Weimaraner Coat Color Genetics

By Anne Taguchi on 01/01/2006 | Last Updated on 04/19/2022

While there are many loci and alleles involved in the Weimaraner’s coat color, there are only two loci that are important for the Blue versus Gray coat color in the Weimaraner, the Locus B pair and Locus D pair.

The B genes work in pairs, with one of each of these two alleles inherited from each parent. The D genes also work this way. Each of these genes may be dominant or recessive. Dominance is noted with a capital letter and recessives with a lowercase letter for that allele. In other words, B is dominant to b, and D is dominant to d. If present, the dominant gene will determine what you see and will always express itself, “hiding” the paired recessive.

Locus B Pair

The dominant B produces a black coat color whereas the recessive b produces a liver or chocolate coat color. Since these genes come in pairs, a dog could be BB, Bb or bb. BB individuals will be black. bb individuals will be chocolate. Bb individuals will also be black because the dominant B “masks” the b. The b is still there and can and does get passed onto the dog’s offspring, but it is not visible as the dogs phenotype (the physical characteristic that you can see).

All Gray Weimaraners are bb. Blue Weimaraners are BB or Bb.

Locus D Pair

This pair controls dilution. The dominant D causes full pigmentation whereas the recessive d produces a dilute pigment. Because D is dominant, a Dd (or DD) individual will be fully pigmented and there would be no dilution of coat color. It is commonly accepted that all Weimaraners are dd; that is, all Weimaraners, both Blue and Gray, are diluted and never fully pigmented. The dd pair makes the bb chocolate/liver into the light tan that we call Weimaraner Gray or Silver-Gray (bbdd), and it makes Bb of BB black into a charcoal colored dog that we call Blue (Bbdd or BBdd).

The dilution can work in degrees. In other words, it can make some dogs lighter than others. Some Blue Weimaraners can be so light as to appear gray. We must remember that the difference between blue and gray in Weimaraners is tonal, not the degree of dilution. We have Silver-Gray, Gray and Mouse-Gray that vary in how dark they are, but they are all bbdd. Blues too can range from very dilute to a very dark Blue. Thus, very light Blues may look lighter than a Mouse-Gray.

Light-Blue-Weimaraner
A very dilute Blue, appearing deceptively lighter due to all the light in the photo. Though she is light, the tone of her coat is still a diluted black rather than having any brown cast. Note her nose color is also affected by the coat genes showing a dark gray nose. (Darker Blues have black noses.)
Light-Blue-Weim-Next-to-Typical-Blue-Weim
The same dog (left) next to her littermate, both Blues.
Gray-and-Blue-Weimaraner
Gray Weimaraner next to a Blue Weimaraner, both typical in coat color. The Gray Weim is a dilute brown/chocolate, the Blue Weim is a dilute black. Note the color of their noses compared to the nose of the light Blue Weim in the photos above.

How to Determine the Inheritance of color in a Weimaraner Litter

Two Gray Weimaraners will never produce a Blue Weimaraner. This is because there is no dominant B gene that any puppy can inherit from either parent.

When considering inheritance of coat color if there is a Blue parent, we merely need to look at the locus B pair in Weimaraners since all Weimaraners are dd. A simple way to determine what a mating would produce is to do a Punnett square. With this tool we can predict the statistical outcome of genotype and phenotype.

Let’s say we are breeding a homozygous (having the same alleles, so BB) Blue Weimaraner to a Gray Weimaraner (bb). We would note the geneotype of one parent at the top of the Punnett square and the other parents on the side. The empty squares represent the puppies. Since we know that each puppy inherits one of the alleles from each parent, we move one allele down into the offspring’s squares.

Completing-Punnett-square-for-Weimaraner-coat-color
How to complete a Punnet square to predict Weimaraner coat color.

The completed Punnett square would appear like this:

Punnett-Square-Gray-Weimaraner-bred-to-a-homozygous-Blue-Weimaraner
A completed Punnett square of a monohybrid cross. Gray Weimaraner bred to a homozygous Blue Weimaraner.

As we can see from the completed Punnett square, a Gray Weimaraner bred to a homozygous Blue Weimaraner will produce 100% Blue Weimaraners, and further, all of them will be heterozygous Blues. In other words, all of the dogs will be blue and carry the gray recessive.

When we breed a Gray to a Blue who is carrying the recessive b, we can use the Punnett square to determine that we will statistically get 50% Blues and 50% Grays:

Punnett-Square-Gray-Weimaraner-bred-to-a-heterozygous-Blue-Weimaraner
Gray Weimaraner bred to a heterozygous Blue Weimaraner

Thanks to this simple tool, it is now perfectly understandable how two Blues can produce Gray pups. Statistically we would see 75% Blues and 25% Grays:

Punnett-Square-Heterozygous-Blue-Weimaraner-bred-to-heterozygous-Blue-Weimaraner
Two Blue Weimaraners can produce Gray puppies.

