Recommended for: Families
Maintenance Level: Medium
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Temperament: Active, friendly
Health Risk: High probability of health issues during its lifetime, hence it is one of the more expensive breeds to insure.
The Weimaraner is a lean and athletic-looking dog that was originally bred for hunting large game such as wild boars, deer and bears. The breed was developed in the early 1800s and once the popularity of the large game hunting began to decline, it Weimaraners were instead put to work flushing out rabbits, foxes and other small game.
Because of their athletic build and energetic nature, the Weimaraner needs to be exercised often and for extensive periods. They were prized for their high level of endurance as hunting companions and in modern times require a good deal of attention from their owner to remain fit and happy.
The Weimaraner traditionally had its tail ‘docked’ or cut off at the base. This practice is now illegal in many countries, but is a part of the American Kennel Club breed standard. If not docked, the Weimaraner has a long tail that whips about with excitement during play.
From a young age, Weimaraners show to have excessive amounts of energy that needs a good and consistent outlet. It’s best that owners are either very physically active or have acres of farm land for the dog to bound to its heart’s content.
While they have been bred as hunting dogs, The Weimaraner is not an independent breed like many others of its type. It requires a good deal of human attention and will never show a desire to spend time a part from its owner. If left without contact for an extended period of time, the breed is susceptible to severe bouts of separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety can cause a Weimaraner to get up to mischief, often resulting in damage to property or injury to the animal if it tries to escape.
Generally a Weimaraner will grow to between 64 and 69 cm and weigh in the vicinity of 32 to 36 kgs. They will usually live to the age 10 to 12 years.
It is believed that the Weimaraner only dates back to the early 1800s, placing it as quite a young breed. It’s believed that the bloodhound or St. Hubert Hound is one of the breed’s early ancestors and dogs with a similar appearance have been linked to the 1200s and the royal court of King Louis IX of France.
The Weimaraner originally comes from Germany and was developed as a reliable and attractive gun dog. The breed was highly sought after by the gentry and the Weimaraner quickly became a popular hunting companion with royals. Because the breed was so highly valued, it was generally kept in the family home and not with the other hunting dogs in the kennels. It is reckoned that this treatment has added to the breed’s unlikely dependency on consistent human contact.
The modern Weimaraner is thanks to a process of selective German breeding. The Weimaraner was originally known as the Weimer Pointer, named after Karl August of Weimar who sponsored the development of the breed. It breed was popular for its high intelligence, courage, boundless amounts of energy and speed and good tracking ability.
The Germans were initially very protective of the breed and it was only in 1929 that the first Weimaraners made it to the United States and a club was formed. Even today, The German Weimaraner Club continues to only allow ownership a Weimaraner to members. Owners are required to have a hunting licence so that the dog is worked hard to maintain the hunting traits that were so valued at the time the breed was developed.
Weimaraners are high-energy, high maintenance dogs that require a lot of close human contact and hours of exercise to keep them fit and happy. The Weimaraner was bred as a hunting dog but has a friendly and affectionate personality, especially towards its owner. They tend to be shy ad wary with strangers but will warm up to them soon after being introduced.
Because of the dependant nature of the Weimaraner, they aren’t suited to living outdoors or being left alone for any extended period of time. Ongoing human contact is a must and if your Weimaraner is digging holes or trying to escape, it may be down to a case of separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is unfortunately quite common in the Weimaraner. They require an active owner and plenty of space to go running. The breed requires a lot of stimulation in the form of play, exercise and affection. Weimaraners have a flawless reputation with children, but they are an energetic and excitable dog; this combined with their large size can result in smaller kids being knocked over and hurt.
Supervision is required when introducing a Weimaraner to other dogs or other pets around the home. Like many dogs, aggression towards other animals can be remedied through early socialisation. It is not advised to keep smaller animals around Weimaraners because of their hunting instinct and inquisitive nature.
A happy Weimaraner will be well exercised and well socialised. Weimaraners hate being excluded from family activities or outings and love to be rewarded.
COMMON WEIMARANER DISEASES AND CONDITIONS – SYMPTOMS, DIAGNOSIS, TREATMENT & PICTURES
Weimaraners are very healthy dogs; a breed that is the result of very selective German breeding practices over the past few hundred years. There are a few conditions they are susceptible to, however, but can be largely avoided with care.
- Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus
A serious condition, gastric dilatation is when the stomach becomes swollen with gas and fluid. Volvulus is the twisting of the stomach. This will prevent the dog from vomiting and is quite a serious condition; something life threatening when left untreated.
It can cause dehydration, gastric perforation, and peritonitis. Signs to look out for include retching without vomiting, enlargement of the abdomen and restless pacing. The Weimaraner may whine or groan when their belly is touched.
The best way to avoid gastric dilation and volvulus or ‘bloat’ is to avoid feeding your Weimaraner large meals. Spread them out during the day and feed them at least an hour before or after any rigorous exercise.
- Skin Allergies
Weimaraners are prone to skin allergies and may develop rashes or excessive hair loss as a result. Keep an eye out for scratching and general discomfort. Visiting the vet can bring about a solution, but regular bathing and flea control is a good preventative measure.
- Hip Dysplasia
Although not common in Weimaraners, hip dysplasia does occur in the breed. This is when the hip doesn’t form properly, leading to possible lameness over time.
INTERESTING WEIMARANER FACTS
- Weimaraners are great swimmers and love the water. They can swim for what seems hours, tirelessly, and is a great source of exercise. It’s thought that as a 19th Century forester’s gun dog, retrieving foul from water bodies was a part of their job.
- Grace Kelly owned a Weimaraner. She was one of the most photographed women at the time and her fame significantly added to the popularity of the breed.
- Sometimes the Weimaraner is referred to as the ‘Grey Ghost’ because of their grey coat and elegant movements. Some dogs even have grey eyes, adding to their ghostly appearance.
- One eighth of a Weimaraner’s brain is dedicated to smell. They are said to be distantly related to bloodhounds, so a good sense of smell is part and parcel with the breed.
- Although once leading his country against the Germans in wartime, former President Eisenhower owned a Weimaraner. She was even named Heidi.
The Weimaraner Club of NSW: http://www.weiclubnsw.com/
The Weimaraner Club of South Australia: http://www.weiclubsa.com/
The Weimaraner Club of Victoria: http://www.weimaranervic.com/
Weimaraner Pet Insurance Quote
Getting pet insurance for your Weimaraner will help ensure you can always afford the best vet care for them. Bow Wow Meow offers a range of flexible pet insurance options including cover for accidental injury, illness and routine care.
Wondering how much it would cost to insure your Weimaraner if you got one? It’s quick and easy to get a quote.
(Note: dogs must be over 8 weeks old to take out insurance, so please enter a birth date to reflect this when getting an indicative quote.)