1. Key Characteristics
- AKC Group: Sporting
- Height: Males, 25–27 inches; females, 23–25 inches
- Weight: Males, 55–70 pounds; females, 50–65 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 11–13 years
Weimaraners (a.k.a. Weims) are muscular, large dogs with big ears that hang down the sides of the head. They are often referred to as “gray ghosts” for their unique gray coat colors. Their coats are smooth and short, with occasional white markings on the chest.
The dewclaws are usually removed and the tails docked, but these practices are illegal in some countries, and growing support worldwide seeks to outlaw them completely.
2. Where They Came From
Weims originated in Germany as big game hunters for bears and deer, and were used by the nobles of Weimar for their exceptional speed, tracking ability and resilience.
The dogs were prized and strictly guarded, and the Germans created a Weimaraner club in which only members were allowed to keep and breed Weims. As large game decreased, the dogs were used as hunting companions and for smaller game, such as birds.
Club member and American Howard Knight wanted to breed the dogs in the United States, and in the late 1930s, he did exactly that. Knight formed the Weimaraner Club of America and created a breed standard. The American Kennel Club accepted the breed in 1943.
3. How Friendly Are They?
Weims are intelligent, friendly, affectionate and active dogs who love people and children. Most Weim owners will tell you their dogs love to give standing hugs and typically take over the bed for sleeping if given the chance.
They are protective and loyal, and can be fearless at times. They are great watchdogs, but some may bark excessively and need additional training.
Weims are easy to train, learn quickly and have an innate desire to please. Since they are active dogs, proper training is always recommended. If left untrained, they’ll think they’re the pack leader and make future training difficult.
Never use physical force or reprimands to discipline a Weim — they’ll remember it and go out of their way to avoid you or ignore commands and training. Instead, use positive reinforcement.
They are large enough to knock over small children and should be supervised when around them or small prey animals.
They are great with children and also work as therapy dogs for the young and elderly — just make sure you’re supervising in case, due to their size, these dogs inadvertently knock someone over. Their tracking abilities are excellent for specific jobs, such as detecting pests.
4. Is This the Right Dog for You?
HIGH: Weims were born to run and need consistent, daily exercise and play.
A bored Weim can become rambunctious, destructive and difficult to control. Most dogs of this breed are happiest when given a job or task to perform on a regular basis. They love to work and love to be praised.
They are prone to separation anxiety and don’t love being crated or kenneled for long periods of time. And outdoor kenneling is especially not recommended; Weims want to be with their family and may become distressed without regular contact.
LOW: The coat of a Weim is short and pretty easy to maintain. Bathe them only when needed.
Brushing once per week is usually sufficient for this average shedder, but different coats or the rare longhaired Weim may require more grooming.
Trim the nails regularly and clean the teeth and ears. For Weims who work regularly or outdoors, inspect the paw pads and undercarriage for debris or injuries after every outing.
MEDIUM: While the most common problem in medium to larger dogs is bloat, these other conditions have been noted for the breed:
- Hip dysplasia
- Skin allergies
- Excessive growth
It’s OK, puppy — you can just lie down if you want to sleep:
5. How to Adopt One
Weims are active dogs who need exercise and attention from their families, and many people acquire the breed without realizing the effort needed to keep them healthy and happy. This is one of the many reasons Weims are turned in to shelters and rescues.
If you consider getting a Weimaraner for your next pet, check rescues and adoption resources first. Even purebred animals can end up in shelters. Try Pets Adviser’s adoption center.