The stunning Weimaraner is a relatively young breed, having been developed in Germany in the early 19thcentury. The Wiemaraner is thought to be descended from the Bloodhound, and is believed to also share ancestry with the German Short Haired Pointer. These dogs worked with their masters to hunt game, mostly deer and bear. As the big game disappeared, they were then used as a bird dog, and ownership was restricted to the nobility to keep their bloodlines pure.
This breed was imported to the United States in 1929, and was recognized by the AKC in 1943. They are now popular throughout the world as hunters, retrievers, pointers and family companions.
Weims, as they are affectionately known, are tall and elegant. They are the tallest of all the gun dogs, and can grow up to 27 inches, or 68cm, tall and weigh up to 70lbs (30kg). Their short silver coat and gray or amber eyes make them one of the most attractive of all dogs. The tail is docked at birth to one third of its natural length.
There is a long haired variety of Wiemaraner, but this isn’t recognized in the United States. These dogs have a soft silky coat, and their tail is left long to display its lovely feathering. The gene for the long hair is a recessive gene, which means that puppies with long hair will only be born if both parents carry a copy of the gene.
The Weimaraner is a very jovial, intelligent, and affectionate dog, but can they be over-exuberant and quite a handful to manage. They are very good family dog and love playing with children, but their bouncy nature can knock their human playmates over.
They can be a very strong-willed dog and crave a fair and consistent leader. That leader must be you, or you’ll find that your Weim will quickly take over your family pack. Because of this, obedience training is critical from a very young age, and rules need to be reinforced frequently. They respond best to gentle positive training methods, and if you do use harsh handling, they will become cautious about approaching you. Now that will make training difficult!
These dogs are very fast learners, but because of their high intelligence, often get bored with monotony and routine. This means that they need you to be patient and creative when teaching them good manners and tricks. The Wiemaraner is very eager to please and once they see that you are happy with a behavior or trick, will perform it repeatedly in order to gain praise, treats, and cuddles.
Weimaraners are hunting dogs by nature and should not be left unattended with small pets, such as ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, or hamsters. They have a very strong prey drive, and are likely to chase and kill any little creature that enters their domain. This breed is very protective of their loved ones, and will be wary of unfamiliar people until they are introduced to them. If a Weim is well socialized while young, they will be good around other people and dogs.
These dogs are generally very healthy, and have very few health complaints. There is a low rate of hip dysplasia in the breed, and fanciers are working hard to keep this in check with pre-breeding x-rays.
Like all deep chested dogs, the Weimaraner is at risk of bloat. This is a very dangerous condition that needs immediate veterinary care. Small frequent meals, and restricting exercise after feeding will help to prevent your dog from bloating. Another risk factor is a big drink of water after exercise, so offer your Weim several small drinks of water to quench his thirst after their walk.
The Weimaraner was bred to be a part of their family, so they don’t cope well with being left alone. They can suffer from separation anxiety, and will bark, cry and destroy your furniture while you are out. It can be a difficult condition to manage, involving behavior modifying medication and a retraining program supervised by your veterinarian. It’s better to try and avoid this problem developing in the first place, and you can do this by properly socializing your Weim when they are young, and getting them used to some solo time.
The main issue when it comes to looking after a Weimaraner is their need for exercise and mental stimulation. These dogs love exercise and obedience training, and are an ideal breed for someone who is keen to participate in dog sports such as agility, tracking and retrieving.
Weimaraners have an easy to maintain coat. Brush them weekly with a brush or a grooming mitt to remove loose hairs, and bathe them when needed. If you rub them over with a chamois cloth, their coat will shine! The only other thing you need to do is wipe out any dirt from the inside of their ears, and keep an eye on their toenails to see if they need a manicure.
Weimaraners are fun-loving, smart dogs who need a firm hand and a patient owner to teach them right from wrong. When socialized properly, they are wonderful with children and other dogs, and make excellent guard dogs. They are large dogs and do benefit from having open land on which to run and play. However, they will adjust to life in an apartment if they need to, as long as they are taken on daily walks and receive plenty of attention.
If you are looking for a dog that is happy to stay at home while you are out and about, this is not the right breed for you. The Weimaraner is not a good choice for a person who is new to dog ownership, as they can be quite assertive and will challenge their owner for the top dog position.
If you are an active person who is prepared to put time into training your dog, and you want a close companion who won’t leave your side, then the Weimaraner might be the dog for you. They will be your best friend for up to 12 years.