A stunning coat, superb scenting ability and determination in the field shape the profile of the elegant Weimaraner.
This series of Project Upland hunting dog breed profiles focuses on the hunting characteristics that set one breed apart from another, understanding that within a breed individual dogs may vary in temperament, conformation, instincts and abilities. This particular article focuses on the Weimaraner.
Original Purpose of the Weimaraner
Several well-debated theories on the Weimaraner’s development are based on coat color, ownership by royalty or nobility, and hunting traits. The only indisputable fact of the Weimaraner’s heritage is that in the 1800s in Weimar, Germany, a specific breed of pointing dog was esteemed by the hunting nobility for its speed, tracking and robustness. Many accounts give it high marks in hunting big game such as boar and deer. The breed also was developed for versatility in upland bird and small game hunting. Its parent club, Weimaraner Klub e.V. was formed in 1897.
Hunting Style and Temperament of the Weimaraner
Weimaraners today have retained strong tracking and retrieving instincts. They are known for their nose and stamina. Most hunters say that Weimaraners tend not to run as big as some of the other versatile breeds although dogs from field trial lines may range bigger than their counterparts whose lineage was geared towards the on-foot hunter. Truly versatile, Weimaraners can work equally well on a variety of game birds. They make good waterfowlers but mostly in the early season before temperatures drop.
At home, Weimaraners are loyal, loving, and often protective. They are devoted to their families with a strong desire to please. This is a high energy breed, needing regular exercise so they don’t become troublemakers.
Traits of the Weimaraner Important to Hunters
Weimaraner females should weigh 55-70 lbs.; males should weigh 70- 85 lbs. Both should be well-muscled with a deep chest and cropped tail.
The famous “grey ghost” coat ranges from a subdued grey to bright silver. More rare is the blue-grey coat. Genetically, the silver-grey is actually a dilution of a brown coat caused by a particular recessive gene. Blue coats are a dilution of black genes, similar to that seen in greyhounds. Weimaraners can have short or long coats, and dogs with both short and long hair genes can produce a combination coat referred to as a “stockhaar” coat. The short coats require minimal grooming, even after working through thick cover.
Weimaraners take to early training although their point may need time to develop reliability. The breed is often described as “thinkers,” very smart in a way that causes them to get bored with training if it doesn’t stay fresh and consistent.
Weimaraners’ most noted health risk is an inherited immune deficiency which usually presents itself by 12-15 weeks of age, possibly triggered by vaccines.
Finding a Good Breeder
The Weimaraner’s appearance with its elegant grey coat and pale eyes has made them very popular in the show ring to the detriment of their hunting abilities. As with other hunting breeds whose breeders may have their eyes on the ring instead of the field, it is most important to find a puppy from solid hunting lines. The long haired Weimaraners are rare in the U.S.; the Weimaraner Club of America does not accept it as part of the breed standard.
About the Author / Nancy Anisfield