ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Weimaraner

Weimaraner dog
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Originally, the Weimaraner was bred to be a gun dog and was mostly used by hunters in handling big games such as bears and deer due to their exceptional speed and endurance. In Germany and most parts of Europe, the Weimaraner became one of the most sought after dog breed. Apart from having exceptional speeds and endurance, the Weimaraner is also very bold and high-spirited, which many at times can be too much for small kids. The Weimaraner dog breed loves to run and be free, but when penned up, they tend to be frustrated and destructive. All in all, if well trained, these dog breeds can be great family dogs as well as good hunting dogs. The Weimaraner will function very well with dog owners who are very active and love outdoor activities.

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityAbove Average
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessAbove Average
Exercise NeedsHighest

Dog Breed Group: Sporting Dogs
Height:Generally 1 foot, 11 inches to 2 feet, 3 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight:Generally 55 to 85 pounds
Life Span:11 to 13 years

The Weimaraner’s first and earliest job was to be an all round hunting dog who was to handle huge game such as deer and bears. It is important to note that this highly skilled dog breed was given its name after the place where he was trained: the Court of Weimar. The nobleman of this court was keen on having a dog that was not only intelligent but also highly courageous and exceptional scenting abilities. It is still unknown as to how they succeeded in coming up with such a remarkable dog breed. However most researchers and breeders believe that there were several breeds that were used to create the Weimaraner. These breeds include the English pointer, the Blue Great Dane, Silver-Grey Huehnerhund, Chicken Dog and the Blood Hound. During this period, the Weimaraner was widely known as the Weimar Pointer but today the Weimaraner is commonly referred to as the Silver Ghost, Weims, Shadow and Grey Ghost. Some of their appeals lies in this breed’s sleek mouse gray, light amber, gray or blue gray eyes.

Apart from the Weimaraner’s distinctive appearance, they are also extremely devoted and loving to their owners. The Weimaraner dog breed first desire is to be with his or her owner at all times and many at times within touching range. This is why the Weimaraner are sometimes referred to as the Shadows. Many times this dog breed will not only lie at your feet but also follow you everywhere in the house. With that being said, it is important to note that Weimaraner’s were not bred for everyone especially first-time dog owner. Apart from having a great deal of energy, this dogs also has a lot of stamina hence will require both physical and mental exercises from time to time.

Without exercises, the Weims tend to become high strung and extremely nervous. Also, they can be quite a handful with lots of energy and calories to burn. Apart from being hyperactive, they also possess the intelligence of determining how and when to get out of trouble. As hunting dogs, the Weimaraner dog breed has an exceedingly high prey drive. Without proper training or the correct owner, the Weimaraner will end up chasing and killing anything that may resemble a victim i.e. cats, mice, small dogs, frogs and many others. After killing their prey, they tend to present their trophies to the dog owner. From time to time, they might end up chasing after bicyclist and other joggers.

Despite this dog breeds’ exceptional hunting skills and instincts, the Weimaraner dog breed is also an excellent house dog. They are not suited to live in Kennels or kept away especially in the backyard without any human interaction. It is also important to note that Weimaraner’s are independent thinkers hence they will test your boundaries from time to time. If you haven’t owned one before, you might then consider taking puppy classes as the first step then obedience classes. When conducting training sessions, you should be gentle but also firm because if you employ the use of harsh treatment, he or she may end up being resentful. All in all, with the Correct type of training, the Weimaraner will become a highly versatile, up close hunting dog that is not only complete in agility but also an exceedingly beautiful family friend.

Main Highlights
  • Despite the fact that the Weimaraner is a hunting dog breed, they do not like spending a lot of time outdoors. They will always require extra attention and most of the time they are always going to be close to you.
  • They have lots of energy and stamina. As a dog owner, you must be prepared to offer them a lot of physical and mental exercises.
  • Weims are exceedingly intelligent and have the ability to think for themselves. Training must be firm, gentle and consistent and must be conducted throughout their lives.
  • Unlike Golden Retrievers, Weimaraner is not soft mouthed, and most of them will have low tolerance levels for small animals such as rabbits and also dogs and cats.
  • When left alone for extended periods of time, Weims may suffer from separation anxiety. Hence they will bark, injure themselves or become highly destructive.
  • Many times, this dog breed can be extremely difficult to housetrain. Hence crate training is highly recommended.
  • When it comes to obtaining a quality Weimaraner, you must never get one from an irresponsible dog breeder, pet store or puppy mill.
Breed History

The Weimaraner dog breeds date back to the 19th century, in the Weimar courts, what is now known as Germany. The noblemen of the Weimar courts loved hunting and they were constantly looking for a breed that is not only intelligent but also very courageous, has the stamina and finally good scenting abilities. In the year 1897, an elite club was established in Germany with the main purpose of maintaining the breed and ensuring that every responsible owner is going to oversee their development.

