Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.
Intro / Overview
(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)
Is there a more regal looking dog breed than the Weimaraner? With their unique colors ranging from charcoal-blue to silver-grey, their amber or blue-grey eyes, and athletic appearance, Weimaraners turn heads wherever they go. However, appealing as they may appear, these loving and devoted dogs are not a breed for everyone.
Weims are known to be very high-maintenance, from following their humans wherever they go, to needing constant outlets for their excessive energy. First-time dog owners may not be ready for the explosion of dogness that is the Weimaraner. But if you have an active lifestyle, and want a dog that can live it right alongside you, then this may be the breed for you.
Also Known As…
Weim. Gray Ghost. Silver Ghost. “How do you pronounce Wrmrrmmr again?” “You can’t. It’s literally impossible.“
Weimaraners originated in Weimar, Germany in the 1800s, bred as gun dogs to hunt large game such as deer, wolves, and bear. Combining courage with intelligence, great scenting ability, speed, and stamina on the trail, Weimaraners were named after the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Karl August, whose court loved to hunt.
The breed, which was later refined to hunt smaller prey, such as birds, was highly exclusive to the Germans, who only allowed members of a club to have and breed Wiens. However, the hold on that exclusivity loosened during World War II, and at the end of the War, many American servicemen returned home with a Weimaraner in tow. Today, after years of fluctuating popularity, they are back at the top, ranking 30th among the 155 breeds registered by the American Kennel Club.
25-27 inches tall for males; 23-25 inches tall for females.
70-90 pounds for males; 55-75 pounds for females.
These happy, cheerful, loving dogs make excellent companions for those who have the ability and space to nurture their exuberant nature. Weims love to be part of the pack, to the degree that they are commonly named “Shadow.” Whether running by your side, or sleeping at your feet, Weimaraners are happiest when they’re doing something with you. Preferably active. Leaving them alone a lot can quickly lead to destructive behavior, as they are prone to separation anxiety.
They are also extremely intelligent, sometimes to a fault, as they can be strong-willed and will take over the household if given the opportunity. Socialization, training, and exercise/activity are the tools you will need to keep these lovers of life content. Weims are at their best when their living active lives alongside their humans.
Intelligence / Trainability
Weims are very intelligent and while they love to please, they also have a mind of their own. Firm, consistent, positive training started early and maintained throughout life is necessary to keep them on the straight and narrow. Obedience training, required to help calm and teach behavioral control, will be valuable throughout the dog’s life, as refreshers are often needed, and will help serve as exercise and stimulation as well. Training must remain positive as Weims can become resentful. They also thrive on having consistent daily routines.
Rescued Weimaraner will require extra patience, as recent changes can confuse and stress these routine-craving dogs. Likewise, they will require a sense of security and should be left alone as little as possible.
The more room to run the better, apartment-dwellers may want to think twice before limiting space to this super-active breed. Also, outdoor spaces need to be secure, as Weims can be rather good escape-artists, especially if they’re bored.
Good For Families And Kids?
This loving and devoted breed is great for high energy families and thrives when included in the fun. Weimaraners aim to please and are always looking for a job and will create their own if not given one, so it’s best to involve them in whatever the family is doing.
The average life expectancy for Weimaraners is 10-13 years.
Weimaraners are a pretty hardy breed, and although they can get suffer from hip dysplasia, the frequency has diminished due to conscientious breeding. These deep chested dogs are, however prone to bloat, the risk of which can be reduced by feeding several smaller meals daily and by avoiding exercise shortly after meals. Skin allergies can also be common.
Other health issues to be aware of involving Weims include hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy, von Willebrand’s Disease (an inherited blood disorder), and pituitary dwarfism.
Weims have an excessive amount of energy and stamina which will require all sorts of outlets. Letting boredom set in can and will lead to many undesired behaviors such as barking, digging, and destruction. Daily exercise regimens involving walks and runs are necessary, lifelong activities that will help your Weimaraner be the best dog they can be.
