The Weimaraner is a silver-grey breed of dog developed originally in early 19th century for hunting.
Early Weimaraners were used by royalty for hunting large game, such as boar, bears, and deer. As the popularity of large game hunting began to decline, Weimaraners were used for hunting smaller animals, like fowl, rabbits, and foxes. Rather than having a specific purpose such as pointing or flushing, the Weimaraner is an all purpose gun dog.
The Weimaraner is loyal and loving to his family, an incredible hunter, and a fearless guardian of his family and territory. The name comes from the Grand Duke of Weimar, Karl August, whose court enjoyed hunting.
he Weimaraner is elegant, noble, and athletic in appearance. All parts of the dog should be in balance with each other, creating a form that is pleasing to the eye. It must be capable of working in the field, regardless of whether it is from show stock or hunting stock, and faults that will interfere with working ability are heavily penalized.
The tails, which may be amber or gray, are kept short. In some cases, tails are docked and dewclaws are removed, the tail usually docked at birth to a third of its natural length.
Coat and Color
The Weimaraner’s short, smooth gray coat and its unusual eyes give it a regal appearance different from any other breed. However, the breed has been deemed very similar to the Vizsla. The eyes may be light amber, gray, or blue-gray. The coat may range from mouse-gray (grayish beige or tan) to silver-gray. Where the fur is thin or non-existent, inside the ears or on the lips, for example, the skin should be a pinkish “flesh” tone rather than white or black.
The silvery-gray color is rare in dogs and is the result of breeding for a recessive gene. It has also lent the breed the nickname ‘silver ghost’ or ‘gray ghost.’ The coat is extremely low maintenance; it is short, hard, and smooth to the touch.
According to the American Kennel Club standard, a distinctly blue or black coat is an automatic disqualification, though a small white marking in the chest area only is permitted.
There is a long-haired variety that is recognized by most kennel clubs around the world except in North America. The long-haired Weimaraner has a silky coat, with – contrary to the short coated variety – an undocked feathered tail. Because the gene is recessive, breeding two long-haired Weimaraners only produces long-haired puppies. Breeding of a long-haired Weimaraner to a short-haired Weimaraner will produce some long-haired puppies only if the short-haired parent carries the recessive longhair gene. Otherwise, the offspring will all be short-haired.
According to the AKC standard, the male Weimaraner stands between 25 and 27 inches at the withers.
Females are between 23 and 25 inches. Of course, there are many dogs taller or shorter than the breed standard. The breed is not heavy for its height, and males normally weigh roughly 70-85 pounds. Females are generally between 55-70 lbs. A Weimaraner carries its weight proudly and gives the appearance of a muscular, athletic dog.
Weimaraners are fast and powerful dogs, but are also suitable home animals given appropriate training & exercise. These dogs are not as sociable towards strangers as other hunting dogs such as Labradors and Golden Retrievers. Weimaraners are very protective of their family and can be very territorial. They can be aloof to strangers, and must be thoroughly socialized when young to prevent aggression.
They are also highly intelligent, sensitive and problem-solving animals, which earned them an epithet “dog with a human brain”. From adolescence, a Weimaraner requires extensive exercise in keeping with an energetic hunting dog breed and prized for their physical endurance and stamina. No walk is too far, and they will appreciate games and play in addition. An active owner is more likely to provide the vigorous exercising, games, or running that this breed absolutely requires.
Weimaraners are high-strung and often wear out their owners, requiring appropriate training to learn how to calm them and to help them learn to control their behavior. Owners need patience and consistent, firm (yet kind) training, as this breed is particularly rambunctious during the first year and a half of its life.
This breed is known for having a penchant for stealing food from table and counter tops whenever given the chance. Like many breeds, untrained and unconfined young dogs often create their own fun when left alone, such as chewing house quarters and furniture. Thus, many that are abandoned have behavioral issues as a result of isolation and lack of exercise.
It should never be forgotten that the Weimaraner is a hunting dog and therefore has a strong, instinctive prey drive. Weimaraners will sometimes tolerate cats, as long as they are introduced to the cats as puppies, but many will chase and frequently kill almost any small animal that enters their garden or backyard.
In rural areas, most Weimaraners will not hesitate to chase deer or sheep. However, with good training, these instincts can be curtailed to some degree. A properly trained Weimaraner is a wonderful companion that will never leave its master’s side.
Professional training is beneficial, particularly for less-experienced owners. This includes behaviors towards other family pets. Depending upon training they can be quite aggressive towards other dogs, but they are a loyal, playful and affectionate pet and an alert and friendly member of the family.
Although visitors are likely to be licked rather than warned away, the Weimaraner does not miss a trick and is always aware of its surroundings and is ready to protect its family and territory in a heartbeat. Extensive socialization is critical for this breed.
Prospective owners should note that the Weimaraner is not recommended for families with young children as it is usually boisterous, sometimes hyperactive. If you train them at an early age with young children then they will get used to them. The same goes with other pets. This is also a breed with tremendous personality, charm and stubbornness.
