The exact history of the Weimaraner is uncertain, although there are many theories in circulation. Some speculate that the breed was created by members of the Weimar Court in Germany around the 19th century, whilst others theorize a much earlier development. Depicted in a painting from the 13th century, it is possible to trace the Weimaraner back to the court of Louis IX of France, although the breed was probably completely different to the one we recognise today. The forebears of the Weimaraner remain a relative mystery, although it is likely to descend from several breeds, including the Bloodhound, Pointer and Great Dane. Primarily bred solely for royalty, the Weimaraner became highly valued as an all-purpose companion dog, adapted for hunting large game over difficult terrain, for long periods at a time, and guarding its family and home. The American Kennel Club recognised the breed in 1943.
Similar in appearance and structure to the Hungarian Vizsla, the Weimaraner boasts a lean, medium-sized build, with a tapering muzzle and large 'drop' ears. Despite being an illegal practice in most countries across Europe, the process of tail 'docking' is often undertaken with the breed, although such is not a breed standard. Common in all-over colour variations of silver and mouse-grey, the Weimaraner needed to be disguised by the tall grassland and cornfield plains when scenting and searching out game birds. Its natural colouring may have aided this. The Weimaraner is further characterised by webbed feet, serving the dog in water crawling. While the breed is still utilised in hunting in its homeland Germany, the modern Weimaraner is commonly observed in pointing, tracking, and water retrieving.
The Weimaraner is a loyal, intelligent and courageous breed, undaunted by anything when encouraged by its master. Devoted to children, the Weimaraner will respond fearlessly if potential threat is perceived, so you can be assured your family is always protected. Otherwise remaining cool, calm and collected, the Weimaraner is a highly affectionate, gentle and docile breed, thriving on human companionship, mental enrichment and regular exercise. Never unduly nervous or aggressive, the Weimaraner makes a great addition to family life, or for a dedicated sole owner. Generally, a healthy Weimaraner at full maturity will weigh 23-32 kg depending on its gender, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years.
The Weimaraner is susceptible to various health complaints, ranging in severity. These include several optical disorders and orthopedic problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia. More serious conditions prevalent in the breed are congenital heart disease, kidney and bladder problems, and mast-cell tumours. As with most large breeds, bloat and gastric tortion are well documented, two potentially fatal conditions if left untreated for any length of time.
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Weimaraners are fast and powerful dogs. They do not take kindly to being left alone for long periods of time, they are affectionately known as velcro dogs for that reason.They will need to be socialized when young as they can be aloof to strangers but are highly intelligent, sensitive and eager to please their handler/owner. Easy to train for an owner who is patient, consistent and firm (yet kind) otherwise they will train you as they can be stubborn and wilful. The hunt/prey instinct remains strong so a strong recall is absolutely necessary in order to keep your weimaraner safe and out of trouble. Again good training is essential. Crate training from a young age is advisable especially if left alone for any length of time as when anxious they can chew their way through doors, walls, sofa's etc and are so intelligent they will learn to open the fridge in order to steal the contents inside. The weimaraner is not for the couch potatoes of the world but a great companion to those that enjoy the great outdoors. They will happily spend many hours out and about no matter what the weather and you will tire out way before the handler does. Ideally suited to families where children are over 6 as they can become over excited and have no spatial awareness ending in sending little ones tumbling over. Basically you get back what you put in as with any dog. If you give a weimaraner the right amount of excercise, the correct diet (BARF in my dog's case), clear and consistent rules and endless patience from you (they will test this continually and are exceptionally stubborn) and your love and companionship then you will have the most loyal and faithful companion. A properly trained weimaraner is a pleasure and an important member of the family, unfortunately an untrained weimaraner becomes dangerous and uncontrollable and will therefore end up being re-homed which is not their fault but that of the last owner. As in all dogs, there is no such thing as a BAD DOG only a bad owner - human error causes the dogs to pay a terrible price so before you buy a weimaraner do your homework and ensure your the correct person for this amazing breed.
I agree with everything Angel Fennell has to say about the weimaraner. I share my life with four weimaraners and also a wonderful husband who is just as passionate about the breed as I am. But be warned – they are not an easy breed, and you must be prepared for some commitment to their training and socialisation.
We have 2 Alfie and Louis, we got Alfie at 6 months old and he has chewed walls and doors, but he can also open doors - we had to changed the handle on the kitchen door, One day we had our friends dog over while they had someone looking at their house, and Alfie let himself and the other dog out the garden gate and into the other dogs house!! we got Louis about 18 months later another rescue, Louis is a 35 Kilo Lap Dog, up until recently they used to come out horse riding with me around the forest.
Yes they are hard work but they are so loyal - I would not have another breed, everybody tells me they are mad - I reply "they are enthusiastic for life""!!