Is a Weimaraner Right for You?

A Versatile Breed

Weimaraners are one of several breeds described as "versatile Continental hunting dogs." This description refers to the Weimaraner's diverse abilities: Originally bred in the Weimar Republic of 19th century Germany, Weimaraners have been developed to find and point game, track wounded game, and retrieve both birds or furred quarry. They usually have a strong prey drive and may not be good with cats or other small animals. Weimaraners typically have a stronger protective instinct than other hunting breeds. They are often natural guardians or watch dogs.

The versatile Weimaraner, nicknamed the "Grey Ghost" for its unique color, is also a dedicated companion dog. The Weimaraner is sometimes described as hunting more for the love of its master, rather than for the sake of hunting itself. From the early years of the breed to the present, Weimaraners have lived with their people as dedicated companions and hunting dogs. They are not kennel dogs and will suffer if shut away from their people.

An Aristocrat and a Clown

The Weimaraner personality is a complex mix of the aloof aristocrat and a silly clown. To strangers, Weimaraners may appear aloof and self-assured. With their own people, however, Weimaraners reveal a more complex personality. They are fun-loving, demanding, clever, devoted, cuddly, pushy, responsive, obedient, stubborn, and loving. Their expressive faces, groans, and sighs seem to convey a language all their own.

Dog trainer Matthew Margolis writes, "Weimaraners embody all of the negative characteristics of the hunting breeds. They are stubborn and strong-willed and try to get away with everything possible." The Weimaraner's "pushy" personality requires that their owner be a firm, fair leader. Without clear leadership, a Weimaraner will take over a household. Virginia Alexander and Jackie Isabel, long-time Weimaraner fanciers and breeders, note that "Weimaraners are a breed for those who enjoy a dog that is intensely devoted and responsive to attention--they demand attention, and will follow owners from room to room, usually lying down with body contact when owners sit down." Weimaraners are not a breed that can be ignored for long periods of time!

A Tired Weim is a Good Weim;
An Exhausted Weim is a Great Weim!

Weimaraners were developed as pointing dogs to search independently for game. This trait is revealed in their ability to hunt and run during a full day of hunting for as long as six hours. As Chris Walkowicz notes in The Perfect Match, "This kind of energy will explode if the dog is expected to be content with a stroll around the block and a once-a-day pat on the head." Weimaraners need abundant physical activity plus mental challenges to be content. Hunting, running, bicycling, hiking, swimming, retrieving, and romping through safe fields are all great ways for Weimaraners to exercise. Obedience training and tracking are good problem solving exercises for the ever-active Weimaraner mind. As Margolis notes, "If their pent-up energy is not released in some positive form, they are capable of destroying entire apartments."

What Can I Do With a Weimaraner?

The only thing you can't do with a Weimaraner is nothing. Weimaraners have excelled in a number of activities. They love to learn new skills and are always ready for a new challenge.

Weimaraners are currently used as upland bird dogs and, less frequently, as waterfowl retrievers. They tend to have a closer working range than other pointing breeds. This range is generally appropriate for the foot hunter. They are methodical, careful hunters. Weimaraners are renown for their sensitive noses and dedication to their master. Most Weimaraners are natural retrievers and swimmers.

Whether tracking wounded game or human scent, the outstanding Weimaraner nose prepares this breed well for a variety of tracking challenges. Many Weimaraner enthusiasts participate in AKC tracking events. Law enforcement has employed Weimaraners as working search and rescue dogs or drug detection dogs.

Competitive Obedience
Weimaraners learn quickly and are eager to please. Although they tend not to do well if training involves excessive repetition or force, Weimaraners have excelled in the obedience ring. Weimaraners enjoy learning new tasks and like to work closely with their people.

The athleticism and endurance of the Weimaraner prepares the breed well for dog sports like agility. Weimaraners tend to be physically confident, if not fearless, and thrive on the physical and mental exercise required by agility courses.

There are many more activities that would be enjoyed by a Weimaraner. If it's hard physical work and takes brains, too, a Weimaraner will probably love it.

The Physical Details

The Weimaraner is a large, short-coated dog with a lightly carried docked tail. The coat of the Weimaraner ranges from light silver grey to taupe to dark grey. Blue coats are a disqualification. Weimaraners may have very little hair on their belly and may be susceptible to scratches from briars and prickers. The eyes are usually light amber in color, but may also be blue. Females are usually between 23 and 25 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 55 and 70 pounds. Males are larger at 25 to 27 inches at the shoulder and 65 to 85 pounds. Grooming requirements for the breed include regular brushing (every few days for a few minutes at a time) to remove dead hair, regular cleaning of the long ears (every week or two), regular trimming of toe nails, and dental care. Although the Weimaraner has a very short coat, it does shed; however, the shedding will be much less visible than with longer coated breeds. Those who are allergic to dogs should spend time around Weimaraners before assuming that their coat will not cause a problem.

Do You Still Think a Weimaraner is Right for You?

Ask yourself these questions before you get a Weimaraner.

This is a breed you will either love or hate. Spend as much time around Weimaraners as you can before you decide if this is the breed for you. Getting in touch with your local Weimaraner club can help you find a Weimaraner and Weimaraner owners to meet, and can provide you with more information about the breed and local breeders.


Alexander, Virginia & Isabel, Jackie. Weimaraner Ways. Sunstar Press: Germantown, MD, 1993

Segal, Mordecai & Margolis, Matthew. Good Dog, Bad Dog. Henry Holt & Co.: New York, 1991

Tortora, Daniel F. The Right Dog For You. Simon & Schuster: New York, 1980

Walkowicz, Chris. The Perfect Match. Macmillan: New York, 1996



© 1998-2006 Tarheel Weimaraner Club