The Weimaraner has a majestic appearance, notably because of his grey coat that sometimes borders on blue. It is an excellent pointing dog, and is otherwise very versatile, capable of satisfying many a prospective owner. A wonderful family dog, he also gets along well with children and greatly appreciates all displays of affection bestowed upon him. This german dog will be best suited to active and dynamic owners, ready to meet his significant expenditure needs.
Key facts about the Weimaraner
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Origins and history
It remains uncertain whether this dog was born precisely in Weimar, the town being his namesake, but it is certain that it originated in Germany. The Bloodhound may arguably be his only ancestor, either directly, or via the Grey St. Louis Hound, which no longer exists today. He had allegedly arrived in Germany after crossing the Rhine towards the 15th century. According to other accounts, it was originally a local breed, resulting from a cross of the Weimaraner’s short-haired ancestors (Kurzhaar) and other hunting breeds.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 7 - Pointing Dogs
Section 1 : Continental Pointing Dogs
Physical characteristics of the Weimaraner
Female : Between 22 and 26 in
Male : Between 23 and 28 in
Female : Between 55 and 77 lb
Male : Between 66 and 88 lb
Admissible coat colours are silver-grey, brown-grey and mouse-grey. All variations of these colours are accepted as well. The head and ears of the dog are generally lighter.
White patching is only occasionally admissible. Tan patching (from red to yellow) is not sought after and tan-brown patching constitutes an important defect by official standards.
Type of coat
Two varieties exist: the short-haired Weimaraner and the long-haired Weimaraner.
For short-haired Weimaraners, the coat is dense, very thick and lies flat. The undercoat is very light, almost absent.
For long-haired varieties, (1 to 2 inches) the coat is soft, smooth or slightly wavy with very little undercoat.
The mixed individuals have a double coat that consists of a top coat that is medium-length, concentrated, lies flat and has an abundant undercoat.
The eyes are amber; in pups, the colour is light blue.
The Weimaraner is a medium to big-sized dog, with a typical pointer constitution: an elongated body, slim and slightly arched neck, well-built and tucked in sides, strong limbs. The head is well-defined, with a noble side profile and a slightly pronounced stop. The ears are large, relatively long, with round tips and set high and narrow: they are slightly turned to the front when the dog is stimulated. The tail is shortened.
Good to know
In certain countries, such as Brazil, the Weimaraner is employed in various missions, oftentimes by the police force. He is particularly appreciated for his competence as a search dog due to his incredible sense of smell.
The Grey Ghost, as it is also called in the United States, is an affectionate dog, with a heart of gold. He can sometimes prove to be clingy but knows how to keep to himself if need be.
Very playful, especially with children, this German pointing dog is particularly fond of playtime.
What’s more, playing helps the dog expend himself- both physically and mentally- and also stimulates and tires him, trains him (learning self-control, static orders, recall etc.) and reinforces the owner-dog relationship.
Be careful about ball or stick-fetching games as they reinforce this hunting dog’s retrieving instinct. If the ultimate purpose is not to use him for hunting, the latter games are to be avoided.
If the Weimaraner is well exercised on a day to day basis and has the possibility to use up his energy regularly, he will be able to remain relatively docile and to be at rest in his bed (or on the couch, since he appreciates comfort quite a bit).
On the flipside, when he is out on a walk or in the middle of activity, his energy reaches such levels that it is at times tricky to calm him down. Everything is a question of balance and reasonable dosage.
The versatility of this German hunting dog indicates a certain degree of intelligence. He is balanced, docile, sensitive, and adapts to many ways of life.
His somewhat proud side should not make you doubt his intelligence, quite the contrary in fact.
This dog’s stubborn and determined personality is very useful during various hunting missions since he reveals himself to be a very methodical and persevering tracker.
Originally a pointing dog, the Weimaraner is furthermore a multifaceted hunter with a remarkable instinct that allows him to hunt for various pests just as well as bigger game.
Fearful / wary of strangers
This majestic grey dog is sociable, gets along well with guests but does need some time to adapt and trust.
In fact, those individuals that are too suspicious or even aggressive do not in the least meet the requirements of the breed’s official standards and will not be admissible. It is therefore important to carefully select the lineage of your prospective Weimaraner.