As time went by, it became extremely difficult for the Germans to retain the dogs in Germany and during the World War 2 many Weimaraner dog breeds were transported to the United States. Towards the end of the World War 2, more and more American soldiers returned home with the Weimaraner. The popularity of this unique dog breed continued to rise, especially when the American president at that time Dwight D. Eisenhower decided to bring back his Weimaraner, Heidi back to the United States.

Towards 1950’s the Weimaraner breed were ranked as the 12th most popular dog breeds to be registered by the American Kennel Club. However, this in turn resulted in lots of careless breeding that in turn led to a drop in quality.

Size

Male Weimaraner’s are usually 25-27 inches tall and weigh between 70-80 pounds and female Weimaraner’s are 23-27 inches tall and will weigh between 55-70 pounds

Personality and Character

According to the earliest anecdotes about the Weimaraner dog breed, the Weims were perfect in all aspects. All in all, the Weimaraner is not only fearless but also highly obedient, alert and all other traits that in turn makes him one of the best companions. However, many times, the Weims can be very assertive, restless, willful and smart. When the Weims is not being watched, he or she can decide to take over the house. Apart from chewing, the Weimaraner will also bark from time to time and, in some cases, even chase after the cat. He or she may also decide to steal meat from your kitchen counter when given the opportunity. With the right amount of training and socialization, all these negative behaviors can be a thing of the past.

Other unwanted traits such as shyness and aggression are usually quite common. However they can be controlled when the dog is young if the dog owner will require the assistance of an extremely experienced trainer. As a major issue that is common among the Weems, temperament is usually influenced by several factors such as training, socialization, and heredity. When selecting a puppy, you should consider choosing one that is somehow in between, not too shy nor very aggressive. Also, before picking a puppy, you should also consider meeting at least on the puppy’s’ parents, especially the mother. From the mother, you can be able to determine as to whether you will be able to handle the temperament or not. Apart from meeting the mother, you can also ask to meet the siblings and any other relative that may be available.

All in all, like all dogs, Weimaraner’s will require early socialization so that they can be exposed to lots of people, sounds, experiences and sights. But unlike other dog breeds whose socialization may stop, the Weimaraner’s socialization must be continued throughout his or her lifetime. Through socialization, all puppies will be able to grow into well-rounded, friendly and outgoing dogs.

Health and Potential Problems

Weimaraner’s are usually very healthy but like most breeds, they are also predisposed to several health conditions. If you are planning to purchase a puppy, you must look out for a good breeder who is going to show you, all of the dog’s health clearance certificates. For this particular dog breed, you should see a clearance certificate from OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for Elbow Dysplasia, Hip Dysplasia, hypothyroidism and the Von Willebrand’s disease. The von Willebrand’s clearance certification must be from the Auburn University. Another certificate must be from the CERF, the Canine Eye Registry Foundation that will certify that the dog’s eyes are healthy.

  • Hip Dysplasia – an aberration of the hip joint and may affect either one or both sides of the hips. Dogs with this condition may show some signs and symptoms while others may not show any signs. All in all, despite the fact that this condition is usually inherited, other conditions such as environment, diet are rapid growth will also contribute to the development of this condition.
  • Von Willebrand’s disease – a congenital blood condition and is usually caused by a deficiency in the clotting factor VII, which is sometimes referred to as the Von Willebrand factor. For this condition, the primary signs are excessive bleeding after surgery or an injury. Apart from excessive bleeding, there are also other signs such as bleeding gums, nosebleeds or intestinal bleeding. Many dogs with the Von Willebrand’s disease will lead an ordinary life, however if this disease is a concern to you, you might ask your veterinarian to conduct some tests.
  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus – also known as Torsion or bloat, the Gastric Dilation Volvulus is a fatal condition that many at times will affect dogs that are very broad and deep-chested. Also, this condition can occur especially if these dogs are usually fed one meal each day, drink huge pints of water after feeding or they tend to eat very quickly. Apart from the torsions, the dog will experience difficulties in vomiting and Hence the movement of the blood to the circulatory system is stopped. Once the blood pressure stops, the dog will fall into a shock. If immediate medical attention is not given to the dog, he or she may die.
  • Hypothyroidism – mostly caused by the deficiency of thyroid hormones. Once a dog experience hypothyroidism, he or she may experience mental dullness, infertility, obesity and general lack of energy. Apart from that, the dog’s fur tends to become very coarse and brittle and may start to fall out in the long run while the skin will begin to turn dark. Treatment of hypothyroidism can be done by issuing thyroid pills each day throughout the dog’s life.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy – a progressive eye condition that may result in blindness since it affects the photoreceptors of the eye. This condition can be detected while the early stages even before the dog starts to show any signs of the condition. Also, if a dog becomes blind due to the disease, all the other senses will compensate for the loss of sight. It is important to note that all reputable breeders always have their dogs checked each year by a highly experienced ophthalmologist.
Care Features

The first thing that every dog owner must know about the Weimaraner is that he is a house dog hence he or she should not be placed in the backyard or kennel. A large backyard that is fenced for running and exercises is perfect for them. All Weims require several hours of activities if you are keen on getting rid of unwanted barking, digging and chewing. During the exercises, you can choose to play fetch or any other running game that you can think. Also, you can elect to involve him or her in a dog sport like a fly ball or agility. From time to time, you can also take him hunting.

