It’s true what they say about the ‘Gray Ghost,’ if you want a couch potato dog, who slumbers around the house, the highly energetic, German born, Weimaraner, isn’t going to be that dog.
Originally touted as a ‘gun dog’ or ‘pointer type,’ this medium sized handsome breed is now one of the most beloved companions in the United States.
Known for their sleek and gray coat, their need for speed, and fanatical devotion to their master, a Weimaraner is one of the most athletic Sporting Groups breeds in the world.
What makes this breed so popular within the canine club community?
Here’s what you need to know about the Weimaraner.
The Weim is a rather new breed of dog to the United States. Before making their way into the states, the Weimaraner was first used by the Germans as a big game and bird hunting dog.
Historians believe as early as 1810, beginning in Weimar, Germany, that a breed was established known as today as, the Weimaraner.
Greatly admired in Germany, Weims were designed a certain way, because hunters needed a dog with great agility, sound scent tracking skills, pointing, and retrieving abilities. That’s what they got from this breed, and more, as the Weim also became decorated for its companionship.
Many still believe the Weimaraner is one of the most versatile dogs. They were cherished dearly during the early 1900’s, so much, that it required membership to even own one in Germany.
This breed before coming into the United States was being utilized as big game hunters against wolf, bear, deer, boar and possibly mountain lions.
Howard Knight became a fan, and is said to be the man who is responsible for the Weimaraner’s emergence in the United States.
However, that wouldn’t come easy, as Germans made him jump at the bit for membership before he could have the Weims imported. Once he did, it was said, that the Germans didn’t want the breed to be tainted by widespread breeding, so they even desexed the dogs they sent over.
Eventually, around the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, Knight and his efforts finally prevailed.
Like Dobermans, many U.S. soldiers enjoyed the companionship of the Weimaraner and brought them back to the states. The popularity of this breed soared, thanks to their coat color and personality. In 1943, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed as medium size, high energy and placed them into the Sporting Group.
Welcome to the White House, Dwight D Eisenhower, a big fan of the Weimaraner, introduced his dog, “Heidi” to the country and world.
This only fueled more of a frenzy with the breed.
Unfortunately, the surge in breeding also produced a good amount of inferior results. The breed saw ownership and registration cut in half until the 90’s and the turn of the 21st century, when a reinvented breed was established. Their popularity again shot right up.
Today, the Weimaraner enjoys being more of a companion than the talented hunter they used to be in Germany. Greatly committed to their owners and using their nose for tracking competitions is where this breed thrives. They are ranked 34th most popular breed on the planet.
The Weim is considered by the American Kennel Club to be a medium sized breed. A male Weimaraner should stand anywhere from 25 to 27 inches, while a female should be around 23 to 25 inches.
A male of this breed will weigh anywhere between 70 to 90 pounds, while a female can range between 55 to 75 pounds.
As mentioned earlier in the article, this is not the breed you want around an apartment nor is this dog suited for a couch potato position. They do have a need to exert a high amount of energy. Fetch, walks, runs, hikes, swimming, long drives, and hunting is what makes the Weim happy.
A real people’s dog, this breed must be around their owners more than not. If you leave them alone for long periods of time, the Weimaraner is prone to separation anxiety. This can lead to destructive behavior of property to even injuring themselves. Either give them a companion or keep them entertained as much as possible.
They are wonderful with children, and pretty friendly with other dogs. Keep in mind, Weims are muscular and compact, therefore, they can run children over unintentionally.
Friendly and outgoing, they are always looking to please their masters. A Weimaraner needs the approval, and will do whatever it take to gain your attention and affection.
Stubborn at times, but need someone with positive command and patience. They thrive off being trained the right way, and because they are highly intelligent, it makes training very easy. If you don’t train them as pups, or introduce socialization, you’re asking for a crash course.
Barks when needed and is fine with strangers. Can be fearless to a sweetheart in a split second. They are still great game hunters and if you need a bird hunting dog, that is easy to care for, like a Rhodesian Ridgeback, a Weimaraner is one of the best hunting breeds.
A Weimaraner is considered to be fairly healthy breed, however, because the breed is very active, uses its body for more athletic and daunting tasks, they find themselves susceptible to some joint issues.
The average Weimaraner can live 10 to 13 years, but a healthy balance of exercise and proper nutrition is vital to get the most out of your dog.
Before you buy a puppy or adult Weim, you should always make sure the breeder is reputable and can provide you with the proper paperwork for health clearances. Routine visits with the veterinarian will keep your Weimaraner at its best.
This dog commonly encounters gastric torsion, or bloat. Most deep chested dogs like the Akita or Boxer suffer from an excess flow of air inside the stomach, that distends or twists. This will cause a great deal of pain and sometimes death. The best way to avoid bloat is by providing a healthy and balanced diet for your Weimaraner.
