If there’s ever a time when the saying “do not judge a book by its cover” was perfectly relevant, then this would be it. The first impression of a Weimaraner is that of a cool, laid back dog who loves to sit all day doing Netflix and Chill – but the devil is in the details. As you’ll soon discover, the Weimaraner is a fast, vibrant dog who can be loyal and aggressive at the same time. Bred by the Germans during the early 1800s, the dog has been known to have an intelligent, graceful, and courageous personality. Some people call him the “grey ghost,” probably due to the unique color of his skin. But don’t let its active lifestyle fool you: the Weimaraner is a family dog who loves drowning in affection as much as the next man. Here is everything you need to know about the Weimaraner dog breed.
At first glance, you may be forgiven for mistaking the Weimaraner for a Rhodesian Ridgeback or a Redbone Coonhound. After all, they almost have the same body structure. But these are completely different breeds of dogs. The Weimeraner is large, athletic, and extremely hardworking. It has a medium sized head with a medial line running down his forehead. He has a gray nose and sharp canine teeth, which accentuate his rather wide-set eyes that vary from gray to blue gray to light amber. His long, high set ears are usually folded forward and resting right below his temple. While his back legs are arched backwards at the knees, his front legs are as straight as a die. The toenails can be amber or gray in color. The topline drops gently from his shoulders to his rump, and the dog can be found in a tight silver gray or mouse gray coat. Do not be alarmed if you come across one with long hair, as this is one of its more rare varieties.
While the exact history of the Weimaraner is shrouded in mystery, it is evident that the breed was popularized in the early 19th century – when it was used for hunting large game like deer, bear, and boar. Later, their task was reduced to hunting smaller animals such as foxes, rabbits, and fowl. That said, it is important to note that dogs with similar characteristics as the Weimaraners have actually been traced back a little further than this.
Most people argue that the dog was developed from the St. Hubert Hound (aka the Sleuth Hound or the Bloodhound), which is usually black but can spawn a grey offspring when bred. Either way, the idea was to create an elegant, reliable gun dog exclusively for the nobility. So, while the other hunting dogs slept in the kennels, the Weimaraner stayed with the royal family. The result: a dog that thrives near humans and deteriorates quickly when kept in the kennel. But the Weimaraner had its value. It had the ability to interact lovingly with children, hunt with the family, and even guard the home.
The Germans cherished the dog so much, that they had to sterilize the earliest breeds before being sent to America to avoid popularizing their special breed. But this did not prevent the Weimaraner from multiplying across Europe and the U.S. Although the breed was relatively slower than several other gun dogs (think pointers), the Weimeraner was thorough, lively, and happy, which made it a pleasure to own.
The Weimaraner lives for adventure. It has a happy and cheerful personality, and needs to be kept busy and active in order to control it. He also has a high learning ability, so you need to vary your training lest he gets bored. As a hunting dog, the Weimaraner needs an owner who is athletic enough to keep up with his exercise demands: jogging, hiking, running, biking, and maybe some field work.
When the dog is too idle, he’ll become anxious and excessively hyperactive, and may even attempt to escape to look for some adventure. When he is not running around, the Weimaraner prefers living indoors with the family. He is naturally dominant with other dogs, reserved with strangers, and predatory towards smaller animals like rabbits and cats. From this end, the Weimaraner needs an owner who can provide advanced leadership, training, and socialization.
When left to run ahead, the dog will pull forward like a train, believing that it is alpha since it’s the pack leader who usually goes first.
Although vibrant and seemingly healthy, the Weimaraner is susceptible to low rates of dysplasia. As such, it is advisable to ensure that the breeder from whom you acquire the dog has its hips tested using PennHIP or OFA methods. Due to its deep chest, the Weimaraner is also prone to gastic torsion or bloat, which can cause severe pain and sudden death when left unattended to. It is usually associated with an enlarged abdomen and symptoms such as paleness in the mouth and nose, a weak pulse, vomiting, excessive drooling, and labored breathing. When this happens and the condition is caught early enough, surgery is the only option for recovery.
You can prevent bloating by spreading the dog’s daily feedings to at least twice per day and avoiding intensive exercise one hour before or after meals. Additionally, do not place the dog’s feeding dish on a raised platform to discourage him from gobbling his food too quickly, as this may prevent air from penetrating into the stomach. Some dogs are also inclined to get skin allergies. Consult a veterinarian if you notice rashes, constant itching, or loss of hair in the dog. Make sure there are no parasites that may be causing the allergic reaction. Other health concerns to watch out for include:
- Renal dysplasia
- Pituitary dwarfism
- Hypertrophic osteodystrophy
- Von Willebrands Disease
- Elbow dysplasia
Under normal circumstances, the Weimaraner can live for 10 to 12 years
The Weimaraner is recognized by the following associations:
- UKC = United Kennel Club
- NKC = National Kennel Club
- KCGB = Kennel Club of Great Britain
- DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
- CKC = Canadian Kennel Club
- ANKC = Australian National Kennel Club
- ACR = American Canine Registry
- ACA = American Canine Association Inc.
- AKC = American Kennel Club
- APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.
- CKC = Continental Kennel Club
- FCI = Fédération Cynologique Internationale
- NAPR = North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
- NZKC = New Zealand Kennel Club