Weimaraner
Overview
The Weimaraner (ˈvaɪmərɑːnər ) is a dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

 that was originally bred
Dog breed
Dog breeds are groups of closely related and visibly similar domestic dogs, which are all of the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris, having characteristic traits that are selected and maintained by humans, bred from a known foundation stock....

 for hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

 in the early 19th century. Early Weimaraners were used by royalty
Royal family
A royal family is the extended family of a king or queen regnant. The term imperial family appropriately describes the extended family of an emperor or empress, while the terms "ducal family", "grand ducal family" or "princely family" are more appropriate to describe the relatives of a reigning...

 for hunting large game such as boar
Boar
Wild boar, also wild pig, is a species of the pig genus Sus, part of the biological family Suidae. The species includes many subspecies. It is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig, an animal with which it freely hybridises...

, bear
Bear
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern...

, and deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

. As the popularity of large game hunting began to decline, Weimaraners were used for hunting smaller animals like fowl
Fowl
Fowl is a word for birds in general but usually refers to birds belonging to one of two biological orders, namely the gamefowl or landfowl and the waterfowl...

, rabbit
Rabbit
Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world...

s, and fox
Fox
Fox is a common name for many species of omnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family. Foxes are small to medium-sized canids , characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail .Members of about 37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually belong to...

es. Weimaraners are great water dogs as evidenced by their webbed toes.

The Weimaraner is an all purpose gun dog
Gun dog
thumb|right|A group of Gun dogs as printed in Dogs of All Nations by W.E. Mason in 1915Gun dogs, also gundogs or bird dogs, are types of dogs developed to assist hunters in finding and retrieving game, usually birds. Gun dogs are divided into three primary types: Retrievers, flushing dogs, and...

.
Encyclopedia
The Weimaraner (ˈvaɪmərɑːnər ) is a dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

 that was originally bred
Dog breed
Dog breeds are groups of closely related and visibly similar domestic dogs, which are all of the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris, having characteristic traits that are selected and maintained by humans, bred from a known foundation stock....

 for hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

 in the early 19th century. Early Weimaraners were used by royalty
Royal family
A royal family is the extended family of a king or queen regnant. The term imperial family appropriately describes the extended family of an emperor or empress, while the terms "ducal family", "grand ducal family" or "princely family" are more appropriate to describe the relatives of a reigning...

 for hunting large game such as boar
Boar
Wild boar, also wild pig, is a species of the pig genus Sus, part of the biological family Suidae. The species includes many subspecies. It is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig, an animal with which it freely hybridises...

, bear
Bear
Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern...

, and deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

. As the popularity of large game hunting began to decline, Weimaraners were used for hunting smaller animals like fowl
Fowl
Fowl is a word for birds in general but usually refers to birds belonging to one of two biological orders, namely the gamefowl or landfowl and the waterfowl...

, rabbit
Rabbit
Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world...

s, and fox
Fox
Fox is a common name for many species of omnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family. Foxes are small to medium-sized canids , characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail .Members of about 37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually belong to...

es. Weimaraners are great water dogs as evidenced by their webbed toes.

The Weimaraner is an all purpose gun dog
Gun dog
thumb|right|A group of Gun dogs as printed in Dogs of All Nations by W.E. Mason in 1915Gun dogs, also gundogs or bird dogs, are types of dogs developed to assist hunters in finding and retrieving game, usually birds. Gun dogs are divided into three primary types: Retrievers, flushing dogs, and...

. The name comes from the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
The Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach was created in 1809 by the merger of the Ernestine duchies of Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Eisenach. It was raised to a Grand duchy in 1815 by resolution of the Vienna Congress. In 1877, it officially changed its name to the Grand Duchy of Saxony , but this name was...

, Karl August, whose court, based in the city of Weimar
Weimar
Weimar is a city in Germany famous for its cultural heritage. It is located in the federal state of Thuringia , north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 65,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899...

 (now in modern day Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

), enjoyed hunting.

