- Dog Breed:
- Breed Group:
- The sporting (gundog) breed group
- Active, friendly, obedient, intelligent
- Male 25 – 27 inches, female 23 – 25 inches
- 70 – 90 pounds male, 55 – 75 pounds female
- Life Span:
- 10-13 years
- Coat Colors:
- Varying shades of silver-grey.
- Area of Origin:
- Germany in the 1800s
- Best For:
- Active owners that like spending time outdoors
About The Weimaraner
Intelligent and very active
Obedient and ready to learn
Distinctive silver-grey colour
The Weimaraner is a good-looking athletic dog, with a very distinctive coat color. This silver-grey fur gives the Weimaraner its nickname ‘the grey ghost’. This breed will also have stunning blue-grey or amber eyes and floppy velvet ears which add to its attractive appearance.
Weimaraners are an intelligent breed, as well as being very active, so they will need lots of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy. This dog will enjoy plenty of time outdoors, running or walking, as well as play-time in a large garden. They would not be well suited to living in a flat in a city center.
This breed is known for being friendly and so will fit in well in a family home, as long as the appropriate time and energy are put into their exercise and training. They tend to be obedient and ready to learn, so training should be straightforward in the right hands.
Weimaraner Breed History
Bred in the early 1800s in Germany
Bred to hunt wolves and bears
Also used for retrieving gamebirds
The Weimeraner is thought to be a relatively recent breed, being developed in the early 1800s, by Germany’s Grand Duke – Karl August of Weimer. The Duke wanted the perfect hunting dog, that was an all-rounder.
They are thought to have crossed bloodhounds with various German and French hunting dogs to produce the Weimaraner Vostehhund (or the Weimer pointer), which was named after the town of Weimer.
However, evidence of Weimeraner-type dogs exists some years before the 1800s exists. A painting by Van Dyck of Prince Rupprecht von Pfalz of Germany in 1631 shows a Weimaraner-type dog, though it’s hard to say if they are closely related or not. Some people also think that the breed may go back even further, and could be related to the ‘Gray Hound’ of St Louis, that the King of France, Louis IX, brought back from Egypt in 1248 as part of a crusade but this is not proven.
The Weimaraner was originally used to hunt large game such as bears, mountain lions, and wolves. As these animals died out (in part due to deforestation and urbanization), the versatile Weimaraner was then used to flush out, point, and retrieve gamebirds. They became known for having a very soft mouth and didn’t damage the birds they retrieved.
The breed was kept as a closely guarded secret by the German aristocracy for some years, and was seen as somewhat of a ‘rich man’s dog’. A club was set up in 1897 with strict rules about ownership and breeding, preventing common people from acquiring the breed. If a dog was sold outside of the club then it was sterilized first to ensure it couldn’t be used for breeding purposes. Even within the club, breeding was closely monitored, and any low-quality litters would be destroyed.
The first Weimaraner was brought to the US in 1929 by Howard Knight, a New England sportsman who would later go on to set up the Weimaraner Club of America. Originally, he could only acquire de-sexed dogs from Germany, but later, after much persistence, he managed to import breeding dogs in 1938.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in 1943, in part due to rising popularity created by WWII soldiers coming home from Germany with these dogs. The Weimaraner is now a regular in the show ring, as well as being a popular family pet.
Weimaraner Size & Weight
Male dogs are 25-27 inches tall and females are 23 -25 inches tall, when measured from foot to withers
Male dogs weigh on average 70 – 90 pounds and females are a bit lighter at 55-75 pounds
This breed is a medium-large sized, athletic-looking dog
Weimaraner Personality & Temperament
Loving family dogs that need company
Intelligent and quick to learn
Need exercise and mental stimulation
The Weimaraner was bred as a working dog, so they will need quite a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy. This dog will do best with an active family, who spend a lot of time outdoors. As they were bred originally to chase and retrieve game, their prey drive will be quite high. Make sure you work on the recall part of his training so that you can exercise him off of the leash safely and call him back when you need to.
This breed is very intelligent, as well as being good-looking, and this will help when it comes to training. You should consider training classes for this breed, not only to help more novice owners master the basics but also to give your dog plenty of mental stimulation and socialization. Many Weimaraners enjoy burning off energy at agility classes or do well at obedience training.
