This sleek silver-gray breed originated in early 19th century, developed to hunt bear, boar, and other large game in the dense forests of Germany's Weimar region. Exceptional tracking ability, incredible athleticism, and brains were essential for their work. These traits have persisted to this day, making the Weimaraner (WY-mah-rah-ner) a breed perfect for a select group of people. Couch potatoes need not apply.
Photo courtesy WCA, photographer Marie-Gabrielle Thomas
- This is a dog made for action. The Weimaraner Club of America puts it this way: “Weimaraners need exercise! These three little words cannot be overstressed.” It is not unusual to see these four-footed athletes trotting merrily alongside the sinewy legs of marathon runners. They can maintain a nice pace for long distances, as you can see in this video of a Weimaraner, Klaus, whose fleet feet easily keep up with a some very fit cyclists chasing after him on mountain bikes.
- As high-energy as they are, Weimaraners definitely have an “off” switch. This may have something to do with their history as a gentleman’s gun dog. They were designed to hunt all day long and come and live inside with their people in the evenings, relaxing by the fire.
Photo courtesy Simpatico Weimaraners
- Weimaraner puppies are born with stripes, but these fade entirely after just a few days. Their eyes also change color—from blue at birth to light amber, gray, or blue gray—as they mature.
- Their scenting ability gives them an edge in activities where noses rule. Owners joke that it's “cheating” to enter a tracking event with a Weimaraner because they are such naturals at it. The first dog to earn a championship—RATCH—in the terrier-tailored sport of barn hunt was a Weimaraner named Lexi.
Photo courtesy WCA, photographer Rossetti Samuele
- Their nickname—The Gray Ghost—comes in part from their color and, more importantly, from their hunting style, which has been described as stealthy and catlike. They also have an annoying tendency to try to disguise their scent, which means that they'll roll in any stinky thing they can find.
Photo courtesy WCA, photographer Shirley Nilsson
- Weimaraners are deeply devoted to their people, and they can get depressed and act out if they are ignored. This can lead to separation anxiety problems, notes the WCA, so it’s important to teach puppies that there will be times when they will have to be on their own.
- Hollywood's icon of elegance, Grace Kelly, owned Weimaraners. Of course.
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To learn more, visit the web site of The Weimaraner Club of America.
Header photo courtesy WCA, photographer Sara R. Beaver