GENETICS OF THE WEIMARANER COAT
Syrinx Weimaraners, Bywong, NSW, Australia
In this article, for simplicity,
Longhaired Weimaraners are referred to as Longhairs or LHs. Shorthaired dogs
that carry the Longhair gene are referred to as Longhair Carriers, or LHCs.
Longhair Carriers are sometimes erroneously referred to by some as
Shorthaired Carriers. They are referring to a Shorthaired dog that carries
the Longhaired gene, but this can be confusing to some people , and they may
then think that a Longhaired dog can carry the shorthaired gene, which it
The Long Hair Gene In The Weimaraner
of the longhaired Weimaraner is a recessive gene, which will be covered
later in the chapter. However, all Weimaraners have a dilution gene which
gives them their particular colour. The ‘grey’ of the Weimaraner is actually
the dilution of liver/chocolate, so if it were possible to remove that gene,
they would be the colour of a solid coloured GSP.
blue Weimaraners in America, but it is a disqualification in the show ring.
Blue is a dilution of black.
of a dog with a dilution colour is not actually lighter, the hair is banded.
The gene actually affects the distance between the bands, and so to the eye,
it appears lighter.
Dominant, Recessive genes and Inheritance.
in the Weimaraner is a recessive gene. That means that it can be carried,
but not seen. Many traits, such as colour, and even some medical conditions
are also recessive. Some people think that a recessive gene is automatically
a bad thing, which it is not. It is simply how a particular gene is carried,
it has nothing to do with how the outcome is viewed by the breeder, or
anyone else. The longhair puppy in one litter may be longed for, the
longhair puppy in someone else’s litter may be seen in a totally different
way! That is simply the method of inheritance, it doesn’t mean that a dog
that carries a recessive gene also carries anything else like that.
Recessive Gene is Inherited.
and the Pea.
looked at how traits were inherited in his famous experiments with sweet
peas. He was a priest, and looked at red and white peas, and the colour and
pattern they inherited when they were crossed.
Weimaraners, it would be displayed like this. LL stands for smooth, and it
is dominant. Smooth is what shows up when a genetically shorthaired dog is
mated to a long, a carrier or another smooth non-carrier. The
longhair is written as ll.
The longhair carrier is written as Ll, as it is
showing a smooth coat (L) but carries the longhair gene (l).
simplify it, think about it as the first allele you see is what you see on
the dog, the second one is what is hidden within. So in the smooth that is
not a carrier, described as LL, is a smooth to look at, and only has smooth
genes. What you see is what you get.
longhair is ll, a
longhair to look at, and a longhair within, if you like. But a longhair
carrier is smooth to look at (L), but carries the long hair within (l),
so they are Ll. If you think about it as a
capital letter always comes first, then L is always dominant over
l (smooth dominant over long) but it is when
you breed a carrier of the gene to either another carrier, or a longhair,
and you get a doubling of the longhair gene (l)
that the longhair finds expression, or is visible. That is written up in a
particular way, which helps you look up the possible combinations and
outcomes. You will find one of these Punnett Squares at the end of this
figures are percentages, and so, are worked out over 100 puppies. It is not
the percentage of each litter, although it does sometimes happen. This is a
very simplified explanation of how the system works. If you can imagine a
bag of marbles with red, blue and yellow marbles in it. The bag is the
mating between two Longhair Carriers. The red marbles represent the smooth
non-carriers; the blue marbles are the longhair carriers, and the yellow are
the longhairs, and it is from two LHCs. That means that in the bag are 25
red marbles, 50 blue marbles and 25 yellow marbles. You might expect that
when you reach in and take out 20, you might get a quarter red, half would
be blue and a quarter yellow. But you can see that statistically it is
possible to pull out 20 red, or 20 blue or 20 yellow. It may not be
expected, but it is possible. That is why some times there can be the pup of
a longhair (which must be a LHC) that can parent pups to another carrier or
a longhair, yet they are all smooths. They have just managed to pull only
red and blue marbles out of the bag. Not expected, but certainly possible.
On occasion, a litter might be dominated by LHs, again, not expected, but
possible. It is the ‘Murphy’s Law’ of dog breeding – you won’t get what you
want. It does not mean that either gene is ‘stronger’ in certain dogs, as
someone once said to me to explain a LH that never had a LH pup, it is just
the luck of the draw.
The blue that is seen
in some American Weimaraners is a dominant, not a recessive gene. This means
that a blue must have at least one parent that is blue. One of the early Weimaraners that was taken to the USA was a blue that was supposed to be
from two silver parents, and this has caused much argument (Editor's
note: the German Club discovered that this was a Dobe cross and not from 2
silver parents). They were able
to be shown until 1972 and there were blue show champions before that
time. The argument about keeping longhair and blue colour as a
disqualification have been tied up together, but can seem contradictory. One
of the reasons cited for the non recognition of the blues is that it is not
recognised in Germany. On the other hand, the longhair is recognized in
every country except the USA. People also have said they don’t
want blues ‘popping
like longhairs can, but as that colour is not a recessive, it will not
appear unexpectedly. At least one parent must be blue.
©Wendy Laigne-Stuart 2005