History

Today's breed standard
Breed standard
A breed standard in animal fancy and animal husbandry is a set of guidelines which is used to ensure that the animals produced by a breeder or breeding facility conform to the specifics of the breed....

s are alleged to have developed in the late 18th and early 19th century, although dogs having very similar features to the Weimaraner have supposedly been traced as far back as 13th century in the court of Louis IX of France
Louis IX of France
Louis IX , commonly Saint Louis, was King of France from 1226 until his death. He was also styled Louis II, Count of Artois from 1226 to 1237. Born at Poissy, near Paris, he was an eighth-generation descendant of Hugh Capet, and thus a member of the House of Capet, and the son of Louis VIII and...

. One theory is that the ancestor is the St. Hubert Hound (also known as the Bloodhound
Bloodhound
The Bloodhound is a large breed of dog which, while originally bred to hunt deer and wild boar, was later bred specifically to track human beings. It is a scenthound, tracking by smell, as opposed to a sighthound, which tracks using vision. It is famed for its ability to discern human odors even...

 and Sleuth Hound) . Though these dogs are black, they can produce a grey dog when bred. Like the Vizsla at the time, the breed was created exclusively for the nobility and alike. The aim was to create a noble-looking, reliable gundog. As ownership was restricted, the breed was highly prized and lived with the family. This was unusual, as during this period, hunting dogs were kept in kennels in packs. This has resulted in a dog that needs to be near humans and that quickly deteriorates when kenneled. The Weimaraner was an all purpose family dog, capable of guarding the home, hunting with the family, and of course, being loving and loyal towards children.

Originally, Germany was possessive of its skilled all-purpose gundog. Some of the earliest weimaraners, prior to being sent to America for breeding, were sterilized in order for America not to popularize their special breed. But starting in the late 19th century the breed became increasingly common throughout Europe and the United States. Although slower than many other gundogs, such as Pointers
Pointer (dog breed)
The Pointer, often called the English Pointer, is a breed of dog developed as a gun dog. It is one of several pointing breeds.-Appearance:...

, the Weimaraner is thorough and this made it a welcome addition to the sportsman's household. The breed's happy, lively temperament has endeared it to families.With the rise in popularity, some changes have been made to the breed. Both in Britain and America (where the breed remains popular) breeders have taken care to breed to a standard.

Appearance

The Weimaraner is elegant and athletic in appearance. All parts of the dog should be in balance with each other, creating a form that is pleasing to the eye. It must be capable of working in the field, regardless of whether it is from show stock or hunting stock, and faults that will interfere with working ability are heavily penalized.

Traditionally, the tail is docked to a third of its natural length shortly after birth. This is part of the AKC breed standard. However, these alterations have since been illegalized in several other countries; as such those dogs are shown with their natural tails (which is uncommon).

The eyes of the Weimaraner may be light amber, grey, or blue-grey.

Coat and color

This breed's short coat and its unusual eyes give it a regal appearance different from any other breed. The coat is extremely low maintenance, short, hard, and smooth to the touch, and may range from charcoal-blue to mouse-grey
Taupe
Taupe is a dark grayish-brown color. The word "taupe" derives from the Latin name for the European Mole, Talpa europaea.Originally, this referred only to the average color of the French mole, but like the colors pink and lavender, the name expanded to encompass a wide range of varying...

 to silver-grey. Where the fur is thin or non-existent, inside the ears or on the lips, for example, the skin should be a pinkish tone rather than white or black. This breed does not have an undercoat, so extreme cold should be avoided. Additionally, shedding is minimal.

In November 2009 and January 1, 2010 the United Kennel Club (UKC) removed the disqualification from both Blue and Longhair Weimaraners. A black coat remains an automatic disqualification, though a small white marking in the chest area only is permitted. However, dogs with blue coats are not disqualified from field competition and are recognized as purebred Weimaraners by the AKC. There is another incidental variety, described as having the 'mark of the hound', where the dog is the usual grey colour but with faint tan markings (similar to Doberman). It's said that early in the breed this was a common colour that was selectively bred out.

