1. Key Breed Facts
2. Breed Characteristics
7. Intelligence / Trainability
8. Children and Other Pets
10. Caring for a Weimaraner
14. Average Cost to keep/care for a Weimaraner
The Weimaraner is a handsome dog with their lovely silvery coats and light coloured eyes. They are native to Germany where they have always been highly prized for their hunting skills and the fact they make such wonderfully loyal family pets. Today, Weimaraners are often used as assistance dogs throughout the world thanks to the fact they are so intelligent and good natured. Often referred to as Weims, these elegant dogs have found their way into the hearts and homes of many people here in the UK and are becoming a big hit in the show ring too.
The history of the Weimaraner remains a bit of a mystery although similar looking dogs are depicted in paintings by Van Dyke that date back to the 1600's. There are those who believe the breed could be a relative to the German Shorthaired Pointer and that both breeds share a common ancestry. It is also thought the breed came about by crossing Schweisshund breeds with Bloodhounds.
They take their name from the Grand Duke of Weimar and were once the preferred dog of nobility on the hunting field where they were used to track down large prey. This included wildcats, deer, mountain lions, bears and wolves. However, by the 1800's large game became rarer in Germany which led to Weimaraners numbers falling too.
For many years, not much was known about their breeding because the Germans kept this a close secret. However, in 1929, the first Weim was taken over to America and a few years later in 1943, the breed was recognised by the American Kennel Club. Today, they are a popular choice as rescue and assistance dogs for the disabled. In many parts of Europe, the Weimaraner is used by the Police and over the years, they have proved themselves to be reliable and trustworthy companion dogs and family pets which has helped the breed gain popularity both in the UK and elsewhere in the world.
Height at the withers: Males 63 - 68 cm, Females 58 - 63 cm
Average weight: Males 32 - 37 kg, Females 25 - 32 kg
The Weimaraner is a handsome dog with their silvery coats and striking amber or blue coloured eyes. They are tall and have a proud look about them, being the tallest of all gundogs. They move very gracefully showing a good turn of speed when needed. They have quite long, proud heads with a moderate stop and a hint of a median line that extends to the back of a dog's forehead. They also have quite a prominent occipital bone. Their flews are rather deep with dogs having a powerful jaw. Noses are grey in colour and their eyes can be either amber or blue depending on the colour of a dog’s coat.
Their eyes are set nicely apart on a dog's face, medium in size and a round shape with Weimers always having an alert, kind and intelligent look in them. Their ears are long, set high being long, nicely lobular and have a slight fold in them. The Weimer has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are moderately long and clean-cut which adds to their overall elegant appearance. Front legs are strong, powerful and straight.
Their chest is deep and well developed with dogs having well sprung ribs that extend nicely to a firm, short loin. Their topline is level and croups slope slightly. Weimers have nicely developed abdomens with a moderate amount of tuck up and their brisket falls to a dog's elbow. Back legs are well developed and muscular with dogs having compact, firm feet and well arched toes. Pads are thick and well-padded and nails are short being either a grey or amber colour. Their tails are moderately set and quite thick at the root before it tapers to the tip. Dogs carry their tails level to their backs when relaxed, but raised when excited or alert.
When it comes to their coat, the Weimaraner has a short, sleek and smooth coat with the hair on their necks, chests and bellies being longer than on the rest of the body. Their tails and the backs of their legs are nicely feathered too. The accepted breed colours are as follows:
The Weimaraner is an energetic dog and one that boasts huge amount of stamina. They were originally bred for life in the field which in short means it would be hard to over-exercise a mature Weim. With this in mind, they are best suited to life with families who lead active, outdoor lives and who live in the country or who boast large back gardens. They are often quite highly strung dogs which in short means they need to be carefully handled and trained from a young age, but because they mature quite slowly, this needs to be taken into account during their training. In short, to successfully train a Weimaraner often takes a lot of time, patience and understanding.
Weimaraners form strong bonds with their families becoming totally devoted to their owners which means they are best suited to households where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out of the house. If a Weimaraner spends too much time on their own, they are likely to suffer from separation anxiety which can lead to dogs developing all sorts of behavioural issues and this includes being destructive around the house.
They are a good choice for first time owners, but only as long as they have enough time to dedicate to such a demanding dog. They are not the best choice for people who live in apartments because Weimaraners thrive in being in an outdoor environment as much as possible. They are known to like water and having webbed feet, Weims are remarkably strong swimmers which means care has to be taken when walking them off their leads anywhere near more dangerous water courses.
The Weimaraner is a highly intelligent character that’s known to be "quick-witted" which is why they do better with people who are familiar with this type of extremely smart dog. Their socialisation and training has to start early and it must be consistent throughout a dog's life. Weimaraners need to know their place in the pack and who is the alpha dog in a household. Without the right sort of guidance they may start to show a more dominant side to their nature which is something to be avoided at all costs, bearing in mind that these handsome dogs are extremely confident by nature.
In the right hands and environment, Weimaraners are easy to train. They thrive on knowing who they can look to for direction and guidance. They are the sort of dog that needs to know what an owner expects of them. They do not respond well to any sort of harsh correction or heavy handed handling, but they do answer extremely well to positive reinforcement training which gets the best out of a Weimaraner because this type of training method brings
Weimaraners are known to be good around children and they enjoy playing interactive games with the kids. However, they are a better choice in households where the children are older and therefore know how to behave around large dogs. With this said, care has to be taken when a Weimaraner is around toddlers because they may accidentally knock a smaller child over which could end up scaring or hurting them.
When well socialised from a young enough age, Weimaraners generally get on well with other dogs although they can be a little "off" with some dogs. However, care has to be taken when they are around smaller animals and pets, just in case. If they have grown up with a family cat in the home, they usually get on well together, but a Weimaraner would think nothing of chasing a cat they don't already know and would take great delight in doing so.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Weimaraner is between 11 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Weimaraner is known to be a healthy dog and one that suffers from few hereditary health issues. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most are as follows:
As with any other breed, Weimaraners need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
A Weimaraner's coat is short and tight, lying close to the body which means they are low maintenance in the grooming department. All it takes is a weekly brush and a wipe over with a chamois leather to keep a nice sheen on a dog's coat and to keep it in good condition. They tend to shed throughout the year, although like other breeds, they shed the most during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent brushing is generally necessary to remove dead and loose hair from a dog's coat.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections, bearing in mind that Weimaraners are very prone to suffering from ear issues.
The Weimaraner is a very smart, high energy character and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They need to be given a minimum of 2 hour's exercise every day with as much “off the lead time” as possible which needs to be combined with lots of mental stimulation. Without the right amount of exercise and things to keep their minds busy, a Weimaraner would quickly get bored and this can lead to dogs developing all sorts of unwanted and destructive behaviours around the house.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these active, high energy dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, Weimaraner puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Weimaraner puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Because Weimaraners are known to suffer from bloat, it is really important for them to be fed twice a day instead of giving a dog just one larger meal a day. It's also a good idea to invest in a stand for their feed bowls which makes it easier for these large dogs to eat comfortably without having to stretch down to reach their food. Dogs should never be exercised just before or just after they have eaten either because this puts them more at risk of suffering from gastric torsion.
If you are looking to buy a Weimaraner, you would need to pay anything from £400 to over £900 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Weimaraner in northern England would be £26.85 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £61.72 a month (quote as of June 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £40 - £50 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Weimaraner and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £1200 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Weimaraner would be between £80 to £120 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree or other puppy.
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