Weimaraner

 

Well known in America for its use as a companion animal, the Weimaraner is in actuality a working dog, more specifically a gun dog breed originally developed in 19th century Germany. The Weimaraner gets its name from the German city of Weimar, where it was primarily developed.  This breed is famous for its beautiful grey coat, which has given the breed the nickname of, “The Grey Ghost.”  Although this breed is thought of as grey, it is occasionally found in other colors such as fawn, blue, or black as well.  This breed is sometimes known as the Weimar Pointer, although that term is now considered archaic.

 

Breed Information

Breed Basics

Country of Origin: 
Size: 
Large 35-55 lb
X-Large 55-90 lb
LifeSpan: 
10 to 12 Years
Trainability: 
Moderate Effort Required
Energy Level: 
High Energy
Grooming: 
Brushing Once a Week or Less
Protective Ability: 
Good Watchdog
Hypoallergenic Breed: 
No
Space Requirements: 
House with Yard
Compatibility With Other Pets: 
May Be Okay With Other Pets If Raised Together
May Have Issues With Other Dogs
May Injure or Kill Other Animals
Not Recommended For Homes With Existing Dogs
Not Recommended For Homes With Small Animals
Litter Size: 
6-9 Puppies
Names: 
Weimaraner Vorstehhund, Weim, Grey Ghost, Weimar Pointer (archaic)

Height/Weight

Males: 
71-82 lbs, 22-27 inches
Females: 
55-71 lbs, 23-25 inches

Kennel Clubs and Recognition

American Kennel Club: 
ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council): 
CKC(Canadian Kennel Club): 
FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale): 
KC (The Kennel Club): 
NZKC (New Zealand Kennel Club): 
UKC (United Kennel Club): 
History: 

 

The Weimaraner was molded into its present form during the 1800’s, in and around the city of Weimar.  Although Weimar was the capital of an independent state at the time, it is currently part of Germany.  Although standardized into a breed at a relatively recent date, the Weimaraner probably descends from much older breeds.  Unfortunately, early breeders did not keep careful records of their process, so most of the origins of this breed remain a mystery.  However, some information can be put together.

 

For many centuries, Germany was divided into hundreds of different independent countries and cities.  These states varied greatly in size, population, laws, resources, economy, and form of governance.  Partially due to this fragmentation, a number of unique breeds developed in different parts of Germany.  It was quite common for the nobility of each region to keep a unique form of hunting dog.  Such was the case of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, ruled by the Grand Duke Carl August.  Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach is in the central part of what is now Germany, in the state of Thuringia.  Although no one knows exactly when they were first bred, the region was home to a unique breed of dog with a beautiful grey coat.

 

Very little is known about the ancestry of these dogs, although they were most likely related to other German hunting dogs.  It is generally believed that the ancestors of the Weimaraner were initially pack hounds, and that they were tasked with hunting boar, deer, and wolf.  These species were greatly preferred by the royalty of the Middle Ages.  For many centuries, only the German nobility were allowed to own pack hounds or to hunt.  It is most likely that the base stock for the Weimaraner was a combination of German pack hounds, similar to the surviving Hanoverian Hound and the Bavarian Hound.  These dogs were almost certainly crossed with other breeds to improve them.  However, it is unclear which breeds were used.  As no records have survived the full truth will never be known.  The most commonly suggested breed is the Saint Hubert Hound, one of the first purebred dogs.  This breed was developed by monks at the Saint Hubert Monastery in what is now Belgium.  It became popular with the French kings who later spread it across France and Western Europe.  This breed was highly influential in the development of other hound breeds.  The various Swiss Laufhunds, themselves descendents of the Saint Hubert Hound, may also have played a role in the breed’s early development as well. 

