Are You Ready?
Do you really want to own a Weimaraner? Do you know just what you are letting yourself and your family in for, hopefully, the following will encourage you to take on the very rewarding challenge of owning a Weimaraner. So, what is this 'Grey Ghost'?
W Wilful, but so willing to please.
E Exceedingly loyal, sometimes possessive.
I Immensely intelligent and incredibly stubborn.
M Misses his owners dreadfully if left alone.
A Accepts discipline readily with patience but:
R Rules the roost if allowed.
A Adjusts your lifestyle out of recognition.
N Needs a stable loving home environment.
E Energetic: exercise essential for mind and body.
R Regards himself as being superior in every way.
His handsome looks and striking colour give the Weimaraner an exceptional and commanding appearance and this has been, to some extent, his downfall as the very attributes which make him so attractive, often blind people to the fact that he is a very complex, very intelligent and active hunting dog.
The Weimaraner is a thinking creature, being of a proud and dominant nature himself, he can quickly discover who in the family has a similar character and he, or quite often she, will receive the utmost in respect and devotion. Likewise, he is intolerant of weaklings and will probably treat them with contempt.
WHERE DID HE COME FROM?
Before going any further, let us consider a little about the history of this magnificent breed. The Weimaraner is one of the Hunt, Point and Retrieve sub-group within the Gundog Group. An all-purpose breed whose temperament and character is quite dissimilar to that of other gundogs.
The Weimaraner originated in the province of Weimar, Germany, 130 miles Southwest of Berlin. The earliest date recorded in the history of the development of the breed is the year 1810, Grand Duke Karl August had a tremendous effect on the cultural advancement of the territory over which he reigned; and especially the city of Weimar, which became the centre of German art and literature. It is believed that the Weimaraner dog was developed under the direction of the nobles of his court, but the records of the history of the breed during the following fifty years cannot be traced. Neither has any definite record been found to trace the ancestry of the breed or to prove the path of its development.
Weimaraners were used in Germany and in Austria for tracking wounded wild boar and stag, as well as upland game. Their owners required a dog with courage, a keen nose and sharp eye, which would point and retrieve, be obedient to recall under all conditions and ready to take to water when necessary.
WHAT IS HE?
Even today, Weimaraners retain these traits and, as a breed, respond readily to intelligent handling. They are willing and sensitive and have a great desire to please their owners to whom they become deeply attached. They make an excellent housedog and adapt to the children of the family if brought up in their company from puppyhood. To describe the unique temperament and qualities of a Weimaraner to someone who has never known one is a difficult task. Because of their total devotion to their owners, gone are the days of going to the toilet by yourself. They can be aloof, cool, almost snobbish towards strangers. Only to have spent some time with a Weimaraner can one really appreciate the breed.
Highly intelligent, at times tending to be more human in nature than canine, is an accurate description. Coupled with their intelligence is their ability to be demanding, strong-willed and possessive. Once you have established you are boss, they are an extremely devoted, responsive friend and companion with an uncanny ability to almost talk with their beautiful amber eyes and expressions. They feel they are and should be a part of the family and, because of this, a Weimaraner will fret badly when parted from them especially if left alone for many hours during the day, showing his disapproval by being noisy, destructive or both.
Although they possess a strong guarding instinct, the breed is not a Guard Dog as such, but more a companion dog, which will guard you. He does not need a large garden, only a well fenced one, i.e. 6ft high, but he requires not only free-running and disciplined exercise, but also to have his brain exercised as well. With careful, patient training, he must learn the rules of your household not the ones he makes up for himself. He is a strange mixture of wilfulness and sensitivity. Too harsh an approach and he will 'blank out', seemingly unable to understand the simplest requirement. Too much leeway and he will do his own thing in a way that will not amuse you. Under exercised, unoccupied and bored, he can wreak havoc. Jaws such as his can make light work of the happy home and he is quite capable of re-arranging your landscape, introducing a tasteful tunnel or a cavern with very little apparent effort. We have adapted him to our requirements in this country primarily to work as a rough-shooter's dog. As a companion, we must remember, understand and respect his heritage.
WHAT DOES HE NEED FROM YOU?
A Weimaraner needs your time, patience and understanding. Be kind but firm from the beginning; let him know exactly where he stands in the pecking order at the bottom! Do not have a physical confrontation with him (you will probably loose!). Take him to training classes, socialise him in as many and varied situations as possible, and be consistent. Firm handling does not mean harsh handling. THINK DOG and learning to read your dog will be the first step to a long and happy relationship.
Everything about this beautiful animal, the Weimaraner, is an element of challenge. He is such a 'get up and go' creature possessed of a quick intelligence, an abundance of energy, a drive to hunt, a streak of possessiveness and an exaggerated devotion which has to be tempered to the demands of modern living. He is not every man's dog, nor a commercial proposition, but the rewards of taking on such a challenge are immense.
(From the Weimaraner Club of Scotland)
*GOOD POINTS *
1.They have a short sleek coat that requires minimal care. They are a wash and wear dog.
2.They are natural watch dogs and protective of what they consider theirs.
3.They are good with older, considerate children.
4.They are excellent companions for jogging or long walks.
5.They are very curious and want to be a part of whatever you're doing. They must be indoor pets; they very much want and need to be part of the family.
6.Overall they are a vigorous and long-lived breed of dog. The average life span is 10 to 12 years.