A long-haired variety is recognized by most kennel clubs around the world except in the American Kennel Club. The long-haired Weimaraner has a silky coat, with an undocked, feathered tail. The gene is recessive, so breeding will produce some long-haired puppies only if both parents carry the trait.

Size

According to the AKC
American Kennel Club
The American Kennel Club is a registry of purebred dog pedigrees in the United States. Beyond maintaining its pedigree registry, this kennel club also promotes and sanctions events for purebred dogs, including the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, an annual event which predates the official...

 standard, the male Weimaraner stands between 25 and 27 inches (63–68 cm) at the withers
Withers
The withers is the ridge between the shoulder blades of a four-legged animal. In many species it is the tallest point of the body, and in horses and dogs it is the standard place to measure the animal's height .-Horses:The withers in horses are formed by the dorsal spinal processes of roughly the...

.

Females are between 23 and 25 inches (58–63 cm). Of course, there are many dogs taller or shorter than the breed standard. The breed is not heavy for its height, and males normally weigh roughly 70-80 pounds. Females are generally between 55-70 lbs (25–32 kg). A Weimaraner should give the appearance of a muscular, athletic dog.

Temperament

From adolescence, a Weimaraner requires extensive exercise in keeping with an energetic hunting dog breed prized for their physical endurance and stamina. No walk is too far, and they will appreciate games and play in addition. An active owner is more likely to provide the vigorous exercising, games, or running that this breed absolutely requires. Weimaraners are high-strung and often wear out their owners, requiring appropriate training to learn how to calm them and to help them learn to control their behavior. Owners need patience and consistent, firm yet kind training, as this breed is particularly rambunctious during the first year and a half of its life. This breed is known for having a penchant for stealing food from table and counter tops whenever given the chance. Like many breeds, untrained and unconfined young dogs often create their own fun when left alone, such as chewing house quarters and furniture. Thus, many that are abandoned have behavioral issues as a result of isolation and inferior exercise.

Weimaraners are generally good with children, but may not be appropriate for smaller children due to their tendency to knock a child down in the course of play. They also may knock over elderly people or children by accident. Early training to sit through positive reinforcement is critical to prevent jumping in the future.

It should never be forgotten that the Weimaraner is a hunting dog and therefore has a strong, instinctive prey drive. Weimaraners will sometimes tolerate cats, as long as they are introduced to the cats as puppies, but many will chase and frequently kill almost any small animal that enters their garden or backyard. In rural areas, most Weimaraners will not hesitate to chase deer or sheep.

This breed of dog tends to be very stubborn. However, with good training, these instincts can be curtailed to some degree. A properly trained Weimaraner is a companion that will never leave its master's side. The Weimaraner has been given the nickname "Velcro Dog", as when once acclimated to its owner, sticks to its owner at all times. Many Weimaraners tend to lean on their owner when sitting or standing, and most will insist on sleeping on their owner's bed unless trained otherwise.

Behavior Disorders

Since they were bred to be true members of a family, some Weimaraners suffer from severe separation anxiety. Manifestations of this behavior disorder include panicked efforts to rejoin the owner when separation occurs, excessive drooling, destructive behaviors, associated injuries such as broken teeth or cut lips and barking loudly. Most just wait on the couch or by the window for their owner to come back home. Behavior modification training and medications may reduce the severity of symptoms associated with this disorder in some Weimaraners. However, the breed is generally resistant to such treatment and behavior modification training efforts. As individuals of the breed age the severity of separation anxiety symptoms decreases somewhat, but does not completely abate. More common, lighter manifestations of separation anxiety include wailing, which mimics a high pitched crying tone. This is more pronounced when the Weim's owner has just left or is audibly returning home. If properly socialized young, the tendency for separation anxiety may be reduced.

Weimaraners can be very destructive in the absence of their owners or in the attempts to gain the attention of their owners. Weimaraners frequently consume socks, tissues, cardboard, and any other item left within reach. Weimaraners will also chew on furniture if left unsupervised. For the dog's safety, it is best to keep all small items out of reach and crating is recommended as a puppy.

