The Weimaraner, Germany’s sleek and swift ‘Gray Ghost,’ is beloved by hunters and pet owners alike for their friendliness, obedience, and beauty. They enjoy exercise, and plenty of it, along with lots of quality time with their humans.
Developed in the early 1800s, the Weimaraner (WY-mah-rah-ner ) is a veritable puppy among dog breeds. The key figure of the Weimaraner’s early history was Germany’s Grand Duke Karl August, who held court in the town of Weimar. The duke, like so many European nobles of the age, was an avid sportsman. His dream was to develop the perfect hunting dog. In pursuit of this ambition, he is said to have crossed Bloodhounds with various German and French hunting dogs. The result was the Weimar Pointer, or Weimaraner.
The duke and his fellow noblemen at first used these unique-looking dogs as big-game hunters, in pursuit of bears, mountain lions, and wolves. As Europe’s population of these predators decreased, the Weimaraner found new work as an all-purpose hunter who points and retrieves gamebirds.
The Weimaraner was a jealously guarded secret for many years among the German aristocracy, but good specimens began arriving in America by the late 1920s. The breed’s U.S. popularity as a pet and hunting dog took off in the 1950s, with such celebrity owners as President Eisenhower and movie star Grace Kelly. The breed received another boost from photographer and artist William Wegman, who became world-famous for his Weimaraner portraits.
Temperament: Friendly / Fearless / Obedient
Height: 23-27 inches
Weight: 55-90 pounds
Life expectancy: 10-13 years
Being a very active breed, Weimaraners get more than their share of accidental cuts, scrapes, sprains, and pulls. They love to chew, and that makes for mouth and gum injury. Be careful of them ingesting things that should not go down a dog’s throat. The most serious health issue in the breed is gastric torsion. This is a life-threatening condition where the stomach gets overstretched and twists shut. Discuss the symptoms with your vet so you can recognize them, and seek immediate veterinary care should it ever occur.
Recommended Health Tests From the National Breed Club:
- Hip Evaluation
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation
- Thyroid Evaluation
The biggest job in grooming the Weimaraner is keeping the nails short. This is important for the comfort and health of your dog and cannot be overemphasized. When nail length gets out of hand, it’s difficult to get it back to a proper length. (If you can hear a tap-tap-tap when they cross a hardwood floor, the nails are too long.) The short coat should be brushed to remove ‘dead hair.’ Don’t forget to clean the ears clean the ears, since having an ear structure that impedes air-flow makes for the potential of infected ears.
Weimaraners have high exercise requirements. They need consistent exercise for their physical and mental well being. They love a good run. While walking is OK, stretching their legs and getting ‘up a full head of steam’ is far better. A tired Weimaraner is a good Weimaraner.
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As one longtime breeder says, ‘The good news is that Weimaraners are smart; the bad news is that Weimaraners are smart.’ They learn quickly, and that includes both good and bad behaviors. Get to a training class and be consistent with your training methods. Weimaraners operate on the principle of ‘What’s in it for me?’ Be creative in your training by making what you want what they want. Early socialization and puppy training are vital and help to ensure that the Weimaraner grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion.
Generally, Weimaraners are good eaters. (In fact, they will eat their dinner and then try to eat the bowl.) Owners should feed a highly rated food that has a moderately high protein content. If feeding kibble, some people add water to the dry food. If the dry food is enhanced with canned food or table scraps, be careful not to add too much. Rich food can upset their digestion.