Weimaraners are usually friendly dogs and make good family pets. They are very loving and easy to train, which endears them to most people. They can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone, so they will be best being kept as an indoor dog. You should try and train them gradually to be able to be left for short periods by themselves so that they feel comfortable in their own company when needed. Plenty of exercise and positive reward-based training will help keep your dog content and make them much less likely to feel frustrated when left alone.
Weimaraner Health & Grooming
Low-maintenance grooming except when shedding
Buy puppies from health-tested parents
Take steps to reduce risk of GDV
Weimaraners are fairly low maintenance in terms of grooming. They have a short easy to care for coat that will only require occasional brushing to remove any loose hairs. This breed will shed, with their light-colored hairs showing up on dark clothing and furniture in particular.
This breed will only need occasional bathing, and only when they get particularly muddy or dirty. There is a long-haired variety of Weimaraner, but these are seen far less frequently than the standard short-haired version.
Hip dysplasia can be seen in this breed. Dogs affected with this can have abnormal rubbing in their joints, causing pain and arthritic change. Try to purchase a puppy that has been bred from parents with good hip scores to decrease the risk of your pup inheriting this condition.
It is also recommended that breeding animals have an evaluation from an ophthalmologist to rule out conditions such as entropion and distichiasis (extra eyelashes that could rub on the eye), and also blood tests for autoimmune thyroiditis (a condition affecting the thyroid gland).
Being a large, deep-chested breed of dog, the Weimaraner is more at risk of gastric torsion than some other breeds of dog. This condition, also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), is life-threatening and occurs when the dog’s stomach bloats and twists on itself. Symptoms could include bloating, abdominal pain, retching, and restlessness, so you must contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns.
Highly intelligent and quick to learn
Strong prey drive, so focus on recall
Prone to separation anxiety
Weimaraners are very intelligent dogs and training is usually easy in the right hands. They have a can-do attitude and are willing to please which helps with the training process. You should ensure you use lots of positive and reward-based training with your dog to get the best out of them.
Training classes can be a big help when trying to master the basics with your dog. Some Weimaraners will enjoy classes so much that owners may wish to carry on for longer and do more advanced obedience with their dogs. It’s important to focus early training on a strong recall due to their high prey drive.
Agility is also something that many dogs enjoy, and for Weimaraners, it is an excellent way of burning off some of their boundless energy!
Socialisation is also important, so make sure your Weimaraner is introduced to a variety of people, animals, and places from a young age. This will help to ensure you have a friendly and relaxed dog, who won’t be fearful of new situations. You should also practice leaving them alone for short periods of time, as this breed can be prone to developing separation anxiety.
Weimaraner Exercise Requirements
Highly intelligent and quick to learn
Strong prey drive, so focus on recall
Prone to separation anxiety
Weimaraners were originally bred as gundogs/sporting dogs and therefore have a lot of stamina. You will need to make sure your dog gets 2 hours of exercise per day, with plenty of time off of the leash to run around.
A large garden or yard would be good to have if you own a Weimaraner, as playtime will be important on top of their daily walks. They will enjoy lots of positive interaction with their owners through games and interesting toys.
Training classes or agility can also help keep your dog mentally stimulated, which will help them feel more content and relaxed at home.
Weimaraner Diet & Feeding
GDV/bloat can be a problem
Can put on weight easily in a family setting
Look for a complete and balanced diet appropriate for their life stage
Weimaraners are usually good eaters and aren’t known for being fussy. You should have your dog on a good quality commercial diet that is suitable for large breed dogs and contains complete nutrition for their life-stage. This means selecting a food specifically for puppies, adults, or senior dogs, depending on their age.
As they’re prone to obesity, treats should be given in moderation and used mainly as training rewards to keep them motivated. Fresh drinking water should always be available for your Weimaraner.
To help this breed avoid gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV, bloat) you should try not to feed them just before exercise. You should also split their rations into two or more meals a day, rather than giving one large meal, and make sure that they don’t eat their food too quickly. Puzzle feeders or mats can help with this.
Weimaraner Rescue Groups
Weimaraners can end up in rescue centers, usually through no fault of their own. Many owners underestimate this breed’s needs and so unfortunately there are circumstances where they need rehoming. Here are a few UK rescue centers that specialise in Weimaraner adoption –