Before you can truly decide
whether or not the Weimaraner is the right breed for you, you need to learn as much as you can
about these beautiful dogs. Weimaraners can make good family pets for the right owners, but they are not
always the best choice. In this chapter you will learn the basics about
Weimaraner dogs including key facts about their personality and temperament to help you make your decision. In the next
chapter you will receive some practical tips about owning a Weimaraner as well
– these two chapters combined will help you make your choice.
Some dog breeds have such a distinct appearance that it is easy to identify them – the Weimaraner is one of those breeds. These dogs have long, muscular legs and an athletic build, not to mention a silver-blue coat that makes them stand out in a crowd. This breed is not small by any means, though they are usually fairly slim. Weimaraners were originally bred to hunt large game but eventually came to be used as an all-purpose gun dog, so these dogs are highly versatile and skilled in hunting.
When it comes to the Weimaraner’s appearance, you can expect these dogs to grow between 23 and 27 inches (58.5 to 68.5 cm) tall and to weigh between 55 and 90 pounds (25 to 41 kg) at maturity. Females of the breed are generally a little smaller than males, but they are equally skilled in hunting. Traditionally, dogs of this breed have their tails docked to no longer than 6 inches (15.2 cm) but because tail docking has been outlawed in many countries (and because some consider the practice cruelty to animals), it is becoming increasingly more common to see this breed with its natural whip-like tail.
The Weimaraner is easy to identify by its silver-blue color, but you may not realize that this breed comes with two different coat types. The ideal type for the Weimaraner exhibits a short, close coat that is hard and smooth to the touch. Though silver-blue is the most common coloration, the coat color may vary from charcoal-blue to blue-grey or even mouse-grey. It is possible for Weimaraners to be born with black coats or with long hair, but both of these characteristics are considered grounds for disqualification by the United Kennel Club. The AKC still recognizes these dogs as purebred, but they are not eligible for show.
Though the Weimaraner’s coat is traditionally very short, it is extremely low-maintenance. The coat does shed, but because the breed doesn’t have an undercoat it isn’t a significant concern. Regular brushing will help to reduce shedding for this breed and it will also help to keep the dog’s coat silky and smooth by distributing the natural oils produced by glands in the dog’s skin. In areas where the coat is particularly thin (such as inside the ears or on the lips), the skin color may be more pink than grey. Because these dogs don’t have a thick coat or an undercoat, they do not tend to do well in extreme cold.
Because the Weimaraner was developed as a hunting breed, these dogs are very active and require a good deal of daily exercise. This breed has excellent stamina and endurance, so a brisk jog is the best way to give them their daily dose of exercise – Weimaraners will also enjoy having free time to run and play in a fenced yard. This breed is also very smart, so they require mental stimulation in addition to physical exercise. Training is a good way to challenge your Weimaraner, though you can also play games with him or give him interactive toys to play with.
Another consequence of the breed’s hunting background is a strong prey drive. Weimaraners were originally bred to hunt large game but as that sport declined, they came to be used for smaller game like rabbits. This being the case, you should be wary of leaving your Weimaraner alone around small household pets like cats and birds – they may even have trouble with small dogs. If you plan to keep your Weimaraner with other pets, early socialization and training will be extremely important. These dogs should also be supervised around young children, though they can get along with older children who know how to handle a dog.
In terms of training, each Weimaraner is different. In general, this is an intelligent breed that generally responds well to training but their independent nature can sometimes lead them to become headstrong. Weimaraners are sometimes tricky to housetrain and they require firm and consistent training throughout their lives. This breed is prone to separation anxiety so they need plenty of training to avoid problem behaviors. They can also be somewhat suspicious of strangers, even to the point of aggressiveness if they aren’t trained and socialized.
With an owner who is experienced in caring for and training dogs – and for families who have the time to devote to high exercise needs and lifelong training – the Weimaraner can make a good family pet.