The Weimaraner (English pronunciation:
is a dog that was originally bred for hunting in the early 19th
century. Early Weimaraners were used by royalty for hunting
large game such as boar, bear, and deer. As the popularity of
large game hunting began to decline, Weimaraners were used for
hunting smaller animals like fowl, rabbits, and foxes.
The Weimaraner is an all purpose gun dog. The name comes from
the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Karl August, whose
court, based in the city of Weimar (now in modern day Germany),
Today's breed standards are alleged to have developed in the
late 18th and early 19th century, although dogs having very
similar features to the Weimaraner have supposedly been traced
as far back as 13th century in the court of Louis IX of France.
One theory is that the ancestor is the St. Hubert Hound (also
known as the Bloodhound and Sleuth Hound)
. Though these dogs are black, they can produce
a grey dog when bred. Like the Vizsla at the time, the breed was
created exclusively for the nobility and alike. The aim was to
create a noble-looking, reliable gundog. As ownership was
restricted, the breed was highly prized and lived with the
family. This was unusual, as during this period, hunting dogs
were kept in kennels in packs. This has resulted in a dog that
needs to be near humans and that quickly deteriorates when
kenneled. The Weimaraner was an all purpose family dog, capable
of guarding the home, hunting with the family, and of course,
being loving and loyal towards children.
Originally, Germany was possessive of its skilled all-purpose
gundog. Some of the earliest weimaraners, prior to being sent to
America for breeding, were sterilized in order for America not
to popularize their special breed. But starting in the late 19th
century the breed became increasingly common throughout Europe
and the United States. Although slower than many other gundogs,
such as Pointers, the Weimaraner is thorough and this made it a
welcome addition to the sportsman's household. The breed's
happy, lively temperament has endeared it to families.With the
rise in popularity, some changes have been made to the breed.
Both in Britain and America (where the breed remains popular)
breeders have taken care to breed to a standard.
The Weimaraner is elegant and athletic in appearance. All
parts of the dog should be in balance with each other, creating
a form that is pleasing to the eye. It must be capable of
working in the field, regardless of whether it is from show
stock or hunting stock, and faults that will interfere with
working ability are heavily penalized.
Traditionally, the tail is docked to a third of its natural
length shortly after birth. This is part of the AKC breed
standard. However, these alterations have since been illegalized
in several other countries; as such those dogs are shown with
their natural tails (which is uncommon).
The eyes of the Weimaraner may be light amber, grey, or
Coat and color
This breed's short coat and its unusual eyes give it a regal
appearance different from any other breed. The coat is extremely
low maintenance, short, hard, and smooth to the touch, and may
range from charcoal-blue to mouse-grey to silver-grey. Where the
fur is thin or non-existent, inside the ears or on the lips, for
example, the skin should be a pinkish tone rather than white or
In November 2009 and January 1, 2010 the United Kennel Club (UKC)
removed the disqualification from both Blue and Longhair
Weimaraners. A black coat remains an automatic disqualification,
though a small white marking in the chest area only is
permitted. However, dogs with blue coats are not disqualified
from field competition and are recognized as purebred
Weimaraners by the AKC. There is another incidental variety,
described as having the 'mark of the hound', where the dog is
the usual grey colour but with faint tan markings (similar to
Doberman). It's said that early in the breed this was a common
colour that was selectively bred out.
A long-haired variety is recognized by most kennel clubs
around the world except in the American Kennel Club. The
long-haired Weimaraner has a silky coat, with an undocked,
feathered tail. The gene is recessive, so breeding will produce
some long-haired puppies only if both parents carry the trait.
According to the AKC standard, the male Weimaraner stands
between 25 and 27 inches (63–68 cm) at the withers.
Females are between 23 and 25 inches (58–63 cm). Of course,
there are many dogs taller or shorter than the breed standard.
The breed is not heavy for its height, and males normally weigh
roughly 70-80 pounds. Females are generally between 55-70 lbs
(25–32 kg). A Weimaraner should give the appearance of a
muscular, athletic dog.
From adolescence, a Weimaraner requires extensive exercise in
keeping with an energetic hunting dog breed prized for their
physical endurance and stamina. No walk is too far, and they
will appreciate games and play in addition. An active owner is
more likely to provide the vigorous exercising, games, or
running that this breed absolutely requires. Weimaraners are
high-strung and often wear out their owners, requiring
appropriate training to learn how to calm them and to help them
learn to control their behavior. Owners need patience and
consistent, firm yet kind training, as this breed is
particularly rambunctious during the first year and a half of
its life. This breed is known for having a penchant for stealing
food from table and counter tops whenever given the chance. Like
many breeds, untrained and unconfined young dogs often create
their own fun when left alone, such as chewing house quarters
and furniture. Thus, many that are abandoned have behavioural
issues as a result of isolation and inferior exercise.
