5 Things to Know About Weimaraners

Nicknamed the “gray ghost,” the Weimaraner is a highly energetic and affectionate dog who doesn’t like being separated from family for too long.

Weimaraners are active and affectionate. By: iStock.com/druvo

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.

Weimaraner learn quickly and are generally easy to train. By: iStock.com/Bigandt_Photography

3. How Friendly Are They?

Weims are intelligent, friendly, affectionate and active dogs who love people and children. Most Weim lovers will tell you their dogs love to give standing hugs and typically take over the bed for sleeping.

Protective and loyal, these dogs seem fearless. 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, give them proper training; 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, so supervise these dogs when they’re around kids or small prey animals.

Beyond that, they’re great with children and also work as therapy dogs for the young and elderly — just make sure you’re supervising in case they inadvertently knock someone over. Their tracking abilities are excellent for specific jobs, such as detecting pests.

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs

High

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. Don’t make them live in outdoor kenneling; Weims want to be with their family and may become distressed without regular contact.

Grooming Needs

Low

LOW: The coat of a Weim is short and pretty easy to maintain. Bathe them only when needed, and a once-a-week brushing is usually sufficient for this average shedder.

Trim the nails regularly and clean the teeth and ears. Also, inspect the paw pads and undercarriage for debris or injuries after every outing.

Health Problems

Medium

MEDIUM: While the most common problem in medium to larger dogs is bloat, watch out for these conditions in Weimaraners:

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 you can find Weims in shelters and rescues.

Considering a Weimaraner for your next pet? Check rescues and adoption resources first. Even purebred animals can end up in shelters. Try Petful’s adoption center.

Additional Resources

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, has been researching dog and cat breeds for nearly a decade and has observed the animals up close at dog shows in both the United States and the United Kingdom. She is the author of the book One Unforgettable Journey, which was nominated for a Maxwell Award from the Dog Writers Association of America, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. In addition, she was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. Kristine has researched and written about pet behaviors and care for many years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, another bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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