Dog-ology: Weimaraner

Basics

The name Weimaraner comes from the Grand Duke Karl August of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, whose court was located in the city of Weimar, which is now modern day Germany. The dogs were originally bred to hunt large game such as bears, wolves, and deer, but once that became unpopular, they were used to hunt smaller game such as rabbits and foxes. Weimaraners are also great water dogs as evidenced by their webbed toes. The breed’s color spans many different shades of grey, ranging from charcoal-blue to mouse-grey to silver-grey or even blue-gray. Their coat is short, hard, and smooth making it low-maintenance; however, the breed does still shed. The Weimaraner does not have an undercoat, so extreme cold temperatures should be avoided or you should provide a coat for them. The eyes of the Weimaraner are typically light amber, grey, or blue-grey. The male Weimaraner normally weighs roughly 70 to 80 pounds and the females are between 55 to 70 pounds.

A Weimaraner is an extremely energetic dog known for its physical endurance and stamina, which means they require a lot of exercise. They also require suitable training to learn how to manage and control their extra energy and behavior. Weimaraners are highly athletic and trainable, so they are great in most dog sports, such as agility. This also helps with their excess energy. This breed of dog tends to be very stubborn, but also incredibly loyal. They make for a great family pet if you’re willing to put in the time.

History

The breed is believed to have developed in the late 18th and early 19th century, is derived from a selective stock of German hunting breeds, and is a descendant of the Bloodhound. Though these bloodhound ancestors are black, they can produce a grey dog when bred. They were originally bred to hunt large game, but soon became a popular bird dog and personal hunting companion. At the time, they were breed exclusively for nobility and the wealthy as a posh and reliable gundog, making them highly prized; therefore, they often lived with the family. This was unusual during the time period, as most hunting dogs were housed outdoors in kennels. The result was a loyal dog who thrived when near humans. The Weimaraner was an all purpose family dog, capable of guarding the home, hunting with the family, and being loving and loyal towards children.

Starting in the late 19th century the breed became increasingly common throughout Europe. Howard Knight first imported the dogs to the United States in 1929, where they quickly gained popularity.

Fun Facts

  • The Weimaraner was nicknamed "the Grey Ghost" due to its coat color.

  • There is another color variety of the Weimaraner said to have the “mark of the hound.” This is where the dog has the usual grey color but with faint tan markings, similar to a Doberman. Earlier in the breed this was a common color that was selectively bred out.

  • There is also a long-haired variety, which is recognized by other world kennel clubs, but not the American Kennel Club. The long-haired Weimaraner has a silky coat with a feathered tail. Google it, they’re really pretty.

  • Originally, Germany was possessive of its skilled all-purpose gundog. Some of the earliest Weimaraners were sterilized in order for America not to popularize the German’s special breed.

  • A Weimaraner appeared in a Van Dyck painting from the early 1600s.

  • William Wegman (born December 2, 1943) is an American artist best known for creating series of compositions involving his own Weimaraners in various costumes and poses. His photos and videos have appeared in books, advertisements, films, as well as on television programs like Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live.

  • Weimaraners are considered to be fairly high in canine intelligence. Owners often resort to using child-proof locks on their cabinets to keep their dogs from eating all the food in the house.

  • Former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower owned a Weimaraner named Heidi while in office.

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