Blue Weimaraners as we know them today in the United States can be traced back to one dog, Cäsar von Gaiberg (“Tell”), imported from Germany in 1949. Tell was one of the first Weimaraners to be imported to the U.S. after World War II.
The 1944 Weimaraner Standard Included Blues, but Tell’s Color was Still Controversial
Tell’s arrival sparked immediate controversy over his dark coat color even though the 1944 Standard, written prior to Tell’s 1949 arrival to America, specifically includes the Blue color in the “General Appearance” description: “Color Gray (Silver, Bright, Dark, Yellow); the Dark Gray may be either ash or blue.”
The fact that in the following year the Weimaraner Club of America conducted a fairly intensive interview regarding Tell indicates that there was some serious concern and major controversy over this dog that Jack Denton Scott called the “black menace” (131). This interview is documented in the Minutes of Meeting of Board of Governors of the Weimaraner Club of America, March 8, 1950 – PDF, where the WCA attempted to address the accusation that Tell was not a purebred Weimaraner.
In this interview, Captain Harry J. Holt, the American who purchased and imported Tell to the United States, claimed that Tell’s coat color was not viewed as aberrant and was referred to by the Germans as “mouse gray.” (Please see article on Tell for more information.) The minutes documented in 192 pages ended with no formal conclusions.
Later the same year, after an AKC investigation of his German papers, and after getting the 10 show points necessary, Tell was registered in the AKC studbook in September 1950 – PDF and as such was acknowledged as a purebred Weimaraner by the AKC.
Blue is Erroneously Characterized as Recessive in the 1952 Proposed Standard and the AKC Rejects Disqualification
By 1951 the WCA was distracted by another coat variety controversy, whether to accept the Longhaired Weimaraner. Emphasis was placed on the recessive inheritance as being the major reason for seeking disqualification (Wood). Attempts to change the standard to disqualify the Longhair were made in the early 50’s, with the Blue Weimaraner riding on the coat strings of the Longhair issue. The reason offered for seeking disqualification of the Blues was that the gray shade was preferred and that the acceptable Weimaraner color should be of a narrow range and not to include Blue (Wood).
Though the WCA’s reasoning for disqualifying the Blues had nothing to do with the mode of inheritance (dominant), somehow around this time, perhaps solely to do with timing, blue was erroneously characterized as a recessive trait. And even though the AKC rejected the WCA’s attempt to disqualify the Longhairs and Blues (See proposed 1952 revision), both were subsequently classified as a very serious fault in the approved 1953 Standard. The 1953 Standard reads, “Any long-haired coat or coat darker than mouse-gray to silver-gray is considered a most undesirable recessive trait.”
The AKC Rejects the 1965 Standard Attempting to Disqualify the Blue Weimaraner Again
Homer Carr, a prominent and respected Weimaraner breeder informed the AKC prior to 1953 and again in 1957 that the statement in the Standard that blue was recessive was incorrect (Wood). Yet the minor 1959 standard revision continued to insist that the blue was recessive. The recessive statement was dropped from the Standard in 1965 when once again an attempt was made to disqualify the Blue with a membership vote.
The AKC rejected the proposed Standard which included the Blue disqualification. Elizabeth Wood quotes an AKC “Memorandum” of January 1965, where the AKC acknowledges that there is “considerable sentiment against the [Standard] change” (Wood). Consequently, in the 1965 Standard “a color darker than mouse gray” remained a very serious fault.
Blue Weimaraner History – Part II: From 1970 to 2007
The Blue Weimaraner controversy started from the very beginning, with one of the first Weimaraners imported into the United States..
Cäsar von Gaiberg, the Progenitor of the Blue Weimaraner
An in-depth look at Cäsar von Gaiberg (“Tell”), the progenitor of the Blue Weimaraner, and the one that started it all.