A gundog of German origin, the Weimaraner is a lively and responsive canine with an athletic physique and intelligent mind. Their sturdy conformation and characteristic courage saw early Weimaraners working in conjunction with big game hunters, sourcing bears, wolves, boars and deer, while contemporary Weimaraners are often seen displaying their agility and versatility in competitions or outperforming their owners on long walks.
Bred as hunting dogs for the Court of Weimar, the Weimaraner breed dates back to the reign of Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, in 1815. They are widely believed to have descended from bloodhounds, with selected dogs chosen to create an attractive hunting breed to accompany the nobility on their sporting excursions. Unlike other hunting dogs of the time, Weimaraners were bred with the intention of residing with the owner, rather than in the kennel, leading to the affable, family-orientated personality for which the breed is known today.
Weimaraners' bloodhound heritage provides them with muscular bodies of effortless gait and a medium size (wither height 61-69 cm for dogs and 56-64 cm for bitches). The Kennel Club standard acknowledges their powerful build with a well-developed chest, strong jaws and level topline dropping to a slightly lower croup. While there are longer-haired individuals, the breed is known for its short, sleek, silver coat, earning it the nickname of "the grey ghost", with a metallic sheen of minimal shed and requiring little maintenance.
The head features round, high-set blue/grey or amber eyes, a perfect scissor bite and a prominent occipital bone. Ears should be long and slightly folded, ending an inch from the point of nose. The neck is long and clean cut, broadening into a deep chest and well-sprung ribs leading to a tightly held abdomen. For good conformation, the measurement from the point of shoulder to the point of buttock should be greater than wither height, at a desired ratio of 12:10. Hindquarters should be moderately angular and muscular, with both hind- and forelegs resting on compact, firm feet with well-arched toes and thick, close pads. Customarily docked, the tail should be in proportion to the body and, if left in a natural state, taper towards the hocks.
The breed tends to enjoy good health but is vulnerable to gastric dilatation volvulus, mast cell tumours, auto-immune diseases and eyelid/eyelash disorders. Hip dysplasia does not pose a particular threat and owners can expect a lifespan of up to 13 years.
Weimaraners are keen, clever and fearless dogs whose lively natures, extensive stamina and robust strength make them unsuitable for nervous, inexperienced owners or households in which they may be left unsupervised for long periods of time. Although charming, Weimaraners are also strong-willed, occasionally stubborn and susceptible to their strong hunting instincts, and they require significant physical and mental stimulation to prevent the development of destructive behaviours. They are demanding dogs prone to jealous, possessive acts if not appropriately trained and they may experience separation anxiety more readily than other breeds.
Weimaraners can appear aloof to outsiders but, thanks to their loyal and sociable temperament, they are able to form solid relationships with family members and assume a protective guard dog role. They may be too assertive and rambunctious to live with younger children; however, when allowed to participate fully in a family setting, these quick thinking and cheerful dogs are playful, happy companions and popular among busy households.