IS A WEIMARANER RIGHT FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?
An important step in selecting a pure bred dog is to determine which breed best fits your expectations and needs. Not all breeds are good for all people. The following should help you as you explore whether the personality, exercise requirements and abilities of the Weimaraner are right for you.
Utility Gundog - A Versatile Breed
The Weimaraner is one of several breeds in Australia known as "Utility Gundog" and may be best described as a "Versatile Continental Hunting Dog". This description refers to the diverse natural abilities of the Weimaraner, they were originally breed in 19th Century Germany in the Republic of Weimar, and over the years have been developed to find and point game, track wounded game, and retrieve both feather and fur. They usually have a strong prey drive and may not be good with cats or other small animals although they will get along with cats if introduced an early age. In general Weimaraners can be trained to accept cats, and rabbits will be a little bit more difficult. Weimaraners typically have a stronger protective instinct than other gundog breeds and are often natural guardians or watchdogs.
The versatile Weimaraner (nicknamed the "Grey Ghost" due to its unique colour) is a dedicated companion dog. From the early years of the breed to the present, they have lived with people both as companions and hunting dogs. Originally they were kept on the large estates by the Game Warden who always had two or three who hunted with him during the day, and lived in his house at night. They are not kennel dogs and will suffer if shut away continually from their people. Dependence on human companionship is exceptionally strong and Weimaraners will give unconditional love and affection to all the family.
The Weimaraner personality - an aristocrat and a clown - the Weimaraner personality has been described as complex mix of the aloof aristocrat and a silly clown. To strangers, some Weimaraners may appear aloof and self-assured (they will often stand well back when strangers arrive preferring to go over for a pat in their own good time) and others may be quite overpowering. With their own people, however, Weimaraners reveal a more complex personality as they are fun loving, demanding, clever, devoted, cuddly, pushy, responsive, obedient, stubborn and loving. Their most expressive faces, groans and sighs seemed to convey a language all of their own. One would possibly describe a lot of their actions as "attention seeking" as they adore being the centre of attention.
The following is an excerpt from the "Tarheel Weimaraner Club, USA information sheet":
"dog trainer Matthew Margolis writes: "Weimaraners embody all the negative characteristics of the hunting breeds. They are stubborn and strong-willed and try to get away with everything possible." The Weimaraner's pushy personality requires that their owner be a firm, fair leader. Without clear leadership, they will take over the household. Virginia Alexander and Jackie Isabel, long-time Weimaraner fanciers and breeders say that "Weimaraners are a breed for those who enjoy a dog that is intensely devoted and responsive to attention - they demand attention, and will follow owners from room to room, usually lying down with body contact when the owners sit down." They are not a breed that can be ignored for long periods of time!"
A tired Weimaraner is a good Weimaraner, and an exhausted one is even better. Weimaraners were originally bred to spend all day working, running and hunting independently from their handlers for up to 6 hours at a time. A quick walk on the lead around the block and a pat on the head daily is not enough for a dog with so much energy. Daily free running in a park or large area (not the suburban backyard type of area) and some training to exercise the brain prevents them from becoming bored. A bored Weimaraner is often a very destructive Weimaraner.
What can I do with the Weimaraner?
Weimaraners can do almost anything. They have been used in every facet of dog work from showing to hunting, they excel in obedience, tracking and agility. In Australia they are most competitive in retrieving trials and have competed in field trials.
Weimaraners in Australia are currently used for both quail and duck hunting. When working quail or rabbits they tend in working a lot closer than other breeds such as the GSP, or Brittany, which is a good thing for those who like to be close to the quarry. Weimaraners are well known for their dedication to hunting and to the master. They have great noses and very rarely lose wounded game, most are natural retrievers and swimmers.
As Weimaraners inbred instinct as gundogs is so strong, training and competing in Retrieving and RATG (Retrieving Ability Test for Gundogs) Trials is a rewarding use of their talents. Since the early 1970s they have been running in retrieving trials in most Australian states, and have become well respected, competing at all levels and gaining many titles.
Weimaraners learn quickly and are eager to please their handler. Excessive repetition of an exercise can lead to boredom and disobedience. They do not like excessive force but respond well to the food training methods and to light correction and praise methods. Weimaraners have excelled in Obedience Trials over the years with many best in trials and Australian Obedience Champions produced in most states.
Weimaraners make wonderful show dogs. Their clean lines, unusual coat colouring, aristocratic nature, and large strides make them most attractive to the show judge. It is quite common to see them winning at Group level and In Show throughout Australia. Easily handled they are often sought by older children for handler events.
Bred with outstanding scenting ability the Weimaraner is well prepared for any tracking challenge, albeit wounded game or human scent. It can be said of the Weimaraner "you don't teach it to track it teaches you how to follow". They have achieved many Tracking and Track and Search Championships in Australia. Both here and overseas they are being used by government bodies in rescue and drug detection work.
The athleticism and endurance of the Weimaraner prepares the breed well for sports like agility. They tend to be physically confident, if not fearless, and thrive on the physical and mental exercise required by agility courses. Agility competition is relatively new in Australia and we have seen several Weimaraners already achieve Agility Dog titles and compete for Agility Dog Excellent.
In Australia both the Weimaraner (short coat) and the Weimaraner Longhair (soft medium length coat with feathering) are available. Whilst both types appeared to be different they should conform to the same standard - the only difference being the coat lengths.
The Weimaraner is a medium to large dog (dogs 59-70 cm and bitches 57-65 cm) that is 25 1/2-27 1/2 inches and 22 1/2-25 1/2 inches Imperial.
Weight: dogs - 30 to 40 kg. (66-88 pounds) bitches - 25 to 35 kg. (55-77 pounds)
Eyes: these range in colour from light to dark amber and some maintain a blue-grey eye.
Coat: Ranges in colour from silver, roe deer or mouse grey and in the shorthaired variety is short, dense and has a sleek topcoat. In the long hair it is soft with a long top coat, long feathering on the ears, tail and breeches and moderate feathering on other parts of the body i.e. legs, belly, forechest.
The following has been quoted by Weimaraner specialist judges "if you shaved off the coat the Weimaraner longhair should be the same as the Weimaraner."
Grooming requirements for the breed include regular brushing to remove dead hair, regular cleaning of the ears, trimming of the toenails and dental care. The Weimaraner does shed its coat, however the shedding will be much less visible on the shorthair than the longhair. This usually happens twice a year but can occur after a bitch has had the season.
The Weimaraner, like many breeds, is subject to some health problems that you should be aware of before you purchase a puppy. Make sure the breeder explains these to you.
* Immune Deficiency: Only a limited amount of research has been carried out into this disorder, but sufficient is known to establish that genetic inheritance is relevant. This disease affects the immune system and can cause problems when a dog's immune system is challenged, as in an infection or following a vaccination. This often occurs within 6 months of age.
* Bloat: Bloat, or more correctly, "gastric dilatation and volvulus" is a condition in which the stomach swells and twists. The affected dog is often distressed, has a bloated or swollen abdomen and commonly drools excessively. It is very important that the owner recognises the signs and contacts a veterinarian immediately if the dog is to have any chance of survival.
* Hip Dysplasia: This does not seem to be a problem with Weimaraners in this country. An extremely small percentage of Weimaraners would have this problem and this can sometimes be environmentally induced.
DO YOU THINK A WEIMARANER IS RIGHT FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?
The Weimaraner is a breed that you will either love or hate. Spend as much time as possible around them before you decide if this is the breed for you. Contacting the Weimaraner Club in your state will help you find a Weimaraner and breeders and will provide you with more information.