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The Weimaraner Breed and Traits

I absolutely love my beautiful “Grey Ghosts”. The Weimaraner is a particularly striking breed with their silky silver-grey coats and blue-green eyes. It’s not for everyone though. I wouldn’t trade mine for the world, but I knew what I was getting into before I got them by doing thorough research on different dog breeds. I have only ever had Labs before, another great dog, but after losing my chocolate “Penny”, my heart was too heavy to fall in love with another Lab! So if you are thinking or just want to know a little more about Weimaraners, let me tell you first hand!

Weimaraners are known for their fine, short, sleek gray coat. The color ranges from a mouse gray to a silver-gray, and there are a number of “blue” Weimaraners that are almost a charcoal gray. Their distinctive colors have led to this breed being nicknamed the Silver Ghost or Gray Ghost. Their coat color is definitely rare among dog breeds. Most have very long classy lines, long noses and large floppy beagle ears, but there is also a more robust square head line that reminds me of a square or boxy Labrador head. I happen to have one of each.

They were originally known as Weimer Pointers (they come from the court that supported the breed) and are the product of selective German breeding. Weimaraners come from the same general stock as other German hunting breeds. They are believed to be descendants of the Bloodhound and were originally used to hunt wolves, deer and bears. Over the years, due to the scarcity of larger game in their environment, the Weimaraner was adapted to become a bird dog and personal hunting companion. They are pointers, most will alert and point instinctively without training, and they have a keen sense of smell.

Weimaraners are devoted and loving family members, and although they are usually quite large, 60-90 pounds, they prefer to be at home with their people. They are extremely intelligent, but Weims can be selective about when and how they use their intelligence. For example, they may yawn while being taught how to “stay” or “flip” or just give you the LOOK, but the moment you turn your back, they’ve figured out how to turn a doorknob and sneak out. My folks managed to pull a 14 pound frozen solid turkey out of a sink and were halfway through the frozen turkey before their mischief was discovered, which was only about 5 minutes!

Weimaraners have a tendency to rule the household if not properly trained. A strong-willed owner with the time and ability to train, socialize and play with the Weim is almost a must. As with most dogs, neglect or mistreatment of a Weim can lead to destructive behavior that can include property damage, excessive barking and soiled carpets. If you’ve driven them crazy, they’ll let you know, not with aggression, but with excessive stubbornness. You can tell that whatever they do is ON PURPOSE, fully planned but perhaps not thought through as to the consequences!

Although they are very kind and gentle, Weimaraners can inadvertently turn things (and people) upside down. For this reason, they are probably not the best apartment dwellers, nor the best around very young children or the elderly. They sure love their water bowls and usually kick up a good sized puddle around their drinking area! Weims are also known to want to come over and give you a big wet doggy kiss right after drinking…at least mine did! They WILL bark at unfamiliar or strange noises, being very alert to what is going on around them. If you get them as puppies and have other animals around them, they will socialize quite well, but not so well with cats or small dogs. Their natural hunting instinct is strong and when they grow up it is not easy to introduce a new member to what they consider to be their pack or family. Weims are known to be very protective and particular about their person or their family.

Weimaraners need plenty of exercise and if possible a large yard to play in. On the subject of yards, the Weims are very good at getting away with them! They are known to unlock gates and jump fences and can also dig like pigs. My folks actually pulled out of the house a bit because they smelled a lizard that had crawled out the back to get out of the heat, and the dogs! By all means take them out and give them time to play, but experts don’t recommend leaving them alone in the yard for significant periods. They are very, very sneaky, and once again, they are escape artists!

So who would do best with a Weimaraner? The ideal person for a Weim is someone who is active and has time to spend with their dog. Young singles or families with older children are ideal. Raising a Weimaraner requires patience and a more peaceful calm person with a kind disposition. They absolutely do NOT respond to shouts or knocks. They are sensitive! In fact, they will go out of their way to do the opposite of what you want if they are aggressively treated. I have been told, especially by the vet, that my Weims are actually very calm and well behaved for the breed, but that is because I have a very calm gentle nature and spent a lot of time with them as puppies to avoid any destructive behavior. Their breed is known for being a bit hyper or excitable.

A healthy Weimaraner can live up to 17 years with 12 to 14 years being the average. Some common health problems for a Weim include hip dysplasia, tumors and immune system disorders. Weims are also prone to bloat. Instead of one big meal, two smaller meals a day are enough.

Overall, they are gorgeous and so full of personality. Their expressions, beauty and the way they interact with their person are priceless. The characteristics explained above are typical, but with any breed of dog, your animal is going to respond largely to its environment and how it is raised and treated. Any breed of dog can make a good dog, and vice versa. It is best to fully understand what you are getting into when adopting a Gray Ghost or any breed for that matter. Becoming a dog parent is a huge responsibility and a 12 to 18 year commitment that should never be taken lightly or done on a whim. But I have to say, it’s pretty hard to resist one look at the sweet puppy face of a little Weimaraner with those big blue eyes and floppy ears!

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