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Weimaraners, or "Weims" as they are lovingly called, have a highly recognizable and distinctive look thanks to their silvery-gray coat that's a dream to both look at and groom. They grow to be anywhere from 23–27 inches tall and are a very sturdy breed.
The Weimaraner is an up-close-and-personal kind of pup. They love to be right by your side—always within petting range—and have a deep need to be with you whether hanging at home or out on the hunt.
They're also very smart dogs, sometimes referred to as the "dog with a human brain" because they are independent thinkers. A Weimaraner's smarts need to be channeled for good, so supervision, training, and plenty of activity are essential. Weims are eager to please, but may have a different idea than you of what it means to be a good dog. Be gentle—they are sensitive—and consistent in your commands.
They also don't have an off switch and need lots of activity, play, and exercise daily, as they were bred for energy and stamina—and it shows. Their loving nature, easy grooming, and intelligence can make them ideal pets, as long as you are committed to keeping your Weimaraner on the go.
The Weimaraner's looks are a big part of what makes people seek her out. They are muscular dogs with big ears that hang down the sides of their head. And, of course, they have a unique gray coat—ranging from mouse-gray to silver-gray—that's smooth, short, and can occasionally feature white markings on their chest. Their nose is dark gray and the insides of their ears and lips are pink. Weimaraner puppies are also known for their signature light blue eyes; the color shifts to either amber or gray-blue as they age.
These dogs weigh between 55–90 pounds, with male Weimaraners usually bigger. The female dogs will average about 24 inches in height, while the boys will be a tad taller (25–27 inches).
Johnson says these pups don't exactly respect "personal space" and enjoy your undivided attention. Quick to jump up and greet you or give you a standing hug, Weimaraners will not hesitate to climb into bed with you (and hog it) for the night. They are eager to be by your side at all times—an ideal sidekick.
Always watching over their family and home, Weimaraners can be suspicious of strangers strolling by and might bark excessively, like a home alarm system. Socializing your Weimaraner puppy and consistent training will help her grow into a well-mannered dog who's comfortable around new people and animals.
Perhaps your best approach as an owner is a sense of humor, as this strong-willed breed is sure to test you. It has been said that it takes a very smart person to stay one step ahead of a Weimaraner, and even then, there's still plenty of room to be outwitted. They are high-maintenance in the social interaction department and need to be kept busy, whether on a walk, run, or hike, going on a hunting excursion, or practicing agility drills. And when your Weim proudly gifts you a dead frog or bird from the yard, accept it, even as you cringe.
Weimaraners aren't the breed for everyone, but can be the perfect dog for someone with the right lifestyle. "They are a versatile hunting dog bred to hunt upland game, but are also amazing family pets when paired with the right homes," Combs says. As a Weimaraner breeder and certified trainer, she has been working with the breed for the past decade and has become very familiar with how Weimaraners adjust to family life. "They need training and exercise because they were bred to hunt. They are not for someone looking for a couch dog. They need an active family home or hunting home."
A true companion dog, Weimaraners thrive on spending time with their humans. They will be your shadow and follow you from room to room. Weimaraners should not be kenneled and left alone for long, as they are prone to separation anxiety without a lot of interaction with their owner. Regular love and affection will prevent them from digging carpet or furniture. And though they may appear elegant in stature, their sharp wit means they are escape artists who can figure out how to open doors, unlock fences, and break out of crates.
Research is important before bringing home any dog, and because they can be such a handful—the Weimaraner Club of America (WCA) calls them "the perpetual 2-year-old"—this is especially true for Weims.
"Weimaraners just need an owner who is willing to put in the time and effort to provide them with the environmental enrichment they need," Johnson says. "They are active and alert, so they will be looking for frequent stimulation both physically and mentally."
Many Weimaraners love children, but because they are rambunctious pups, they might be a little too high-energy for someone with small children at home. And Weimaraners might not be the right choice for families with cats, small dogs, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, or birds—Johnson says they may have an insatiable urge to chase these smaller pets because of their high prey drive. They also are not suited to apartment life; they need space to run and play.
