Weimaraner Breed Guide
Middle Age: 6 years
Geriatric Age: 10 years
Life Span: 10 to 12 years
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Weimaraner Breed Info & Background
The origin of the Weimaraner breed dates all the way to early 19th century Germany. The aristocrats in the Weimar Court—what it was once referred to—hunted for both luxury and sport. In aims to develop a noble dog that was courageous and competent, intelligent and beautiful, they crossed an array of different hunting breeds and eventually produced the Weimaraner breed. The reasons these breeds are unnamed is because their true ancestry is a question mark; the list of dogs that could’ve been used are in the double digits.
What we do know is that the Weimaraner first hunted big game—everything from deer to wolves—but was eventually streamlined into a smaller dog capable of taking down birds and foxes. By the end of the 19th century, the noble dog became an exclusive companion, and only breeders that were part of a certain club could own one. Just as well, owning one came with strict guidelines (in both care and breeding).
The way the breed established a presence in the US is an interesting story. A sportsman by the name of Howard Knight—in the early 20th century—was allowed into the exclusive Weimaraner club and given two pups. Despite promising to preserve the integrity of the breed, the club gave him neutered dogs. Relentless in his pursuits, almost a decade later he got his hands on a few females and a male, then returned to the US and bred them.
With such a dynamic, specialty dog, other breeders rose to the call and followed his footsteps. With the growing popularity among breeders, the Weimaraner breed was recognized by the AKC only five years later, in 1942. However, it’s only after WWII, once the dog was brought back from Germany by American soldiers, that their popularity as a breed blossomed.
Weimaraner Temperament & Personality
While the Weimaraner was bred to be a champion of dogs, one both dexterous in hunting game and perfectly poised in the household, the reality of their temperaments and personalities is far from their initial reputation. While the Weimaraner personality is naturally friendly, docile, and attentive, they also have the hunt in them, and it’s more domineering than most ‘hunter’ breeds.
These dignified canines can often have assertive, stubborn, restless, and destructive characteristics. These dogs look to themselves as leaders and are smart enough to both challenging their owners, and finding their way into trouble. Being that they’re used to preying on game, they’ll chase around cats, steal food, assert their dominance, and can become aggressive. The point is: these dogs need serious structure. Puppy classes, early socialization, and constant obedience training are a must. This, of course, means these dogs are a horrible fit for the first-time dog owner or the owner that doesn’t have a large home with a backyard.
Just as well, these dogs tend to bite (they never outbred their hunter characteristics). When sending them to puppy classes, they’ll need to be paired with experienced trainers. However, if properly trained and socialized, the Weimaraner makes a great companion, watchdog, and adventure buddy.
Training a Weimaraner
Above almost all other breeds, the Weimaraner requires serious training. They are by all accounts still as wild and competent as their ancestors, except they’re no longer out hunting wolves. Instead, they’re bred to be pets and live with a family in a household. While this can work, it takes careful preparation to create a properly behaved Weimaraner.
Puppy classes (with experienced trainers), early socialization, and crate training are all a must. Do know—especially in their puppy years—these dogs require a massive amount of time to housebreak. Patience is a virtue when training them. They’re also nicknamed ‘Shadow’ because of the way they’ll follow around their owner. Because of this, they can develop serious separation anxiety, which takes a whole lot of love and time to curb.
This highly intelligent dog is capable of learning at rapid speeds, but instead of being docile, they often have stubborn and independent personality traits. That’s why as the owner you must assert yourself as the alpha of the household, and be both affirmative and gentle in your discipline. This dynamic breed, on top of everything else, is also very sensitive to the wrath of their owner. If you’re too tough in their puppy years, there’s a large chance they’ll develop a shy and timid personality as adults.
Training a Weimaraner is a difficult and at times frustrating task. Be sure to study about the breed, understand their tendencies, and then plan accordingly if you’re bringing a puppy into the house.
Weimaraner Exercise Requirements
Weimaraners need an ample amount of exercise. While they shouldn’t live outdoors, they shouldn’t be kept in an apartment or a condo either. Rather, they’re best suited in a sizeable home with a fenced in yard. On top of the hour of exercise they should receive per day, they should also spend time on their own in the yard.
Beware, these dogs are destructive wanderers. They’ll tear apart the backyard in search of animals, burrow themselves into small spaces trying to catch rodents, and dig like no other. This behavior can also be brought into the home, which is why it’s important for these canines to get plenty of exercise.
They’re built for stamina and strength, meaning they can accompany you on hikes, runs, bike rides, and long walks. When exercising a Weimaraner, be sure to incorporate games like fetch or catch, and teach them tricks that stimulate their intellects. These dogs have an appetite for stimulation and will need it to curb their prevalent restlessness.
