Is a Weimaraner Right for You?
Living with a Weimaraner (Carole Richardson)
Living With A Weimaraner
By Carole Lee Richards
Weimaraners are the perpetual two year old – loveable, active, loyal to a fault, and with the attitude, “It’s all about ME!” While I love them, I have to utter the time worn phrase, “They’re not a breed for everyone.” But since there is no breed of dog that can live up to the universal wants and needs of all dog owners, the Weimaraner is a wonderful choice for many people.
If you chose a Weimaraner as a member of your household, you’ve got to like a big, active, intelligent, hunting breed. Males can reach heights of 25˝-27˝, and weigh 70-90 lbs; females typically are 23˝ to 25˝ in height, and weigh 55-75 lbs. They are strong animals with the stamina and desire to work and play for long stretches of time. Weimaraners need exercise,” these three little words cannot be overstressed. They need an outlet for all their energy, and they prefer exercise they can do with you. They are delighted to join you in physical activities, revel in long runs in the field, and they consider swimming on a hot summer day is a treat beyond description. As a friend of mine always says, “A tired Weimaraner, is a good Weimaraner,” and I’d add, “…a happy Weimaraner”.
It’s hard to generalize about the Weimaraner personality but a core trait that runs in the veins of all of them, is that they are people-centric. They love the company of humans to the point that they will follow you around your house like a second shadow. Weimaraners are always underfoot, curious, wanting to be involved in your activities. In my house every meal I prepare is supervised by a Weimaraner. I’ve had them walk into the shower with me, poke their nose into any book I’m trying to read and bark at the vacuum cleaner as if it was a humming, electrical monster that is trying to eat the rug. And then there’s the issue of where they sleep. Their preference is to sleep as near to you as possible. If permitted, they will invade your bed and then try to take as much territory as they can. If relegated to a dog bed on the floor, don’t be surprised if they drag it as near to your bed as possible.
While their need to be with people can be wonderful it also works to their detriment. This characteristic makes them very difficult to kennel and separation anxiety is one of the most prevalent reasons cited when they are given up to Rescue. Crate training is highly recommended and should be part of the Weimaraner’s regular routine.
For a more academic description of the Weimaraner personality, the AKC standard describes the ideal Weimaraner temperament as, “…fearless, friendly, alert and obedient.” I’d agree, but with the caveat that the last one in that list is a learned behavior that needs to start when they are very young. If you don’t train a Weimaraner to do what you want, they’re very creative and will pursue their own desires.
A well trained Weimaraner is a joy to live with but an untrained one is hell on paws. From puppyhood on, Weimaraners need consistent training that is applied gently but firmly to channel their high energy. They are very smart and learn quickly, so never underestimate the intelligence and trainability of the Weimaraner. They are sponges just waiting to soak up experiences and learn. With skillful training even tiny puppies can learn basic obedience commands, point birds and retrieve to hand. Once they learn something (whether it is a good thing or a bad thing), it’s in their little heads forever.
“Do Weimaraners chew a lot? Are they destructive?” The answers to these questions depend on a number of factors. I’ve owned dogs that I swore were part beaver, while others are content to chomp on toys and other designated chewables. Part of it is learning, and part is making life interesting enough that chewing is not an outlet for frustration and a way to burn off excess energy. What comes to mind is the saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop,” and I wonder if a Weimaraner inspired that quotation.
Grooming a Weimaraner is a dream come true for those of us who are not inclined to the art of primping. Doing the basics of nails and teeth makes up the majority of the work. Their short, sleek coats wash out and dry quickly, making baths a minor chore. The frequency of baths depends on where they get to run. Being hunters, when they get to wander the fields, they will try to disguise their own scent by rolling in stinky things. They proudly and persistently put on “perfume” that only a creature with an inverse sense of smell would appreciate.
The Weimaraner is a versatile breed. As owners, we’ve given many roles to Weimaraners and they continually rise to the occasion. They are loyal hunting partners, athletic Agility competitors, dazzling show dogs, gentle Therapy dogs and constant, loyal companions. The versatility of the Weimaraner and their need for activity to expend their physical and mental energy is a hallmark of the breed.
Weimaraners are strong of heart, full of energy and want to be with their people. They’d make great politicians, trying to convince you that what they want is also in your best interest. They’re smart, manipulative, athletic, endearing and persistent. As I list these characteristics, some of you are totally turned off at the idea of such a dog, while others are intrigued and thinking that’s exactly what I want in a dog. Personally, I can say that I’ve shared my home with Weimaraners for over thirty years and cannot imagine life without one.
