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Weimaraner: Everything You Need to Know

The Weimaraner is a hound of aristocratic beauty and athletic build. The dog has universal hunting qualities and a good disposition, which has earned it the reputation of an excellent companion.

Weimaraner has great looks. This elegant dog with refined forms seemed to have jumped from the paintings of the Renaissance painters. Her impetuous appearance eloquently demonstrates that at any moment she is ready to rush over the horizon and return, holding her prey in her mouth. However, within the walls of his home, the Weimaraner easily forgets about his hunting purpose, transforming into an affectionate, gentle friend who loves his family and constantly strives to take a place at the feet of his adored owner.

The Weimaraner, or Weimar Pointing Dog, is a very rare representative in the cohort of hunting dogs. This aristocratic dog presumably traces its ancestry back to the Middle Ages, although today’s breed standards only developed at the turn of the 18th-19th centuries.

The Weimaraner belongs to the group of heirs of European (or continental) marriages – short-haired pointing dogs that have long been common on the European continent and have similar characteristics of both exterior and working qualities. Among its close relatives, this dog stands out sharply for its original gray color with spectacular tints, which makes a popular version of its long-standing relationship with the so-called dogs of Saint Louis (Chiens Gris de St-Loi), a description of which can be found in ancient handwritten sources of the legendary era of the Crusades … In the chronicles dating back to the XIII century, it is said that at the court of the French king Louis IX, known as Louis the Saint, gray silver dogs appeared in 1254 after he returned to his homeland from another campaign to the East.

In medieval literary sources, there are references to the fact that these dogs were from Tartaria – this is how the territory stretching from the borders of Central Asia to its northern limits was called in Latin-speaking countries. Perhaps the animals were donated to Louis by one of the Asian rulers, with whom the French monarch decided to establish contacts while in Palestine. The most detailed description of the cops is contained in the “Book of the Hunt” – one of the best medieval treatises on this entertainment of kings and aristocrats. Its author is Count Gaston de Foix, one of the military leaders of the Hundred Years War and a passionate hunter.

By the end of the XIV century, gray hounds became very popular among the French nobility, as they demonstrated excellent qualities in hunting large animals – deer, wild boar, bear. Later, the dogs also showed remarkable abilities in hunting foxes, rabbits, and grabbing birds. Following the French aristocracy, this wonderful breed was carried away by crowned persons from other countries of feudal Europe, and after them – and their vassals. On the surviving medieval tapestries and paintings depicting hunting scenes, you can see packs of gray cops – as noble as their titled owners. These animals are also depicted on the canvases of the 17th-century masters, for example, in the paintings of the Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck.

Among the possible progenitors of the Weimaraner are also called the hounds of St. Hubert’s dogs, bred during the early Middle Ages in the Abbey of St. Hubert (Belgium). Animals of this breed, now defunct, are considered the progenitors of many modern hounds. They had a different color, among which there was also gray.

As a separate breed, the Weimaraner began to form at the beginning of the 19th century. According to unconfirmed reports, the initiator of its creation was the Duke of Weimar Karl August. According to legend, in his possession, Saxe-Weimar, in the east of modern Germany, the duke was engaged in breeding a universal breed of hounds – hardy, swift, with the same qualities of a companion dog. By the way, in these places, the dog is usually called the “Silver Ghost”. She received such a name due to her color, shimmering with silver, the ability to quickly and silently sneak in the fields, remaining invisible for prey.

Many modern dog handlers, admitting that the breed was bred in the vicinity of Weimar, believe that the Grand Duke of Weimar had nothing to do with its origin, and the legend of the Weimaraner’s kinship with the gray dogs of St. Louis began to be popularized by fans of the breed at the end of the 19th century for its recognition in as separate and independent. The fact is that for a long time the Weimaraner was considered a gray variety of the German short-haired pointer or a cross between large German hounds and English pointers. Apparently, these statements were justified, since at the exhibition in Berlin in 1880 these dogs were classified as mestizos, without finding any distinctive breed traits in them. According to some reports, the Burgos Pointer, Hugenhund, and Schweisshund were involved in further breeding activities. Systematic work, as well as numerous publications of fascinating stories about the ancient noble origin of the breed and its relationship with the royal French dogs, did their job, and in 1896 a commission of delegates from various German hunting societies finally called the Weimaraner an independent breed. Today it is recognized by all eminent cynological organizations.

In 1897, the German Weimaraner Hunting Club was founded, and for a long time, this breed was a kind of protected privilege among the German aristocracy. Initially, only members of the Club were allowed to purchase a dog. And if it was extremely difficult to buy a Weimaraner even in his homeland, then outside of Germany it was generally impossible.