When it comes to grooming your Weimaraner, you'll catch a break. Their beautiful fur is very easy to care for and wiping them down with a chamois cloth will make their silvery coats shine. Any dirt they do get into seems to fall right off, but Weimaraners do shed. A weekly brushing can help remove short hairs before you find them all over your home. While shedding isn't a huge issue, they do tend to make big messes while drinking water, slobbering everywhere!
You should always check your Weimaraner's foot pads for injuries after outdoor activities and keep their nails trimmed short so you don't get scratched when they enthusiastically jump to greet you. As with any breed with hanging ears, you'll want to check and wipe out their ears weekly to prevent ear infections.
The time you save on grooming will need to be spent on making sure your Weim gets enough exercise. They are high-energy dogs that love to run, needing at least one heart-pumping session a day, Johnson says.
"They will do well in a home where exercise is prized," Johnson says. "Runners will enjoy the companionship of a Weimaraner on a run. They can get their energy out in a large fenced yard with a good canine companion."
Hunting trips are a favorite Weimaraner pastime. It's been said that a tired Weimaraner is a good Weimaraner; making sure your pup gets enough exercise will prevent unwanted chewing, barking, and digging. When bored, Weimaraners become rambunctious. But put her to work and praise her for it, and you'll have one happy pooch.
One of the most common health issues for Weimaraners is bloat, or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), Johnson says. This is a life-threatening condition of deep-chested where the stomach twists.
"To prevent this condition from happening, deep-chested dogs can have a prophylactic gastropexy performed at the time of spay or neuter, where the stomach is tacked to the body wall to prevent it from rotating," Johnson says.
Of course, with any very active dog, trips to the veterinarian may be due to injuries, like from stepping in holes while hunting. Weimaraner owners also need to be on the lookout for mites, Johnson says.
"Weimaraners have been reported to be in the top 10 breeds for having generalized demodicosis, a disease where cigar-shaped mites live inside the hair follicles," she says. "If a Weimaraner is going bald, she should have a skin scrape test to check for this mite, and if the pup is looking patchy, it is recommended to go to a veterinarian for a dermatology workup."
There are a few health considerations to keep in mind with Weimaraner puppies. Johnson says male Weimaraners in particular can develop long bone inflammation called panosteitis, similar to the "growing pains" us humans can get. Puppies usually grow out of it, but anti-inflammatory therapy may help them with the discomfort.
Their vaccination schedule is also important, as a small percentage of Weimaraner puppies have an autoimmune reaction-fever, elevated white blood cell count, and inflamed tissues and joints—in particular to combination vaccines, according to the WCA. Reactions occur most often at 12—16 weeks of age.
Weimaraners hail from Germany where they were first bred by nobles in the Weimar court in the late 19th century as hunting dogs for big game, according to the WCA. They have exceptional speed, tracking ability, and resilience. And although it's now a sought-after hallmark of the breed the Weimaraner's signature coat is believed to be an accidental outcome of breeding.
Because of their courage and endurance, the dogs were prized and strictly guarded. Germans created a club (that was notoriously hard to get into) that exclusively allowed club members to keep and breed Weims, according to the WCA. One club member, an American named Howard Knight, wanted to breed the dogs in the U.S. and started doing so in the 1930s. He also created the WCA.
The Weimaraner was recognized as an official breed by the American Kennel Club in 1943.
- Weimaraners are great trackers and have been used in missing person cases and other search and rescue missions, including searching for missile parts during the Cold War. A Weimaraner named Dingo sniffed out small bits of missile after launches so scientists could recover and study them.
- Weimaraners earned the nickname "grey ghost" thanks to their ability to disappear from their owner's view on foggy days.
- Photographer Williams Wegman introduced Weimaraners to many Americans though his work capturing photos of his dogs—Man Ray, Fay Wray, Chip, and others—in poses emulating classic art and pop culture.
- President Eisenhower had a Weimaraner named Heidi, who lived with him in the White House.