With his noble and majestic appearance, this Weimaraner could sometimes seem snobby and independant, but it actually isn’t part of his real nature at all. He is very attached to his social group and values shared moments above all else.
He does not like being put at a distance and needs to take part in his owners’ day-to-day life. As a result, this does make him somewhat dependant on his family, even if he can prove to be very autonomous when working.
Behaviour of the Weimaraner
Very close to his owners, it is difficult to leave a Weimaraner alone at home without having taken the time to expend his energy beforehand, and made sure that he is tired enough to sleep through your absences.
As soon as the Weimaraner pup first integrates the household, a gradual exposure to spending time alone will have to be undertaken, so that he can better tolerate his kin’s absences.
Easy to train / obedience
This hunting dog can prove himself to be stubborn and somewhat pigheaded if he feels that his leader is not confident and authoritative enough. At times quite proud, the Weimaraner can grow docile if an environment of trust is cultivated.
Training must be precocious, to prevent the dog from picking up bad habits, and firm so as to create a structure for the dog and make him feel safe.
Some rules of conduct must be implemented to integrate this big dog as smoothly as possible into the household, as he will not accept exclusion from family life.
Positive reinforcement training methods should absolutely be used, otherwise this seemingly noble dog’s sensitivity could be vexed.
A rather balanced dog, his barking will never be excessive. If he starts barking, it’s often because he’s alone and bored, or because an uninvited guest is encroaching onto his habitual turf.
Tendency to run away
Hunting dog often implies fleeing dog. Accordingly, hunting dogs have a very evolved predatory instinct, and their nose often makes them flee the nest to follow intriguing scents.
That being the case, the Weimaraner remains a somewhat atypical hunting dog who, despite his incredible sense of smell, prefers to stay close to his kin. Good training and mutual understanding between the dog and the owner will help limit the risk of escapades.
Very rarely enjoying being alone, and in need of much exercise to be fully satisfied both physically and mentally, this dog can prove to be destructive if he left is alone for hours on end without anything to keep him busy.
For example, when still a pup, the Weimaraner is a rather mischievous dog and it is important to know how to channel him so that he doesn’t turn into a burden for the whole family.
Greedy / Gluttony
Gluttonous within reason, the Weimaraner will never say no to reward snacks as praise for his good behaviours.
His appetite helps strengthen his motivation during training sessions.
Exceptionally attached to his social group, the Weimaraner is a good watchdog, especially if there are children at home.
He can be a very good deterrent to intruders who try and trespass onto his grounds without having been invited. However, he doesn’t generally tend to show signs of aggressiveness.
Loyal and faithful to his social group, docile as long as the communication is respectful, as well as sociable and affectionate, this dog is a very pleasant family dog.
For a first-time owner, it would be wise not to be swayed by his physical appearance and really take into account his requirements and needs, especially in terms of energy expenditure.
Prospective Weimaraner owners will have to be dynamic, active, strict but gentle in the training process. First-time owners can adopt this dog but have to seek out the help of a professional dog behaviourist and trainer in order to avoid extreme behaviours from emerging.
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Weimaraner in a flat
It is possible to house a Weimaraner in a flat, but only if you can provide him with long outdoor walks during the day, otherwise he will be very miserable if forced to stay in a confined space.
Life indoors is compatible with this dog, and the ideal situation would be for him to have access to a garden, where he could stretch his legs and get some fresh air whenever he feels like it.
At any rate, whether raised in an apartment, a house with a garden, or outdoors in the countryside, this active dog does need to benefit from several outings a day to really relieve his need for exercise.
Need for exercise / Sporty
Active owners will be delighted to be able to exercise with this dog, as he is very athletic and above all else keen to expend himself physically and mentally, as well as stimulate his sense of smell.
Canine traction sports (canicross, dog-biking, dog scooter), search missions (tracking, mantrailing) as well as mentally-stimulating activities (dog free-styling, obedience, IQ games) will greatly appeal to this dog who is thirsty for action.
