Are you considering adding a Weimaraner to your family? While these elegant dogs may turn heads with their distinctive grey coats, there’s more to this breed than meets the eye. In this article, we’ll explore the good, the bad, and the ugly of Weimaraners, so you can make an informed decision about whether or not they’re the right pet for you.
1. Weimaraners originated in Germany
If you’re familiar with Germany, you may have heard of the town of Weimar in eastern Germany. This is where Weimaraners come from. Originally, they were bred as hunting dogs for German aristocracy in the early 19th century. They were primarily used to hunt large game such as wild hogs, bears, and deer, but were later used to hunt smaller game like foxes and birds like quail, pheasants, and ducks.
2. Weimaraners are diluted dogs
While Weimaraners officially come in three main colors – grey, silver, and blue – they carry a gene that’s responsible for their washed-out coat color look. This means that grey and silver Weimaraners are actually different shades of diluted chocolate, and blue Weimaraners are a diluted black.
3. They’re also known as “Grey Ghosts”
This washed-out look contributes to their nickname “Grey Ghost.” Their grey or amber eyes and stealthy hunting mode when they stand still and point complete the ghastly picture. Pointing is when the dog lifts a paw to signal the presence of prey. Additionally, the dog stares ahead in the direction of where the prey is located.
4. They’re classified as Sporting Dogs
In AKC (American Kennel Club) classification terms, Weimaraners are pointers who are part of the Sporting Group. This group consists of four types of breeds that enjoy hunting and similar field activities: spaniels, pointers, retrievers, and setters. These dogs all spot, flush, and retrieve game, including waterfowl.
5. Weims need to run
As sporting dogs, Weimaraners have tons of energy they need to burn on a daily basis. Just to give you an idea of their speed, they can run up to 50 kmh (32 mph) in pursuit of their prey, making them a breed that needs more than a 30-minute walk around the block. A Weimaraner that is under exercised can be destructive, as they will try to find ways to burn their energy, such as shredding dog beds, magazines, and toilet paper. While a large yard is ideal for them to run around in, an alternative would be a dog park or a doggie daycare place if they get along well with other dogs. You can also take them to large open fields on an extra-long leash like a 30-foot check cord. However, it’s important to know that Weimaraner puppies should not run hard until they’re about 12 months old to prevent damage to their growing joints, so they need a lot of leashed and controlled activity.
6. They’re (mostly) easy to groom
While their exercise needs are high, their grooming needs are low. This is because most Weimaraners have a short coat that’s easy to wash, dry, and brush. However, some Weimaraners may have long hair and an undercoat, which requires more grooming. These dogs are less common in the US because they’re not acceptable show dog material in the States, but you’ll see them regularly in other parts of the world, such as in their home country of Germany.
7. Weimaraners need supervision around other pets
While Weims are generally good with kids, they don’t love all other dogs. It’s important to properly socialize Weimaraners to as many dogs as possible when they’re in their impressionable puppy phase (2-4 months). Due to their strong prey drive, they typically don’t do well with cats, ferrets, and birds in the same home.
8. Weimaraners are prone to bloat
Like some other deep-chested breeds such as Boxers, Rottweilers, German Shorthaired Pointers, St. Bernards, and Great Danes, Weimaraners are prone to bloating. This condition, also known as GDV (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus) can be fatal even when treated right away, so it’s crucial that owners are aware of the symptoms. Bloating occurs when the stomach traps air, turns on itself, and then closes off the esophagus, cutting off blood flow to vital organs. Symptoms include pacing, retching, and an enlarged belly that looks like a drum. When you notice these symptoms, take your pup to the vet immediately. Causes of bloat can include large (dry) meals fed from elevated dog feeders, drinking large amounts of water, as well as exercise right after eating and drinking, so it’s important not to exercise your Weimaraner for at least an hour after their food and water intake. Waiting two hours is even better.
9. A tired Weimaraner wants to sleep next to you
While it’s true that a tired Weimaraner is a good Weimaraner, these dogs also love to snuggle up next to you after a long day, sleeping their adventures off. However, it’s important to keep in mind that they may have a tendency to overheat, so make sure they have enough space to move and access to water.
10. Weimaraners rank 41st in popularity in the US
These days, Weimaraners are not in the top 10 dog breeds in the US. However, in the 1950s, female Weimaraner Heidi became known as First Dog under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who wrote that she was “an asset to life in the White House.” That said, Heidi ended up moving from the White House to the President’s farm in Pennsylvania after she peed on an expensive rug and enjoyed jumping on White House photographers a little too much.
In conclusion, if you’re an active person who’s willing to put in the time, effort, and energy required by a Weimaraner, they can become your new best adventure buddy for many years. However, if you’re looking for a pet as a status symbol, or simply don’t have the time or means to give this active breed the attention they need, it’s probably best to look elsewhere. The Weimaraner Club of America (WCA) offers a breeder referral for Weimaraner puppies, and it’s important to know that reputable breeders may screen your home and lifestyle to ensure that you’re able to provide the best possible home for a Weimaraner.