Health

According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Weimaraners suffer from low rates of dysplasia. The breed is ranked 102nd of 153 total breeds and has a very high test rate and a very high percentage of excellent rating among those dogs tested. It is generally recommended to acquire Weimeraners only from breeders who have their dogs' hips tested using OFA
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals is a not-for-profit organization based in Columbia, Missouri that aims to research and prevent orthopedic and hereditary diseases in companion animals....

 or PennHIP
PennHIP
PennHIP is a diagnostic technique for evaluating the hips of dogs for laxity. The acronym is also used for the network of veterinarians that use the PennHIP method of evaluation, and for the database of breed-specific hip dysplasia trends maintained at the University of Pennsylvania...

 methods.

As a deep-chested dog, the Weimaraner is prone to bloat or gastric torsion, a very serious condition that can cause painful and rapid death when left untreated. It occurs when the stomach twists itself, thereby pinching off blood vessels and the routes of food traveling in or out. Symptoms include signs of general distress, discomfort, no bowel movement or sounds, and a swollen stomach. Immediate medical attention is imperative when bloat occurs and surgery is the only option if it is caught early enough.

One way to help prevent bloat is to spread out the Weimaraner's feedings to at least twice daily and to avoid any vigorous exercise right after feedings. It is also recommended that the dog's feeding dish not be placed on a raised platform to discourage it from gobbling its food too quickly and keep air from entering the stomach. Raised food bowls have been found to more than double the risk of bloat in large dogs.

Other health issues include:
  • Cryptorchidism
    Cryptorchidism
    Cryptorchidism is the absence of one or both testes from the scrotum. It is the most common birth defect regarding male genitalia. In unique cases, cryptorchidism can develop later in life, often as late as young adulthood. About 3% of full-term and 30% of premature infant boys are born with at...

  • Elbow dysplasia
    Elbow dysplasia
    Elbow dysplasia is a condition involving multiple developmental abnormalities of the elbow-joint in the dog, specifically the growth of cartilage or the structures surrounding it. These abnormalities, known as 'primary lesions', give rise to osteoarthritic processes...

  • Distichiasis
  • Von Willebrands Disease
  • Entropion
    Entropion
    Entropion is a medical condition in which the eyelid folds inward. It is very uncomfortable, as the eyelashes constantly rub against the cornea. Entropion is usually caused by genetic factors and may be congenital...

  • Hypothyroidism
    Hypothyroidism
    Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone.Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism worldwide but it can be caused by other causes such as several conditions of the thyroid gland or, less commonly, the pituitary gland or...

  • Hypertrophic osteodystrophy
    Hypertrophic osteodystrophy
    Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy is a bone disease that occurs in fast-growing large and giant breed dogs. The disorder is sometimes referred to as metaphyseal osteopathy, and typically first presents between the ages of 2 and 7 months...

  • Pituitary dwarfism
    Growth hormone deficiency
    Growth hormone deficiency is a medical condition in which the body does not produce enough growth hormone . Growth hormone, also called somatotropin, is a polypeptide hormone which stimulates growth and cell reproduction...

  • Hypomyelinogenesis
  • Renal dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
    Progressive retinal atrophy
    Progressive retinal atrophy is a group of genetic diseases seen in certain breeds of dogs and, more rarely, cats. Similar to retinitis pigmentosa in humans, it is characterized by the bilateral degeneration of the retina, causing progressive vision loss culminating in blindness...

  • Congenital peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernia

Weimaraners in popular culture

  • In the 2002 Jennifer Lopez film Maid in Manhattan
    Maid in Manhattan
    Maid in Manhattan is a 2002 romantic comedy film directed by Wayne Wang about a hotel maid and a high profile politician who fall in love starring Jennifer Lopez, Ralph Fiennes, and Natasha Richardson. It is based on a story by John Hughes who is credited using a pseudonym. The original music score...

