The Weimaraner is a beautiful and athletic large-size sporting dog breed from Germany with a uniform steel gray coat. It's also known for having oversized floppy ears and soulful eyes that resemble the features of a bloodhound. Originally bred to be a sportsman's companion, the Weimaraner—sometimes known as Weir or the "gray ghost"—is a versatile dog breed that is happy on the hunt but loves to be a big part of your home and family life.
HEIGHT: 25 to 27 inches (males); 23 to 25 inches (females)
WEIGHT: 70 to 90 pounds (males); 55 to 75 pounds (females)
COAT: Short and stiff
COAT COLOR: Various shades of gray
LIFE SPAN: 11 to 13 years
TEMPERAMENT: Powerful, steady, intelligent, stubborn, energetic, aloof, alert
Characteristics of the Weimaraner
Weimaraners are known to have a wily wit. They’re incredibly intelligent and know how to use their brainpower to get what they want. Weimaraners have been known to open doors, unlatch gates, turn faucets on, and more. Owners must be prepared to stay one step ahead of this smart dog breed and provide opportunities for both physical and mental exertion. It’s often been said that a tired dog is a good dog, and this is particularly true for the Weimaraner!
|Tendency to Bark||Medium|
|Amount of Shedding||Low|
History of the Weimaraner
While many sporting dogs trace their heritage back several hundred years, the Weimaraner is a more recent addition. The breed originated in Germany sometime in the 1800s. Nobility in Weir, Germany set out to create the "ultimate" sporting dog and relied on both French and German sporting dogs, such as the German shorthaired pointer, to create the silvery Weimaraner. Bloodhounds also may have been used to breed Weimaraners for additional capabilities to track and hunt large game, including bears and wolves.
Over time, the Weimaraner became widely known as a general gun dog, adept at pointing and retrieving game birds. In 1897, the breed was officially recognized and the German Weimaraner Club was formed. The Weimaraner was highly prized by the Germans and highly sought after by Bavarian sportsmen. The first breeding Weimaraners were imported into the United States in 1938 and the breed gained AKC recognition in 1943.
Weimaraners rank within the top 40 most popular breeds of the AKC. Many people may recognize the breed from the work of modern photographer William Wegman. In the 1970s, Wegman captured his pet Weimaraners dressed and behaving like humans. The photography played a large role in bringing awareness to the breed.
Well-built and solid, these dogs epitomize grace, strength, and speed. A deep chest and long legs make it clear that the Weimaraner is born to run. If you can provide enough exercise, these dogs are otherwise relatively easy to live with, known for being loyal, trainable, and relatively healthy.
It can be challenging to meet the needs of a dog with such a varied personality. The dog requires ample exercise to utilize a Weimaraner's natural strengths. It also needs a warm, nurturing environment where the dog's sweet personality can flourish.
Most owners will find that a solid hour or more of daily exercise is necessary for this dog breed. Of course it makes a lovely walking partner, but you really should plan to give your Weimaraner time and space to run. The dog makes an ideal running partner for this reason, but you can also incorporate some sprinting sessions in your fenced backyard or at the dog park. This dog breed also excels in canine agility, fly ball, dock diving, and other dynamic canine sports.
Grooming a Weimaraner is about as easy as it gets. The sleek, low-maintenance short coat will benefit from an occasional brushing with a rubbery dog brush to remove loose hair. Once in a while, or when your pooch is a little stinky, you might also consider a dog bath. However, the Weimaraner’s coat is relatively maintenance-free. Just be sure to clean the ears, which can be prone to wax build-up, keep the nails trimmed, and teeth brushed.
Weimaraners require positive reinforcement training tactics, but you must be consistent. The breed’s intelligence means that it can also become stubborn and resistant without clear pack leadership.
Some Weimaraners are avid chewers and will get mouthy with just about any object. Teach your dog from an early age what is acceptable to chew on and what is not. Make sure that you provide safe options for chewing behavior to save your shoes and also minimize the chance of your dog swallowing a foreign object.
