menu icon

Weimaraner
The Silver Ghost
Great German Gundog

Home »  Dog Breeds »  Weimaraner
 Weimaraner

The Weimaraner is a large purebred that originates from 19th century Germany where it was and still is a very successful and popular hunting dog. Now it is talented in several events and fields including tracking, agility, hunting, search and rescue, retrieving, guarding and pointing. It is a popular dog still today in the US and especially in Germany and makes a great family dog as well as hunting dog.

Here is the Weimaraner at a Glance
Name Weimaraner
Other Names Weimaraner Vorstehhund, Weimer Pointer
Nicknames Weim, Grey Ghost, Silver Ghost
Origin Germany
Average size Large
Average weight 55 to 80 pounds
Average height 23 to 27 inches
Life span 10 to 14 years
Coat type Short haired or long haired
Hypoallergenic No
Color Grey, silver, charcoal blue
Popularity Quite popular – ranked 34th by the AKC
Intelligence Very intelligent
Tolerance to heat Very good – is happy in hot climates though perhaps not extremes
Tolerance to cold Good – can handle come cold temperatures but not too cold
Shedding Average – you can expect some loose hair around the home
Drooling Above average – especially while drinking
Obesity Below average – not prone to weigh gain
Grooming/brushing Easy to brush – needs brushing at least twice a week
Barking Frequent – will need training to control it
Exercise needs Very active – needs a lot of physical exercise
Trainability Easy to train – with a firm hand and positive techniques
Friendliness Very good – Social and outgoing
Good first dog Moderate – not really best with a first owner, needs someone with experience
Good family pet Excellent with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization but best around older ones
Good with other dogs Good – needs socialization
Good with other pets Good with socialization but sees small animals as prey
Good with strangers Moderate to good – can be wary
Good apartment dog Low – not a dog for apartment living, needs a yard and space
Handles alone time well Low – does not like being left alone for long periods and can suffer from separation anxiety
Health issues Fairly healthy but there are a number of issues it can be prone to such as bloat, dysplasia, bleeding disorders and a reaction to shots
Medical expenses $485 a year including pet insurance
Food expenses $270 a year including treats
Miscellaneous expenses $245 a year for basic training, license, toys and miscellaneous costs
Average annual expense $1000 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1000
Biting Statistics Attacks doing bodily harm: 2 Maimings: 1 Child Victims: 2 Deaths: 1
Advertisement

The Weimaraner's Beginnings

The Weimaraner is a dog bred in the early 19th century in a place called Weimar which is now called Germany. At the time it was called a Weimar Pointer and was bred to be a hunting dog, first of big game like bear, deer and wolves, then as the forests shrunk from increased industrialization and population, of smaller game like foxes, birds and rabbits. It is thought dogs used in the breeding include the English Pointer, the Great Dane, the Bloodhound, the German Shorthaired Pointer and the Huehnerhund.

In those times the nobles loved to hunt and wanted dogs who were intelligent, brave, bold and had plenty of stamina, speed and a great nose for scents. They wanted a dog that were great hunters by day and were loyal and close companions by night. They were not kept in kennels as other hunting dogs of the time were. The breed was created solely for the nobility so owning one was restricted to them and the breed were highly sought after and prized. They became companions, guard dogs and playmates for the children as well as hunting dogs.

In 1896 it was recognized as a breed by the Thurgian Club and in 1897 a Weimaraner club was started as a way to maintain high standards for breeding purposes. For a long while German breeders were protective and possessive of the dog and dogs that went to places like America where sterilized so that breeding could not happen where it could not be controlled by them.

New Lease on Life

In the 1920s an American breeder tried again to bring breeding dogs to the US but was sent two sterilized dogs. The breeder, Howard Knight was determined though and kept working at it eventually acquiring the dogs he needed in the 1930s. Other breeders followed suit and the Weimaraner Club of America was started with the AKC recognizing the breed in 1942.

With the coming of World War II when breeding in Germany faced great difficulty many breeders sent their dogs to the US to be saved. Returning servicemen also brought with them dogs when they came home and it was then they really became more popular. There was even one in the White House with President Eisenhower. Its popularity though led to some very poor breeding by puppy mills and the like looking to make money. The breed's quality dropped dramatically and as problems with health and temperament became an issue their popularity dropped too.

The dramatic drop in registrations was in the end a good thing for the dog. The remaining breeders were ones who loved the breed and were working hard to bring back better lines and thus improve their health and temperament. In the 1990s it started to become more popular again and at the moment it is ranked 34th by the AKC.