7.They are very playful and will create games to play with you.
8.They are very sensitive to your moods and want to be touching you whenever possible.
9.Most are good hunting dogs.
10.Most like to retrieve and carry things.
11.They love to go with you anytime, anyplace and anywhere.
1.They can be very destructive if not trained and supervised and many are chewers until they reach maturity. Some will always chew.
2.They will eat anything - pantyhose, lava rocks, sofas, pillows, woodwork, wallboard, hot tub covers, etc.
3.They can be stubborn and hard-headed and are smart enough to be manipulative. They will try to get away with anything possible.
4.They are usually too strong and active for elderly owners.
5.They must have consistent discipline and obedience training at an early age. Without it, the dog and owner will be miserable.
6.See GOOD POINTS #2, #4, and #8.
7.They can have hip dysplasia.
8.They were bred to hunt anything with fur or feathers
Some years ago, Val was asked to be interviewed for an article on the Weimaraner as a breed for Dogs Life Magazine along with Liz Harding - at the time of writing Val and Liz held Vic-President and President positions of their own relevant state breed clubs... we have included this as a good general article on the breed.
Sleek and silver, the aristocratic Weimaraner attracts attention wherever it goes. Captivating amber or grey eyes and a stunning silver coat come together in a breed that almost demands respect from owners and passers-by alike.
But while this dog can come across as noble and aloof, the Weimaraner is actually a down-to-earth, people-loving and affectionate breed that thrives on being part of its human pack. It is definitely not an outside dog and, if left to its own devices and not made to feel part of the family, the Weimaraner will become a sad shadow of its former self.
This need to be always close to its family was especially noticeable when the Weimaraner was used prolifically as a hunter in the 1800s. Known then as the Forester’s Dog, this breed was always closely bonded with its hunter-master, spending days together with its owner but also resting at night by its master’s side in front of the fireplace.
Known originally as the Weimar Pointer and used by German hunters to hunt big game, the Weimaraner was later used more for retrieving and tracking. Unlike some hunting dogs, the Weimaraner enjoyed hunting not only for the hunting itself, but because it was an activity shared with its owner and one which allowed the two to work closely together.
“This is a real companion dog,” stresses Val Peters, who’s been involved with the breed for the past 20 years.
“It will want to be where you are. In fact, the thing I love most about this dog is its companionship — your Weimaraner will just love you. It’s not particularly a one-person dog; it will love the whole family.”
Breeders agree if you want a dog that will be happy left alone, the Weimaraner’s not for you. But if it’s close-knit companionship you’re after and a dog that may never leave your side, this breed will probably hit the spot.
Val, says that after losing her very special Dobermann, with which she shared her life for many years, she felt she couldn’t replace it with another of the same breed and opted instead for the Weimaraner.
“I was struck by the breed’s colour, eye colour and temperament,” she explains, “and have had them now for 20 years.”
Val says that with its short coat which sheds only twice yearly, this dog is an especially easy one to look after, needing a bath only when necessary. It also has no doggy odour.
However, as with all dogs, training and socialisation are a must; the Weimaraner will definitely need obedience training.
“This dog needs to know its place in the family — and that its place is last!” says Val. She adds that the breed is extremely clever and will learn quickly if taught appropriately.
Val tells the story of a Weimaraner puppy she sold to a lady who lived on a chicken farm. Despite the Weimaraner’s natural instinct to hunt and track down prey, this particular dog never touched a single chicken because it had been taught not to.
“It was taught not to touch so it didn’t,” relates Val. “Although it was instinctively a gun-dog, it followed the rules. Its owner did the right thing by it.”
Because of the Weimaraner’s natural hunting instinct, a fenced yard is a must to prevent this pooch from taking off after a scent. Although the Weimaraner is happy to be a lounge lizard, it loves walks and needs opportunities to burn off energy and be mentally stimulated.
But breeders emphasise that, as with all large dogs, no hard exercise should be undertaken until the dog reaches adulthood. Young dogs should never be run or jogged till fully grown.
According to Elizabeth Harding, the Weimaraner thrives on obedience training and learning. She also emphasises that this intelligent breed is a natural tracking dog whose prime purpose is to hunt.
Unashamedly smitten with the breed — “I married them,” she proudly confesses — Elizabeth stresses that Weimaraners are born gun-dogs and still retain that ability.
“This is an active dog requiring exercise and mental stimulation and is not suited to everyone,” she says. “We prefer that people who are not active do not buy this breed.”
But, she says, while a working gun dog, it’s not an outside kennel dog and needs constant attention and family contact. Referring to the Weimaraner as a multi-purpose dog, Elizabeth adds this wonderful breed “is very smart, likes to be with people and can be very gentle”.
The Weimaraner is good with children but, as always, supervision is recommended and children and dog need to learn to respect each other.
“I had four Weimaraners when my son was born and they always accepted him,” relates Elizabeth. “In fact, they were very protective of the baby and definitely have a guarding instinct.”
However, it is imperative kids understand dogs, just as dogs must be taught to understand kids, she says.
While the Weimaraner is clearly not for everyone, breeders emphasise that, for the right owner, this breed is an honour to live with. Its joy at spending time with its family, its sensitivity to your moods and its loyalty will add a precious spark to each day you spend with your Grey Ghost.
Please see our 'Raising Your Puppy' page for our personal account of how we suggest your puppy fit into your family.