Weimaraners are members of the sporting dog group, a shorthaired, floppy-eared hunting dog best known for its distinctive silvery grey coat. The unusual color, along with the breed's stealth in the hunting field, leads to the nickname "The Grey Ghost." The breed has also gained popularity through photographer William Wegman's photos, books, and short films.
The Weimaraner is a versatile hunting dog developed to find birds, point and retrieve game to the hunter. They have webbed feet and are excellent swimmers. The breed originated in Germany and the Duke of Weimar is generally credited with creating the breed as it looks today, thus the breed' name. The Weimaraner Club of Germany (WCA) was formed in 1897 and the first breed standard written in 1935, included a detailed description on exactly how the breed should look, including size, coat type and temperament. The breed was, and still is, highly regulated in Germany. These dogs have to pass strict hunting, tracking and conformation tests before they can be bred. A conformation test involves the dog being critically judged against the breed standard to see how closely it matches the ideal standard.
The Weimaraner in America
German Weimaraner enthusiasts were reluctant to allow their dogs to be imported into the United States. An avid hunter named Howard Knight, who had worked for several years with the German breed club, brought the first stock into the United States in the late 1930s. The breed's popularity grew with its reputation as an excellent hunting dog. In the 1950s President Eisenhower, Grace Kelley and Roy Rogers owned this breed.
The most striking aspect of the breed is the unique grey color. The official color is simply called grey, but there are variations within individual dogs that range from a darker mouse grey to a light silver. The nose and toes are the same color as the coat. Puppies are born with dark grey tiger stripes that fade a few days later. It is one of the few breeds where this occurs. The dog's eye color is also unusual for dogs. Their eyes are grey, gold, or a greenish blue color, not the typical dark brown of most other breeds. Puppies are born with bright blue eyes that gradually change color by the time they are six months old.
Long, Short, Grey and Blue
Some Weimaraners are a dark iron blue color, which is not acceptable by the WCA. Blue-colored dogs are not allowed to compete in conformation dog shows but can participate in obedience, agility, and hunting tests. The issue of blue coat color is a source of controversy with breeders participating in conformation shows. Some feel that all blues came from a non-purebred Weimaraner many generations ago, while others consider blue a legitimate genetic color mutation that should be allowed. Blues are purebred, but are not rare or unusual. There are also long-coated types that have long hair similar to an Irish setter .
Long coats have been part of the history of this breed since its creation in Germany, where shaggy memebers of the breed are perfectly acceptable. Only in the United States are long-coated Weimaraners banned from the show ring. They are purebred, just a little hairier.
Can You Say ACTIVE!
Grey Ghost owners must keep the dogs active and busy, or else they will find ways to entertain themselves. This breed was created to hunt in the field all day, so its transition to urban life requires a huge commitment by owners to meet their exercise needs. This is not the type of dog content to hang out on the couch and go for an occasional walk. Running, biking, horseback riding and hiking are excellent activities that help them burn off energy. Owners and breeders have a saying that sums it all up; A good Weimaraner is a tired Weimaraner. The dogs are a strong-willed and stubborn breed quite happy to rule the household if allowed. Obedience training is a must to establish and maintain a happy relationship. This breed actually does quite well in scent tracking, flyball, agility and hunting tests.
Why Buy from a Professional Breeder?
Breeders should be members of a local breed club or the WCA, and provide health guarantees and sire and dam's certificates of accomplishment. Because these dogs are often too much to handle for many people, Weimaraner rescue is very active. But rescue is an excellent source of finding a wonderful pet that just happened to be in the wrong home.
Buying from a reputable breeder is the best way to start off with a healthy, good-tempered companion. Generally healthy, all breeding stock should be tested for hip dysplasia and certified clear of entropian eye lids, an extra set of lashes that irritate the eye.