 

It is highly probable that the Weimaraner also shares a great deal of ancestry with the Pinscher/Schnauzer family.  These were common farm dogs across German-speaking lands.  The Great Dane, known in Germany as the Deutsch Dog or Boarhound, was likely introduced to Weimaraner lines at some point as well.  It is unclear whether the grey color for which the Weimaraner has become famous was introduced by crossing the German hounds with another breed or if it was a natural mutation.  Dog experts think that if it was from a cross, it was most likely the Saint Hubert Hound, the German Pinscher, or the Great Dane.  It is also unknown when it first occurred.  There are paintings from 13th Century France which depict dogs which appear similar to the Weimaraner, but there may or may not be any connection.  What is known is that hunters in the vicinity of the city of Weimar began to heavily favor the grey color until their dogs were primarily of this color.

 

As the centuries wore on, Germany became increasingly developed.  As a result, large game species such as the boar, deer, and wolf either became extinct or very rare.  In order to continue hunting, the German nobility looked towards smaller game such as rabbits and birds.  To do so, they would have to adapt their dogs to this new game.  It is wasteful and unnecessary for a pack of hounds to hunt such small game, a single dog would do.  Single dogs also have the advantage of being quieter and less likely to scare off such easily frightened prey.  For many centuries, a small group of highly specialized dogs had already been pursuing such game, dogs such as the Spaniels, the Vizsla, and the Bracco Italiano.  These breeds would find small game and then either flush it from cover or get into a specialized posture to alert their masters of its whereabouts.  The hunter would then use one of three methods to capture or kill the prey.  For rabbits, hares, and similar creatures, a fleet footed sighthound would be used.  For birds, a trained falcon would be released or a net would be thrown.  As it became more fashionable to hunt birds and small mammals, additional hound breeds were then converted for this purpose, many by the introduction of the blood from existing bird dogs. 

 

At some point, hunters in the Weimar region also began to transition their dogs from a pack hound to a bird dog.  It is widely believed that the Vizsla, and possibly a type of Spaniel, went into the creation of the modern Weimaraner.  Bird hunting exploded in popularity with the introduction of hunting guns.  It was now considerably easier, less expensive, and more enjoyable to hunt birds.  One of the most popular early gun dogs was the now-extinct Spanish Pointer.  Little is known about this breed other than the fact that it likely came from Spain and that it entered into a distinctive pointing stance when it located game.  The Spanish Pointer was imported into Germany and was used to develop a breed known as the German Bird Dog, the ancestor of the modern German Shorthaired Pointer.  It is highly likely that breeders in the Weimar region used either Spanish Pointers or German Bird Dogs to improve their dogs.

 

By the early 1800’s, dogs closely resembling the modern Weimaraner probably existed in Weimar.  However, these dogs were not pedigreed or pure bred in the modern sense. For several centuries, social restrictions had been easing somewhat in Germany, and middle-class hunters had begun to gain access to lands previously exclusively held by the nobility.  They also began to acquire bird dogs.  These hunters could not afford to keep multiple dogs, nor could they afford to go hunting all of the time.  They needed a breed that would be a family companion when it was not working in the field, and began to heavily select for this companionship.  During the 1700’s and 1800’s, British sportsmen began to keep studbooks and to standardize their hunting dogs.  This set off a craze across Europe, especially in Germany where hunters in Weimar initiated a careful breeding program, complete with studbooks, for their dogs and formed the German Weimaraner Club.  The court of the Grand Duke Karl August was the center of these efforts, and many members of the Weimar nobility were club members. 

 

From a very early time, the club sought to keep their breed a pure hunter, as well as very exclusive.  They made agreements that no club member would ever transfer a Weimaraner to anyone who was not an exiting member of the club.  This meant that anyone who wanted to own a Weimaraner would first have to apply for membership with the German Weimaraner Club and be accepted.  The club was very successful at both limiting Weimaraner ownership and at creating very high quality animals.  Initially, this breed was used for both birds and small mammals.  It was developed as a versatile gun dog, meaning that it is capable of scenting, pointing, and retrieving.  The breed began to make appearances in German dog shows in the 1880’s, and was recognized as a pure breed at this time.  In the 1920’s and 1930’s, Austrian breeders developed a second variety of Weimaraner, the Long-Haired Weimaraner.  It is unclear whether they introduced the Long-hair or if it was already present in German dogs.  It is very likely that this coat is the result of a cross between a Spaniel or a Setter and the original Weimaraner variety.  These dogs were used by the Austrian Forestry Service.  This dog has never been considered a separate breed, only a different variety.  The Long-Haired Weimaraner was quickly accepted by most European breed clubs.