Another condition called, Entropion, where the eye lid is rolled inward against the eyeball, which is usually a result from muscular spasms that causes irritation and discomfort.
Willebrand Disease is also something to keep an eye out for with your Weim. This is deficiency of an adhesive glycoprotein, which is a blood disorder, that can lead to excessive bleeding even if it’s a minor wound.
Osteodystrophy is another health condition to keep tabs on. This calcium and metabolism disturbance causes defective development in the Weimaraner’s bones.
Minor conditions like Distichiasis, an abnormality of growth in the eyelashes is linked to this breed, while Hip Dysplasia is still considered a threat to Weims.
Spinal Dysraphism or Tethered Cord Syndrome is a neurological disorder regarding a spinal cord malformation leading to structural defects.
While this list isn’t complete, it should be noted, that your Weimaraner may not inherit any of these at all.
Weims probably aren’t the best choice for a first time dog owner. This breed requires patience and some canine knowledge because of their ability to be stubborn at times during training. They do require training in order to be a breed that is sociable and good with children.
If you live at an apartment, perhaps a Poodle would fulfill your canine needs better, as this dog requires ample amount of space to unleash that high energy level. Daily walks and mental stimulation advised with the Weim.
Supervise your Weimaraner around smaller children due to their activity level and size.
This breed is better suited for mild or warmer climates.
They can have a touch of wanderlust, which isn’t ideal for smaller animals like birds or sometimes cats. They may try to chase and even hunt smaller prey.
You should brush their teeth two or three times per week. Trim their nails once a month to avoid overgrowth as they do tend to grow faster than normal. Bathe as necessary.
Many Weimaraner owners suggest to avoid feeding the breed corn, wheat or barley. These types of fillers can invite a slew of issues such as bloat.
This breed is also fairly particular about where they eat, more than they are about what they eat. Many Weim lovers warn newbies about moving the dog’s bowl on them. Even a few inches may invite protest from the dog.
You should divide the meals up, so if it is two per day for an adult, you will want to feed in the morning and again in the evening. This is a great way to eliminate the possibility of bloat.
A diet with protein is the best one for a Weimaraner. Anything between 18 to 22 percent, and a fat percent between 8 to 12 percent should suffice.
This active breed will require calorie replenishment. A standard activity rate for a 70 pound dog will demand about 1700 calories, while hunting and athletic dogs will need twice the calorie intake.
Dry food is fine, it should be high quality and a meat or protein as the first ingredient.
8 week to six month old puppies may eat half 1/2 to 3/4 cups three or four times per day. It’s important to break this up and not allow the dog to nibble here and there with their food.
You can begin reducing around 6 months or wait until your Weimaraner reaches a year old. That point, they should be cut down from 3 or 4 meals a day to two meals.
As always, you should provide your dog with fresh drinking water.
A Weimaraner possesses a short, hard, sleek yet soft to the touch coat. That very same coat comes in Gray, which is the trademark of this breed. The coat is easy to maintain, which is one reason the dog is so popular.
They don’t have an undercoat, which means colder temperatures aren’t ideal for this breed. While you won’t have to worry about daily brushing, grooming can be a great bonding experience for you and your dog.
Once or twice per week will suffice this dog’s brushing needs. You can bathe them as you see fit.
The Weimaraner only comes in three color schemes: Blue, Gray, and Silver Gray.
A Weimaraner doesn’t have any markings, that are up to the breed standard.
Fun Weimaraner Facts
- This breed was made famous again during the mid 1900’s, when American artist, William Wegman, would share his paintings of the breed in different poses and costumes.
- A Weimaraner is considered to be the 21st most intelligent dog.
- More Weims have competed in their short time in America than in Germany, according to the American Kennel Club.
- This breed has worked for the military as a bomb sniffing dog.
- Maid in Manhattan, a movie starring Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes features a Weimaraner several times in the movie.
- Legendary singer/songwriter, Eric Clapton, owns a Weim.
- There are long haired versions of this breed, although it is considered rare and against the American Kennel Club standard.
- Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie both owned Weims.
- According to Mental Floss, this breed’s eyes change colors as they age.
- The Weimaraner was once featured in a music video by the band, New Order.
The Weimaraner started in Germany as a gun dog, and realizing how great of a dog they had, the Germans did all they could to keep the integrity of this breed in tact.
While the road to their current popularity was a bit bumpy, the dog has settled along quite nicely in their role as a companion dog.
The ‘Gray Ghost’ can still be that gun dog, who uses its athleticism and strong scent ability to be an excellent hunting dog. They are outgoing and brave. Smart and sweet.
If you have the space, and want a breed of dog that will remain committed to you for as long as the dog is alive, then the handsome and speedy Weimaraner is the perfect match.