So You Want A Weimaraner?
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So you want a Weimaraner?
I can’t blame you.
Weims are such beautiful, elegant looking dogs that stand out wherever they go.
However, they’re not for everyone as there’s much more to this large breed than meets the eye.
So in this blog post, we’ll introduce you to the good, the bad & the ugly of Weimaraners so you can decide whether or not they’d make the right pet for you.
Because although they’re a large breed, they have a life expectancy of 10-14 years you should plan for.
10 Facts Good & Bad About Weimaraners
1. Weimaraners Originally Hail From Germany
If you’re familiar with Germany, you may have heard of the town of Weimar in eastern Germany.
That’s where Weimaraners are from.
They were originally bred as hunting dogs for German aristocracy in the early 19th century.
Initially, they were used to hunt large game like wild hogs, bears and deer, and later on they helped hunt foxes and birds like quail, pheasants and ducks.
Additionally, they were used as guard dogs of the noble premises.
2. Weimaraners Are Diluted Dogs
While Weimaraners officially come in the three main colors gray, silver and blue, they carry a gene that’s responsible for their washed out coat color look.
Keeping that in mind, Gray and Silver Weimaraners are actually different shades of a diluted chocolate and Blue Weimaraners are a diluted black!
3. They’re Also Known As “Gray Ghosts”
It’s this washed out look that contributed to their nickname “Gray Ghost”.
Their gray or amber eyes and stealthy hunting mode when they stand still and point complete the ghastly picture!
By the way, 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.
In the picture below, Weim Sydney points her yard prey, one of her Chuckit toys.
4. They’re Classified As Sporting Dogs
In AKC (American Kennel Club) classification terms, Weimaraners are Pointers who are part of the Sporting Group.
It consists of the 4 following types of breeds that enjoy hunting and similar field activities:
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 so you get an idea of what they’re capable of speed-wise, they can do up to 50 kmh in pursuit of their prey! That’s 32 mph.
So yeah, these pups definitely need more than a 30 minute walk around the block and, most importantly, they really need to run and stretch their legs!
I’ve seen first hand what an under-exercised Weimaraner is capable of, and have spent lots of time cleaning up shredded dog beds, magazines and toilet paper…
That was back when I worked as a professional dog walker and pet sitter, and had clients who didn’t always understand the physical needs of their dogs.
So think twice before you decide to bring this high energy breed home to live with you!
That said, you can do right by your Weimaraner even if you don’t have a large yard where they can stretch their legs in.
An alternative would be a dog park or a doggie daycare place if they get along with other dogs.
You can also take them to large open fields on an extra long leash like a 30’ check cord.
But as always, there’s an exception to the rule, and this one applies to Weimaraner puppies.
They shouldn’t run hard until they’re about 12 months old to prevent damage to their growing joints, so they’ll 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.
That’s because most Weimaraners have a short coat that’s easy to wash, dry and brush.
You’ll appreciate this info when your Weim starts rolling around in stinky stuff.
Don’t blame him for it, it’s in his hunting dog genes to disguise his smell!
Just make sure you have a nice smelling dog shampoo like this Lavender and Mint from Buddy Wash.
However, there’s also a few Weimaraners that are long-haired AND have an undercoat.
They’re 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.
For example, in their home country Germany.
Long-haired Weimaraners obviously have more intense grooming needs than their short-haired siblings.
7. Weimaraners Need Supervision Around Other Pets
While Weims are good with kids, they don’t love all other dogs.
That’s why it’s super important to properly socialize Weimaraners to as many dogs as possible when they’re in their impressionable puppy phase (2-4 months).
One of my pet sitting clients had a Weimaraner and a Mutt puppy who dearly loved one another and even shared a crate.
That said, Weims CAN coexist with other dogs, but they need to be introduced to the concept early on.
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
Just like Boxers, Rottweilers, German Shorthaired Pointers, St. Bernards and Great Danes, Weimaraners are deep-chested dogs who are prone to bloating.
This condition is also known as GDV (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus) and can be fatal even when it’s treated right away, so don’t take it lightly.
Bloating happens when the stomach traps air, turns on itself and then closes off the esophagus and cuts off the blood flow to vital organs.
Symptoms are pacing, retching and an enlarged belly that looks like a drum. So when you notice these, take your pup to an (emergency) vet right away.
Causes of bloat can be large (dry) meals fed from elevated dog feeders, drinking large amounts of water as well as exercise right after eating and drinking.
That’s why it’s important NOT to exercise your Weimaraner for at least an hour after their food and water intake.
When in doubt, waiting 2 hours is better.
9. A Tired Weimaraner Wants To Sleep Next to You
Of course a tired Weimaraner is a good Weimaraner, but Weims also love to snuggle up next to you at the end of a long day as they sleep their adventures off!
Weimaraner Bean, one of my former pet sitting clients, loved snuggling up next to my feet UNDER the sheets whenever I had an overnight stay with him.
I remember having to uncover him partially a few hours into the night to make sure he could breathe properly.
10. Weimaraners Rank 41st in Popularity in the US
These days, Weimaraners are nowhere near the top 10 dog breeds in the US. Maybe it’s because of their high exercise needs?
This was different in the 1950s when female Weimaraner Heidi became known as First Dog under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In a letter to Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield who gifted Heidi to Eisenhower, the President wrote:
“Heidi is definitely an asset to life in the White House. She cavorts on the South Lawn at a great rate, with such important projects as chasing squirrels and investigating what might be under bushes. She is beautiful and well-behaved (occasionally she tends toward stubbornness but is then immediately apologetic about it). And she is extremely affectionate and seemingly happy. I am constantly indebted to you [and your son Bud] both for giving her to me.”
(Letter from President Eisenhower to Arthur Summerfield, January 27, 1958
Eisenhower Papers as President, Administration Series, Box 36, Summerfield, Arthur Jr.)
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…
So, you (still) want a Weimaraner?
If your main motivation is to own a Weimaraner as a status symbol, please rethink your decision.
Weims are highly active dogs with a very strong prey drive who need several hours of physical daily exercise as well as mental stimulation.
Left to their own devices, they’ll come up with strategies to burn their pent up energy, and I guarantee you won’t like any of them!
On the flipside, if you’re an active outdoorsman or -woman, a Weimaraner can easily be your new best adventure buddy for many years.
The Weimaraner Club of America (WCA) offers a breeder referral for Weimaraner puppies you may want to check out.
On that note, don’t be put off if Weimaraner breeders screen your home and lifestyle – they just want to make sure that they place their high energy puppies with the right forever humans!
Now, we’d love to hear from you if you share your active lifestyle with a Weimaraner (or two or three) or if you’re contemplating getting a Weim to help you train for marathons.
Just comment below!
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