About Weimaraners

By Anne Taguchi | Last Updated: August 10, 2021

Anyone who has spent any amount of time around a Weimaraner knows this: You either love the breed or you hate it.

Despite their regal good looks, they often act quite the opposite. They can be goofy, rambunctious, naughty, manipulative, hellish and super energetic. They ain’t for the weak!

Overall, they are a relatively healthy breed with a good life expectancy. There is a lot to love about the Weimaraner, and if you’re here to learn more about them, this article is a great place to start!

The Breed’s Development

Ask any Weim owner, and they’ll definitely say this breed is not for everyone.

A little insight into the Weimaraner’s development as a German hunting dog will explain some of the standard “behavioral issues” that can include things like:

But you have to remember what they were bred for to understand much of their behavior. Weims are medium-sized, powerful sporting dogs, considered “continental” or “versatile” gundogs. These “jack of all trades, master of none” dogs were originally used for many types of game and were bred to have multiple jobs.

(If you want to read a well-researched (and gorgeously photographed!) post on the origins of the breed, please see Craig Koshyk’s Breed of the Week: Weimaraner posts on his Pointingdog Blog.)

Weimaraners needed to be courageous and think independently in order to do their job in the field or in the water. At the same time, they needed to be able to follow instruction, and work cooperatively with their owner.

Though they are hunting dogs, Weimaraners were developed with the additional responsibility of being watch dogs and companions in the home. They are excellent family dogs and generally great with kids.

Roger Caras was famous for saying that the only thing really wrong with the breed is that Weims can be smarter than their owners! Weims can be pushy, manipulative and hell on wheels if the owner lets them be “that” dog. Top that off with a pretty keen prey-drive (even those not particularly bred for hunting), and no wonder why some people hate this breed!

But if the Weimaraner’s zest for life, curiosity, energy, intelligence and devotion, sounds like your kind of dog, this breed might be for you. Read on!

The Weimaraner’s Character

weimaraners-are-smart
Seriously, lady?

The Tenacious and Intelligent Weimaraner

Weimaraners are a thinking breed that can use their smarts for good or evil — and seem to come with a highly developed “conniving gene.”

Staying one step ahead of your Weimaraner is the key to living in peace and keeping your house intact. A bored Weimaraner with too much mental energy to burn is going to get creative. Fences are barriers to be jumped, counters are nothing more than a flat surface from which to steal food, cabinets can be easily pulled open, “dog proof” trash cans are considered a challenge, and humans can often be seen as mere treat-dispensers.

As a hunting breed, give your Weimaraner a job and they will do their best to please you. They tend to be sensitive — a stare of disapproval can wither some Weimaraners — but being as smart as they are, if they sense any lack of follow through, they will ignore you. And then proceed to walk all over you.

The Velcro Weimaraner

Weimaraners want to be with you, and they’ll bug you (and bug you) for attention. They will follow you everywhere, and when you sit, they’ll either be on top of you or at least touching every inch they can. They’ll happily smother you in bed, more than likely sleeping width-wise with their feet poking your back. They’re nosy too, gotta see what you’re doing and what’s going on.

In contrast to their neediness and clownish character towards their owners, they tend to be aloof and even snobbish to people they don’t know.

It can be difficult for those who have not spent considerable amount of time with Weimaraners to describe this dichotomy of needy and aloof traits, but it’s fair to say that because this breed is owner-oriented, their devotion, if not managed correctly, can lead to behavioral problems, namely separation anxiety. SA is not a breed characteristic per se, but the breed has a tendency towards it, and it can definitely explode into a full blown problem if the owner doesn’t address this issue from the get go.

The Sneaky Weimaraner

Weimaraners are smart dogs as mentioned earlier — and can definitely be too smart for their own good! If you’ve been duped by a Weim, you aren’t the first, and you aren’t the last.

Weims will take advantage at every opportunity, and are smart enough to know who the push over is in any situation! Case in point, I actually TRAINED my Weims to counter-surf (It was an accident!!) because I was always one step behind my crafty two.

Weimaraners are also very curious and will get into things. They will resort to being sneaky if it means they have learned that doing something behind your back would be the best way to accomplish their task. Yes, sneaky and determined.

That’s why crate training is really a must with this breed, especially a puppy!

The Goofy Weimaraner

You must have a sense of humor in order to own a Weimaraner because there WILL be times when they best you, and it’ll be a laugh or cry situation.

Staying one step ahead is a common theme with these dogs, because they are known to be pretty inventive if left to their own devices. Results may vary. (And usually it’s not what you want.)

What all this means is that training is a must. Training isn’t only about controlling your Weim and teaching him to be a good canine citizen; it’s just as much about keeping that busy mind occupied and keeping boredom at bay.

Weimaraners are quite trainable and respond well to positive methods.

