Featured Dog Breed: Weimaraner


Weimaraners are a devoted dog breed who want to be with people all of the time, which can be unnerving. But if you enjoy always having a dog by your side — and can spare plenty of time for hiking, jogging, or hunting — the Weimaraner can be an ideal canine sidekick.

Today, we’ll take a look at the Weimaraner dog breed, including its temperament, health, history, appearance, and grooming!

Weimaraner Temperament

Weimaraners can be friendly, happy, fearless, intelligent, curious and playful. They are very good with children and can be extremely attached to their family. They require a lot of attention, and they become deeply attached to their owners and will want to follow you everywhere. They make great watch dogs and are very protective of their families. 

Weimaraners have an incredible level of energy, and they need to run everyday. They enjoy almost all activities, including jogging with you, running alongside your bike, hiking with you, swimming, agility, and retrieving. It is said that no one has reported something a Weimaraner couldn’t do. 

On the flip side, these dogs cannot be ignored. If ignored, they can bark excessively, soil the house, or just plain destroy your house in minutes! They have been known to chew, chase cats, and steal food off the kitchen counter. They need to be well socialized to counter these tendencies. 

Owning a Weimaraner is a full-time job, but one that pays off in dividends if they are well treated and well trained.

His personality can range from in-charge to laidback. Males tend to be sweet, while females have more spunk. Puppies with more prey drive and independence do well in the field, while those who are easygoing and upbeat are best suited for companion homes. If you’re hoping to show, opt for puppies with outgoing and confident attitudes. 

And, if you pick up a puppy and he doesn’t settle down in your arms quickly, it’s a clue that he’s going to be highly energetic — the same is true if he bosses the other puppies — so think long and hard about whether he’s the right kind of dog for you. For most of us, the best choice is the nice, middle-of-the-road puppy who is neither too bossy nor too shy.

Fortunately, Weims are sensitive, smart, and aim to please, which gives you a head start with training, especially if you start early. A young Weimaraner will test you to see how much he can get away with, so try to get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. 

However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.

As lovable as he is, the Weimaraner can be high-maintenance. He needs lots of social interaction and reassurance to establish that confident, devoted Weimaraner attitude. He’ll also introduce you to two fundamental laws of nature: A Weim at rest is bored and a bored Weimaraner is destructive. So plan to keep him busy or he’ll put his own plan into action — like noshing on rugs and walls — and you probably won’t like it.

Weimaraners enjoy running, hunting, going for walks, boating, swimming — essentially anything, as long as it involves being with you. (Tip: These dogs live to chase any object that moves, including runners, bikers, kids, and other animals, so confine him to a safely fenced yard and always walk him on leash.) 

When it comes to dog sports, they love agility, tracking, and hunt tests. In fact, be prepared for gifts of dead things: frogs, birds, the nice cat that’s been hanging around the yard. Your Weim doesn’t know that she’s your neighbor’s cat; he’s primed to hunt furry things and that’s what he does. And never reject his gifts or punish him, which could severely damage your relationship.

A Weimaraner loves you and wants to please you, but he’s also an independent thinker who likes to have his own way. He’ll be pushy and challenging — and not just during adolescence. In the case of the Weimaraner, the “teen” years can start at six months and continue until the dog is about two years old. 

Training a Weim calls for sensitivity, firmness with a light touch, and a superb sense of humor. It takes a very smart person to stay one step ahead of a Weimaraner, and even then, there’s still plenty of room to be outwitted by one of these dogs. 

Weimaraner Appearance

German Weimaraners usually weigh between 55 to 85 pounds and stand approximately 23 to 27 inches tall. They are a large dog with a trim, athletic and muscular build. They have a short coat that comes in various shades of gray. Their nickname is “The Grey Ghost.”

Generally speaking, the Weimaraner is a large dog with an athletic build and good muscle tone. The coloring of the Weimaraner ranges from mousy gray to silvery gray. His coat is sleek, smooth, and close fitting, and he sports an alert and eager expression. The weight of the Weimaraner is around 55-70 pounds for females, and 75-90 pounds for males. The height of these dogs is around 23-25 inches for females, and around 25-27 inches for males.

Weimaraner Grooming

Although the Weimaraner requires a pretty much no-fuss approach to grooming, he will need to be brushed on a regular basis in order to keep his coat sleek and in good condition. With regular brushing shedding is kept to a minimum with the Weim, which means that he may prove suitable for some allergy sufferers.