In their puppy years, they might need double the exercise they get as an adult. A well-exercised Weimaraner means a tired one. A tired one is more likely to demonstrate good behavior.
Weimaraner Life Span & Longevity
Weimaraner life expectancy typically ranges anywhere from 10-12 years.
Weimaraner Breed Popularity
The Weimaraner ranks 34th on the AKC’s most popular list of 155 dog breeds. These aristocratic, graceful hunting dogs have come a long way since their beginning, and are now a huge presence here in the states. Although their popularity dwindled in the mid-late 20th century, they rose once more after responsible breeders began narrowing out the breed. They’re friendly enough, great protectors of the household, and sweet with children.
Feeding Requirements for a Weimaraner
A Weimaraner requires anywhere from 3-4 cups of dry food per day, broken into two separate meals. They’re not usually glutinous about their food but do—because of their big mouths—tend to be messy when eating. While these dogs aren’t prone to obesity, it’s important to weigh out the amount of food administered in comparison to their activity level.
Just as well, age, metabolism, and weight are all integral factors that need to be considered when creating a balanced diet for your Weimaraner. It’s important to remember that no two dogs are the same, and while there are guidelines for feeding, your dog might require more or less than others.
Grooming a Weimaraner
Weimaraners have gorgeous, sleek gray coats. They look like night guards of an enchanted forest and hold themselves with proud elegance. Their coats are one of the easier ones to manage, being that they’re easy to groom and tend not to shed much. A weekly brushing with a bristle brush should suffice. Often, owners will wipe their Weimaraner down with chamois to give them that sophisticated shine.
For optimal Weimaraner health, brush their teeth 2-3 times a day to avoid tartar and bacteria build ups. Trim their nails as needed, but often a Weimaraner will wear them down with their excessive activeness. Bathe when needed—and use shampoos that will not deter their coat’s natural oils—but this might be a frequent occurrence, being that this dog loves to get dirty.
To prevent Weimaraner health problems, check their ears, eyes, nose, mouths, and bodies for anything suspicious; inflammation, redness, infection, and parasites. Being that Weimaraners can often be stubborn, introduce these grooming and checkup sessions early on, tie them into obedience training, and handle every part of their body so to accustom them to the process. The earlier you start grooming your dog, the more receptive they’ll be to the process as an adult.
Are Weimaraners Good with Children?
Weimaraners behave well with children. They’re curious enough to engage with them, and often gentle with the younger ones. Thing is, since they’re hunting dogs, they have a tendency to play a bit too rough with smaller children or chase them around and nip at them. While this isn’t a reported issue with the breed, it’s important to discipline both the dog and the children on how to properly interact with each other. Set immediate guidelines and allow no flexibility ongoing.
While they’re not the first choice for smaller children, there is certainly no reason why they can’t live in the same household, and with proper training, they can grow to become companions.
Weimaraner Health Problems
The Weimaraner lifespan is relatively long compared to other dogs of their caliber and are usually healthy. That doesn’t make them immune to disease or illness. It’s important that—before purchasing a puppy—the breeder can provide health clearances for both of the parents. These health clearances should be administered from certified establishments. The conditions that can afflict a Weimaraner are as follows:
Hip Dysplasia: a common one for active dogs, this condition occurs when there’s displacement between the thigh bone and the hip joint. Weimaraner hip dysplasia causes severe pain, difficulty walking, lameness in the leg(s), and at worst immobility. Hip dysplasia can be screened for, which only places more importance on the parents’ health clearances. There are treatments available for this condition and it is non-life-threatening.
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV): this life-threatening condition often occurs in deep-chested dogs, particularly larger ones. What happens is the stomach fills with air but has no way of passing it. The stomach twists and locks the air from escaping then continues to bloat, which eventually causes a massive drop in blood pressure and impedes blood flow to the heart. Symptoms include a distended stomach, excessive salivating, or dry heaving. If you suspect GDV, take your dog to the vet immediately, as this condition is relentless in the way it strikes.
Distichiasis: this condition occurs when the canine develops another set of eyelashes (on the lower eyelid), which irritates the eye. At worst, it can impair vision but is often cured with treatment.
Entropion: this birth defect—normally realized when the dog is about a year old—affects the eyelid. What happens is the eyelid rolls inward, which can irritate or tear the eye. Take note if your Weimaraner is constantly rubbing his eyes, and if they seem red or leaky. Although it may seem like allergies, it may be a sign this condition is present. Often a simple surgery will take care of the problem.
National breed website: Weimaraner Club of America
Rescues: Weimaraner Rescue of the South