 

Because the German Weimaraner Club was so restrictive, it was very difficult to export this breed from Germany.  In the 1920’s, a New England sportsman by the name of Howard Knight became interested in the Weimaraner breed.  In 1928, he applied for membership in the German Weimaraner Club and requested that he be sent some dogs.  His application was accepted, but despite his promises to keep the breed pure, the two dogs he was sent were sterilized.  Knight continued his efforts to acquire breeding stock, and was finally rewarded in 1938 with three adult females and a male puppy.  It is very likely that the German Weimaraner Club changed its mind due to the volatile political climate in Germany.  Hitler was well-established in power at this time and had begun his territorial demands of other countries.  He had also begun to suppress and eliminate opposition groups.  Weimar was the center of German democracy, and many members of the German Weimar Club were either staunch democratic supporters or former noblemen, two groups Hitler especially disliked.  Club members likely thought that the best way to protect their treasured breed was to send it to America.  After Knight’s initial success, club members began to send more and more of their dogs to American sportsmen. 

 

By 1942, there were enough Weimaraners in America that the Weimaraner Club of America (WCA) was founded.  The following year, the American Kennel Club (AKC) granted full recognition to the breed as a member of the Sporting Group.  Exports of Weimaraners continued throughout the 1940’s.  Although it was extremely difficult to export dogs from Germany during World War II, American and German fanciers made substantial efforts.  These efforts almost certainly saved the Weimaraner breed.  World War II and the subsequent communist takeover of most of Eastern Europe caused the extinction or near extinction of dozens of European dog breeds.  However, the Weimaraner had established a solid population in America.  Exports continued after World War II as American soldiers who had served in Germany began to acquire these dogs and return home with them.  Although accepted in Europe, the AKC did not recognize the Long-Haired Weimaraner, nor did it accept most color variants.

 

The 1950’s saw the Weimaraner explode in popularity in the United States.  Many servicemen had seen this beautiful breed in Germany and wanted to acquire one for themselves.  Additionally, the breed was seen as a beautiful novelty.  Perhaps what most brought the breed to prominence was the fact that President Eisenhower, who was very popular at the time, owned a Weimaraner named Heidi and brought her to the White House.  Heidi was the first exposure most Americans had to the breed, and she helped to start a craze.  However, Heidi was not especially well-behaved and had trouble adjusting to life in the White House.  This popularity was accompanied by great success in the show ring, as many breed members began to take home Best-In-Shows.  In 1955, The United Kennel Club granted the breed full recognition as a member of the Gun Dog Group.  The explosion of popularity experienced by Weimaraners was relatively short-lived, but was initially quite damaging to the breed.  These dogs were seen as being quite valuable and many disreputable breeders sought to make a quick profit.  They began to produce dogs that were of low quality and questionable temperaments.  Additionally, many Americans who acquired this breed were not prepared to care for a working hunting dog that needs a substantial amount of exercise and training.  Because of poor breeding and dog/owner matches, the Weimaraner developed a reputation for having severe behavioral problems.  By the 1960’s, the Weimaraner was much less in demand.  Luckily, many of the breed’s early fanciers and some of its new ones remained committed to these dogs.  Dedicated breeders began to undo the damage caused by disreputable ones.  This was made possible by the fact that a large breeding pool of quality dogs had been established prior to the start of the fad.

 

The first Weimaraners imported to America were used primarily as gun dogs.  Although used on mammalian quarry in Germany, American hunters almost exclusively used the breed for hunting birds.  During the 1940’s and 1950’s the breed became much more popular as a Show Dog and companion animal that it was as a working hunter.  This breed became best known as a suburban family dog, although it remained quite capable of its original purpose.  Although a number of Weimaraners remained working dogs, the breed was gradually almost entirely eclipsed by other breeds, especially the German Shorthaired Pointer and the Brittany.  Over time, most Weimaraner lines lost some of their working instincts and slowly became less energetic and more suited to life as a companion. 