He will have to be provided with decent walks everyday, off-leash and able to explore on his own within a secure environment. Hikes in the great outdoors will be particularly appreciated by this dog, but recall must be mastered so as not to lose control over the dog when he is suddenly distracted by a stimulating element
Travelling / easy to transport
Given his size, transporting a Weimaraner can tend to be difficult but is by no means impossible- especially if he has been conditioned from his youngest age to travel in transportation crates and discover new environments alongside his owners.
Remember, however, that while traveling and finding himself in unfamiliar environments, you will have to be particularly vigilant when letting him off the leash.
Weimaraner and cats
You must of course always be conscious of this dog’s hunting instincts, but he does remain a pointing dog and will sooner freeze when faced with prey, rather than pursue it.
Having said that, cohabitation is absolutely possible, especially so if the Weimaraner pup is used to the presence of cats from a very young age.
Weimaraner and dogs
If the Weimaraner pup is socialised well from his youngest months, and that the encounters are supervised, positive, and frequent, especially throughout the pup’s first year, this dog will grow into a sociable adult, open to his fellow canines.
Weimaraner and children
Gentle, playful and affectionate, this pointing dog is particularly predisposed to being part of a family with children.
Some rules of conduct will of course have to be implemented but if the interactions are supervised and that the dog’s peace of mind is respected, there is no reason why the relationship and cohabitation would be problematic.
Weimaraner and the elderly
This dog’s energy and his strong need for physical exercise will not be compatible with the profile of potentially sedentary owners.
The price of a Weimaraner varies depending on its origins, age, and gender. You have to count an average of £900 for dogs subscribed to the Kennel Club.
With regards to the monthly budget required for a dog of this size, including both quality nutrition and basic yearly care (vaccinations, deworming, etc.), it is estimated at around £45.
This hunting dog’s short and dense coat does not need to be maintained in an extensive manner. Weekly brushes will be sufficient to maintain the beauty of his grey coat.
Eyes and ears will have to be checked regularly and treated in order to avoid risks of infection.
Hair loss is moderate but remains nevertheless significant during annual moulting seasons, such as spring and autumn. Daily brushes will then have to be provided for the dog.
Nutrition of the Weimaraner
This active dog’s daily rations will have to be adapted to his activity level, his age, and his health.
Two meals a day are recommended in order to prevent ingesting too much food at once: one light meal in the morning and a more substantial one in the evening. These regulated meals also help limit the risk of gastric torsion.
Kibble may be provided, but under the circumstance that they be high quality. Raw food or homemade food could also suit this dog well, especially if he works and is often physically stimulated.
Veterinary supervision is recommended for the Weimaraner pup during his period of growth, in order to ensure healthy development and to prevent malnutrition during the latter phase.
Health of the Weimaraner
Life expectancy is estimated at 11 years.
Strong / robust
The Weimaraner is of robust constitution but remains, like many dogs of his size, relatively fragile, especially during his growth.
Moreover, given that he is so active and athletic, his meals must be supervised in order to prevent potential medical issues. His fragility is additionally reinforced by the lack of an undercoat.
Be sure not to stimulate this big dog during intense heat. Passionate about hunting and determined when in action, he might keep going until the point of collapse without being conscious of it.
Regulated activity, unlimited water and a spot in the shade will therefore be necessary when the weather is hot.
In fact, the Weimaraner greatly appreciates water: water games and walks alongside waterfronts could be a wonderful solution for this dog in the summertime.
This pointing dog is particularly robust and very enduring when at work. That being said, he does not have an undercoat (or only a very thin layer of it), which does not equip him well for extremely cold weather.
Tendency to put on weight
In addition to preventing excess weight, it is very important not to feed this big active dog in between meals, if he is getting a lot of physical exercise. This could lead to gastric torsion syndrome.
Snacks are however recommended during training sessions, but must be handed out modestly to avoid excessive weight gain.
A Weimaraner who does not get enough exercise can rapidly gain weight. Decent, regular walks will help avoid this potentiality.
- Gastric torsion syndrome
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Renal dysplasia
- Umbilical hernia
- Skin problems (skin asthenia
- Distichiasis / trichiasis (lash anomalies)
- Wobbler syndrome (compression of the spinal cord at neck level)
- Corneal dystrophy of epithelial surface
- Eversion of the nictitating membrane
- Tumours (mastocytoma, lipoma, etc.)