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.
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.
The completed Punnett square would appear like this:
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:
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:
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.
Blue Weimaraner Genetics Study
Was the first Blue Weimaraner, Cäsar von Gaiberg the product of a cross breeding or of a spontaneous genetic mutation?
How Did the Blue Gene Get Introduced Into Weimaraners?
Are Blue Weims cross-bred? A genetic mutation? Or did they always exist? This article looks at the theories.
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.
Thank you for catching that! Corrected!
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!
Yes they look broken. I could not see any of the pictures either.
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.
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?
No it is not true. Temperament traits are not tied to color.
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
Actually, yes, temperament can be tied to color, because the genes for temperament sometimes inherit with the color gene. This is especially likely to be true when the color came from a crossbreeding.
I’ve been breeding and training from the same line of Labradors over 50 years (15 generations, over 2000 total individuals, plus in-depth historical observation and the advantage of a mentor who started in the 1920s). I’ve found I can make pretty good predictions about temperament based on coat color and texture, early signs of physical type, etc.
And not just for my own dogs. Until the late 1980s, one could reliably predict whether a yellow Labrador would be a good hunter solely by its coat color and texture, without reference to its pedigree. Darker yellows with hard coats were usually talented; pale yellows (which always had softer topcoats and much thicker undercoats) generally did not want to work. Why? because the light color and super-dense undercoat didn’t come from Labrador lineage; it came from an Alsatian crossbreeding in the early 1900s. This distinction only faded because yellows became more comingled with blacks and ceased to be mostly-coherent bloodlines, but we still sometimes see it today.
Similarly, in one line the chocolate color came from a Chesapeake back around 1956 (I even know whose kennel and the identity of the Chessie) and to this day sometimes the descendants show Chessie-specific mannerisms (smiling by showing you their tonsils, or “roaring” rather than barking) not found in any other Labrador lineage. This was much more pronounced when the descendants were a distinct line of chocolates, before that lineage became absorbed into the wider working gene pool, but it still pops up now and then when that ancestry is on both sides of the pedigree.
So I wouldn’t be surprised if there are traits that are more likely with blues because of blue being from a crossbreeding (remember GSPs used to also come in black-and-white), tho it may be confined to certain bloodlines, or may only pop up with certain linebreedings (being “wired” tends to be a recessive trait). Weims are a relatively narrow gene pool, making it more likely such distinctions are preserved, and if you observe enough puppies with an objective eye, you may find there are connections you didn’t realize were there. If blue does indeed come from a single dog, it’s very likely that his other traits are also relatively preserved wherever blues occur. And temperament is very much inherited.
I think you’ll find that Doberman traits also occur wherever the tanpoint does. Some years back I came across evidence that a certain famous personage of the early days was breeding both Weims and Dobes, and funny thing, that’s when Dobes added the dilute color, got long ears, developed deep bodies, and stopped looking like big terriers. Most of our breeds are not as simon-pure as we’d like to believe. I could bore you for hours with how specific traits in Labradors hie from a point source that was not a Lab.
Thank you for your thoughtful comments! I don’t know much about Labs but this was interesting to read.
I have been in a good position to have observed many Blue Weimaraners from different lines. I do agree that temperament is largely inherited. However, I have seen temperaments all over the board with Blue Weims from various lines. In my own, I see a lot of consistency with the color and temperament. I do not (but am open to changing my mind) necessarily think this is tied to the color, but rather the dogs that I used early on in my breeding program.
PS – GSPs recently accepted the blacks and a few years ago had one that won the National Amateur Field CH so black Shorthairs are definitely still around.
Oh yes, even when there are strongly linked traits, what you see will vary (sometimes wildly) because of influences from other lines; every outcross brings unseen baggage, and sometimes that swamps existing traits (for good or ill). And of course there’s always selection pressure according to the needs of your own breeding program. It only takes three generations to achieve significant changes.
And it may be that only certain linebreedings expose a particular behavior. This was true in FT Labs for 7 or 8 generations following a cross with a English Pointer in 1946 — double up on the most popular sire from that line, and you got bolters (the effect of adding a big-running dog with nothing to balance it). Otherwise you’d never see it, and the trait has since faded out as the line became diluted by admixture with different bloodlines.
Also, a lot of what gets decried as “hyper” is in fact the dog screaming “TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” — a problem solved by stronger boundaries and rewarding good behavior through stricter training (and ensuring the dog is never forced to guess what you want — uncertainty being a great way to create nervous wrecks). Some dogs need that more than others.
I hadn’t heard that GSPs accepted the blacks (I live in a cave) but I think that’s probably a good move.
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!
Hi Alex, in my observation it is quite common and tends to show up more as the dog gets older.
I would bet money this is latent GSP patching, possibly under the influence of another gene (such as greying). Many dogs don’t get a fully-mature coat until they are 5 or 6 years old (probably in response to age-related hormone leveling), and that’s when you see subtle color changes.
I’ve seen GSPs (and Queensland Heelers) with a shorter, finer coat in the solid patches.
i thought there was an agouti gene that also played a role in coat color
Not with the genetics that deal with the gray and blue of Weimaraners. 😉
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?
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!
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?
Never mind. I have a better understanding. Thanks http://www.doggenetics.co.uk/dilutes.html
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
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!
I have personally seen a dilute-black dog from liver parents (this dog also had dilute-liver littermates), and I know of others. BUT… I’m pretty sure these cases involve recessive black.
DNA testing revealed my pup’s code to be KB. Is this unusual?
No it is not unusual. It just means that your dog is a solid in color, which is normal for Weimaraners