Let's talk Weimaraners

Weimaraners, sometimes known as “silver ghosts”, were originally bred as hunting dogs. Nowadays though, these eye-catching canines are best known for their looks – sleek coats in subtle shades of grey, striking pale eyes and an aristocratic bearing. Energetic and intelligent Weimaraners are not low-maintenance dogs: they require plenty of attention – although paying attention to these beauties is hardly a chore. They also need plenty of exercise. But if you’re up to the challenge, they make a wonderful companion for their lucky humans.

Official name: Weimaraner

Other names: None

Origins: Germany

Black and white portrait of a sitting Weimaraner
 Drooling tendencies

Warm weather?
 Shedding level
Suited to apartment living?  Very low
 Energy Level (high, low, medium)* High Family Pet?* 

 Compatibility with other pets Medium
Can stay alone?* Very low

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.
 
For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).
 
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
 
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
 
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 
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Illustration of a Weimaraner
Male
59 - 70 cm Height
30 - 40 kg Weight
Female
57 - 65 cm Height
25 - 35 kg Weight

 

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 15 months
 Adult age  15 months to 5 years
 Mature age  5 to 8 years
 Senior age  from 8 years

Weimaraner caught mid-air bounding through a field

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Get to know the Weimaraner

All you need to know about the breed

With a regal bearing to match their aristocratic name (they were first bred in Germany by the Duke of Weimar), Weimaraners make an undeniably elegant canine addition to any family, although they have much more to offer beyond their beauty.

Silver, roe and mouse grey might sound like shades of upmarket paint, but these evocative terms in fact describe the different tones of that gorgeous velvety coat (calling it just plain grey doesn’t really do it justice).

Weimaraners may be best known for their ethereal beauty – hence the nicknames “silver ghost” or “grey ghost” – but in fact the breed has its paws firmly on the ground. Originally developed to help hunters handle big game such as deer, wolves and bears, these dogs are still energetic, courageous and tenacious with impressive stamina and a powerful sense of smell. Nowadays, as long as they get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, Weimaraners make great, affectionate family pets. They are wary of strangers and can make good guard dogs.

Once trained, Weimaraners get on brilliantly with their human families, including children (although they’re big dogs and always need to be supervised around little ones, who could easily be knocked over). Because of their hunting origins they have retained a strong prey drive: off-the-lead exercise needs to be in a securely enclosed space and they are not suitable for households with small pets such as hamsters.

Weimaraners don’t take well to being left alone for long periods. They appreciate plenty of attention from their humans and will repay that attention in the form of a strong, affectionate bond.

Grey Weimaraner puppy sat on a cut tree trunk

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2 facts about Weimaraners

1. Wegman’s Weimanarers

American artist William Wegman uses his own Weimaraners as his photographic muse, capturing them in human outfits or as historical figures. Wegman’s first Weimaraner (the first of many) was called Man Ray, after the artist.

2. Stripe-araner

Not content with their sublime looks as adult dogs, Weimaranar puppies perform a clever aesthetic trick – they are born with stripes! These fade a few days after birth. In fact, that’s not the only colour-changing trick these dogs can pull off. Weimaraners’ piercingly pale eyes start off blue and change to amber, blue-grey or grey over time.

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History of the breed

We have the Duke of Weimar, or Grand Duke Karl August of Weimar in central Germany, to be precise, to thank for the wonderful, versatile Weimaraner breed.

In the early 19th century, the German aristocrat set about developing a gun dog to help with hunting large prey such as bears, wolves and deer. The Weimaraner’s exact ancestry is unknown but the English Pointer, the Great Dane, the Bloodhound and the Hühnerhund are thought to feature in the mix. That mix resulted in something of a superdog: incredibly fast and intelligent, with phenomenal stamina and a powerful sense of smell – and, of course, beautiful.

The Weimaraner breed began to gain in popularity in the US in the early 20th century, and was recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1943. This elegant breed quickly got used to the high life. U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower owned one, as did Grace Kelly.

Black and white portrait of a Weimaraner puppy

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Weimaraners

1. Head

Regal bearing: broad skull, pale eyes, large ears

2. Body

Lean but muscular, tall-framed body

3. Coat

Short, dense coat (a rarer long-haired version also exists)

4. Colouring

Colouring from silver, roe to mouse grey

5. Tail

Low-set long and powerful tail

Close-up of the eyes of a grey Weimaraner

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Weimaraner
An adult and a puppy Weimaraner sat snuggling each other in fallen leaves

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Caring for your Weimaraner

Grooming, training and exercise tips

Grooming should be straightforward for this short-haired breed – just a regular brush to remove dead hair should do it. Weimaraners’ nails need to be trimmed regularly to avoid discomfort (a clicking sound when they walk across hard floors is a telltale sign it’s overdue). Weimaraners’ exercise needs should not be underestimated. These dogs were bred to run. And they need to run. A short amble around the block won’t cut it. Weimaraners are intelligent dogs and quick learners. But be warned, that means they will learn any bad habits quickly too – and unlearning them may be tricky. Training needs to start early and be consistent. Any food rewards should come out of your Weimaraner’s daily kibble ration to avoid the risk of them becoming overweight.

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All about Weimaraners

Weimaraners are not well suited to being alone for long periods, so they may bark if left too much to their own devices. On the positive side, they can make good guard dogs: although not known to be aggressive, they are naturally wary of strangers. Early socialisation can help them get used to people and other animals.

Yes – as long as the family in question is an active one. These dogs, famous for their speed and stamina, need to run. If their exercise needs are met they can be calm at home. Once trained, Weimaraners get on well with children and form strong bonds with their humans, relishing time with their families.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/