The Weimaraner is a large silver-grey gundog featuring an agile pointing breed with a moderately long head with a bit lighter colour than the rest of the body. It has medium-sized round eyes that are amber or blue-grey in colour that gives out a keen, kind and intelligent expression. The long, highly set ears are slightly folded while the jaw features a regular scissor bite. A moderately long neck provides ample support to a long head. The Weimaraner also has straight front legs and well muscled back legs cushioned by compact feet with close, thick pads. It has a deep chest, a level topline, and a firmly tucked-up belly. The tail is usually docked to 1.5 inches or 4 cm two days after birth. The breed has a short, fine, smooth coat that comes in all shades of gray.
The Weimaraner was originally developed for bird tracking and as a pointing breed. It was named after the Grand Duke of Weimar, Charles August who has kept a passion for hunting who sponsored the effort to developed a perfect gundog that has the ability to hunt all types of game size. The Weimaraner (or Weimar pointer) has been known to exist as early as the 1600s and has remained unchanged up to the present and is believed to be a result of a mix of Continental pointing breeds, mastiffs and the bloodhound. It was developed for the nobility as a reliable gundog, hence it was highly adored and was kept in close contact with the family. As a result, the Weimaraner is a breed that needs constant human companionship and will weaken if kept outside or kennelled. An interesting point to mention is that the Weimaraner has a unique way of bringing down animals, uniquely biting the prey’s genitals to bring it down. Two famous persons helped popularize the breed, including former president Dwight D. Eisenhower who owned a Weimaraner named Heidi; the other person is art photographer William Wegman who used his two dogs dressed in human clothes as subjects of his photographs. Today, the breed has a dedicated following and responsible breeders made sure that only the purest of the breed are allowed to continue their lines.
Typically, the Weimaraner is a high-strung breed which can get excited quite easily. It is a very courageous breed with a strong prey drive and can easily kill small animals and will not hesitate to attack even a deer or sheep that gets within its territory. It is quick to learn new things but can be otherwise resistant to repetitive training. The Weimaraner gets bored very easily which may tend to develop destructive behaviours such as chewing if left alone for long periods of time. It is typically reserved with strangers and can be dog-aggressive and territorial. This breed likes to bark which makes it a good watchdog, but at the same time can be quite annoying with the neighbours.
Training needs to be consistent, patient and varied as the Weimaraner gets bored easily and tends to be boisterous during the first several months of its life. It needs constant companionship, especially from its human family. A strong instinctive prey drive makes it rather less sociable with other animals in the house, especially small pets such as cats, rabbits and hamsters. However, early socialization with these animals will prevent the breed from attacking them when it grows into an adult.
Grooming is straightforward; brushing the coat with a firm bristle brush will do.
The Weimaraner has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. As a deep-chested dog, it is prone to gastric torsion or bloating. Similar to large breeds, hip dysplasia also poses a concern among breed owners. Other health concerns include:
Progressive retinal atrophy – a genetic disease of the retina which culminates into blindness.
A diet high in animal fat particularly from lamb or poultry is crucial for this breed. Grain sources should come from wheat and barley.
This powerful breed requires extensive exercises. Long walks, running, mentally and physically challenging games or vigorous activities are ideal enjoyment for the Weimaraner. This breed will do fine in an apartment if exercised properly. It is relatively inactive indoors while a house with a large yard is the most suitable living quarters for this breed.
This strong hunting instinct makes it quite unsuitable to live with other dogs and small animals, although with good training and early socialization, these instincts can be curtailed to some effort. It is generally good with children, but care must be taken around young children as the breed’s energetic attitude can quickly overcome a small child.