The Game Weimaraner

Weimaraners are hunting dogs! Even those kept as pets have mostly retained this heritage to some degree or another. Understanding this will go a long way in living peaceably with this breed.

In order to be good hunters, the breed was developed with:

The breed is highly energetic! If Weims are not used for hunting, there must be an alternative outlet for their energy whether it is as a jogging or hiking companion or as a competitor in various dog sports. The bottom line is that Weimaraners need to be doing things!

“A tired Weimaraner is a good Weimaraner!”

Weimaraner Health and Life Expectancy

Weimaraners are generally a pretty healthy breed with life expectancy of around 12+ years. 10 and 11 year olds are often still spry. Living to 14 or 15 isn’t that uncommon. The oldest Weim I’ve personally heard of lived to 18, and I can think of a handful going to 16.

The most common health issues with Weimaraners tend to center around auto-immune issues. We know that due to the recessive gray coat color, there had to have been fairly severe in-breeding in the early development of the breed in order to keep the color homozyous for the recessive color. We also know that the breed was almost decimated after WWII in Germany, and naturally, in-breeding needed to be utilized then in order to bring the breed back.

Whether this is the reason the breed tends to suffer from auto-immune issues is up for debate. Regardless, the common health issues with Weimaraners tend to revolve around sensitivities to vaccination (or over-vaccination), sensitivities to some drugs (such as flea medications), poor digestion and irritable bowel disease. Hypertrophic osteodystrophy and autoimmune thyroiditis are also in this family of immune system issues that plague Weimaraners.

As a larger breed, hip dysplasia comes up now and then, but breeders have been doing a great job in testing for this, and in my observation, “bad hips” are less common now that we are seeing more testing.

Health Testing That the Weimaraner Club of America Recommends

Other Weimaraner Health Issues

The Regal Weimaraner

Most people are immediately attracted to the Weimaraner’s look. They are gorgeous dogs that require little grooming — this probably the only area that they are low-maintenance!

And who can help but not melt at the sight of a Weimaraner puppy! Those blue eyes! Unfortunately, the blue eyes change as they grow up, fading first and then start turning into an amber color that can be light or dark amber. Some Weims’ eyes will stop changing color earlier and stay a light blue, but no adult Weim will have those piercing blue eyes like a puppy!

The hallmark of the breed is its gray coat color, and if you are in the United States, the quintessential Weimaraner is a short-coated gray dog. What we call “gray,” by the way, in terms of color genetics is dilute chocolate/brown. However the breed actually comes in different colors, coat types and aren’t just short-coated gray dogs!

Take a look at the American Kennel Club (AKC) Weimaraner Standard for a description of the “ideal look” for a Weimaraner. Standards are not “created” by the AKC. They are approved by the Board of Directors of the Weimaraner Club of America by member vote and adopted by the AKC.

If you want to go a little deeper, here is the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) Weimaraner Standard. This what people mean when they say, “the German Standard.” But it is really the standard for almost everyone else in the world and is referred to this way because the Weimaraner breed originated in Germany.

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About Anne Taguchi

Surviving life with Weims!

32 responses to “About Weimaraners”

  1. Julia Maguire says:

    My weim is a goofball. If he is upset with me I can tell because he full on ignores me.. won’t even look at me. He will even make a point of walking by me to get attention from someone else. They are such people.

  2. Dean says:

    Mine is stuck to us, on us, following us, etc.. etc…

    His favorite place is on my lap… when I allow it. He constantly wants to play. He won’t just sit and wait to play but actually nip your hands (in a playful manner) until you pay attention. But…. I wouldn’t own another breed. Once you’re hooked your hooked.

    Mine loves people so much we have to lock him up when we have new visitors. He’ll pester the heck out of people.

    One thing I can’t break him of is licking visitors in the face when they enter my home. Once he licks them one time he’s ok but he feels that’s the way to greet. Tried everything but he won’t stop it. He’s almost 2 so he’s still young.

    Even though he is well trained in many areas it seems he will not blindly follow commands. It seems that he often thinks about commands and decides to follow or not.

  3. Shannon says:

    I have a 6 year old male weim and we recently lost our 11 year old weim female. He did not seem depressed or upset at her passing (thankfully) but I attribute much of that to having my sister and her dachshund staying with us for a few months. Now they are moving out and I am concerned my weim will be lonely without a dog companion. What would my fellow weim lovers suggest? Get him a companion or let him enjoy getting all the attention?

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      I would try to see how he does alone, he might be OK with the way the transition happened with another dog there. Unless of course you want another, then go for it! 🙂

  4. Ann Howlette says:

    I always have a buddy to the bathroom, and across the room, and in bed.

  5. Jake Dempsey says:

    It’s nice to have a partner on the pooper lol

  6. Gaynor Williams says:

    Know that feeling!

  7. Carissa Cornell says:

    So true! But they are so lovable!