    , senatorial candidate Chris Marshall (Ralph Fiennes) owns a Weimaraner, which appears in multiple scenes.
  • On the show Trailer Park Boys
    Trailer Park Boys
    Trailer Park Boys is a Canadian comedy mockumentary television series created and directed by Mike Clattenburg that focuses on the misadventures of a group of trailer park residents, some of whom are ex-convicts, living in the fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The...

    , the character Julian dances with a "dirty old dog", which is a Weimaraner.
  • The first president and founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
    Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
    Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was an Ottoman and Turkish army officer, revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey....

    , had a Weimaraner called Fox.
  • US President Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

     owned a Weimaraner named Heidi
  • French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
    Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
    Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing is a French centre-right politician who was President of the French Republic from 1974 until 1981...

     owned a Weimaraner called Jugurtha, who is said to have had such human habits as laughing or drinking tea
  • The photographs of William Wegman
    William Wegman (photographer)
    William Wegman is an artist best known for creating series of compositions involving dogs, primarily his own Weimaraners in various costumes and poses.-Life and career:...

     prominently feature Weimaraners and have appeared frequently on Sesame Street
    Sesame Street
    Sesame Street has undergone significant changes in its history. According to writer Michael Davis, by the mid-1970s the show had become "an American institution". The cast and crew expanded during this time, including the hiring of women in the crew and additional minorities in the cast. The...

    , and occasionally on Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

    .
  • A Weimaraner was also the subject of the music video for Blue Monday by the rock band New Order
    New Order
    New Order are an English rock band formed in 1980 by Bernard Sumner , Peter Hook and Stephen Morris...

    .
  • A neurotic Weimaraner named Beatrice (played by Can. Ch. Arokat's Echobar Take Me Dancing) is featured in the movie Best in Show
    Best in Show (film)
    Best in Show is a 2000 independent film that follows five entrants in a prestigious dog show. The film focuses on the slightly surreal interactions among the various owners and handlers as they travel to the show and compete. Much of the dialogue was improvised.Christopher Guest directed; he also...

    .
  • A Weimaraner was used in the Sylvester Stallone
    Sylvester Stallone
    Michael Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone , commonly known as Sylvester Stallone, and nicknamed Sly Stallone, is an American actor, filmmaker, screenwriter, film director and occasional painter. Stallone is known for his machismo and Hollywood action roles. Two of the notable characters he has portrayed...

     movie "Daylight" (1996).
  • Singer Kate Bush poses with two Weimaraner on the cover of her 1985 album Hounds of Love
    Hounds of Love
    Hounds of Love is a 1985 album by the British singer Kate Bush. It was Bush's fifth studio album, and her second no. 1. It has since been certified Double Platinum in the UK...

    .
  • A cowardly Weimaraner named Hyena in the Japanese series Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin
    Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin
    Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin Silver") is an adventure manga by Yoshihiro Takahashi. It was published by Shueisha in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1983 to 1987, and collected in 18 bound volumes...

    .
  • A Weimaraner also makes an appearance in the movie Fever Pitch
    Fever Pitch
    Fever Pitch: A Fan's Life is the title of a 1992 autobiographical book by British author Nick Hornby. The book is the basis for two films: Fever Pitch was released in 1997, and Fever Pitch in 2005...

     staring Jimmy Fallon
    Jimmy Fallon
    James Thomas "Jimmy" Fallon, Jr. is an American actor, comedian, singer, musician and television host. He currently hosts Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, a late-night talk show that airs Monday through Friday on NBC...

     and Drew Barrymore
    Drew Barrymore
    Drew Blyth Barrymore is an American actress, film director, screenwriter, producer and model. She is a member of the Barrymore family of American actors and granddaughter of John Barrymore. She first appeared in an advertisement when she was 11 months old. Barrymore made her film debut in Altered...

    .
  • In the movie Se7en
    Se7en
    Seven is a 1995 American thriller film, which also contains horror and neo-noir elements, directed by David Fincher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker. It was distributed by New Line Cinema and stars Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, R...

    , one of Detective Mills's dogs is a Weimaraner.
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