 

In the 1970’s, a young American photographer and artist acquired a male Weimaraner which he named Man Ray.  Wegman began to include Man Ray in his works, which became very popular.  Wegman eventually acquired other Weimaraners as well, most famously a female named Fay Ray.  Wegman works and the Weimaraner breed eventually became almost synonymous.  This connection was furthered when Wegman and his trained dogs began to make regular appearances on the children’s program Sesame Street.  Partially as a result of Man Ray and Fay Ray, the Weimaraner began to slowly return to popularity.  By the end of the 1990’s, the breed was returning to prominence, but with a slower and more reasonable rate of growth than in the 1950’s.  By this time, the Weimaraner breed had begun to occupy a similar position as the Labrador Retriever or Cocker Spaniel: a primarily companion breed that is still occasionally used for hunting.  Beginning in 2005, the UKC began to accept both Long-Haired and blue-colored Weimaraners, although the AKC still does not. 

 

In recent years, the population growth of the Weimaraner has greatly slowed and is now relatively stable.  The breed usually hovers around a ranking of 30th in terms of AKC registrations.  This means that the breed is quite common, but not extraordinarily so.  In 2010, the Weimaraner ranked 32nd out of 167 total AKC registered breeds.  This status is probably preferred by the majority of Weimaraner fanciers as it allows for a sizable gene pool but a relative degree of control of the quality of dogs.  Some Weimaraners remain working gun dogs to this day.  The breed has also competed very successfully in agility and obedience events.  Weimaraners have also served with distinction as therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, and in law enforcement.  However, the vast majority of modern American Weimaraners are companion animals and show dogs, tasks which this affectionate and beautiful breed is well suited.

 

Appearance: 

 

Thanks to its unique coat and the art of William Wegman, the Weimaraner is one of the most instantly recognizable breeds in America.  These dogs look more like a very refined scent hound than they do a traditional gun dog.  The Weimaraner is a large breed.  Breed standards call for males to stand between 25 and 27 inches tall at the shoulder and for females to stand between 23 and 25 inches tall at the shoulder.  Although breed standards do not specify an ideal weight, most males weigh between 71 and 82 pounds and most females weigh between 55 and 71 pounds.  This breed is extremely athletic and muscular in appearance, and usually looks rather lean and lithe.  Before they develop their full musculature, young Weimaraners often look very thin to the point that some observers believe they are emaciated. 

 

This breed has a chest which is somewhat wide and deep.  The Weimaraner was developed as a working dog and should not be disproportional or exaggerated in any way.  In America, the tail of the Weimaraner is traditionally docked to around six inches in length.  However, this is not true of the Longhaired Weimaraner which is usually left with a natural tail.  Additionally, tail docking is beginning to fall into disfavor and is actually banned in several countries.  The natural tail of the Weimaraner is quite long and thin, and is traditionally held straight and level with the body.

 

The head and face of the Weimaraner have been described as aristocratic, and they are certainly quite refined.  The Weimaraner looks much more similar to a scent hound than most other members of the Sporting Group.  Both the head and muzzle are somewhat long, and relatively narrow.  The head and muzzle are clearly distinguished, but still blend together somewhat gently.  The muzzle of this breed is long and deep, giving it extra room for scent receptors and the ability to carry birds as large as a goose or turkey.  The lips of the Weimaraner are slightly pendulous, giving the dog the appearance of having a square mouth.  These lips hang down slightly on some breed members, forming small jowls.

 

Some Weimaraners have what appears to be extra skin on the face, which makes it look loose but never wrinkly.  Most Weimaraners have grey noses, but the shade is determined by the color of the dog’s coat.  It is not especially uncommon for a Weimaraner to have a pink nose.  Depending on the color of the dog’s coat, a Weimaraner may have light-amber, grey, or grey-blue eyes.  These eyes can darken to almost black when the dog is excited.  These eyes give the breed an intelligent and relaxed expression, although some may be slightly pleading.  The ears of this breed are long and slightly folded.  Set high on the head, the ears droop down, although not especially close to the head.