In the 20s of the last century, interest in gray hounds from the Old World arose in the United States, but the first individuals sent overseas were pre-sterilized, making it impossible to breed them in America. In 1929, the Club accepted the first foreigner into its ranks – the American Howard Knight, who managed to convince his German colleagues to sell several pedigree dogs for breeding in the New World. In 1941, he created the Weimaraner Club in the United States and became its president. In the 50s, Weimaraners gained incredible popularity overseas, becoming pets of such famous people as President Eisenhower and movie star Grace Kelly. Later, additional public interest in them was fueled by photographer and artist William Wegman, who, by the way, became world-famous for his successful images of these dogs.

The massive, literally hype, fascination with elegant Weimaraners – both in the United States and in Europe – has led to the fact that today they are increasingly considered as companion dogs, pets, participants in exhibitions, and prestigious championships. At the same time, the hunting qualities of many of them are very ordinary. However, you can find a good working dog. They mainly represent the German and American lines, since, in Germany and the USA, breeders still prioritize the working qualities of the animal, however, sometimes to the detriment of the exterior.

Not so long ago, some European breeders and their counterparts from the United States started breeding blue Weimaraners. These dogs are distinguished by their original bluish-gray coat color. Today they are bred primarily as companion dogs, although the working qualities of blue cops are identical to the outstanding abilities of their gray counterparts. In 2009, in the United States, enthusiasts created a specialized club, and since then, purposefully, but so far unsuccessfully, they have been seeking recognition of the blue Weimaraner and endowing them with the status of an independent breed.

The Weimaraner is a rather large dog of athletic build, wiry, frankly muscular. In males, the height at the withers can be from 59 to 70 cm, weight – from 30 to 40 kg. Bitches are usually smaller: their height is from 57 to 65 cm, weight is from 25 to 35 kg. Extreme limits are undesirable according to the standard.

The Weimaraner is proportionally built, its back is wide, solid, strong, without bending. The withers are well developed and clearly marked. The chest is deep, firm, almost reaching the elbows. It is obviously massive, but it cannot be called wide. The pelvis is elongated, slightly sloping. The ribs are long, well sprung, without a barrel-shaped appearance. The belly is tucked up, but not overdone.

The head, viewed from above, has a wedge-shaped outline, in proportion to the body. The skull is slightly convex, not wide, the occipital protuberance is weak. The forehead is divided by a groove; when the dog is tense, the frontal area is covered with folds. The transition line from the forehead to the muzzle is smooth, barely marked. The nose is straight, with a miniature hump at the lobe. The lobe itself, protruding above the lower jaw, is large. It is painted in dark flesh color, smoothly turning to gray closer to the bridge of the nose. The lips are tightened, the upper one covers the lower one and hangs down slightly, forming small folds at the corners of the mouth. The edges of the lips, palate, gums are of a solid pinkish-flesh color.

The jaws with a full set of teeth look impressive, clearly demonstrating the ability of the Weimaraner to hold a decent size of the game when reported. The upper and lower canines are securely closed in a scissor bite. Muscular, well-defined cheekbones are prominent.

The strips are rounded, of medium size, set slightly obliquely. Their outer corners rise slightly closer to the ears. The color of the eyes in puppies is azure blue, in older hounds – amber, of varying degrees of intensity and tone: from light to dark. The expression in the eyes betrays intelligence and mindfulness. The eyelids fit snugly against the eyeball, their color can be flesh-colored or match the tone of the coat.

The ears are large, wide, rounded at the tips, and hanging down to the corners of the mouth. Set on high. In a cop, who has been alerted by something, the ears rise at the base and turn forward.

The silhouette of a strong, muscular, regal neck blends harmoniously with the topline and chest.

Tall, lean, sinewy, with expressive muscles. The forelimbs are straight, parallel to each other, set not wide apart. The shoulders are muscular as if sculpted, the elbows are turned neither in nor out. Strong wrists; the graceful, sinewy pasterns are set slightly obliquely.
The hind legs, set straight on, show a solid bone structure. The thighs are elongated, very muscular, the knees are strong, the hocks are clearly defined. Metatarsus sinewy set almost vertically.

Oval-shaped paws are strong and stable. Fingers are clenched into a ball. The middle toes on the forepaws are noticeably longer than the others, which is a characteristic breed characteristic. In long-haired cops, tufts of hair sticking out between the toes. The pads are hard, the claws are powerful, painted in a gray tone – from light to dark. Dewclaws on the hind limbs are removed in puppy Weimaraners.

A strong, thickened tail at the base is set low enough, which is not characteristic of most breeds related to Weimaraner. It is densely covered with hair and tapers towards the tip. When the dog is relaxed and pacified, he keeps him lowered down, and when alert, lifts him to a horizontal position or higher.