Common Health Problems
Weimaraners are relatively hearty and healthy. These dogs don’t have an overly long list of health concerns, but it's still wise to look for a quality breeder that emphasizes health and temperament. The National Club for the breed recommends that you look for a breeder who can provide health testing for the thyroid, eyes, and hips for parents of the litter.
Other occasional health problems for this dog breed include:
- Hypothyroidism: The manageable condition means the dog can't produce enough thyroid hormones to remain healthy without lifetime medication.
- Hip Dysplasia: This problem affects the stability and function of the dog's hip joint.
- Elbow Dysplasia: The dog has skeletal growth abnormalities in one or more of its elbows.
- Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus: Also known as bloat, the dog's stomach expands with gas, fluid, or food and then rotates in the abdomen.
- Von Willebrand Disease: The condition means the dog's blood cannot correctly clot.
- Weimaraner Immunodeficiency Syndrome: A likely inherited disease that results in chronic, recurrent inflammation.
Diet and Nutrition
An active breed like the Weimaraner should be fed a quality high-protein diet. However, this breed is subject to bloat. Some owners find that feeding several smaller meals a day is beneficial for reducing this risk of gastric torsion. You might also choose to feed from elevated food bowls or slow-feeder dishes.
Keep in mind, too, that the Weimaraner has a way of convincing you to do its bidding. These dogs love a treat, but keep a close eye on their diet to ensure they don’t become obese. It’s best to only give treats in moderation and never share food from your plate to prevent begging behavior or table surfing.
Where to Adopt or Buy a Weimaraner
The Weimaraner is a popular dog breed with a devoted community of breeders, owners, and enthusiasts. However, this unique canine isn’t right for the lifestyle of all owners. As a result, some Weimaraners wind up in rescues. If you’re looking for a Weimaraner, start your search by checking local or regional rescue groups for dogs in need of a second chance.
The national breed club or regional breed clubs may also have links to rescue groups. In addition, these clubs can also be a good place to start your search for a breeder. If you choose to work with a breeder, expect to pay an average of $700 for the popular Weimaraner puppy.
- Weimaraner Club of America Rescue
- Weimaraner Rescue Directory
- Weimaraner Club of America Breeder Listing
- American Kennel Club Breeder Listing
Adept at hunting and canine sports
Excellent family dog
Prone to mischief
May suffer from separation anxiety
Can be destructive chewers
More Dog Breeds and Further Research
Has the Weimaraner won your heart? This striking dog breed is hard to ignore. Just be sure that you do your research before committing your home and heart to a Weir. If you love the Weimaraner, check out these other unique and high-energy dog breeds:
There’s a whole world of potential dog breeds out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!
Will a Weimaraner fit into a multi-pet household?
They generally get along with other dogs, but you should socialize them early and often. Many also live with cats or other small household pets, but keep in mind that this sporting dog was bred to hunt and an innate prey drive may cause them to chase smaller animals.
Do Weimaraners get along with children?
Weimaraners are devoted and attached to family members and they do well with children, though their size and strength mean you’ll want to watch them around smaller kids.
Do Weimaraners have separation anxiety?
This breed has a deep desire to be with its people and can suffer from separation anxiety. They can become distressed or even destructive when left alone for extended periods. Lots of exercise and training can go a long way towards offsetting the effects of separation anxiety.
Are there black Weimaraners?
Several recessive traits can alter the nearly uniform look of this dog. While most of the breed features sleek, short coats in a silvery gray hue (actually a dilute black), there are dogs with nearly "blue" or dilute black coats. Perhaps even more rare are longhair Weimaraners, which feature feathering of the ears, legs, and tail. Both longhair and blue Weimaraners are not recognized within the AKC breed standard; nonetheless, these striking varieties are sought after by breed enthusiasts.