It was a misty morning with just enough bite to the air to need a jacket when the pair of hunters got to the field. They heard the birds, sent the dog in and…nothing! Where did she go?! The older hunter smiled and said “Be patient.” They spread out and he nearly walked over the ghostly grey dog, quivering but inching closer to the birds less then 15 feet away waiting for her handlers to come. A flurry of feathers, a gunshot and a streak of silver crashing through the grass, then returning with the bird, dropping it and running off again to search for more. The Weimaraner was in her element.
The Weimaraner is first and foremost a hunting dog. They will not like being a 24/7 couch potato and you may find yourself needing quantity discounts on couches if they get bored! More than many breeds seriously question yourself if this is the breed for you. What is a good trait to some is not to others. If you’re active and disciplined this can be an excellent choice. If you love to hunt but are not exactly a trainer the high drive in some birds can make training easy and might be ideal for you. If you’d rather have a dog that watches TV with you, goes out a couple times a day and is quiet in the house you might look at another breed or look very very closely at the individual you’re seeking. This doesn’t mean they’re bad dogs – it just means they aren’t the dog for every home!
This is an often high energy dog and, left to their own devices, will find trouble. One older weim owner has a “spoiled” dog that many would look at and say “oh I want one of those!” She comes instantly when called, she’ll sit when asked and gets along well with visiting dogs. She’ll alarm bark at a stranger but once it’s clear a “friendly” comes over for petting. She’ll play with younger dogs and teach them the ‘rules of the home.’ What people don’t see is the years it took consistently training to get her that way. It doesn’t just happen! It also doesn’t show the time she explored the woods outside and became too friendly with a black and white furry thing – and was banished from the house for a few days even after remedies to remove the smell!
Weims can develop bad boredom habits easily. They can have a low tolerance for those small furries – including cats and small dogs. They can be rambunctious and a crate is strongly advised to prevent bad habits from forming. Don’t just put them in a crate however! While you want to keep them from getting into things you’ll need to keep their minds busy. Toys, large chew bones and things that keep them busy mentally will keep both dog and owner happier. They can be protective of their home more than some of the retrievers.
The Weimaraner has a distinctive grey coat that makes the breed distinctive in appearance. These dogs as hunters were developed for tracking ability, speed and durability. Originally they were used to hunt bear, big cats, deer and wolves but as times changed they became bird dogs. It was due to wartime perhaps that the breed was sent out of the confines of their native land to save them. In 1943 the AKC recognition was given to the breed. The breed had a boom and through the 1950s they had bench winners, Best in Shows and outstanding field dogs. Due to their hunting heritage and short coat they are low maintenance for grooming.
Possibly due to the breed being more than just appearance, and in the ‘60s it was recognized a need to return to basics. Today the Weimaraner is again a popular breed but there has been an increase too in dogs ending up in shelters and rescue, possibly from not understanding that putting a lid on that activity just isn’t going to happen.
It can’t be stressed enough that if activity is an issue for you look at a quieter breed that is easier to handle. These are awesome dogs in the right hands and the right homes but, unfortunately, can be a nightmare in the wrong hands. They can be barkers, they will steal food off the counters and they will find things to get into. Although they are not mean they can knock down elderly or young people without intending to hurt them.
A busy dog with an outlet for all that energy is going to be much happier and along with it the owners will be much happier!
If the activity doesn’t deter you then by all means find a Weimaraner! Whether looking to show or hunt, there are dogs that can do both. It is important to be aware of the diseases that affect the breed. Some can be found by testing, while others can’t but nevertheless shorten the life of the dog. Whether you’re hunting or showing this is important!
Von Willebrands Disease is one thing that affects the breed. This shows itself with a long clotting time, with excessive bleeding when the tail is done or after surgery. Factor XI Deficiency is another bleeding disorder. Chryptorchidism is a factor in shows. Dermoid or corneal dermoid cysts, double eyelashes, entropion (eyelids rolling in), hip or elbow dysplasia and Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy are all diseases that can affect the breed. Bloat is common to all deep chested breeds and takes special care to prevent as well as quick action if it happens – it is fatal without immediate treatment. Hypothyroidism, skin tumors, nictitating membrane eversion, heart issues, pituitary issues, progressive retinal atrophy, and hernias can cut short the comfort or life of these dogs. It’s very important to choose dogs from healthy lines and anything less is playing a game with your dog’s life. It determines how long you have him and how high your vet bills will be.
By the AKC standard the Weimaraner indicates a medium sized grey dog. Speed and endurance are hallmarks of the breed which is 25-27 inches for dogs and 23-25 for bitches. They can be 70-80 pounds so putting speed and power into a dog of that size one can imagine what they can get into!
They come in grey – and while the color may vary from mouse grey to silver anything resembling blue or black is disqualified. They should be friendly and fearless but obedient, with moderate length to the back and well muscled. A member of the sporting group, there should be a distinct difference between males and females in appearance.
In comparison to other breeds the Weimaraner is a young breed from the early 19th century. The Eisenhower’s had a Weimaraner and the breed is famous in a line of calendars and photos featuring the dogs in various poses.
For the right home this is a wonderful breed, but make sure yours is the right one. Look at your lifestyle and choose a Weimaraner that fits what you want the most.