The length of the coat determines two breed varieties: short-haired and long-haired. The first is characterized by short, but not as much as in most of the identical breeds, hair, very thick, hard, smooth. The undercoat is very rare or not at all.

Long-haired Weimaraners are covered with silky, rather long hair, with or without an undercoat. The coat can be straight or slightly curled. On the sides, its length is from 3 to 5 cm, the coat is slightly longer on the lower part of the neck, front of the chest, abdomen. The limbs are decorated with feathers and “pants”, the tail – “fringed”. Long flowing hair is present at the base of the ears, with a light silky fur bordering the tips.

The standard allows three variations of the Weimaraner color: silver-gray, light gray, dark gray (mouse). They can have light shades, for example, copper, which shows a subtle brownishness. The hair on the head and ears is usually slightly lighter than on the rest of the body. Miniature white markings on the chest and toes are acceptable. The presence of other stains, markings are considered a fault. Some individuals may have a dark stripe, a “belt”, along the spine. In color, it contrasts with the dominant color of the animal. Such dogs are used in pedigree breeding only if they have outstanding hunting qualities.

Possible vices

  • Too rough or lightweight constitution.
  • Dropped or hunched back, high ass.
  • Barrel-shaped or underdeveloped breasts.
  • Excessively tucked abdomen.
  • Inverted elbows, flat feet.
  • Stiffness of movement.
  • Bulldog head, short or narrow pointed muzzle.
  • Concave nasal bridge.
  • Undershot, overshot.
  • Overly fluffy coat in short-haired dogs and lack of feathering in long-haired dogs.
  • Too intense shades of color, displacing gray. Tan marks.
  • Cowardice, nervousness, lack of temperament.

Weimaraners are energetic, cheerful, and friendly dogs. They are selflessly devoted to the family in which they live and need constant contact with the person. You should not keep these animals in an aviary, like other hunting dogs, because this makes them suffer. Loneliness in the home walls of Weimaraners is also difficult, and the company of another pet does not relieve them of longing for the owner. It is worth considering that a dog, left to itself for a long time, can panic, “smash” furniture in the apartment and even harm itself in an attempt to escape from the house. Worried, the Weimaraner begins to bark, whine, howl, and even dig. The dog will calm down only when the household appears on the doorstep. These pets love to follow their beloved owners, adore to be located at their feet, and conduct “conversations” with them, to which they are very inclined.

The Weimaraner is a fairly balanced dog. He treats strangers with caution but does not show aggression if he is sure that his owners are not in danger. Due to its distrust of strangers, attentiveness, ingenuity, the ability to bark at all suspicious sounds, and rustles outside the door, a dog can become a good watchman, but the guard service is clearly not it’s calling.

With children, especially older ones, these dogs establish friendly, partnership relations. They are tolerant of kids, but, having started a game with them, they can accidentally injure them.

Weimaraners are friendly to their relatives, especially if they grew up next to them, but they rarely have good relations with cats. If this dog is still able to endure the owner’s pet living with her in the same house, then the representative of the feline tribe who has rashly wandered into her territory will definitely not do good. Actually, all small animals, as well as birds, awaken an indomitable hunting instinct in the Weimaraner, becoming its potential victims.

During the hunt, Weimar cops show themselves following their innate temperament and personal qualities. There are extremely obedient gun dogs, but quite often there are completely “reckless” individuals that instantly get out of control during work.

The Weimaraner is an extremely intelligent, attentive, and docile dog. He lends itself perfectly to training, but, being in a bad mood, he can show waywardness and stubbornness. Given these traits of his character, as well as the tendency of the dog to dominate, the owner should demonstrate firmness and patience in raising the animal. Teaching pet obedience is necessary from an early age, but if authoritarianism in upbringing is acceptable, then methods that include harsh shouting and the use of physical force as punishment should be excluded. The brutality of the owner will lead to the dog becoming distrustful, commands will be carried out uncertainly, with apprehension. It will be very difficult to regain the dog’s trust. But goodies and praise will stimulate the Weimaraner to show his best qualities.

When raising a dog that is acquired for hunting, the owner needs to find a middle ground, since her unquestioning obedience and desire to please can deprive the hound of the initiative she needs during work.

The ideal condition for keeping a Weimaraner is a spacious house with a large fenced garden plot, a private pond, or a nearby pond. In this case, the dog will be able to regularly fulfill its need for vigorous activity. In a city apartment, the dog will feel no less comfortable if the owners can provide him with intense physical activity – this can be frequent walks, during which the dog will be able to run without a leash, classes on grounds equipped with an obstacle course. In total, the Weimaraner must move fully and actively for at least two hours a day.