The Dog You See Today

The Weimaraner is a large dog weighing 55 to 80 pounds and stands 23 to 27 inches tall. It is athletic looking with a muscular build. Its tail is docked where this practice is still allowed measuring about 6 inches long in countries like Canada and America. However in some countries this is now a procesure that is banned so in those countries like Britain and Germany the standard calls for a tail that is full in length that is carried below the back when relaxed and above the back when the dog is active.

Advertisement

The coat of the Weimaraner is shorthaired or longhaired though in some countries show dogs can only be the shorthaired version. Coat colors are grey, silver, charcoal blue and mixes in between. The Shorthaired coat is smooth and hard and it has no undercoat. The Longhaired coat is silky to touch and the tail is feathered.

It has a medium sized head with a grey nose, wide set eyes that are grey, blue/grey or amber and ears that are set high and hang down. The paws are webbed and the skin on the lips and inside the ears is pink. Its toenails are amber or grey.

The Inner Weimaraner

Temperament

This is a very alert dog and it makes a great watchdog who will bark to alert you if there is an intruder trying to enter. It is also protective and quite bold so is likely to act to protect you against any real threat. It tends to be shy around strangers but is friendly and social around people it loves and knows.

The Weim is an energetic and lively dog so will need active owners to keep up with them. Ear;y socialization and training will be a very important factor in how it behaves. It will need constant outlets for its energy and while it is a great family dog it is also a great working dog still. It is not an independent dog, it likes to be close to you and does not like being left alone for long periods. Separation anxiety is something it can have in quite a severe form. It can become destructive and can even injure itself due to panicking.

When well raised it is is a happy and affectionate dog, intelligent, protective and courageous. With the right exercise level it is a great dog, eager to please, playful and loving. However when not well exercised or when owned by inexperienced people its behavior can be an issue. It is hard to control, will dominate you, be willful, restless and destructive. Some lines can be prone to shyness or aggression but they can be controlled with experienced owners, training and early socialization.

Living with a Weimaraner

What will training look like?

Weims are smart and can learn quickly but can get bored and restless if things become overly repetitive. But it is essential to make it clear you are the pack leader, you are the one in charge, not them. Be firm, consistent and use positive training techniques. A Weimaraner is happiest when it has a strong leader and clear rules to follow. It can become stressed, restless and destructive when it does not have a firm owner in charge. It is also prone to jumping up at people in greeting and if you cannot control that it can easily knock over children and the elderly.

Positive techniques include the use of treats, offering rewards and praise for successes, give encouragement as opposed to scolding or punishing it. As well as obedience training the Weim should undertake early socialization too. It will be a better well rounded dog that can be trusted with different situations and people. Keep sessions short and interesting and consider extending training from just basic obedience to something more. Teaching them tricks and so on is a great way to keep it mentally challenged and busy.

Advertisement

How active is the Weimaraner?

It is a very active dog and it will need a lot of physical exercise as well as mental stimulation in order to keep it healthy, happy and well behaved. As already mentioned an under exercised Weim is terribly difficult to control and live with. This dog needs owners who are very active themselves and are happy to take the dog on jogs, hiking, cycling, long walks at least twice a day, trips to places where it can run free off leash and play doggy games. You should be aiming for it getting at least two hours a day.

This is not a dog that can live happily in a small apartment and it does need a yard where it can let off some steam and play. Make sure that yard is well fenced in and that you are prepared for the digging it will probably do. Keep in mind it has a lot of stamina so it can go on for a while, it does come from a hunting background after all and was bred to be able to work all day.

Caring for the Weimaraner

Grooming needs

Most Weimaraner are shorthaired so the coat is easy to brush and should be groomed at least twice a week using a firm bristle brush. It sheds an average amount so there will be hair around the home, brushing can help control some of that loose hair. A longhaired Weimaraner will need more frequent brushing as it will tangle easily and collect more debris. They would also need more frequent trips to a groomer for trimming.

There are a couple of options when it comes to cleaning the Weim. You can do a dry shampoo now and then and you can give it a real bath. The latter should just be done when it really needs a deep clean. Bathing too frequently damages the oils in its skin and not only leads to itching and skin problems, it also affects the health of the coat. Only use a shampoo designed for dogs for the same reasons. To give the coat a nice shine you can use a chamois and give it rub down.