 

The coat of the Weimaraner is the breeds defining characteristic.  These dogs come in two coat varieties, although the AKC only recognizes the shorter haired one.  The Shorthaired Weimaraner (generally known as simply the Weimaraner) has short, smooth, and sleek hair.  This variety’s coat is fairly uniform in length and texture over the entire body.  The Longhaired Weimaraner has a coat which is similar to that of a working Spaniel.  The coat is between 3 and 5 inches in length over most of the body, and may either be straight or slightly wavy.  There is some feathering on the ears and backs of the legs, and heavy feathering on the tail where the fur is the longest.

 

This variety also tends to have longer fur around the feet and toes.  Both coat varieties come in the same colors, although different kennel clubs allow for different colors.  The AKC only recognizes grey dogs, in any shade from a mouse-grey to a silver grey.  The UKC also accepts blue Weimaraners.  Other kennel clubs around the world also accept black Weimaraners and even fawn ones.  Many Weimaraners have a small white marking on their chests which is acceptable.  Otherwise, this breed must be solidly colored, although the head, face, and ears are generally a slightly lighter shade.  Both the AKC and UKC allow for white patches if they are the result of hunting scars.

 

Temperament: 

 

Although the temperament of all dogs is largely determined by how they are trained and cared for, this is much truer of Weimaraners than it is most other dogs.  Although this breed is actually quite inherently stable in temperament, adults exhibit a wide range of temperaments due to their owners.  When trained, raised, and exercised properly, the average Weimaraner will develop into a good natured and extremely loyal dog with great character.  This breed can become one of the true gentlemen of the canine world.  Without the proper training and exercise, breed members often become ill-mannered and hyperactive problems animals.  Weimaraners are generally more similar to hound breeds and pinschers in terms of temperament than they are to the average gun dog, although they do share many similarities with that group as well.

 

Weimaraners are a very people oriented breed.  They form extremely close bonds with their families, to whom they become very devoted.  They are renowned for their loyalty, and a Weimaraner would probably follow its owner anywhere without question.  Some Weimaraners become one-person dogs, having a special person with whom they are overly close, although this is definitely not always the case.  Weimaraners are known as “Velcro dogs” that follow their owners very closely wherever they go.  This breed can definitely become clingy.  This devotion can result in some problems as these dogs are often “underfoot” and in the way.  They also frequently suffer from very severe separation anxiety, which often leads to destructiveness and excessive barking.  Weimaraners definitely prefer the company of their own family to that of strangers.

 

This breed is generally very reserved and aloof with new people.  Socialization from a young is very important for this breed, because unsocialized Weimaraners have a tendency to become either timid and fearful or in some cases slightly aggressive.  It generally takes a Weimaraner a bit of time to warm up to a new person such as a roommate or spouse.  However, most breed members will eventually come around if given enough time.  Weimaraners make excellent watchdogs, and their warning barks can be quite intimidating.  However, most breed members would make poor guard dogs as they are not aggressive enough.  Weimaraners were bred as family companions as well as hunting dogs.  Most breed members get along well with children when they have been properly socialized with them.  The average Weimaraner will become quite close with the children in its family, who are more likely to give it the constant attention and playtime that it craves.  This breed is relatively tolerant and generally not snappy.  However, Weimaraners which have not been exposed to children from a young age are likely to be nervous around them.  Young Weimaraners may not be the ideal housemate for very young children, but only because they are so exuberant that they may bowl toddlers over accidentally during play.  It is of the utmost importance that children are taught how to consistently maintain dominance over the dog, as a Weimaraner will not listen to those it considers as lower than itself on the social totem pole.