The Weimaraner’s short coat is easy to maintain: Brush it with a rubber curry brush at least once a week. The brush removes dead hair that would otherwise end up on your floor, furniture, and clothing. Weimaraners shed, so the more you brush, the less hair you’ll have flying around. And bathe your Weimaraner only when he’s dirty, which shouldn’t be very often. 

The Weimaraner is a hunting dog, so good foot condition is important. Keep his toenails trimmed short. Last but not least, brush his teeth with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.

Weimaraner Health Problems and Life Expectancy

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, so it’s important to choose your breeder wisely. Weimaraner breeders should know about several conditions, including hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, tricuspid dysplasia (a congenital heart disease), and eye problems like corneal dystrophy and entropion.

A small percentage of Weimaraner puppies can develop an autoimmune reaction following vaccination. It usually manifests as a condition called hypertrophic osteodystrophy, a painful condition that can affect the bones. 

To help prevent such reactions, breeders recommend giving each vaccination separately, rather than all on the same day. The Weimaraner Club of America (WCA) does not recommend giving vaccines for coronavirus, leptospirosis, Bordetella, and Lyme disease, unless the diseases are prevalent in your locale. Ask your veterinarian if your dog should be vaccinated against any of these diseases.

Weimaraners can also have elevated levels of uric acid in their urine, predisposing them to form painful bladder and kidney stones, which may require surgery. This condition, known as hyperuricosuria, is inherited. A DNA test for the condition is available from the University of California at Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory.

Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible.  They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for these defects and deemed healthy for breeding. That’s where health registries come in.

The Weimaraner Club of America participates in the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC), a health database. Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the database, which can be accessed by anyone who wants to check the health of a puppy’s parents.

Before Weimaraners can be issued a CHIC number, breeders must submit hip and thyroid evaluations from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and eye test results from the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF). PennHip certification of hips is also accepted. Another optional test that’s recommended: a DNA screening for hyperuricosuria from the University of California at Davis Veterinary Genetics Lab. To be safe, many breeders also test hearts and elbows. 

Weimaraner History

The Weimaraner dates back to the early 19th century where they were developed in Weimar, Germany. The noblemen who bred them loved to hunt and wanted a dog with courage, intelligence, stamina, speed, and good scenting ability. 

The breeds they used to create the Weimaraner include the Bloodhound, the English Pointer, the German Shorthaired Pointer, the blue Great Dane, and the silver-gray Huehnerhund, or chicken dog. They were originally bred as big-game hunters for bear, deer, and wolves, but they eventually hunted birds, rabbits, and foxes. 

They were and are excellent pointers and all-around hunters. Weimaraners made their way to America in the early 1900’s, and then after World War II many American servicemen brought Weimaraners home with them where they quickly grew in popularity. Weimaraners were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1942. 

Finding A Weimaraner Breeder

Selecting a respected breeder is a great way to find the right puppy. Reputable breeders will welcome questions about temperament and health clearances, as well as explain the history of the breed and what kind of puppy makes for a good pet. Don’t be shy about describing exactly what you’re looking for in a dog — breeders interact with their puppies daily and can make accurate recommendations once they know something about your lifestyle and personality.

To start your search, check out the website of the Weimaraner Club of America (WCA), which offers resources for finding a good breeder. Select a breeder that has agreed to abide by the club’s code of ethics, specifying that members not place weim puppies prior to 12 weeks of age, prohibits the sale of puppies through pet stores, and calls for the breeder to obtain recommended health clearances before breeding.

Lots of breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags to look out for: multiple litters on the premises, puppies always being available, having your choice of any puppy, and being offered the option to pay online with a credit card. 

Breeders who sell puppies at a lower price “without papers” are unethical and should be reported to the American Kennel Club. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from a website that offers to ship the dog immediately can be a risky venture — it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected.

Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. 

There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the breed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. 

And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, breed rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies.

The cost of a Weim puppy varies depending on the breeder’s locale, the sex of the puppy, the titles that the puppy’s parents have, and whether the puppy is best suited for the show ring or a pet home. Puppies should be temperament tested, vetted, dewormed, and socialized to give them a healthy, confident start in life. 

While most Weimaraners have good dispositions, a breeder who has American Temperament Test Society (TT) certification on her dogs is preferable. If you put as much effort into researching your puppy as you would when buying a new car, it will save you money in the long run.

Before you decide to buy a puppy, consider whether an adult Weimaraner may better suit your lifestyle. Puppies are loads of fun, but they require a good deal of time and effort before they grow up to be the dog of your dreams. An adult may already have some training, and he’ll probably be less active, destructive, and demanding than a puppy. 

