The Weimaraner is one of the Hunt, Point, Retrieve sub-group within the Gundog Group. He is an all-purpose gundog, but his temperament and character are quite dissimilar to that of other gundogs and he is no soft option.
The purpose for which he was originally bred must be understood. His primary function was to be an all-purpose tool for the foresters who owned him in Germany. He had to be capable of tracking and holding at bay, game such as deer and wild boar. He had to have the ability to find, flush and retrieve furred/feathered game for the ‘pot’.
He was intended to be a powerful hunting dog with a strong guarding instinct to care for home and family. The Weimaraner’s appearance is powerful and proud – being no wimp – he will not tolerate another dog questioning his authority, but he is perfectly prepared to accept the fact that humans are ‘pack leaders’.
The handsome looks and striking colour give the Weimaraner an exceptional and commanding appearance and this have been, to some extent, his downfall. These very attributes which make him so attractive, often blind people to the fact that he is a very complex, very intelligent and active dog. If he had been of an undistinguished appearance, our Rescue service would be far less busy with re-homing dogs.
Without question he is not the wisest choice for the novice dog owner, the elderly or as a dog for the children to rear. With the right attitude to canine management and training, he will make a good family dog, but will never make an ‘easy pet’.
As previously stated, he is not a ‘soft option’, no ‘couch potato’ and those looking for a quiet life, should consider another breed. He has a strong guarding instinct for his family, which can lead to possessiveness, but this is not always extended to property. If you were looking for property-guarding instincts, you would do better with one of the ‘working breeds’ specifically bred for this purpose. The Weimaraner does not take kindly to being left alone all day and every day and can show his disaproval by being noisy or destructive, sometimes both!
A large garden is not necessary, only a well fenced one i.e. 6 feet high. Exercise should be for his brain as well as his body and training / socialization classes are a ‘must’ from an early age, if he is to become a well-behaved member of society.
The Weimaraner is full of charm and devoted to his family, with a quick intelligence and a stubborn streak a mile wide! Given the chance, he will take over the household and all its adjuncts. He can become too possessive, too demanding, and too intolerant of strangers. If under-exercised, unoccupied and bored, he can wreak havoc in the home and garden.
We have adapted him to our requirements in this country, here he is primarily the rough shooters’ dog and he can perform extremely well in that respect. Yet even for that function we must remember his origins, a strong (and sometimes headstrong) hunter, needing careful training. A strange mixture of willfulness and sensitivity, which can make for a difficult training relationship. Too harsh an approach and he will ‘blank’ out, seem unable to understand the simplest requirement. Too much leeway and he will ‘do his own thing’ in a way that will not amuse you! Get it right, however and you will be rewarded with the most wonderful canine companion, being with you because it pleases him and because he respects you.
Again, by exploiting his origins, he is good at working trials and agility. Intelligence and muscular development ensure, combined with inbred ability to use his nose and track, that he ranks very highly in this discipline. The Weimaraner has, of course, well and truly made his mark in the show ring.
The Weimaraner needs your time, patience and understanding, especially during the first 6 months of puppy life, when you lay the foundation of your future relationship. After all, you would take the time if it were a new baby, so it should be for your new puppy. You will rue the day you ever bought a Weimaraner if you cannot commit to this important time in his life. Training classes are essential, and he needs socializing in as many and varied situations as possible. Firm handling does not mean harsh handling. Learning to ‘read’ your dog is the first step to a long and happy relationship with this wonderful breed.
He is a ‘get up and go’ dog possessed of quick intelligence, an abundance of energy, a drive to hunt, and exaggerated devotion which must be tempered to the demands of the modern world.
Everything about this beautiful animal is an element of challenge. He is not everyone’s dog, but the rewards of taking on such a challenge are immense.
Grateful Acknowledgments to:
Mrs. M.E. Holmes – Late President
Weimaraner Club of Great Britain
Mrs. L. Petrie-Hay
Mr. J. Holmes, M.R.C.V.S.
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