As a dog owner, you should always ensure that the backyard does not have any loophole the dog might use to escape. When inside the house, you should expect the Weims to follow you every place, from the kitchen to the bathroom. Unlike a mature dog, the puppies are usually a challenge so they will require constant supervision. Apart from being difficult to housetrain, the puppies are also exceedingly destructive. Hence, for puppies, Crate training is highly recommended. Irrespective of the age, most Weimaraner’s tend to suffer from separation anxiety. If not addressed, separation anxiety will result in destructive behaviors.

Besides being extremely intelligent, the Weimaraner is also an independent thinker. This combination is what tends to make this dog a challenge during training. You should be very gentle but also very firm.

Feeding Schedule

When it comes to feeding, the recommended amount is between 2.5 to 3.5 cups of top notch dried dog food that must be distributed into two meals. It is still imperative to note that the amount of food required will depend on several factors such as size, build, age, activity level and metabolism. For dogs that are exceedingly active, they are going to require more food than those who are dormant. Hence, you must look at all those factors when determining the amount of food required by your pet. Apart from that, you can also seek extra assistance from a reputable nutritionist or veterinarian for assistance.

The type of food that you will give to your Weim will also have an enormous impact. As a dog owner, you should make a point in ensuring that the type of dog food that you give your dog is of high quality. In addition, you can also ensure that your dog retains its proper physical appearance. If you suspect that the dog is overweight, you can then conduct the eye test to determine if it’s true or not.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The coat of the Weimaraner is usually very smooth, sleek, short and robust, with colors ranging from silver-grey to mouse gray and will include lighter shades on the ears and head. In America, Weims with long coats are not recognized by the AMC however, in Europe and many other countries, the long-haired Weimaraner is accepted. All in all, the nose is usually dark gray in color during the insides of the lips and flaps often contain gaunt coats or no coats at all, and the skin in this area is pink. With that being said, Weims are one of the easiest dogs to groom. This fact can be noted when the dog runs through mud, and the dirt comes off very quickly without any brushing.

Weekly brushing is highly recommended as it will not only keep the skin and coat healthy. When brushing, you should ensure that you use a bristle brush instead of any other brush. Like other dogs, this breed tends to shade from time to time. However brushing will ensure that any loose hair is kept on the furniture or your clothes. So, as to ensure that his or her silvery coat remains shining, you should wipe it with a chamois. Since this breed tends to roll in anything that is stinky, you should expect to wash him or her from time to time. Also it is critical to note that many dogs with falling years tend to be predisposed to ear infections. As a dog owner, you must check the dog’s ears on a weekly basis and then you should wipe them with moistened cotton swabs.

When it comes to brushing, you must brush the Weims teeth around two to three times every week so that you can remove any bacteria or tarter that might have built up. If you are looking for an ideal way to keep off bad breath and gum diseases, then daily brushing is highly recommended. Apart from brushing, you must also trim the dog’s nail at least once or twice each month. An excellent way to know when to cut a Weims nail is if you hear them clicking on your home’s floor as the dog walks. By cutting your dog’s nails, you will not only be keeping it in a great condition but also you are going to prevent him or her from scratching your legs.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

Weims are exceptional companions but any interaction between the dog and children must be conducted under supervision. Also, you should teach your children not to approach the dog during feeding time or while the dog is sleeping. Regardless as to whether a dog is friendly or not, he or she must not be left with a child without any supervision.

Also, if you are a family with cats, birds, gerbils, hamsters or small dogs, then this dog breed is not the right fit. This is because of the high prey drive that this breed has so they can attack and kill anything that is small and furry around them.

Despite the fact that they are widely known for their extremely high prey drive, Weims also do love sleeping. Apart from that they are sprinters and not long distance runners. Hence they are going to be satisfied with daily walks though you might also take him or her along for jogging. Also, Weims tend to do well in homes or apartments that may have a smaller backyard however they will require a rather substantial fence to keep them in and from chasing after other dogs or passersby. All in all, Weimaraners will appreciate a belly rub from time to time.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Samantha Grey

    I know this might sound strange but my sister who just moved to Alaska would like to ask if Weimaraners should wear booties in the snow? The dog is around 50 pounds and my sister is worried that her pooch will have frostbite. Is that possible?

    • The Weimaraner might need additional protective clothing because frostbite is indeed possible.

  • Elizabeth

    Such dog breed as the Weimaraner is a good and attentive student. They easily learn commands and how to accomplish them. It’s quite moving and not aggressive animal.

  • Attentive, intuitive, and packaged in a distinct frame and appearance, Weimaraners are actually worthy dogs if you want a breed that is not very common but is very worth keeping.

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