With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health and you can find adults through breeders or shelters. If you are interested in acquiring an older dog through breeders, ask them about purchasing a retired show dog or if they know of an adult dog who needs a new home. If you want to adopt a dog, read the advice below on how to do that.

Adopting a Weimaraner

There are many great options available if you want to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or breed rescue organization. Here is how to get started.

  1. Use the Web

Sites like Petfinder.com and Adopt-a-Pet.com can have you searching for a Weimaraner in your area in no time flat. The site allows you to be very specific in your requests (housetraining status, for example) or very general (all the Weimaraners available on Petfinder across the country). AnimalShelter.org can help you find animal rescue groups in your area. Also some local newspapers have “pets looking for homes” sections you can review.

Social media is another great way to find a dog. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.

  1. Reach Out to Local Experts

Start talking with all the pet pros in your area about your desire for a Weimaraner. That includes vets, dog walkers, and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a dog, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.

  1. Talk to Breed Rescue

Most people who love Weimaraners love all Weimaraners. That’s why breed clubs have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless dogs. The Weimaraner Club of America’s rescue network can help you find a dog that may be the perfect companion for your family. You can also search online for other Weimaraner rescues in your area.

The great thing about breed rescue groups is that they tend to be very upfront about any health conditions the dogs may have and are a valuable resource for advice. They also often offer fostering opportunities so, with training, you could bring a Weimaraner home with you to see what the experience is like.

  1. Key Questions to Ask

You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a dog. These include:

          What is his energy level?

          How is he around other animals?

          How does he respond to shelter workers, visitors, and children?

          What is his personality like?

          What is his age?

          Is he housetrained?

          Has he ever bitten or hurt anyone that they know of?

          Are there any known health issues?

Wherever you acquire your Weimaraner, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights that helps you understand what you can consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights.

Puppy or adult, take your Weimaraner to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

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Learn more about the Weimaraner Vorstehhund.

Weimaraner Temperament

The Weimaraner is a very strong minder, independent, and energetic dog, with bags so stamina. These large dogs have boundless energy, and need to be in a household that is active, as well as with people that have plenty of time and devotion to dedicate to a pet. Thee dogs do not like to be confined or neglected, and this can lead to boredom, frustration, and destructive behavior. These dogs need early socialization, consistent training, and a confident, assertive owner with some experience of dog ownership and training. The Weimaraner will delight in taking part in a range of outdoors activities with his owner, and is the ideal companion for those that enjoy outdoor recreation. Although the Weimaraner can be very strong willed, which can make training a challenge, he is also highly intelligent and responsive with the right trainer. Some Weimaraners can be difficult to housebreak.

The Weimaraner tends to get along okay with children, but his large size may mean that he inadvertently knocks down a small child. He can be bossy with other dogs, and smaller animals may be viewed as prey, including cats. When it comes to strangers the Weimaraner is cautious and wary. He does make an effective watchdog and will raise the alarm if something appears to be amiss. Although the Weimaraner can seem like a handful, these large dogs make excellent companions and pets for owners with the time, energy, and training ability to handle them effectively.

Weimaraner Appearance

The Weimaraner is a large dog with an athletic build and good muscle tone. Known as the ‘Silver Ghost’, the coloring of the Weimaraner ranges from mousy gray to silvery gray. His coat is sleek, smooth, and close fitting, and he sports an alert and eager expression. The weight of the Weimaraner is around 55-70 pounds for females, and 75-90 pounds for males. The height of these dogs is around 23-25 inches for females, and around 25-27 inches for males.

Weimaraner Grooming

Although the Weimaraner requires a pretty much no-fuss approach to grooming, he will need to be brushed on a regular basis in order to keep his coat sleek and in good condition. With regular brushing shedding is kept to a minimum with the Weimaraner, which means that he may prove suitable for some allergy sufferers.

Weimaraner Health Problems and Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of the Weimaraner is around 10-12 years. There are a number of health problems to look out for with this breed, and this includes entropion, heart problems, spinal problems, digestive issues, bleeding disorders, PRA, HD, elbow dysplasia, HOD, PRA, torsion, bloat, cancer, skin problems, and thyroid problems. The parents of the Weimaraner puppy should have OFA and CERF certificates.

Weimaraner History

The history of the Weimaraner dates back over a century, and he originates from Germany. Bred to hunt bear, wild boar, and deer, this breed started to become popular in the USA, Canada, and England after the Second World War. The breed was registered with the AKC in 1943.

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