Along with exercise, these hunting dogs also need daily mental stimulation, which is not always easy to come by naturally. Agility and obedience training are excellent ways to burn both physical and mental energy. You can even find American Kennel Club sponsored tracking competitions for your Weim to compete in.
Friendly With… (Dogs? Strangers? Cats? Other Pets?)
With such a strong hunting instinct, Weims most often do not do well with smaller animals, including cats, rabbits, and even little dogs. Therefore, it’s best that interactions with smaller animals be closely monitored if not avoided altogether.
Weimaraners can also be suspicious and even reactive with strangers. This makes them excellent watchdogs but is not so great for welcome visitors. Socializing your Weim from a young age, if possible, may help curb this.
Coat & Grooming
Grooming is one of the more low-maintenance aspects of the Weimaraner. Teose beautiful short, fine, sleek coats (often charcoal-blue, mouse-grey, blue-grey, or silver-grey) is easy to keep clean with a couple brushings each week and the occasional bath. They are average shedders.
Weimaraners are great in the water and even have webbed paws for swimming. Speaking of making a splash, they are also messy drinkers.
Toys Weimaraners Would Like Best
Tough toys that encourage running, sniffing, and/or thinking are great options for Weims. Fetch Toys and Tug Toys are perfect for this sort of thing, while sniffing out treats in a good Puzzle Toy can keep that overactive mind busy for a bit.
For a more detailed list, check out the following post: What Are the Best Toys for Weimaraners?
Recommended Diet Or Supplements
You’ll want to refrain from exercising your Weim shortly after meals to avoid bloat. Feeding several smaller meals daily can help as well.
Supplements might be helpful for joint/hip pain or anxiety, but as always, consult your vet before administering them.
These delicious, vet-formulated chews are made with all-natural ingredients including Omega 3, 6, 9, and Vitamin E. They are designed to support immune health, provide relief from itchy allergic skin, and promote a healthy coat. ($19.99)
BARK’s Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with pet anxiety and pain relief. ($17.99-22.99.)
This joint supplement is veterinarian-formulated, made with all natural ingredients (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid), and comes in the form of 150 soft chews. Basically, it looks and tastes just like delicious treats, and it could really help your Weimaraner with their hip and joint issues. ($32.99.)
For senior Weims or dogs suffering from arthritis or hip dysplasia (or just any dog that enjoys lying down!), a comfortable, supportive dog bed is probably a good idea.
This dog bed is great for supporting your pup’s tired body. A high quality combination of ergonomic memory foam and gel foam helps ease body aches, joint pain, hip dysplasia and arthritis. This bed offers the best therapeutic support for your Weimaraner. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues To Find The Weimaraner Of Your Dreams
- Great Lakes Weimaraner Rescue is a volunteer run, nonprofit group whose primary mission is to help with the rescue and placement of Weimaraners in the Great Lakes region – including MI, OH, IL, IN and WI.
- Weimaraner Rescue of the South is an all-volunteer, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming of Weimaraners in need in Alabama, Mississippi, and parts of Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia.
- Mile High Weimaraner Rescue is located in the Denver, CO metropolitan area, and is made up of volunteers working tirelessly to find loving, permanent homes for unwanted or abandoned Weimaraners.
- Adoptable Weimaraners on Petfinder
Notable Instagram Weimaraners
Pippo and Bella are beautiful Weimaraners who gallivant across the world to also beautiful locales! Yes, we’re jealous of them!
This gorgeous rascal enjoys the beach life all year long. Follow her as she plays fetch, destroys toys, snuggles, and enjoys living the good dog life.
Like all Weims, Martin enjoys hanging out with his humans. In fact, he thinks he’s one of them. Follow the adorable mischief he gets into.
This wee Weim pup, just born this past March, is loving life in Canada. Watch as she grows and learns to be the best pup she can be.
***Looking for a gift to blow your Weimaraner’s mind? Spoil them with BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <– This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! 🙂
Featured image via PippoTheWeim/Instagram