 

Weimaraners are known for having substantial issues with other animals.  This breed is average when it comes to other dogs.  When socialized, most Weimaraners will be polite with other dogs, although they do not especially crave their company.  When trained from puppyhood, this breed tends to be generally accepting of a canine housemate, particularly if that housemate is a Weimaraner of the opposite sex.  However, this breed is known to have dominance issues, especially males.  Weimaraners like to be in control of the situation, and are sometimes willing to use aggression to take charge.  While this is certainly not a breed that will fight to the death over the slightest provocation, they are not afraid of getting into a scrap and will occasionally initiate one.  Proper leadership from owners will greatly reduce the likelihood of problems developing.  Weimaraners are not a good breed with non-canine animals.  This is a hunting breed which was bred to tackle anything from a boar to a pigeon and has a very high prey drive.  Although not to the extent of a breed such as a Bluetick Coonhound or an Alaskan Malamute, the Weimaraner has earned a reputation as a cat killer. 

 

As is the case with all dogs, if socialized with other animals from a young age, they may likely accept them as members of the pack.  Though even the best trained Weimaraner is likely to harass and chase even those individual animals it knows well, especially cats.  Always remember that a Weimaraner which coexists peacefully with a family cat that it has known for years is still likely to pursue and potentially seriously injure a neighbor’s cat which has strayed into the yard.  It is highly unadvisable to leave a Weimaraner unsupervised with a small creature such as a rabbit or gerbil as it will likely have an untimely death.  This breed loves to hunt and will almost certainly bring back trophies of its kills if left outside for any length of time.  These kills can range in size from a cockroach to a raccoon.  Bold and fearless, it is not uncommon for these dogs to chase deer, coyotes, or even wild hogs even though they would probably not be able to finish them off single-handed.  Although training and socialization can reduce the issues that a Weimaraner has with other creatures, they cannot eliminate this breed’s inherent instincts.

 

Weimaraners are incredibly intelligent dogs, and are very skilled problem solvers.  Other than a few complex herding behaviors, a Weimaraner is probably capable of learning anything that any dog is.  This breed is known for learning extremely quickly.  In particular, this breed is a natural hunter, who seems to take up work in the field with almost no effort.  Some effort may be needed to ensure the dog only points at birds rather than attacks them itself.  However, this fast learning can actually be a problem.  Weimaraners react very poorly to harsh training methods such as yelling and may become so fearful of failure that they refuse to attempt something.  It is therefore imperative that training methods which emphasize rewards and positive reinforcement be used with this breed.  Although a devoted and people-oriented breed, Weimaraners certainly do not live to please. 

 

This dog is more than intelligent enough to figure out exactly what it can and cannot get away with, and will choose to live its life accordingly.  Weimaraners are known for being extremely stubborn, and sometimes openly willful.  Sometimes a Weimaraner will decide that it’s not going to do something, and that’s the end of that.  This breed may deliberately ignore a command and decide to do the exact opposite.  This is often the result of status.  Weimaraners will generally obey those that they respect, although often begrudgingly.  It is therefore very important that owners make it clear at all times that they are the boss.  If a Weimaraner determines that it is the dominant one in a relationship (which they are rather quick to do) any chance of it following that person’s commands are greatly reduced.  That being said, this breed is far from untrainable.  Owners who are willing to take the extra time and effort, and who are able to consistently maintain a dominant position, are likely to be rewarded with an exceptionally well-trained animal.  There is a reason that Weimaraners have performed so excellently in obedience and agility competitions.  Owners who don’t take the time and effort to train their Weimaraners or who are unable to establish dominance will probably end up with a Weimaraner with severe behavioral issues.

 

Weimaraners are extremely energetic dogs.  This is a breed that needs a great deal of exercise, especially those dogs from working lines.  These dogs are capable of working hard for long hours, and are equally capable of playing hard for long hours.  Although this need has been slightly reduced in most modern Weimaraners, this breed still has one of the highest exercise requirements of any common companion breed.  Breed members will run even the most athletic family into the ground, and then wake up the next day and want to do it all again.  Weimaraners will run around all day if you let them.  This breed will not be satisfied with a long daily walk; they need a jog or a run.  At a minimum, a Weimaraner needs between one and two hours of vigorous daily exercise, and would greatly prefer more.  Weimaraners make excellent jogging companions, but greatly prefer time to run off-leash in a secure area.  Owners must be extremely careful not to exercise this breed after a meal, as they are quite susceptible to bloat. 