Carole Lee Richards – got her first Weimaraner in 1978. Although she, “…just wanted a pet,” her interest in the breed has mushroomed, handling dogs in the show, field, agility and obedience arenas. For years she handled in conformation, pointing or finishing the championships on over 100 dogs and campaigning several dogs to Top Ten for their breed in the United States.
Carole co-authored the award winning book, “Raising A Champion, A Beginner’s Guide to Showing Dogs,” which is now in its seventh printing. She has also contributed to a book that was published in England entitled “The Weimaraner Today” and published articles in a number of national dog magazines. Her dogs appear in numerous books and TV commercials. She is also the AKC Gazette breed columnist for the Weimaraner Club of America, an AKC Delegate and an AKC judge.
Article originally appeared in Showsight Magazine
Weimaraner Breed Standard
A medium-sized gray dog, with fine aristocratic features. He should present a picture of grace, speed, stamina, alertness and balance. Above all, the dog’s conformation must indicate the ability to work with great speed and endurance in the field.
Height at the withers: dogs, 25 to 27 inches; bitches, 23 to 25 inches. One inch over or under the specified height of each sex is allowable but should be penalized. Dogs measuring less than 24 inches or more than 28 inches and bitches measuring less than 22 inches or more than 26 inches shall be disqualified.
Moderately long and aristocratic, with moderate stop and slight median line extending back over the forehead. Rather prominent occipital bone and trumpets well set back, beginning at the back of the eye sockets. Measurement from tip of nose to stop equals that from stop to occipital bone. The flews should be straight, delicate at the nostrils. Skin drawn tightly. Neck clean-cut and moderately long. Expression kind, keen and intelligent. Ears--Long and lobular, slightly folded and set high. The ear when drawn snugly alongside the jaw should end approximately 2 inches from the point of the nose. Eyes--In shades of light amber, gray or blue-gray, set well enough apart to indicate good disposition and intelligence. When dilated under excitement the eyes may appear almost black. Teeth--Well set, strong and even; well-developed and proportionate to jaw with correct scissors bite, the upper teeth protruding slightly over the lower teeth but not more than 1/16 of an inch. Complete dentition is greatly to be desired. Nose--Gray. Lips and Gums--Pinkish flesh shades.
The back should be moderate in length, set in a straight line, strong, and should slope slightly from the withers. The chest should be well developed and deep with shoulders well laid back. Ribs well sprung and long. Abdomen firmly held; moderately tucked-up flank. The brisket should extend to the elbow.
Coat and Color
Short, smooth and sleek, solid color, in shades of mouse-gray to silver-gray, usually blending to lighter shades on the head and ears. A small white marking on the chest is permitted, but should be penalized on any other portion of the body. White spots resulting from injury should not be penalized. A distinctly long coat is a disqualification. A distinctly blue or black coat is a disqualification.
Straight and strong, with the measurement from the elbow to the ground approximately equaling the distance from the elbow to the top of the withers.
Well-angulated stifles and straight hocks. Musculation well developed.
Firm and compact, webbed, toes well arched, pads closed and thick, nails short and gray or amber in color. Dewclaws--Should be removed.
Docked. At maturity it should measure approximately 6 inches with a tendency to be light rather than heavy and should be carried in a manner expressing confidence and sound temperament. A non-docked tail shall be penalized.
The gait should be effortless and should indicate smooth coordination. When seen from the rear, the hind feet should be parallel to the front feet. When viewed from the side, the topline should remain strong and level.
The temperament should be friendly, fearless, alert and obedient.
Minor Faults--Tail too short or too long. Pink nose.
Major Faults--Doggy bitches. Bitchy dogs. Improper muscular condition. Badly affected teeth. More than four teeth missing. Back too long or too short. Faulty coat. Neck too short, thick or throaty. Low-set tail. Elbows in or out. Feet east and west. Poor gait. Poor feet. Cowhocks. Faulty backs, either roached or sway. Badly overshot, or undershot bite. Snipy muzzle. Short ears.
Very Serious Faults--White, other than a spot on the chest. Eyes other than gray, blue-gray or light amber. Black mottled mouth. Non-docked tail. Dogs exhibiting strong fear, shyness or extreme nervousness.
Deviation in height of more than one inch from standard either way.
A distinctly long coat. A distinctly blue or black coat.
Approved December 14, 1971