Anyone who has spent any amount of time around a Weimaraner knows this: you either love the breed or you hate it. Despite his many outstanding qualities, this breed is definitely not for everyone. In fact, if you ask any Weim lover to tell you about their breed, that’s probably the first response you’ll get.
The standard “behavioral issues” that people see with Weimaraners are many and include such things as chasing the family cat, barking at neighbors/cars/butterflies, escaping the confines of their yard/crate/kennel run, “separation anxiety” (which is a label for a plethora of things from following their owner around to the true clinical disorder), obsessive fetching or digging, killing or chasing small animals, stealing food, eating poop, and on and on it goes.
But stop for a second and think about what Weimaraners were bred for. They are medium-sized, powerful sporting dogs that are considered “Continentals” or “Versatile” gundogs. These “jack of all trades, master of none” dogs were originally used for many types of game including deer, wild boar, wolf, fox, hare, and various birds.
As these versatile breeds were fine-tuned, the unique nature of the Weimaraner was also developed — Weims were kept in the home and known to be intensely attached to their families. This trait made them good watchdogs. Weimaraners needed to be courageous and able to think independently since many hunting situations require that the dog make decisions that the owner may not even be aware of. They also needed to be able to use their own hunting skills to find their quarry, yet also take instruction from their owner –- a cooperative spirit is essential. Weims needed to be persistent enough to follow tracks for many hours in order to find wounded game.
The AKC standard describes them as “friendly, fearless, alert, and obedient” and this sounds like a simple combination of traits, but it actually only skims the surface of what the breed should be.
Weimaraners are a combination of extreme traits. Incredibly smart, they are known as “the dog with a human brain.” We ask them to think for themselves yet to follow our commands without exception. In a hunting situation it can be dangerous if they disobey. In city living, the same holds true when a dog fails to listen and darts in front of a car.
We have bred them to retain their hunting faculties — incredible noses, keen eyesight, high drive on game. Yet, more often than not Weimaraners are found in pet homes. This sets up some “interesting” situations for most owners, who quickly find out that the breed requires almost as much mental exertion as physical exertion, or the dog ends up in another home, usually leaving a large swath of destruction in his path.
An ideal Weimaraner in a home that understands its development and temperament is a lovely companion! But a Weim with a questionable temperament (maybe a bit too much drive and not enough sense?) put into a novice home who plans to raise the dog as a pet… this invites disaster.
Still Considering a Weimaraner?
Here’s a bit more about them: