelian laws of genetics. There is not an authentic record of any blue puppy every having been born in America, whose parents were both silver-gray. Every silver-gray Weimaraner, regardless of the color of its parents or ancestors, is genetically a pure silver-gray and (barring a mutation) cannot produce a blue offspring unless bred to a blue. In other words, the breeder must deliberately try for the blue color.
Any Weimaraner whose parents are both registered with the A.K.C regardless of wither it is blue or gray, is eligible for registration by A.K.C. an A.K.C. - registered blue Weimaraner is eligible to be entered and shown at any A.K.C. dog show. Under the present standard, the blue color is considered as a fault in the show ring, however, it is entirely within the discretion of the judge to place the blue dog ahead of any of the gray dogs he considers more faulty than the blue. The blue color is definitely not a disqualification in the show ring, regardless of the fact that powerful interests tried unsuccessfully to make it so at the time that the present standard was approved by the A.K.C.
The blue Weimaraners in America are direct descendants of one of Germany's most renowned Weimaraner families. Cäsar von Gaiberg's grandsire, Nelson von Bangstede, was awarded the highest title in European Dogdom in 1935, that of "Sieger der Weltaustellung" (world champion). Nelson von Bangstede daughter and Cäsar von Gaiberg's dam, was Cilly von Kreuzgrund, herself an international champion. Aura von Gaiberg was one of the most distinguished members of our American foundation stock. Her color was silver-gray. In the early 1950's I actively championed the cause of the blue Weimaraners in America. I did so because my studies of the breed had convinced me that the progenitor of the American blues, Cäsar von Gaiberg, and his illustrious ancestors, carried certain characteristics of physical conformation (other than color) and intense natural hunting instinct which were badly needed to correct or eliminate serous faults widely prevalent in our American Weimaraners. My breeding program over the last seven years has been based upon that premise; it's correctness appears to have been amply confirmed by the judges at the many showings of my dogs, bred in accordance with that premise.
If, in order to obtain the desired characteristics, it had been necessary to take the blue color also, I was prepared to do so. However, as breeding progressed it soon became definitely evident that the blue color is dominant to the recessive silver-gray. We then know and have since proven that Cäsar von Gaiberg or any of his blue offspring when bred to silver-gray dogs, will produce gray offspring which is genetically pure for the physical conformation, and hunting ability, with the blue color completely eliminated.
To me, the matter of the blue color is now one of little importance. It is purely a matter of personal preference, and one which, if desired, can be completely eliminated from the breed in one generation and still retain the other desirable traits of Cäsar von Gaiberg and his illustrious ancestors. Personally, I do not care for the blue color. It is brilliantly beautiful in the puppy stage but as the dog matures, the early color becomes darker (as it does in the grays) and, to me less attractive. For this reason alone, in my own breeding, all blue puppies are now being destroyed. I do not breed any of my gray males to blue bitches without an agreement that all resulting blue puppies be destroyed. I own no blue Weimaraners. People who like the blue color should certainly have it. Blue Weimaraners are just as pure-bred as any gray that ever lived; their continued existence constitutes no threat to the future of the breed, other than the continuing defeat of other bloodlines by his offspring, either blue or gray.
Von Gaiberg Kennels, Registered
407 15th Street
Santa Monica, California
July 8, 1957
The following 3 items should be noted at this point:
1. The AKC subsequently (in 1971) adopted a new standard making the blue a disqualification
2. In his later years, Mr. Carr softened and no longer required that resulting blue puppies be destroyed.
3. Among pro-blue Weimaraner people there is disagreement over mutation or whether there always was a minority of dark ones around, but none so dark as to cause an issue.
Homer Carr's letter was typed into HTML by Steve Graham and posted to the Weim List by Jeremy S. Friedberg, 10/25/98.
Back to General Info