Personality: A friendly and alert dog, also loving and full of energy. The Weimaraner takes great joy in pleasing and working with its owner. An obedient breed, the Weimaraner will try to take the upper hand if not properly socialised and trained from an early age.
A great dog for: Singles and families who are active and have the time to offer their dog lots of opportunities for exercise and training. This dog is only for those who want to share their homes with their canine and who want a close-knit relationship with a loyal and energetic pooch.
Favourite activities: Thrives on exercise and obedience training. The Weimaraner will excel at all dog sports and is an especially proficient hunter and tracker. Without the physical and mental stimulation of these activities, this breed will become bored, destructive and unhappy.
Backyard requirements: While this breed does not require a huge backyard, it does need a reasonable amount of room to run around and burn off energy. To prevent your Weimaraner from following an intriguing scent, a fenced yard is a must.
Watchdog qualities: This breed is very wary of strangers and will size them up from a distance. Once the visitor is welcomed, the Weimaraner will be friendly. It is very protective of family members.
Sleek and silver, the aristocratic Weimaraner attracts attention wherever it goes. Captivating amber or grey eyes and a stunning silver coat come together in a breed that almost demands respect from owners and passers-by alike.
But while this dog can come across as noble and aloof, the Weimaraner is actually a down-to-earth, people-loving and affectionate breed that thrives on being part of its human pack. It is definitely not an outside dog and, if left to its own devices and not made to feel part of the family, the Weimaraner will become a sad shadow of its former self.
This need to be always close to its family was especially noticeable when the Weimaraner was used prolifically as a hunter in the 1800s. Known then as the Foresters Dog, this breed was always closely bonded with its hunter-master, spending days together with its owner but also resting at night by its masters side in front of the fireplace.
Known originally as the Weimar Pointer and used by German hunters to hunt big game, the Weimaraner was later used more for retrieving and tracking. Unlike some hunting dogs, the Weimaraner enjoyed hunting not only for the hunting itself, but because it was an activity shared with its owner and one which allowed the two to work closely together.
This is a real companion dog, stresses Val Peters, who’s been involved with the breed for the past 20 years.
It will want to be where you are. In fact, the thing I love most about this dog is its companionship your Weimaraner will just love you. Its not particularly a one-person dog; it will love the whole family.
Breeders agree if you want a dog that will be happy left alone, the Weimaraners not for you. But if its close-knit companionship you’re after and a dog that may never leave your side, this breed will probably hit the spot.
Val, who is vice-president of the Weimaraner Club of NSW, says that after losing her very special Dobermann, with which she shared her life for many years, she felt she couldn’t replace it with another of the same breed and opted instead for the Weimaraner.
I was struck by the breeds colour, eye colour and temperament, she explains, and have had them now for 20 years.
Val says that with its short coat which sheds only twice yearly, this dog is an especially easy one to look after, needing a bath only when necessary. It also has no doggy odour.
However, as with all dogs, training and socialisation are a must; the Weimaraner will definitely need obedience training.
This dog needs to know its place in the family and that its place is last! says Val. She adds that the breed is extremely clever and will learn quickly if taught appropriately.
Val tells the story of a Weimaraner puppy she sold to a lady who lived on a chicken farm. Despite the Weimaraners natural instinct to hunt and track down prey, this particular dog never touched a single chicken because it had been taught not to.
It was taught not to touch so it didn’t, relates Val. Although it was instinctively a gun-dog, it followed the rules. Its owner did the right thing by it.
Because of the Weimaraners natural hunting instinct, a fenced yard is a must to prevent this pooch from taking off after a scent. Although the Weimaraner is happy to be a lounge lizard, it loves walks and needs opportunities to burn off energy and be mentally stimulated.
But breeders emphasise that, as with all large dogs, no hard exercise should be undertaken until the dog reaches adulthood. Young dogs should never be run or jogged till fully grown.
According to Elizabeth Harding, president of the Weimaraner Club of Victoria, the Weimaraner thrives on obedience training and learning. She also emphasises that this intelligent breed is a natural tracking dog whose prime purpose is to hunt.
Unashamedly smitten with the breed I married them, she proudly confesses Elizabeth stresses that Weimaraners are born gun-dogs and still retain that ability.
This is an active dog requiring exercise and mental stimulation and is not suited to everyone, she says. We prefer that people who are not active do not buy this breed.
But, she says, while a working gun dog, its not an outside kennel dog and needs constant attention and family contact. Referring to the Weimaraner as a multipurpose dog, Elizabeth adds this wonderful breed is very smart, likes to be with people and can be very gentle.
The Weimaraner is good with children but, as always, supervision is recommended and children and dog need to learn to respect each other.
I had four Weimaraners when my son was born and they always accepted him, relates Elizabeth. In fact, they were very protective of the baby and definitely have a guarding instinct.
However, it is imperative kids understand dogs, just as dogs must be taught to understand kids, she says.
While the Weimaraner is clearly not for everyone, breeders emphasise that, for the right owner, this breed is an honour to live with. Its joy at spending time with its family, its sensitivity to your moods and its loyalty will add a precious spark to each day you spend with your Grey Ghost.
Rescue a ghost
Weimaraner rescue groups receive many calls each year from people who do not want their Weimaraners any more. The reasons are many: the owner isn’t able to provide sufficient exercise; the dog barks too much; it was an impulse purchase because the puppy was so cute; it didn’t really fit the owners lifestyle.
As most longtime Weimaraner owners can tell you, despite its many virtues this dog is not for everyone. It presents numerous challenges and requires consistent training at an early age so as to become an obedient adult. It loves its people dearly, but that’s no guarantee it will listen to your commands.
Rescued Weimaraners, overwhelmingly adults, are available for adoption after careful screening.
These dogs need homes with people who can appreciate their unique qualities and provide the care, training and love they deserve. If you don’t have the desire to housebreak and train a puppy, consider adopting an adult Weimaraner.
If you are interested, contact the Weimaraner Club of New South Wales to find out what is available. Contact Leone Kellett on (02) 9528 5704 for rescue information. The Weimaraner Club of New South Wales, ph (02) 9634 5776.
Daily: The Weimaraner is a high-energy breed that requires a good daily walk or off-leash run each day. However be careful not to over-exercise your young pup. The breed also requires lots of mental stimulation and does not take well to being left alone for long periods of time.
Weekly: A brush with a rubber groom glove to remove loose hairs. Check that ears are free of dirt and check if toenails need clipping.
Monthly: Heartworm, gastrointestinal, flea and tick treatments. The Weimaraner is also a wash-and-wear breed and requires bathing only when necessary Regular: Annual vaccinations and positive reinforcement training.
New South Wales: (02) 9634 5776
Northern Territory: (08) 8984 3570
Queensland: (07) 5497 9697
South Australia: (08) 8391 0318
Tasmania: (03) 6375 1281
Victoria: (03) 9436 1313
Western Australia: (08) 9456 1836