Nicknamed the Gray Ghost, the Weimaraner is easily identified by their characteristic blue or gray coat. A red Weimaraner would be a strange apparition indeed, but some people claim to have seen one. Was it a vision, or do red Weimaraners actually exist? According to the American Kennel Club breed standard, they do not. However, it’s possible that the “red Weimaraner” your friend spotted is a closely related mixed breed or perhaps a similar dog such as a Vizsla.
A Quick History of The Weimaraner
Through the shrouds of history, a nameless gray dog accompanied European hunters and even posed with King Louis IX in a portrait. The Chien-gris, or the Grey Saint Louis Hound as they were called, is believed to be the predecessor to the Weimaraner dog that was later established in Germany. During the 1800s, the Grand Duke Karl August was an avid sportsman who took to intentionally breeding the mysterious gray dog in hopes of developing a dog he could take hunting. The other nobles of the Weim court soon followed suit, and the modern Weimaraner was developed.
Many years passed. The Weimaraner remained somewhat a secret until World War I. Whispers of the gray dog traveled back to the United States and reached the ears of Howard Knight, a sportsman from Rhode Island. In 1928, he requested breeding stock so that he could raise Weimaraners in the United States. The German Club responded by sending him two sterilized dogs. Determined, Knight tried again and finally acquired three bitches and a puppy a decade later.
As World War II tensions heightened, many Weimaraners were forced to flee their homeland and come to the United States. They were welcomed to the country and quickly became established despite the ongoing wartime trauma. They were finally recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1943.
Is There Such a Thing as a Red Weimaraner?
According to the breed standard set by the AKC, a purebred Weimaraner may only have a blue, gray, or silver-gray coat. Minimal white markings on the chest may also be allowed, but red is excluded from the standard entirely.
People who claim they’ve seen a red Weimaraner may be at least partially correct. While they won’t be eligible for registration with the AKC, it’s possible for a purebred Weimaraner to breed with a similar red dog, such as the Fox Red Labrador.
Several breeds also closely resemble the Weimaraner, except that they have a red coat. The Vizsla hails from Hungary and looks like a Weimaraner except for their golden auburn coat. They possess a similar energetic temperament; both are hunting dogs with high energy and an intense prey drive. Given their resemblance and similar geographical history, the breeds may even be closely related.
Interestingly, some Chesapeake Bay Retrievers may also look a little like a Weimaraner except for their brown coats and burly figures. Technically speaking, the Weimaraner also has a brown coat, but they possess genes that give their coat a “washed out” appearance that results in the silver color! That being said, all purebred Weims have this gene, so you won’t find a purebred brown Weimaraner either. Purebred Weims are always silver, blue, or silver-gray. A “Weimaraner” with another coat color is either mixed with another dog or is another breed altogether.
Should I Adopt a Red Weimaraner?
Since red Weimaraners don’t exist according to the breed standard and the genes that naturally occur in the breed, only unscrupulous breeders will try to sell you an AKC-certified, purebred red Weimaraner. You should steer clear of dog breeders who are trying to charge you more for their registered red Weimaraner because they’re being dishonest. If they’re upfront about their dog being a mix or if you find one in the shelter, however, you should consider yourself lucky. There’s certainly nothing wrong with adopting a mutt. In fact, studies show that they’re often healthier than purebred puppies.
A purebred Weimaraner’s coat will always be some shade of gray. However, a dog that’s mixed with a Weimaraner and another dog may have a red coat. The Vizsla is a similar dog who may be mistaken for a Weimaraner, but they always have an amber coat. You shouldn’t pay purebred rates for a red Weimaraner since they’re technically a crossbreed. However, should you find one in a shelter or from an honest person who knows they actually have a mixed breed, you shouldn’t hesitate to take this unique dog home as a pet.