It is important to check the ears once a week for infection signs especially since these hang down so it is more prone to getting them. Use a cotton ball with an ear cleanser to wipe them clean at the same time, or use a damp cloth. Its teeth should be brushed clean at least three time a week and you should have its nails trimmed when they get too long, taking care that whoever does it known not to cut too low.

Feeding Time

It is a large dog so it will need a larger amount of food a day, especially since this is a very active dog too. At least 3 to 4 cups of good quality dry dog food a day, split into two meals. The exact amount each dog needs will vary so base your measurements on its level of activity, age and size and its metabolism. Do not let it graze all day and so not let it gulp down a huge meal straight after a walk as that can cause Bloat.

How they get on with children and other animals

The Weimaraner needs early socialization to help how it interacts with others. When it has been done it is good with children but is best with older ones. But it is too active and rambunctious for young children and is likely to knock over toddlers. Make sure the kids are taught how to stroke and touch dogs without hurting them.

With other dogs it can have dominant issues so will need to have good socialization and training as well as supervision. This is a hunting dog so it has a strong prey drive. This means around small animals like rabbits and hamsters it is likely to want to chase them and socialization is essential.

Advertisement

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

Weims have a life span of 10 to 14 years, sometimes a little longer. It is for the most part a somewhat healthy dog but is prone to certain conditions. These include Hip Dysplasia, Bloat, Von Willebrand's, Distichiasis, Factor XI Deficiency, Hypothyroidism, Eye Problems, Immune-mediated disease and Skin allergies. Buy from good breeders who can show you health clearances for the puppy as well as for both parents.

Biting Statistics

When looking at reports of dog attacks against people over the last 30 or so years the Weim is mentioned in two incidents of attacks causing bodily harm. One of those attacks was a maiming which means it resulted in permanent scarring, disfigurement or loss of limb. Both victims were children and one victim died as a result of an attack. Over the course of 34 years of reports this gives one attacks every 17 years. While the fact that there was a death may be worrying in fact these statistics mean this is not a breed likely to cause casualties.

As with any dog if not raised well the Weim can become aggressive, or snap or lash out if it feels threatened. The best way to avoid having incidents is to get a dog that suits your lifestyle. If you want a Weim make sure you can give it two hours a day of exercise, that you give it early socialization and at the minimum basic obedience training. Make sure also it is fed properly, stimulated and loved.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

On average a pet Weimaraner from a good breeder is going to cost about $1000. You will pay more than that for something from a top pet breeder, and more again if you are looking for a show dog. There are some that can be found from shelters and rescues that are a lot cheaper but usually these are adult dogs not puppies. Still for just $50 to $200 you can have the dog and it will also be chipped, vaccinated and given a check over for you.

Once you have settled on where you are getting your dog from you will need to get some things for it. A collar and leash will be at least $35, more if you like something fancier! While it is too large to need a carrier bag it is a good idea to get a crate for it and that will cost another $125 or more. Miscellaneous items like a few starter toys and food bowls are another cost for $30.

When you have your puppy you will need to have some medical tests and procedures done if they were not taken care of by the breeder before. It will need blood tests done, a physical exam, deworming, vaccinations, micro chipping and eventual spaying or neutering depending on if it is female or male. All of these medical initial costs come to about $300.

Owning a dog means being prepared for the costs that come with being a responsible owner. It will need to be licensed, trained, given toys to play with and there will likely be other miscellaneous annual costs. These come to $245 a year.

Feeding a large dog is going to cost a lot more than a smaller one. You need to use a good quality dry dog food and then there will be treats. These costs come to $270 or more a year.

Advertisement

There will be medical costs to prepare for too. As well as having your pet insured in case of emergencies it will need a minimum of tick and flea prevention, shots and check ups with a vet. These will cost around $485 a year.

Adding up all of these figures there is a yearly cost that starts at $1000.

Names

Looking for a Weimaraner Puppy Name? Let select one from our list!

  • Male Weimaraner Puppy Names
  • Female Weimaraner Puppy Names
  • The Weimaraner is a dog with oodles of stamina and energy and will need owners who do not begrudge that and enjoy that part of owning it. It can be loud and it likes to chase small animals and can have issues with other dogs and strangers. So early and extensive socialization are going to be important too.

    This is not a dog you can get and then expect to have to do very little. As well as the above needs it will not enjoy being left alone, it needs mental stimulation and while training can be easy it requires you being dominant and keeping the sessions interesting. If this still sounds like a dog that will fit in with your home and lifestyle make sure you buy from somewhere reputable to ensure you get a healthy dog from a good line.

    More to Explore

    Dog Owner Reviews