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Breed Profile: Weimaraner

They might not be a popular breed in Canada, but there's no denying that the Weimaraner is a striking breed! With their distinctive grey coat and yellowish, grey or blue eyes, they're impossible to mistake for anything other than themselves, and they make good family dogs too!

A breed that was literally born to hunt, they're energetic, brave and smart, and if you are looking for a larger, easy to maintain and active dog for your family, this might be it!

History of the Weimaraner

Some hunting breeds evolved slowly into the role, but the Weimaraner was literally made for this. The breed is the result of very selective breeding in 19th century Germany, with one goal: to breed the perfect gun dog. In fact, the breed has royal connections, since it's whole existence is thanks to the sponsorship of the Weimer court! Weimaraners are named for their royal patrons, and they can trace their history down various lines of Bloodhound, Red Schweisshunds and other famous hunters.

No one is entirely sure when the distinctive colour appeared, but it stuck, and while this breed used to be available only to a very select group of club members, thanks to an American in the late 1920s, the breed finally made it's way across the globe, and began to gain popularity outside of Germany.

General Physical Characteristics of the Weimaraner

The first thing anyone notices about a Weimaraner is the colour, but there are other common traits.

A prominent stop or occipit (the bump where the skull meets the back of the neck), floppy, almost triangular ears, a sloped top line and a slender but muscular build.

They range in weight from about 55lbs to 90lbs, and are between 23 and 27" tall. So they're not little dogs by any stretch, but also not the largest breed out there.

Character and Temperament of the Weimaraner

Weimaraners are energetic and need to be active. They will get fat, bored and destructive if they are cooped up all the time, so if you work 60 hour weeks and live in a studio apartment, this is not the dog for you. They are deeply attached to their owners though, so don't be surprised if this big dog creeps onto your lap from time to time.

They're intelligent but a little bit stubborn, usually friendly and generally good with children - although their hunting instincts are still very much alive and kicking, so small pets (unless introduced early on) might not mix well with this dog breed.

Lifespan of the Weimaraner

Weimaraners live fairly long lives for larger dogs, at somewhere between 10 and 13 years.

Common Health and Personality Concerns with Weimaraners

Weimaraners are a very tough, hardy dog, and they tend to be fairly healthy too. As long as they are socialized early (and with their strong personality taken into account), they are friendly and loving family pets as well. There are a few conditions you should be on the lookout for though:

  1. Like many large breeds, Weimaraners are prone to torsion, also known as bloat. Take care that they don't exert themselves after large, heavy meals, and limit portion sizes per meal.
  2. They can also suffer from hip dysplasia, another common problem with larger breeds.
  3. Entropian and distichiasis, which are minor deformities of the eyelid and abnormal eyelashes are also somewhat common in the breed, so look for eye irritation, and seek veterinary advice if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
  4. Some Weimaraners may also have von Willebrand's disease, which is a blood disorder, or hemophilia A, which is a clotting disorder.
  5. Hypertrophic osteodystrophy, which affects bones during growth spurts and can cause lameness, is another rare but not unheard of condition.
  6. Finally, very rarely, the breed does have certain congenital heart conditions, and possibly dwarfism.

Most of the conditions on this list are very rare, even for Weimaraners, and while we recommend that if you buy one of these lithe hunters, you buy from a reputable breeder and have hip, eye and thyroid tests done, most owners will never have any serious health conditions to contend with.

Weimaraners are physically low maintenance, needing little more than a bath and trimmed nails to keep them happy and well groomed, and as long as they have plenty of time outdoors to stretch their legs, they're low maintenance in every other way too.

If you like large does, and want a breed that loves to run and be active, and looks like nothing else in the dog world, this might be the breed for you.

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