Breed Group: Sporting
The Weimaraner (Wy-mah-rah-ner) has an equally high energy level both inside and out. He needs an athletic owner who can meet his dog’s demanding exercise needs. Bread to hunt for at least six hours at a time, exercise typical of a less rural lifestyle includes jogging, biking, hiking, playing frisbee or flyball, or fieldwork. Too little exercise or too much confinement will result in a hyperactive dog that barks excessively and destroys your home both inside and out then may try to escape in search of adventure. With their energy level, it is understandable they enjoy playing and they do quite well with children when socialized with them. Although they need companionship more than the typical dog, they are less apt to initiate contact. They prefer their family to come to them. They can be testy with other dogs, especially those of the same sex. Cats and other pets, especially those not in their household will likely be considered prey. Even household pets may be at risk. With a strong tendency to bark more than most dogs, their active nature, and a low acceptance of strangers, the Weimaraner is an outstanding watchdog and an above average guard dog. But they are one of the few large dogs that can be a challenge to housetrain.
The large, sleek Weimaraner stands 23 to 27 inches tall and weighs 50 to 90 pounds with males larger than females. Their short coat comes in the single color of silvery gray which has earned them the nickname “Gray Ghost”. They need little grooming but regular brushing will reduce their moderately high hair loss inside. Being a shorthaired dog, they do better in warmer temperatures than in the cold.
This breed is not for first-time owners. They need an owner who can provide leadership, socialization, and training at least at an intermediate level. In the right hands, this headstrong breed can accomplish almost anything including tracking and search and rescue. But without strong skills, he will likely be difficult to control.
Weimareners are a relatively healthy breed but pay attention to their susceptibility to Bloat. One dog in 15 suffers from Hip Dysplasia. Two blood disorders are minor concerns: Hemophilia A and Von Willebrand’s Disease. Other minor concerns include Distichiasis and Entropion which affect their eyelashes together with the painful Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy. An average Weimaraner lives about 11 years.
Ranked 29th in registrations, the Weimarener is moderately popular among the breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club with about 8,500 dogs registered per year.
The Weimaraner was bred in Germany during the 1800's in an effort to create an all-purpose gundog that could hunt game of any size, from birds to bear. The effort was sponsored by the Grand Duke Karl August, who held court in the town of Weimar. The breed was first called the Weimar Pointer. The origin of their gray coat is unknown but was obtained early in their breeding program. Many suspect the color was coincidental. During the first 100 years of the breed’s existence, availability of the dogs was rigidly controlled by the German Weimaraner Club. Dogs could not be sold to nonmembers, and membership was extremely difficult to obtain. Finally, in 1938 American Howard Knight obtained breeding stock. In 1942 the AKC fully recognized the breed.
The Weimarener was a favorite photo subject of artist William Wegman. The National (US) Breed Club is the Weimaraner Club of America.