Behavior Disorders in Weimaraners
Weimaraners sometimes suffer from two common behavioral disorders.
The first common behavior disorder is the propensity of many Weimaraners to suffer from severe separation anxiety. Manifestations of this behavior disorder include panicked efforts to rejoin the owner when separation occurs, excessive drooling, destructive behaviors, and associated injuries such as broken teeth or cut lips.
Behavior modification training and medications may reduce the severity of symptoms associated with this disorder in some Weimaraners. However, the breed is generally refractory to such treatment and behavior modification training efforts. As individuals of the breed age the severity of separation anxiety symptoms decrease somewhat, but do not completely abate.
The second common behavior disorder is unacceptable aggression in some Weimaraners. Early and extensive socialization of young dogs can prevent this. However, as the original purpose of the breed was to assist in hunting small to large forest game (fowl & small mammals to boar, elk & bears) and to provide personal as well as property protection, a certain amount of aggression is innate to the breed.
Today’s breed standards developed in the 1800s, although dogs having very similar features to the Weimaraner have been attested as far back as 1200s in the court of Louis IX of France. It is believed that Continental pointing breeds and mastiffs were its ancestors. The breed was created exclusively for the nobility and alike. The aim was to create a noble-looking, reliable gundog.
As ownership was restricted, the breed was highly prized and lived with the family. This was unusual, as during this period, hunting dogs were kept in kennels in packs. This has resulted in a dog that needs to be near humans and that quickly deteriorates when kenneled. The Weimaraner was an all purpose family dog, capable of guarding the home, hunting with the family, and of course, being loving and loyal towards children.
Originally, Germany was possessive of its skilled all-purpose gun dog, but released a pair in the 1950s to America where the breed quickly became popular. Although slower than many other gun dogs, such as Pointers, the Weimaraner is thorough and this made it a welcome addition to the sportsman’s household. Furthermore, its happy, lively temperament endeared it to families, although it is perhaps too lively for families with young children. Unfortunately, with the rise in popularity, some careless matches were made and some inferior specimens were produced. Since then, both in Britain and America (where the breed remains popular) breeders have taken care to breed for quality and purpose.
* The first president and founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal AtatÃ¼rk, had a Weimaraner called Fox.
* US President Dwight D. Eisenhower owned a Weimaraner named Heidi.
* French President ValÃ©ry Giscard d’Estaing owned a Weimaraner called Jugurtha, who is said to have had such human habits as laughing or drinking tea.
* The photographs of William Wegman prominently feature Weimaraners. His dogs (which included Man Rayâ€”named after artist Man Rayâ€”and Fay Rayâ€”a play on Fay Wray) are the subject of his photos, dressed in human clothes. These pictures are popular both in galleries of contemporary art and as pop culture icons. These “dogs with hands” have appeared frequently on Sesame Street, and occasionally on Saturday Night Live.
* A Weimaraner was also the subject of the music video for Blue Monday by the indie rock band New Order.
* A Weimaraner named Beatrice (played by Can. Ch. Arokat’s Echobar Take Me Dancing) is featured in the movie Best in Show.
* A Weimaraner was used in the Sylvester Stalone movie “Daylight” (1996).
* Actor Hosea Chanchez (CW’s The Game) owns a Weimaraner puppy named Brando.
* Singer Kate Bush poses with two Weimaraner on the cover of her 1985 album Hounds of Love.
* A cowardly Weimaraner named Hyena plays a minor role in the Japanese series Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin.
* Brad Pitt owns a Weimaraner named Purdy.
* Actor Esai Morales (NYPD Blue) owns a Weimaraner named Frankie.
* Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor owns a female Weimaraner named Daisy May.
The Weimaraner is a deep-chested dog, which makes them a breed which is high on the list of dogs affected by bloat (gastric torsion). This a very serious condition that causes death when left untreated. It occurs when the stomach twists itself, thereby pinching off the routes of food traveling in or out. Symptoms include a dog showing signs of distress, discomfort, and a swollen stomach. Immediate medical attention is imperative when bloat occurs and surgery is usually the only option. One way to help prevent bloat is to spread out the Weimaraner’s feedings to at least twice daily and to avoid any rigorous exercise right after feedings. Weimaraner owners might never see this problem in their dogs but should be familiar with the ailment and keep emergency vet numbers handy.
Hip dysplasia is a major concern among Weimaraners, as with most large breeds of dog. It is generally recommended to acquire Weims only from breeders who have their dog’s hips tested using OFA or PennHIP methods.
Other health issues include Cryptorchidism, Elbow dysplasia, Distichiasis, Von Willebrands Disease, Entropion, Hypothyroidism, Hypertrophic osteodystrophy, Pituitary dwarfism, Hypomyelinogenesis, Renal dysplasia, and Progressive retinal atrophy.