Dog Health & More
Originally bred as a gundog to handle big game like deer and bear, the "Silver Ghost" was a highly sought-after dog breed in its native Germany. Today, these elegant but demanding dogs can still be found out on the hunting grounds, but can also make a fine family friend if well exercised.
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Your first exposure to the Weimaraner may have been through the photographs, calendars, and books of William Wegman, a photographer who uses wigs, costumes, and props to capitalize on the breed's ability to assume almost human expressions. His ever-patient Weimaraners have impersonated Louis XIV, posed in bed watching television, and appeared as Little Red Riding Hood.
But the Weimaraner's earliest job was to serve as an all-around hunting dog who handled big game such as deer, bear, and wolves. As Germany's forests shrank and big game became scarce, the Weimaraner's handlers turned the breed's talents to hunt birds, rabbits and foxes.
He takes his name from the place in Germany where he was developed — the Court of Weimar, whose noblemen wanted a dog with courage married to intelligence, one with good scenting ability and speed and stamina on the trail.
How they achieved their dream dog, first known as the Weimar Pointer, is unknown, but it's believed that the breeds bred to create the Weimaraner include the Bloodhound, the English Pointer, the German Shorthaired Pointer, the blue Great Dane, and the silver-gray Huehnerhund, or chicken dog.
Today, Weimaraners are affectionately called Weims, Silver Ghosts, or Gray Ghosts. Part of their appeal lies in their sleek mouse-gray to silver-gray coat and light amber, blue-gray, or gray eyes. But there's far more to the Weimaraner than his distinctive appearance. The elegant, aristocratic dogs are loving and devoted.
A Weimaraner's first desire is to be with his people, preferably within touching range. It's not for nothing that many Weimaraners bear the name Shadow. They'll lie at your feet or follow you through the house.
Weimaraners aren't the breed for everyone, however. First-time dog owners need not apply. These dogs have a great deal of energy and stamina and need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. Without it, they're likely to become nervous and high-strung. They can be quite a handful, with loads of energy to burn, and the intelligence to figure out how to get into trouble all on their own!
Because they're hunting dogs, Weimaraners have a strong prey drive. If not trained or kept under control, they'll chase and kill anything that resembles prey, including cats and small dogs, mice, frogs, birds, and more. They will then proudly present you with their trophies. They'll also chase joggers and bicyclists.
Despite their hunting instincts, Weimaraners are house dogs (like most dogs). They're temperamentally unsuited to living in a kennel or being kept in the backyard with little human interaction.
Weims are independent thinkers and will constantly test your boundaries. If you haven't owned a Weimaraner before, you'll do well to attend puppy kindergarten followed by obedience class. Training should be gentle and firm, however, because harsh treatment will make him resentful.
Once he's trained, the Weimaraner is a versatile dog who can be an up-close-and-personal hunting companion, compete in agility, and be a fine family friend.