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The Weimaraner is a graceful, loyal, and very brainy dog originally bred in Germany. He is also known as Weimaraner Vorstehhund, Weimer, and Weim. He is also dubbed as the Silver Ghost or Gray Ghost for his distinctive grey coat.
The large dog breed was bred to hunt big game such as boars, bears, and deer. Over time, he has shifted to hunting smaller prey such as rabbits, fowl, and foxes. He belongs to the Gundog Breed Group.
The Weimaraner has also gained favour as a fantastic family pet for his ability to form a strong bond with his family. Lively, gentle with children, and good-natured, he has become popular as an all-around dog.
The Weimaraner’s ancestry is quite a mystery. The Chien-Gris and the Bloodhound have been thought to be ancestors of the Weimaraner breed. The German Short-Haired Pointer is also said to be a relative. For this reason, the breed was first named Weimar Pointer.
Furthermore, canine pets that looked very similar to the breed were observed in Van Dyke paintings dating back to the 1600s.
The Weimaraner dog breed was developed in Germany in the state of Weimar in the early 19th century. This large herding dog was developed for the Grand Duke of Weimar, Karl August, and thus takes his name after the state.
The Weimaraner breed was initially bred for the nobility to hunt big game such as bears, wildcats, deer, boars, and even wolves. However, when huge prey grew scarce in the country, the number of this herding dog also fell.
The Weimaraner breed continued to survive despite the downturn on the hunting front, as he was a hunting dog that lived with his family.
This living arrangement with the Weimaraner dog breed was regarded as unusual, as hunting canines were typically kept in packs and housed in kennels. Due to this, this large herding dog is used to being in the company of humans and does not thrive well in kennels.
The Weimaraner’s breeding history is somewhat a mystery because the Germans kept it a secret. The nation was possessive of its prized, all-purpose canine.
The first Weimer that was brought to the United States in 1937 was sterilised to prevent the spread of the breed beyond German borders. The Weimaraner Club of America was also founded in 1943.
Non-sterilised Weimaraners reached American shores in later years. The American Kennel Club officially gave official recognition to the dog breed in 1943.
These large dogs became an inspiration for William Wegman, an American artist. He viewed them as ‘perfect fashion models’ and would proceed to photograph them in various poses and costumes in the 1970s. William is known for his Weimer portraits, which were often both comical and unsettling.
His Weimaraner dogs’ videos and photos were featured in many books and films. They also appeared in TV shows, including Saturday Night Live and Sesame Street.
The Weimaraner dog breed was brought to the UK in 1952, thanks to Major Petty. It was later on recognised by the Kennel Club in the UK.
Today, the Weimaraner has grown in popularity in various parts of the world. Aside from being a loving family pet, he also works as an assistance dog and has been used in police operations.
The graceful and handsome Weimaraner dog breed has a tall yet medium-sized body. A male Weimaraner’s average height ranges from 59 to 70 centimetres, and his weight ranges anywhere from 30 to 40 kilos. A female Weimaraner can grow approximately 57–65 centimetres tall and weighs around 25–35 kilos.
A female Weimaraner can give birth from 6 to 8 puppies. It will take about 6–8 months for Weimaraner puppies to reach their full size. However, it would take them 1–2 years to completely turn into adult dogs.
The breed standard states that the Weimaraner dog’s head is a bit long and sits proudly on a moderately long neck. He has a powerful jaw, grey nose, and long, high-set ears that fold downwards. His eyes are medium, round, and set apart nicely on his face, and he has an alert and intelligent look.
The light blue eyes of the breed typically occur during the puppy stage. As an adult, the Weimaraner’s eyes transform into a grey-blue or yellow colour.
The Weimaraner dog breed’s chest is deep, and his loins are on the shorter side. He has strong, straight front legs and muscular back legs. His legs end in compact, well-padded feet, and arched toes.
The Weimaraner’s tail is moderately long and thick at the root. This herding breed is frequently docked in countries where the practice is not banned.
The Weimaraner breed sheds, just like all dogs, but luckily his short, smooth, silvery coat does not require a lot of brushing. The same goes for the lesser-known long-haired type. Thus, this large herding dog breed is extremely low-maintenance. Weekly brushing and a bath every few weeks are sufficient to keep his short coat in good condition.
