Breed of the Week: Weimaraner

July 23rd, 2007 by Kathy Hawkins

Despite what William Wegman might have you believe, the Weimaraner does not have human appendages, wear Victorian clothing, or play the banjo. Sorry to disappoint you, but seriously — he’s a dog.

Still, there’s a lot to love about this regal breed: the haunting beauty that’s given him the nickname “the Grey Ghost;” his superb agility and athleticism; his hunting skills; and his fierce loyalty. Want a closer look at the Weimaraner? Read on.

Oslo the Dog by David Poe
Photo by David Poe (check out his amazing music here).

The Weimaraner is the aristocrat of working dogs. The breed first originated around the 1600s in Germany; the first Weimaraners were likely cross-bred from the Continental pointer dog and the Mastiff. Though other hunting dogs, such as the Labrador and Golden Retriever, were isolated in kennels when not serving their intended purpose, the Weimaraner always received the royal treatment, comfortably cohabiting with the family rather than being shut out in the cold. This special treatment had its drawbacks, though — even today, the Weimaraner is known to be an exceptionally needy and neurotic breed, and doesn’t take well to being left at a kennel, or to a change of ownership. The Weimaraner is not a dog for commitment-phobes — if you’re in, you’re in all the way.

Photo by Bryan.

True to his hunting roots, the Weimaraner is also an incredibly active dog. You might envision his elegant form lying peacefully beside a lit fireplace, but he’s built for speed and power, not scenery. Weimaraners require at least one or two walks every day, the longer, the better. Consider the fact that these dogs were originally bred for tracking down bears, deer, and other wild game, and you’ll get a sense of their energy and stamina. If you’re a marathon runner, your Weimaraner will be happy to come along — he’ll probably even lead the way. If you want a lap dog, get a Maltese or Bichon Frise — these guys aren’t for the faint of heart or the light of breath.
Weimaraner Running on Beach
Photo by weimaraner_Gabi.

Despite his high-maintenance style, the Weimaraner has been a popular family pet in the United States since the 1950s. President Dwight Eisenhower had a Weimaraner of his own called Heidi; in the 1980s, the dog gained a presence in popular music with an appearance in the music video for New Order’s “Blue Monday” and a cover shot on Kate Bush’s album, “Hounds of Love.” More recently, Weimaraners were stars in the films “Best in Show” and the Stallone action flick, “Daylight.” Not to mention, of course, the ubiquitous Wegman shots of Weimaraners in human clothing.

It should be clear by now that it takes a special kind of person to take in a Weimaraner. You have to be committed, loving, and ready to run 5 miles in the rain, if that’s what your dog wants. If you can manage all that, though, your Weimaraner will pay it back in spades. With the right owner, this beautiful dog could be the best, most fervantly loyal friend you’ve ever had.

Weimaraner Puppy
Photo by weimaraner_Gabi.

If you think you’re ready to take on a Weimaraner, first make sure that you, and everyone you live with, is aware of the new responsibilities you’ll face with this high-maintenance animal. Get ready for long walks or runs each day, and make sure that you’re financially able to take care of any health problems your dog may have — the Weimaraner is prone to bloating and numerous genetic disorders. Once you’re sure you can handle it, check out this site to find the Weimaraner rescue group nearest you.

10 Responses to “Breed of the Week: Weimaraner”

  1. Crufts Line-Up For Friday March 7th 2008 - Gundogs! | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] While there are tons of events going on each day at Crufts, the highlight of Friday is going to be the Gundog Group. Here are the breeds that can participate in this category: Brittany, English Setter, German Long Haired Pointer, German Shorthaired Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer, Gordon Setter, Hungarian Vizsla, Irish Red and White Setter, Irish Setter, Italian Spinone, Kooikerhondje, Large Munsterlander, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Curly Coated Retriever, Flat Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, American Cocker Spaniel, Clumber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Welsh Springer Spaniel, Weimaraner [...]

  2. Reading Pet Expo - FlyBall Demo Video | Dog Reflections Says:

    [...] this first video you can see a Weimaraner that was having a hard time staying on course during the demo. The gate that you can see next to [...]

  3. Eco Tours Says:

    I found this over at Reddit, we just adopted a rescued Weimaraner a few days ago. Or I should say that our new Weimaraner decided to let us be owned by him!

  4. Hubo Says:

    Very nice pics, and a good story. I had a Weimaraner for over 10 years, he passed away a year ago. I still miss him, he was truly “men’s best friend”



  5. Paul Retherford Says:

    Awesome blog. The only thing that you might have added was a picture of the Blue Weimaraner. You can see a couple photos and a slide show of mine at:


  6. Lauran Says:

    “ARE THEY GOOD DOGS?” …. “DO THEY MAKE GOOD PETS?” These are the two top questions I receive wherever I go with my Weim family. My answer is, “They are the BEST dogs in the world IF you train them …. and they are the WORST if you don’t”.

    This answer is from personal experience since I currently have 3 Weims and prior to Spring, 2008, I had 4. Three I raised, the fourth started out as a foster child. The ones I raised (and trained) I can take anywhere and do anything with. Not so much with the one I adopted who was not trained and had been abused which has impeded his training. Despite this, he is wonderful compared to other Weims I’ve been around who were untrained, unsocialized and discipline was a foreign concept.

    To summarize, if you are a pushover, run …. run very fast away from this breed. If you want the best companion you can have and are willing to commit, really commit, to his/her education and guidance, and be a consistent disciplinarian then this is the breed for you.

    Oh, did I mention that the best advice I received when I was researching and considering this breed, was “If you decide to commit to a Weim, you begin his/her training ON THE WAY HOME when you pick him/her up. Do not wait a day to start.” I followed this invaluable advice and advise all perspective Weim parents to do the same. The payoff is well worth the new parent guilts. If you don’t, you end up with a neurotic velcro nuisance.

    Devoted Weim Lover

  7. shawnster Says:

    i used to have a weimaraner mix and he was fast. he ran next to me on an atv once and i clocked him at 45mph

  8. shannon Says:

    I have a weimaraner and let me tell you he came in and stole my heart like a thief in the night lol, hes spoiled, hes rotten, hes most the time driving me crazy, but i would completely be lost without him, he is my best friend and literally makes life a joy! Please to anyone that is even considering getting a weim, If you arent willing to truly love them like there part of the family,dont get one, they deserve the best and if you are willing to love them, you will receive more love back from them, then you can possibly imagine!

  9. Brandy Says:

    I have two Weims. My male is 9 years old and my female is 6 years old. They are my family. It’s true, they require a great amount of time and training especially as puppies. I thought I was providing them with a loving home and care, but I soon realized that they were taking care of me. They are by my side everyday. They love unconditionally. The most loyal loving dogs I have ever had.

  10. Payable Blog Says:

    Weimaraner Checks Weimaraner Personal Checks

    [...] t friend and literally makes life a joy! Please to anyone that is even consideri [...]

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