Breed At A Glance


Rambunctious, affectionate, and intelligent but willful

Life Expectancy
12-13 years

Average Height
Males 24-27 inches; Females 22-25 inches

Average Weight
Males 55-70 lbs; Females 50-65 lbs

Coat Color
Varying shades of medium gray

Coat Length/Texture
Short and fine (also a rare long-haired variety)

Shedding Propensity
Consistent year-round

Also known as Weimaraner Vorstehhund, Weim, Silver Ghost, Grey Ghost

General Temperament

The loving and energetic Weimaraner can be a wonderfully cheerful addition to an active family. They are very protective on their own turf and can be aloof with strangers, but are not aggressive towards people. Bred to hunt all day with their masters, Weimaraners are very athletic and possess tremendous stamina, and they require an outlet for this energy. Under the appropriate living conditions, this breed is exceedingly affectionate with a happy and even disposition.

Weimaraners are good companions for children, although they can be very rambunctious and may knock down smaller children and toddlers. They enjoy the company of other dogs, but are not recommended for households with cats or other small animals as their hunting instincts are quite strong.

“Sit and stay” should be the first technique covered when training a Weimaraner. Even as adults, they are very enthusiastic and love to “jump” up on people, which can be very dangerous to children and the elderly. Praise and variety are the best training techniques for the Weimaraner. Harsh training will only serve to make the dog timid or nervous and subsequently untrainable. Once training is established, the Weimaraner will follow for life.

This breed is not recommended for the sedentary or apathetic owner, nor is it recommended for apartment or city life. Weimaraners require extensive rigorous exercise, including a daily walk or jog and plenty of backyard playtime. They need to live inside amongst their human family. If kenneled outdoors or left alone for long periods, they can become destructive or neurotic or may bark excessively.

Breed History

The Weimaraner as a breed is only about two hundred years old, dating back to early 19th century Germany. This dog is the result of careful breeding by German nobles, who sought to combine the best qualities of hunting dogs of the day: nobility, courage, intelligence, speed and stamina. They were originally intended to hunt big game such as deer and wolves, but eventually adapted to hunt smaller game as well. Ownership of this breed was extremely guarded and coveted and, unlike most other pack hunting dogs of the time, Weimaraners lived inside the household with their masters. The ancestors of this breed may have included the Bloodhound, Vizsla, Mastiff, and/or the German Pointers.

The Weimaraner was granted full breed recognition with the American Kennel Club in 1943.

Body Structure and Composition

The large and lean Weimaraner was bred for a noble carriage and appearance, balance that still appears in the breed today. The muzzle is approximately equal in length to the skull, and the long pendulous ears are set high on the head. The Weim’s eyes are light amber, gray or blue-gray, although they can appear almost completely black when dilated under excitement. It’s long neck leads down to a sloping topline and a deep chest. The forelegs are straight and lean muscled; the hind legs should be well-angulated but similarly muscled. The Weimaraner’s tail is docked to 6 inches in the United States for conformation purposes, although this process has been banned in many other countries. (The practical purpose of tail docking in the field is to help prevent injury to the dog during it’s hunting work, but it is done largely for cosmetic reasons in individuals who are solely companion pets.)

A Weimaraner’s unique coat is always a shade of medium gray, with a small patch of white permitted on the chest but nowhere else on the body.

Medical Information

The Weimaraner is a relatively healthy breed although they do experience some hereditary issues, the most prominent of which are Hip or Elbow Dysplasia, which occur when the head of the long bone no longer fits comfortably into the cup provided by the joint socket, causing lameness and arthritis-like symptoms. In smaller percentages, they are also affected by Hypothyroidism (underactivity of the thyroid gland which affects the dog’s metabolism). The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) provides certification of breeding stock to help prevent the spread of these diseases, among others.

The Weimaraner is particularly prone to Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV), also know as bloat/torsion. Excess gas trapped in the dog’s stomach causes “bloat,” and twisting of the stomach (volvulus or “torsion”) causes or is caused by said excess gas. GDV is an emergency condition requiring immediate veterinary treatment. Feeding a Weim two or three meals daily (instead of one large meal) and avoiding heavy exercise immediately following meals may help to prevent GDV.

Eye abnormalities can also be a problem for this breed. Entropion and Ectropion describe malformations of the eyelashes which cause them to turn inward or outward, respectively. Another eyelash deformity, Distichiasis, is also known as “double eyelashes” and generally occur on the lower lids. All three of these conditions can cause damage to the dog’s eye, but can be corrected with surgery. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) results in a degeneration of the retina resulting in eventual blindness.

Certain bleeding disorders, including Von Willebrand’s Disease and Factor XI Deficiency, exist in some Weimaraner lines. They can also suffer from rapidly spreading cysts and tumors on the skin. Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy is seen in some large and giant breeds including the Weimaraner, characterized by bone malformation during puppyhood possibly as a result of too-rapid growth. Dogs usually recover from this condition in a matter of days, although a few can suffer bone deformities.

The coat of a Weimaraner is easy to care for – simple brush occasionally with a firm bristle brush. After work or long play sessions, check the dog’s ears, feet and mouth for damage or infestations.

Anecdotal Information

Photographer William Wegman has used his Weimaraners in much of his work, including photos that have won him critical acclaim, as well as videos that have appeared on Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live.

Various heads of state have owned the regal and distinguished Weimaraner, including U.S. President Harry S. Truman, French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, and First President of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

A Weimaraner named Beatrice is featured in the movie Best in Show.

The Weimaraner is a relatively popular breed in the United States, ranking 30th out of 157 dog breeds registered with the American Kennel Club in 2007.

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