The Weimaraners have a distinctive coat colour that ranges from mouse grey to silver-grey and is famous for creating a disappearing effect. As such, they have also been called the ‘Gray Ghosts.’ Such a smoky, silvery coat allows him to blend in the fog easily.
There is also a Weimaraner type with a longer coat that is 2.5–5 centimetres in length. Whilst uncommon, this long-haired variety was suitable for hunting waterfowl due to the added insulation.
Yes, they are, they are sensitive, eager to please, and supremely loyal; the Weimaraner breed is very devoted and attached to his human family. He follows his owners from room to room and will develop separation anxiety when left on his own.
The Weimaraner is gentle, sociable, playful, and generally good with children. Due to his large size, close supervision whilst playing is needed to keep him from accidentally knocking down smaller children.
Weimaraners need much room for running and thus will be suitable in the countryside and homes with yards or wide landscapes. However, they are not ideal for city living.
The Weimaraner dog breed’s temperament is famously energetic and demanding. He is a herding dog that has a profound need for hunting and bonding with his family.
The Weimaraner has a high prey drive that he may chase animals he has already known, although he can learn to tolerate them. As such, he is not ideal for households with smaller pets.
This large dog breed is said to be one of the most energetic hunting canines. He needs to be kept constantly busy as a bored Weimaraner is destructive. This herding breed needs lots of daily exercises and is thus ideal for people who have active outdoor lifestyles.
The Weimaraner breed has such a keen sense of smell that he has been used to sniff out missile shrapnel during the Cold War. This energetic herding breed can handily sweep tracking competitions with his powerful nose, which is powered by half of his brain.
The Weimaraner, being highly intelligent, has been called a ‘dog with the human brain,’ thus he learns quickly and is easy to train. As such, his mental abilities need to be constantly challenged.
Since this dog breed has a stubborn streak and a tendency to think independently, he is not recommended for first-time owners. Ideally, this large herding dog should be trained and socialised early on.
The Weimaraner dog loves receiving love and cuddles from his loved ones. Despite its large size, this dog is sweet and requires attention. This dog breed is known for frequently shadowing his owners, as he wants to be included in whatever activities his family does.
The Weimaraner rarely barks, but if he does, this means he is alerting you about an intruder. Pairing this trait with his territorial nature makes him an excellent choice for a guard dog.
Weimaraner puppies need to be socialised and trained at an early age. Doing so will allow them to distinguish the potential threats from those who are not.
The Weimaraner dog breed requires a diet composed of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. However, these must come from excellent sources to keep him healthy and fit.
All dogs, including the Weimaraner, need protein in their diet. Protein sources can come from fresh meat, cooked meat, meat in dog food, or alternative protein sources. The Weimaraner breed’s diet should contain 50–80% of quality meat. Fat content must best come from animal sources, such as chicken fat, rather than plant sources.
Other fats like fish oil help keep your dog’s skin and coat in excellent condition. Carbohydrates such as potatoes, oatmeal, and rice are also needed in his diet.
The Weimaraner breed is very athletic and full of energy. To ensure that he receives the calories, vitamins, and minerals that he needs, pick high-quality dog food. It should be specifically targeted to his size, age, breed, and activity levels. Asking the vet for help will quickly narrow down what brand of food best fits your dog.
Weimaraner owners are advised not to buy low-grade commercial brands as it often has insufficient nutrients and minerals. Some contain unhealthy ingredients such as preservatives and additives, which can harm your dog’s well-being.
This large herding breed should be given fresh water at all times, especially on a hot day. This will prevent heat stroke and keep your dog well-hydrated.
The Weimaraner must be fed regularly following a schedule. Provide the same food to your Weim to avoid gastrointestinal problems. A Weimaraner puppy must be fed 3–4 times a day. An adult Weimaraner should be fed twice a day but in small meal portions, as he is prone to bloat.
For a Weimaraner puppy that is 2–7 months old, feed 264–506 grams of food daily, also depending on his size and activity level. For an 8–10 months old puppy, provide 374–402 grams.