Again it is important to reiterate: If both sire and dam are Grays, then it is impossible for any offspring to be Blue. The dominant Blue gene is always expressed. If you are dealing two dogs that are bb (which means they are both Gray), there is NO Blue gene to pass down. The dominant gene is gone. A dog canot pass on a gene that is gone. So there should NEVER be fear that a Blue will pop up in a Gray to Gray litter, or in any succeeding generation. Period.

Punnett squares only help predict probability, and results are not statistically significant when dealing in small numbers. Therefore it would be theoretically possible for two Blues to produce an all Gray litter. However because Blue is dominant, it is never possible for two Grays to produce a single Blue in a litter.

18 responses to “Weimaraner Coat Color Genetics”

  1. John Angelis says:

    It looks like the Punnett charts are out of sequence with the text and the last square ( bb/gray x Bb/Blue) is mis-titled.. Thanks for an otherwise well-written and easy to understand explanation.

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      Thank you for catching that! Corrected!

      • Chris says:

        Great website. The pictures appear broken to my and my wife’s computers and phones. We found the same with the justweimaraners.com site. Great info though!

        • Carlos says:

          Yes they look broken. I could not see any of the pictures either.

          • Anne Taguchi says:

            Thank you both. Sadly I do not have time at the moment to correct some of these issues. I hope to be able to get back to it soon.

  2. Kellie Lyznicki says:

    Question for you. I’m considering a blue weim but was told by my breeder (who only has silver pups) that blues are more rambunctious and mischevious. Is that true? Is the temperant really different between the colors?

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      No it is not true. Temperament traits are not tied to color.

      • Dianne says:

        We have a laid back silver gray male who is 18 months and a HYPER 9 month old blue girl. We are just one of thousands, but that’s our take. Thank God the chiller boy came first

  3. Alex says:

    Super interesting read! I’ve been searching for specific blue coat information for a while and I see an example of it in one of your photos.
    The silver and blue’s heads laying next to each other; the blue has patches of light liver colored patches. Do you know what causes this?
    My blue has begun to show lighter patches in his fur, even the quality of the fur is more densely distributed, slightly shorter, and finer. Initially I assumed it was sun bleaching, but as it spreads through his coat I’m beginning to think that it’s either a skin disorder or genetic abnormality from the traits that cause the blue color.
    Anyway! That photo is the first time I’ve seen another blue showing these liver patches, I was hoping you might have a guess!

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      Hi Alex, in my observation it is quite common and tends to show up more as the dog gets older.

  4. marian says:

    i thought there was an agouti gene that also played a role in coat color

  5. vanessa moraga says:

    I rescued two puppies from a shelter. They showed us a picture of their mother who was a silver weimaraner. They have the size and physically characteristics (at almost 9 months one is 70 pounds and the other is 51 pounds ) of a weimaraner but they appear black but in full light they have a brownish hue. One pup has brown eyes and the other has amber colored eyes. Is it impossible for them to be full weimaraners?

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      Hi, if the pups are black, they are probably cross bred. You can send DNA into one of those places like Wisdom Panel to see. I don’t know how accurate those tests are, but it could be interesting!

  6. julie says:

    I am confused. You say all Gray Weimaraners come from a bb chocolate on locus B but my understanding is
    Dogs with two d alleles, regardless of which variant, will have all black pigment lightened (“diluted”) to gray, or brown pigment lightened to lighter brown in their hair, skin, and sometimes eyes. Wouldn’t that make Grays and Blues a diluted Black and tan and mouse grays a diluted Chocolate?

  7. Mike Herwin says:

    I am entering dogs from KC BRS AY3 to worldpedigrees.com, where I have my database on line. I have found a litter, which shows a sire and dam, both registered as Silver Gray and the litter includes Non Breed Standard Blues. The sire is parented by a Blue. A further litter by the dog, not yet published in a Breed Record Supplement. also contains NBS Blues. Both bitches have long pedigrees with no trace of blue.
    This indicates to me that the sire in question was probably mis-registered as Silver Gray. Can you please advise if this is likely to be the case and whether the Kennel Club should be notified and the sire’s colour checked
    My database has any dog that I know from UK up to AY2, or US (pre Aug 2004) to be blue capitalised.
    Will be grateful for your comments

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      Hi Mike, I would agree with you. It’s impossible that two gray parents would produce blue dogs, even if one of the parents had a blue parent. The sire you are talking about would not have the blue gene, period; otherwise it would be expressed. You cannot always trust the color that is registered (at least not with AKC) because the breeder can mark the colors whatever way they want!

Your comments and questions are welcomed

Your email address will not be published. All comments will be moderated.