The Weimaraner is a German hunting breed that is believed to be several centuries old. Originally known as the Weimer Pointer, these dogs were developed using the same selective stock as other German hunting breeds and they are descendants of the Bloodhound. Originally used as a big game hunter, which included hunting deer, wolves, and even bears, today the Weimaraner is more of a bird dog and retriever. They are also known to be excellent pointers. A Weimaraner famously appeared in a Van Dyke painting dating back to the early 1600s. After they were imported to the United States in 1929, they breed has remained relatively popular. They were sometimes known to appear on the popular children’s show Sesame Street in a reoccurring skit where they were dressed in human clothes. The Weimaraner has been officially recognized by the AKC since 1943.
The Weimaraner is a moderately large breed with an athletic build. They stand at about 22 to 27 inches tall at the withers and they should weigh between 50 and 70 pounds. The head is in proportion to the rest of the body and features a long, squared muzzle with a moderate stop. Their noses are grey and the eyes are wide set and come in various shades of grey, blue, and amber. The large ears are high set and pendant shaped. They fold forward and hang down alongside the dog’s head. The Weimaraner has a naturally long and tapering tail, but it is usually docked. The practice of docking tails is illegal in many parts of Europe. These dogs have a short and smooth coat that comes in shades of grey that are usually lighter on the head and ears than on the rest of the body. There is also sometimes a white marking on the chest. There is a longhaired Weimaraner, but they are rare. These dogs are easy to groom. They should be brushed regularly and need to be occasionally dry shampooed. When they do need a bath, be sure to use a mild shampoo. The nails should also be kept trimmed and the inside of the ears should also be kept clean and dry. These dogs are average shedders.
Weimaraners are intelligent dogs that are also very happy and affectionate. They are known to be very good with children. These dogs are highly trainable and are quick learners as long as their owner is authoritative and keeps the training varied and interesting. Otherwise they can become easily bored and distracted. It is very important that the owner of this dog establish themselves as a strong pack leader while the dog is still a puppy. This means not only showing natural authority, but also establishing the rules of the household and enforcing them in a firm and consistent manner. These dogs do not respond well to harsh punishments and discipline. Once they have become scared of their owner or anything else, it will be very difficult to change this reaction. The best training should involve positive reinforcement. An owner that is an effective pack leader is much less likely to have problems with training and behavior later on. These dogs have been known to be good watch dogs and guard dogs, but it is still important that they are well socialized early on. This process should involve taking them out to expose them to new people, places, and situations. Doing this will ensure that they are not frightened or feel threatened by anything new later on. These dogs do have a strong hunting instinct and should not be trusted around smaller animals such as rabbits and hamsters. They can sometimes live with cats as long as they are raised with them from the time they are puppies.
The Weimaraner is an active breed. They can live in an apartment as long as they are getting plenty of exercise outside the home daily. They are relatively calm indoors and prefer a large yard to run and play in, however they are not well suited to outdoor life. This breed has a lot of stamina and they will need a long walk or run daily. It is important not to exercise them too thoroughly after a meal. A Weimaraner that is not getting plenty of exercise is much more likely to misbehave and develop other bad habits, including being destructive or obsessive barking.
The Weimaraner is a generally healthy breed, but they are prone to a few common ailments such as mast cell tumors and hip dysplasia. Just like other larger breeds, the Weimaraner is susceptible to bloat. This is a condition that happens when the dog takes too much air into the stomach and it can lead to gastric torsion, which is fatal if the dog doesn’t get medical attention right away. Gastric torsion is when the stomach inflates and twists, which can cut off air supply and blood flow. The best ways to avoid this condition are to feed the dog small meals throughout the day from an elevated dish. This slow down their eating and greatly reduces their risk of developing bloat. A healthy Weimaraner will live about 10 to 14 years.
Overall the Weimaraner is a breed that makes an excellent hunting companion, but they are also good for life with families. They are easily trainable and naturally friendly. They are easy to groom and require daily exercise.