For a pup that is 11–14 months old, provide 290–357 grams. When he turns 15 months, and beyond, you can give him adult food.
An adult Weimaraner weighing 25 kilos should be fed about 276–363 grams, taking into consideration his activity level. If he weighs 30 kilos, offer 307–404 grams. For a Weimaraner that weighs 32–37 kilos, give 322–482 grams.
The average lifespan of a Weimaraner is 11–14 years. This large dog breed is robust and healthy and faces only a few hereditary issues. The Weimaraner dog breed is also known to be affected by several health issues like:
The Weimaraner can be affected by gastric torsion or gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV). This condition is a result of the twisting of the stomach, which leads to the accumulation of gas or liquid in the digestive tract. Bloat is extremely deadly as it can cut off the blood supply and cause internal organ damage.
The Weimaraner breed is highly at risk of developing this health problem as bloat often occurs in large and deep-chested dogs.
According to a study done by Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, the Weimaraner breed ranks 4th in the list of breeds that are most likely to suffer from GDV.
If your dog has a bloated stomach, it is a sign that he has canine bloat. Bring him to the vet as quickly as possible. Treating GDV will require surgery.
The Weimaraner dog breed can potentially have hip dysplasia, one of the most common health problems in large and giant dogs. It is an orthopedic condition caused by improper joint development.
Weimaraners with this disease have difficulty in movement as this condition causes pain in their rear legs. They may end up limping and even lose mobility on their hind legs.
This health condition is often hereditary, but injuries and improper diet and exercise can also cause it. Always make sure to feed your dog a healthy and balanced diet. Avoid overfeeding as it can cause weight gain, which can strain his joints.
Limit your dog’s exercises. Moreover, high-impact activities should be avoided, such as jumping up and down the stairs. There are varying options to treat this bone and joint problem, which can range from medical therapy to surgery.
Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia (TVD)
TVD in the Weimaraner breed is a congenital and hereditary cardiovascular disease commonly found in large dogs. It is caused by a defect in the tricuspid valve, resulting in abnormal blood flow.
Weimaraners with mild cases of TVD can be cured through medications, a low-salt diet, and weight management. A Weimaraner puppy with mild TVD can live a normal life. It is a different matter for a puppy with severe TVD, as he may not live to see his first birthday.
Affected Weimaraners often require tricuspid valve replacement surgery for treatment. However, note that this is an extremely risky option.
The Weimaraner breed will need to undergo various health tests, including hip, eye, and thyroid evaluation. These tests will determine the likelihood of the dog developing the said diseases. Be sure to buy a puppy from a reputable breeder whose breeding dogs have undergone these tests.
How to exercise your Weimaraner
The Weimaraner, being a very intelligent and active dog breed, does not easily tire out. If your dog is not given a proper outlet to let out his pent-up energy, he may develop destructive tendencies such as incessant barking, digging, and destroying furniture.
Thus, the Weimaraner dog breed should be exercised for at least 2 hours daily. The activity should involve a combination of physical and mental stimulation.
A well-bred Weimaraner puppy will cost £400–£900. The total cost for his dog food is between £40 and £50 a month.
His dog accessories and equipment such as food bowls, lead, collar, and the bed will cost around £200 depending on the brand.
Weimaraner medical fees, including vaccinations, routine checks, and annual boosters, can reach approximately £320–£430 annually.
If you opt to get pet insurance, it can cost £30 a month for a basic cover and £67 a month for a lifetime cover. These prices vary depending on your dog’s health, age, size, weight, the type of cover you chose, and whether he has pre-existing health conditions.
On average, caring for this dog breed will cost about £80–£120 a month, depending on the type of insurance. This is exclusive of walking or grooming services that you might want to use at times.
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The Weimaraner breed is a majestic dog to behold. Nicknamed the Gray Ghost, with his sleek physique, beautiful silver-gray coat, and energetic personality, you may be seriously contemplating of owning this breed.
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Caring for a Weimaraner often demands a lot of time of patience, and sometimes it can be overwhelming. To lend you a helping hand, we will point out the specific needs of this medium-to-large breed and how to address them.