A dog walking on a leash must clearly execute the command “Near!”. Otherwise, she will drag you wherever she pleases. A strict collar, however, is unacceptable. When lowering the Weimaraner from the leash, make sure that there are no small dogs and cats nearby, otherwise, they can become his trophies.

Caring for a dog’s coat is not difficult. It is enough to comb it out with a massage brush a couple of times a week, and it is advisable to do this daily during the molting period.

The pet should be bathed as needed, but not more often than once a month. After a walk in bad weather, the paws should be thoroughly washed. In frosty winter, pads and claws must be treated especially carefully so that anti-ice reagents do not enter the dog’s body when it begins to lick its paws. In the cold season, even though the short Weimaraner coat dries very quickly, it is better to replace bathing by treating the coat with a special dry shampoo.

It is advisable to wipe the corners of the animal’s eyes and the area around them with a damp cloth once a week. With the same frequency, you should take care of the pet’s hanging ears – this will allow you to detect possible inflammation in time. It is convenient to clean the auricles with a napkin moistened with chlorhexidine.

The frequency of clipping a dog’s claws depends on the conditions of its keeping. Some dogs have their claws sharpened naturally, and those who do not have the opportunity to run enough need to trim them. Usually, it is done once a month using a special nail clipper for large breed dogs.

Weimaraners are excellent eaters. Having eaten a portion from their dishes, they will certainly ask if there is anything tasty on other people’s plates. In their claims for additional feeding, they can be quite persistent, but such aspirations of theirs should be suppressed and try to feed the animal twice a day. The portions should be approximately the same.

When choosing meat products for your pet, you should opt for beef, lamb, rabbit, poultry. Good for the dog and fish, it should be low-fat and low-bone. Of cereals, rice, buckwheat are preferred, they should be boiled in water. Oatmeal will also be useful in the Weimaraner’s diet. Boiled or raw vegetables and fruits should be present in the daily menu, but exotic, brightly colored fruits should be discarded. Of fermented milk products, low-fat cottage cheese and kefir will be the best option.

Owners who prefer to feed their pet with ready-made food should buy premium, super-premium, holistic products.

Strong and hardy Weimaraners are distinguished by excellent health, however, a hereditary predisposition to certain diseases can pose a potential danger to them. The gastrointestinal tract is at risk for these animals, and diseases such as volvulus, characteristic of dogs with deep breasts, can end fatally for them. Having noticed the first signs of an upset stomach in your pet, you should immediately contact your veterinarian, who will prescribe him a special dietary meal. Usually, in these cases, the dog is recommended to be fed several times a day in small portions. To prevent volvulus, experts advise placing dishes with food for the dog on an elevated surface. This will prevent food from being swallowed quickly and air from entering the stomach.

Weimaraners are prone to dermatoses, and von Willebrand disease, an inherited blood clotting disorder, can also pose a threat to them. Ophthalmic problems can also occur in these dogs: corneal atrophy, eyelid volvulus, distichiasis – the appearance of an additional row of eyelashes. In 24% of cases of premature death of a dog, the cause is cancer, mainly fibrosarcoma, mastocytoma, melanoma. Weimaraners also have a predisposition to hip and elbow dysplasia.

Some pets suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder – experiencing anxiety, animals from time to time begin to suck on bedding, blankets.

How to choose a puppy?

Weimaraner is not a very well-known breed in Russia. They began to breed them in our area only in the 80s of the last century. Today there are nurseries in several Russian cities, among them – Moscow, St. Petersburg, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Tambov. It is in kennels that puppies of the Weimar Pointing Dog should be purchased. Otherwise, the health and purebreds of your pet will be in question.

Having previously familiarized yourself with the breed standard, visit the nursery and make sure that the puppies live in a tidy room, their mother is well-groomed, well-fed, not exhausted by childbirth and feeding. Chat with the breeder, a conscientious professional will always be happy to answer any of your questions. Check out the pedigree of the baby, make sure that he has received all the necessary vaccinations at his age. You should be provided with the test results for hip and elbow dysplasia.

Check if all puppies from the same litter are cheerful, playful, active. Then take a close look at the Weimaraner you like the most. Factors such as thinness, a swollen tummy, sour eyes, skin rashes, flea bite marks, bald patches should alert you. It is unacceptable if the dog behaves apathetically, does not react to your flirting.

Remember that Weimaraner puppies have blue eyes and their color changes with age. The color must be totally gray, with small white markings only on the chest and feet. If you choose a dog for hunting, feel free to opt for the most active kid, but if you are just looking for a four-legged friend, a super-quick kid can create a lot of problems for you in the future, because the Weimaraner is already too active.

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