Weimaraners are generally good with children, but may not be
appropriate for smaller children due to their tendency to knock
a child down in the course of play. They also may knock over
elderly people or children by accident. Early training to sit
through positive reinforcement is critical to prevent jumping in
It should never be forgotten that the Weimaraner is a hunting
dog and therefore has a strong, instinctive prey drive.
Weimaraners will sometimes tolerate cats, as long as they are
introduced to the cats as puppies, but many will chase and
frequently kill almost any small animal that enters their garden
or backyard. In rural areas, most Weimaraners will not hesitate
to chase deer or sheep.
This breed of dog tends to be very stubborn. However, with
good training, these instincts can be curtailed to some degree.
A properly trained Weimaraner is a companion that will never
leave its master's side. The Weimaraner has been given the
nickname "Velcro Dog", as when once acclimated to its owner,
sticks to its owner at all times. Many Weimaraners tend to lean
on their owner when sitting or standing, and most will insist on
sleeping on their owner's bed unless trained otherwise.
Since they were bred to be true members of a family, some
Weimaraners suffer from severe separation anxiety.
Manifestations of this behaviour disorder include panicked
efforts to rejoin the owner when separation occurs, excessive
drooling, destructive behaviours, associated injuries such as
broken teeth or cut lips and barking loudly. Most just wait on
the couch or by the window for their owner to come back home.
Behavior modification training and medications may reduce the
severity of symptoms associated with this disorder in some
Weimaraners. However, the breed is generally resistant to such
treatment and behavior modification training efforts. As
individuals of the breed age the severity of separation anxiety
symptoms decreases somewhat, but does not completely abate. More
common, lighter manifestations of separation anxiety include
wailing, which mimics a high pitched crying tone. This is more
pronounced when the Weim's owner has just left or is audibly
returning home. If properly socialized young, the tendency for
separation anxiety may be reduced.
According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals,
Weimaraners suffer from low rates of dysplasia. The breed is
ranked 102nd of 153 total breeds and has a very high test rate
and a very high percentage of excellent rating among those dogs
tested. It is
generally recommended to acquire Weimeraners only from breeders
who have their dogs' hips tested using OFA or PennHIP methods.
As a deep-chested dog, the Weimaraner is prone to bloat or
gastric torsion, a very serious condition that can cause painful
and rapid death when left untreated. It occurs when the stomach
twists itself, thereby pinching off blood vessels and the routes
of food traveling in or out. Symptoms include signs of general
distress, discomfort, no bowel movement or sounds, and a swollen
stomach. Immediate medical attention is imperative when bloat
occurs and surgery is the only option if it is caught early
One way to help prevent bloat is to spread out the
Weimaraner's feedings to at least twice daily and to avoid any
vigorous exercise right after feedings. It is also recommended
that the dog's feeding dish not be placed on a raised platform
to discourage it from gobbling its food too quickly and keep air
from entering the stomach. Raised food bowls have been found to
more than double the risk of bloat in large dogs.
Other health issues include:
- Elbow dysplasia
- Von Willebrands Disease
- Hypertrophic osteodystrophy
- Pituitary dwarfism
- Renal dysplasia
- Progressive retinal atrophy
Weimaraners in popular culture
- In the 2002 Jennifer Lopez film Maid in Manhattan,
senatorial candidate Chris Marshall (Ralph Fiennes) owns a
Weimaraner, which appears in multiple scenes.
- On the show Trailer Park Boys, the character Julian
dances with a "dirty old dog", which is a Weimaraner.
- The first president and founder of the Turkish Republic,
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, had a Weimaraner called Fox.
- US President Dwight D. Eisenhower owned a Weimaraner
- French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing owned a
Weimaraner called Jugurtha, who is said to have had such
human habits as laughing or drinking tea
- The photographs of William Wegman prominently feature
Weimaraners. His dogs (which included Man Ray — named after
artist Man Ray — and Fay Ray—a play on Fay Wray) are the
subject of his photos, dressed in human clothes. These
pictures are popular both in galleries of contemporary art
and as pop culture icons. These "dogs with hands" have
appeared frequently on Sesame Street, and occasionally on
Saturday Night Live.
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