  8. Kelly Masters says:

    So true

  9. Ion Gesulga says:

    Yup.

  10. Shana Cooper says:

    60.5 lbs of pure love 🙂 she’s definitely a lap dog.

  11. Don Brooks says:

    For sure best dog ever

  12. Joy Carter says:

    My boy follows me everywhere even puts his head on my pillow when we go to bed love him

  13. Patricia Farber says:

    OH SO TRUE !!!

  14. Mary Beth Goehl says:

    Humans only sit on the toilet so they can give back scratches!

  15. brenda says:

    Totally Velcroooo…our Weima is trully the most loveable dog we ever had…i have 3 children and he equally loves them each dearly….so intelligent and goofy…and soo affectionate…and yes he does follow me even to the shower!!! We love u Weima

  16. Patricia says:

    Thank you so much for the site it is fantastic great to relate
    Have had seven Weimers at different times and all of them demanding funny couldn’t live without them thanks so much for this column you’re right on the spot

  17. Kathy Rooks says:

    That was my life for 10 short years

  18. UrielSylvya Ruiz says:

    Yes so very true that is my Odom

  19. Jim Steinmark says:

    Weims are so intelligent, energetic and get bored easily that they will do things to get themselves in trouble.

  20. Heidi Fleming says:

    Ha! My girl has tried swallowing baby bunnies. Weimaraner owners can’t be squeamish about pulling something out of your dogs throat.

  21. Lynda Upton says:

    My Weimaraner brought me a tiny baby bunny yesterday. It can’t be more than 3 or 4 days old. He gently placed it in a towel I had in my hand. I figured he would take me to where he found it but no…he wanted to play ball. After many hours looking for the nest to no avail I guess I will hand feed it goats milk. I hope he survives. Dexter was so proud of himself! Any suggestions as what to do with this little guy will be greatly appreciated. He’s taken to me feeding him but I’d really like to find someone to take over!

    • Lynda Upton says:

      Dexter did it again. He doesn’t hurt the bunnies and carries them so gently in his mouth and gives them up to me. He also lives with 2 cats. The first bunny died after 3 days of me trying to keep it alive. I hope it’s mama finds where I placed him out of Dexters nose!

  22. Natalie Kindy says:

    ✔️✔️✔️all of the above!

  23. Deedra says:

    This is so true. My weim Molly Moo Moo is a respiratory service dog. She is amazing. Her mental focus is what makes her shine.

  24. CazzzHenderson says:

    Oh how we still miss our beloved Wei. He was a stunning beast to say the least he was huge in size and at the age of about 6 months he challenged me over who was in charge as I had no plans to breed with him he had a little visit to the Vet . I was in charge but he still tried to be the boss just like a child does. Although saying that we have to move interstate leaving him for 4 months with friends until we could get him – that 4 months messed him up but I put him with a great dog trainer who taught us both who had to be in charge again
    He and the cat pretended to hate each other if we were watching but if they didn’t see us they would play together.
    My daughter at age of 14/15 would walk klms at night with him, yes at night, I knew that dog would die for her. I knew she was safe. I also knew he stopped the boyfriends getting too close much to my amusement .
    His biggest crime yes crime was stealing food anyone not put butter or cheese away it was no longer there. Stole chops off the BBQ nearly choked to death but daughter shoved her arm down his throats and pulled 2 chops out. Lessons learnt that BBQ never leave alone and put food in the fridge.
    He was a kind gentle dog with little kids the best family dog for us at the time.

  25. Tom and Matt says:

    This is Bob the CalWEAR rescue Weim! His passive-aggressive huffing always makes us laugh.

  26. Anissa Atwater says:

    We got ours from a shelter. He was 9months old. Never had this breed before. Great dog. So funny. Great with everyone including our other dog and 2 cats

  27. Alicia McLean says:

    Hello! I love your page, thanks for all the great articles. My weim is 4 and has always had an obsession with blankets (chewing blankets specifically). She was crate trained and has next to no separation anxiety which is great, now she roams freely in the house and sleeps on our couch. She never destroys anything now. But she has to have a blanket with her to sleep, even in the summer. Otherwise she whines and moans all night, or turns to shredding the couch cushions (making her own nest out of stuffing and fabric scraps). We take the blanket away during the day but it inevitably develops holes and more holes until we throw it away and replace. My question is – what type of fabric would be the best for her next blanket? I worry about her teeth and also the small amount of fabric she is probably ingesting as well. Or should we try and train this (very hardwired) habit out of her?

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      If you can live with the habit, I probably wouldn’t bother trying to train that out of her. My dogs will sometimes do that too. If I don’t remove everything and make them hang out in their crate with nothing, the compromise for me is to go buy fleece by the yard and just throw them away when they have too many holes.
      It could also be that your dog is a nooker and not doing it to be destructive.

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