Breed Type: Hunting
Country of Origin: Germany
Also known as: Weim, Grey Ghost
Males: Height: 63-68 cm Weight: 32-37 kg
Females: Height: 58-63 cm Weight: 25-32 kg
Exercise Requirements: High
Care Requirements: Medium
Lifespan: 10-12 Years
Best Suited as: Family Pets, Service Dogs
The Weimaraner, also called the “grey ghost”, hails from Germany and was born to run. This natural athlete needs a natural human leader to feel secure in the world. They make loving and loyal pets if properly trained.
The Weimaraner is an elegant, muscular dog with sleek fur and elegant lines. They have long heads with a strong muzzle and long, high-set hanging ears. Their noses are grey and their intelligent eyes come in shades of blue but most turn light amber after their puppyhood. Most Weimaraners have long necks, long, muscular legs and webbed feet. While docking is frowned upon in many places, the Weimaraners tail has been traditionally docked to a third, shortly after birth.
Most Weimarangers’ coats are short and sleek and come in all shades of gray. A longhaired variety does exist through a recessive gene. The longhaired Weimaraner has a longer silky coat and an undocked, feathered tail and is recognized by most kennel clubs.
The exact origin of the Weimaraner is unknown but they are believed to be a descendant of the Bloodhound and are likely to be the oldest German pointing breed. They became visible during the early 19th century at the Court of Weimar and were originally referred to as “Weimer Pointers”. Early Germans took pride in developing a breed that could both hunt and make an excellent companion. At first, they were created exclusively for nobles and were known for their speed, athleticism, sense of smell, courage and stamina. Unlike most hunting dogs, many Weimeraners were welcomed inside the home and were treated like family members. In the late 19th century, members of the breed were exported to the United States and other parts of Europe.
The Weimaraner was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1943 and the Weimaraner is one of several breeds in Australia to be known as a “Utility Gundog”.
The breed’s popularity as a family pet and a competitive contestant in dog shows throughout the world has grown steadily. The Weimaraner has held many roles including being a rescue and service dog and as a police dog in the United Kingdom and in Germany. Due to their excellent sense of smell, Weimaraners were also used to sniff for missiles during the Cold War.
Lots of different words have been used to characterize the Weimaraner. They are extremely intelligent, mischievous, active, loving and have been known to be stubborn. While generally easy going as adults, Weimaraner puppies are extremely high energy and can be high-strung. Early training can help curb their anxiety and keep them from behaving badly. Separation anxiety is also fairly common with this breed. Owners need to use firm yet kind training, as this breed is particularly rambunctious during the first year and a half of its life. They do best with a strong leader because the breed craves strong leadership. The proper amount of exercise will also keep the Weimaraner happy and less rambunctious. Training and games played with this loyal pet should be varied as the Weimaraner has a tendency to get bored.
Care and Grooming
The Weimaraner has smooth, shorthaired fur, which is easy to keep in good condition. Using a brush with firm bristles, these dogs need only occasional grooming and bathing. This breed is only an average shedder.
From adolescence, a Weimaraner requires extensive exercise. They love to go for hikes and long walks to show off their physical endurance and stamina. This dog is ideal for an active owner who will provide the vigorous exercise, games, and running that this breed absolutely requires.
Because Weimaraners are prone to bloat, feed them two square meals a day and avoid any rambunctious exercise right after eating. Place your dog’s bowl on the ground, raised bowls have been found to encourage your dog to eat too quickly, making bloat a higher probability.
Hip Dysplasia is fairly common complaint of Weimaraner owners. As a deep-chested dog, the Weimaraner is prone to gastric torsion (bloat) which is a serious condition that can cause painful and rapid death when left untreated. Symptoms include signs of discomfort, no bowel movement or sounds, and a swollen stomach. If you see your pet exhibiting a combination of any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. Unfortunately, surgery is often the only treatment.
Some Weimeraners are also prone to Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (excessive rapid growth), Von Willebrands Disease, progressive retinal atrophy and tumors.
Suitability as a Pet
The Weimaraner is a good pet for many people, but is not the right breed for everyone. Due to their great need for extensive exercise, someone who is willing to take long runs or go for hikes with their pet will be a good owner for this breed. The exuberant and intelligent Weimaraner also needs a strong human leader who can give firm and consistent training without being overly harsh. They are eager to please, and are easily motivated by rewards (food or praise).
Being a hunting dog, they have a strong prey instinct and should not be trusted with small furry family pets. They are highly social with people and other animals and generally do well with dog siblings. Weimaraners are generally good with children, but due to their tendency to knock a child down in the course of play, they should not be left alone with small children. Teaching them to sit and stay through positive reinforcement is critical to prevent this risk.
When bored, this breed is known for getting into mischief. They are known stealing food from the table and countertops and Weimaraner puppies often chew on shoes and furniture. Because the Weimaraner is such a social dog, someone who is not often home, should not consider the Weimaraner. Since they were bred to be true members of a family, some Weimaraners suffer from severe separation anxiety. This is exhibited by panicked efforts to rejoin their owner when separation occurs, excessive drooling and destructive behaviors. Sadly, there is a fairly high rate of abandonment due to behavioral issues as a result of isolation and lack of exercise.
The Weimeraners ideal living situation would be to reside on a country estate. They are not good apartment dogs and may inadvertently knock over objects in small spaces. A Weimaraner should have at least a small yard to play in that is enclosed by a tall fence (they are known to jump them) and a strong lock (they are also known to unlatch gates).