Winter Blues


Ever heard of a Blue Weimaraner? Ya, blue. As in blackish. Sorta. 
Most people know the Weim for its grey coat. But other coat colors popped up in the breed years ago and continue to pop up from time to time even now. 
There are dogs I called "Whitemaraners" and I've seen ads on the net for 'fawn' and 'red' Weim pups. However, the most common "off" colour is a dilute black. It looks kinda blue. Cool eh? 
Well, it depends on who you ask. 
I once mentioned blue Weims to a Weim Club of America member and she went from being a friendly dog-show lady to Linda Blair in the Exorcist in less than a second! I soon found out that instead of saying 'hey look what nature gave us' a LOT of folks in the Weim world see the blue as one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Who knew?

Anyway, I wrote something about the blues a while back on a forum and thought I would post it here.

What to Do About the Blues?

As an interested observer munching popcorn on the sidelines, I'd like to offer some perspective on the whole Blue Weim debate. First off, we need to understand that it is an old debate in the US, but relatively new in Europe. While the intensity had died down for a time in North America, it has increased greatly as of late because blues are now being bred on the other side of the ocean.

In addition, we should remember that debates surrounding accepted colour(s) are not new. They have made their way through a good number of breeds, including most of the continental pointing breeds at some point in their histories. In fact, this is actually the second time that a debate about colour has raged among Weim breeders. The first, which occurred around 1908, was not about blue coats but about yellow markings that sometimes occurred in certain lines. As result of the debate the word “silver-grey” was dropped from the name of the “The Club for the Pure Breeding of the Silver-Grey Weimaraner Pointer” due to the fact that yellow occasionally occurred in the coat and that, while it was not to be encouraged, dogs with yellow markings could be used for breeding if they were outstanding field performers.

But back to the blues: What are the options?

Option 1. Status Quo. Nothing changes, Blues remains in limbo. Back yard breeders of "rare" blues continue to make quick bucks and grey breeders either ignore them or continue to treat blues as if they were toxic lepers bred by members of Al Queda.

Unfortunately, this is the most likely scenario, simply because it is the easiest. It costs nothing to do nothing. It takes very little effort to belittle the blues. All you need is access to a computer and an axe to grind. And for some people - the ones who drink a lot of the "purebred" cool-aid -  hurling holy water at what they believe is the Devil’s blue spawn is just plain fun.

Option 2. The German club takes a decision similar to that which it took in 1908. They simply acknowledge that the blue exists, restrict the coat/color score to no more than “good” but allow blues to be bred into grey lines if they prove to be outstanding field workers. This is an eminently sensible thing to do, and could be based on the 1908 precedent. However, the chances of it ever happening are exactly zero.

The German club is a rigid monolith today and is struggling to keep the breed out of the hands of non-hunting breeders in Germany. The club has a hard enough time even allowing the breeding of long-haired to short-haired weims among the good breeders. Asking them to open the studbook to blues would be like asking them to open it to horny red foxes. And even if, by some miracle, they did allow blues into the club, finding an outstanding blue field performer is harder than locating a lawyer's heart. So finding a good blue, testing it in the German system and getting them to allow it to breed would be like hitting a golf ball to the moon and sinking a hole in one.... with a 9 iron.

Option 3. A new breed and breed club are founded. Again, this would not be something new. The Langhaar and  Large Munsterlander folks did it. The Picardy and Blue Picardy people did something similar.

So there is a tried and true formula for establishing a club and a new breed. But it is difficult. In fact, it is probably much more difficult to do nowadays than it was 100 years ago. There are big $$ involved and lots and lots of time required…probably on the order of 10-20 years. But the biggest difficulty would be to somehow develop a consensus among all the blue supporters. Unfortunately, like most of the folks that fancy the grey, supporters of blue Weims are for the most part non-hunters in love with the looks and personality of the breed, and pretty well convinced that the sun shines out their dogs’ ass. But other than that, they are as diverse a group as can be. Getting them all on the same page at the same time would be monumentally difficult...but probably the only way out of the current dilema.

Option 4. Go your own way. The main issue we are dealing with is trying to fit a square peg (blue weim) into a round hole (the existing purebred dog world structures). Why not dispense with it all? Forget the AKC, forget the FCI and go the way sled dogs have gone. Breed good hunting dogs. Period. Breed healthy hunting dogs. Period. Breed and exchange them with other hunters and HUNT WITH THEM.

Let the club folks continue the endless circle jerk of "improving" the breed. Go your own way, build a better Blue and see who shows up each morning in the hunting field ready to take on the day!

I am sure there are other scenarios and sub-scenarios to explore, but in a nutshell that is how I see it.

Of course, your mileage may vary.

3 comments:

  1. Petri talked about color controvery (in grays) early in Weim history... "Even at that time (1899), agreement could not be reached about either description of colour or desired colour" (Petri 7) and "There are silver-gray and mousey-gray Weimaraners...and there is heated argument between opponents" (qtd. in Petri 8)."

    Certainly the gray color, whatever the shade, could be considered a hallmark of the breed; but in the US, it is an established unofficial "variety." There's no "getting rid of" Blues at this point.

    And having spent far more time and energy arguing the issue than I care to admit back when I was more naive, I have come to realize that Option #4 is the best approach. A good hunting Weim is a good hunting Weim no matter the color.

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  2. Hey Craig. I'm glad to see you published this. I loved this post on the forum. Your writing as usual is a delight. I think of your writing as serving the role of a court jester: lambasting everyone with very accurate barbs that charm rather than insult.

    A wee comment. The way you've stated that Blue Weim's "pop up" could be construed as it being a recessive gene that pops up by surprise. I know you understand the genetics, but others may not. To be clear, Blue is dominant and is never a surprise. May I suggest that if your readers would like to know more about Blues that they read my "History of the Blue Weimaraner in a Nutshell"? http://www.blueweimaranertoday.com/category/articles/history/

    I'll also be writing a commentary on this post - but that's to come.

    Best to you, Leslie

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  3. I loved this post, thanks for writing it :)
    Here we don't discuss the blues at all because to my knowledge there are no blues in Finland (and I don't know if there are any in the Nordic countries at all). But I guess it is only a question of time when we get the first one since it appears breeding them is popular in contintal Europe. It will be interesting to follow the discussion here and reflect over some things you wrote :)

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