Originally bred for hunting, the Weimaraner is a large dog that dates back to the early 19th century. They were popular among royalty to be used for hunting large animals such as bears, boars and deers, but as hobbies changed with the times, they were relegated to being used to hunt smaller animals such as foxes, rabbits and fowls. Their name comes from their place of origin, a region called Weimar in what is now modern day Germany. It is said that they were developed by merging at least 5 dog breeds, namely the English Pointer, the Bloodhound, the Blue Great Dane, the German Shorthaired Pointer and the silver gray Huehnerhund.
Weimaraners have a distinct gray coat which gives it many nicknames including the most popular, “The Gray Ghost,” and others such as Shadow, Silver Ghosts or Weims. They are highly sought after because of their distinct appearance, a sleek mouse gray to silver gray coat, and their gray, blue gray or light amber eyes, but there’s more to this dog that meets the eye. They have an amazing warm personality that will win any human, so read on to see if this dog is ideal for you and your lifestyle.
Weimaraner Appearance and Physical Attributes
Apart from their distinct grey coat, Weimaraners have other physical attributes that make them stand out from the rest of the pack. They are generally very tall, which gives off a strong and athletic appearance. They are generally medium to large dogs, with the average height and weight differing between males and females. Males weigh on average, 66 to 88 pounds and stand 23 to 28 inches tall at the shoulders. Females are generally just a bit smaller, weighing 55 to 77 pounds, and standing at 22 to 26 inches tall.
Traditionally, Weimaraners used to have a tail that was docked, but with laws being passed in many countries that prohibit docking in dogs, this tradition is being changed. Nowadays, Weimaraners are allowed to grow their tail, which is long, strong and well coated in nature. In countries where docking of the tail still occurs today, the standard length is approximately 6 inches in a fully grown Weimaraner.
Their coats are very low maintenance and require very little attention, which makes them an ideal dog for many homeowners. It is short and thick, but soft when touched, and where it is missing, the skin of your dog should be a pink colour. Weimaraners are not suitable for extreme cold weather, as unlike many other dogs, they do not have an undercoat, and their hair is pretty short. There are a few who are more long haired than others, and this gene is normally passed down to their puppies.
Personality and Characteristics
Typically, the average Weimaraner is loving, sociable, obedient and very energetic. He is a born leader that will own the household if you don’t, and tends to like to maintain some sort of control. He is very assertive and smart, making him a bit easier to train than other dogs, but he can also be restless and willful. It is not wise to have this dog around other, generally smaller animals such as cats and rabbits. Because of their background, they will chase cats and smaller animals, treating them as prey rather than friends. They cannot be socialized to train or stop this behaviour, it is their innate nature.
He can also be a little bit mischievous if left unsupervised, and may bark consistently, chase cyclists and joggers and generally make things a bit more difficult than you need them to be. They love being with their owner and will literally lay at your feet all day if you let them. Because they become so attached, leaving them alone for long periods of time can cause extreme separation anxiety, which makes them try to escape by destroying property. They may also get pretty loud, and bark or howl if they are suffering from separation anxiety. Overall, Weimaraners need proper socialization and training to understand proper standards of behaviour, but be sure to implement this training as young as possible, so it is embedded in their lifestyle.
Grooming and Maintenance
Because of the texture of their coat, Weimaraners are one of the easiest dogs to keep clean at all times. The texture of their coat protects them from the elements, and causes materials such as dirt to glide right off. A simply bruch once per week will be enough to keep your dog in his best condition. It is important to note that they do shed, but brushing weekly help to get rid of a lot of the excess hairs, so that they will not fall all over your floor and furniture. They should be bathed as needed, and not overbathed which may cause skin irritation. It is also important that when bathing, you use a dog shampoo. This will prevent any allergic reactions from any harsh chemicals that may be present in the cleanser you use.
Because there ears naturally droop and hang, Weimaraners are more susceptible to developing ear issues and infections. To prevent these health conditions from developing, make sure you check their ears weekly, and clean with a moist cotton ball or damp cloth, never use a cotton swab. Also remember that their dental hygiene is important, so brush 2 to 3 times per week to prevent periodontal disease from developing.
When it comes on to health and life span, Weimaraners live a fairly healthy life with a lifespan of 10 to 12 years, but they are susceptible to a variety of health conditions and congenital defects. You should be able to check the health clearances of the dog before you adopt, with an official report from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, or your country’s local body, but if you’re not sure of what possible illnesses the Weimaraner may develop, here is a list of the major conditions:
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Bloat/Torsion)
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- Renal Dysplasia
- Von Willebrand’s Disease
There are a host of many other health conditions, but these are the major ones. Don’t let these deter you from getting your Weimaraner though, for all you know he may have none of these issues.