 

Although it has been done successfully on plenty of occasions, Weimaraners do not adapt very well to apartment life.  It is very difficult to meet this breed’s needs without a yard, and preferably a large one.  It is of the utmost importance that this breed has its exercise needs met.  Weimaraners which are not properly exercised will develop behavioral and mental issues, and probably severe ones.  If owners do not provide these dogs with a proper outlet for their energy, they will make their own.  Unexercised Weimaraners have a very strong tendency to become extremely destructive, very vocal, hyperactive, and excessively excitable.  Very few dogs can cause as much havoc as a bored Weimaraner.  This is a dog that will rip all of the carpet from a floor, tear up every cushion on a sofa before moving onto the legs, and then chew the handle off of the door.  They will also bark non-stop for hours on end, and the average Weimaraner has a very loud bark.  If you are unable or unwilling to meet the needs of this breed, you should certainly not acquire one.  However, once this dog has its needs met, they tend to be laid back and calm.  While never a couch potato, a properly cared for Weimaraner will not be hyperactive, and will happily lie on a sofa and watch television.

 

While a deterrent to most potential owners, the high energy of this breed make it very desirable for some active families.  Weimaraners love to be with their families and will gladly follow them on any adventure.  If you are someone who likes to go for a long daily run or bicycle ride, this is a dog that would be an excellent companion.  If you spend weekends hiking in the woods or tubing on the river, a Weimaraner would gleefully come along.  This breed is capable of essentially any canine activity, no matter how extreme.

 

Weimaraners prefer to be the constant companions of their families, and are not especially driven to roam.  However, this breed is driven to chase and will escape from confinement to do so.  Any enclosure which confines a Weimaraner must be very secure, as this breed is capable of scaling fences of six feet with surprisingly little effort.  For similar reasons, this breed can become a very strong leash puller if not properly corrected.  Breed members also have a tendency to suddenly yank in the pursuit of small animals.

 

Grooming Requirements: 

 

The Shorthaired Weimaraner has very low grooming requirements.  It should never require professional grooming, only a quick regular brushing.  The Long-Haired Weimaraner requires more coat-care although not much.   Brushing this variety must be done slightly more often, and it will take slightly longer. Additionally, some dogs may require the hair between their toes to be trimmed.  This can be done at home, but many owners may choose to have it done professionally.  Both varieties of Weimaraner are considered average shedders that will definitely leave hair on carpets, furniture, and clothes but will probably not cover them.  The hair of the Long-Haired Weimaraner is more noticeable due to its greater length.  Both Weimaraner varieties need to have their ears regularly cleaned to prevent infections and irritations.

 

Health Issues: 

 

Different experts have different opinions on the health of the Weimaraner breed.  Some consider this breed to be generally healthy; others consider it to be of average health.  The average life expectancy for a Weimaraner is between 10 and 12 years, which is average for a dog of this size.  A number of genetically inherited conditions have been identified in Weimaraner lines, but most are found at lower rates than is the case for other pure-bred dogs.

 

The health problem of greatest concern for Weimaraner owners is gastric torsion, more commonly known as bloat.  Bloat is caused when the stomach of a dog literally turns around and gets twisted.  This condition is common to large bodied and deep-chested dogs such as the Weimaraner and the Great Dane.  There are a number of causes of bloat, but the most common is when a dog exercises too much after eating.  To help prevent bloat, Weimaraner owners should feed their dog several small meals each day rather than one large one.  Additionally, these dogs should be prevented from exercising immediately after eating.  Different cases of bloat are of different levels of severity, but most require surgery to fix them.  This surgery must be had very rapidly, as bloat can strike without warning and is usually fatal if not treated quickly enough.

 

It is always advisable to get your pets tested by either the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and/or the Canine Eye Registration Foundation, particularly if you intend to breed.  The OFA and CERF test for various genetically inherited disorders such as blindness and hip dysplasia that may impact either your dog or its descendants.

 

A full list of potential health problems which have been identified in Weimaraners would have to include:

 

 

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