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Get to Know the Weimaraner: Great Gray Ghost

A favorite of royalty, artists, and just plain folk, the Weim is a do-it-all kind of dog.

Caroline Coile  |  Sep 15th 2014


Known as “the Gray Ghost,” the Weimaraner has one of the most distinctive and beautiful colors in the dog world. The distinctive gray color appeared early on in the breed’s history, but its origin is unknown.

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More interesting thing about the Weimaraner:

  • The genetics of the gray coat color is fairly simple. At the B locus, which determines whether a dog is black (BB or BB) or brown (bb), the Weim is bb. At the D locus, which determines whether a dog has undiluted (DD or Dd) colors or diluted (dd) colors, the Weim is dd. The combination of bb and dd makes the warm gray color. This is the same combination that creates the fawn (or “Isabella”) Doberman Pinscher.
  • Some Weimaraners are either BB dd or Bb dd, and they are a darker gray or blue color. Blue Weims are not allowed to compete in AKC conformation events, as they are not considered acceptable per the standard. They can compete in all other events, however.
  • Longhaired Weimaraners also exist, and are accepted throughout most of the world but not by the AKC’s breed standard. The long coat is the result of a recessive gene.

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  • The Weimaraner may be confused with the Vizsla, but the Weimaraner is always gray or sometimes blue. In America, the Weim’s tail is usually docked shorter than the Vizsla’s.
  • The Weimaraner was created in 1800s Germany by crossing several early pointing breeds, and even a Bloodhound, to an all-around gun dog who could hunt game of all sizes, even deer and bear.
  • The breed was created solely for use by nobility, and unlike most gun dogs of the day, was also prized as a family companion.
  • It was called the Weimar Pointer because the court of Weimar sponsored its creation.
  • The German Weimaraner Club would not allow Weimaraners to be sold to non-members, except for a few that were sterilized. But in 1929, an American gained entry into the club and brought two intact Weimaraners back to America.

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  • The breed’s looks, obedience success and hunting ability brought much interest.
  • The Weimaraner is a slower gun dog compared to some other pointing breeds, but it is a very thorough hunter.
  • The AKC recognized the breed in 1943. It is a member of the Sporting Group.
  • The best-known Weims are those of photographer William Wegman, who gained fame with his books of photos of Man Ray and Fay Ray.
  • Weims appear in the films Best in Show, Maid in Manhattan, Juno, Daylight, and Fever Pitch.

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  • Owners include Dwight D. Eisenhower, Grace Kelly, Dick Clark, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Pieter Loridon, Dean Cain, Queen Latifah, Ben Stein, Hosea Chanchez, Larry the Cable Guy, Esai Morales, French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, and President and founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
  • No Weimaraner has yet won Best in Show at the Westminster dog show, but three have won the Sporting group there.
  • Weimaraners are the 33rd most popular AKC breed, down from 29th a decade ago.

Do you own a Weimaraner? Have you spent time with one? Let’s hear what you think about this fascinating breed in the comments! And if you have a favorite breed you’d like us to write about, let us know that, too!

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About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier.