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The Weimaraner's coat color led to its nickname of the Silver Ghost.
The Weimaraner's coat color led to its nickname of the Silver Ghost.
Alternative names
Weimaraner Vorstehhund
Country of origin
Common nicknames
Classification and breed standards
FCI: Group 7 Section 1 #099
AKC: Sporting
ANKC: Group 3 (Gun dogs)
CKC: Group 1 - Sporting
KC (UK): Gundogs
NZKC: Gundogs
UKC: Gun Dogs
Not recognized by any major kennel club
This breed of dog is extinct

The Weimaraner is a silver-grey breed of dog developed originally both for tracking large game, such as bears, and as a gun dog. The name comes from the Grand Duke of Weimar, Charles August, whose court enjoyed hunting.


A sketch of a Weimaraner A sketch of a Weimaraner

This breed's short, smooth grey coat and its usually grey eyes give it a regal appearance different from any other breed. There is a long-haired variety that is not as commonly known. The colour is rare in dogs and is the result of breeding for a recessive gene. It has also lent the breed the nickname 'silver ghost' or 'gray ghost'. The coat is extremely low maintenance; it is short and smooth to the touch.

Typically, the male Weimaraner stands between 25 and 27 inches (63-68 cm) at the withers. Females are generally between 23 and 25 inches (58-63 cm). The breed is not heavy for its height, and weighs upwards of 70 pounds (32 kg). Traditionally, the Weimaraner's tail is docked at birth to a third of its natural length.


Weimaraners are fast and powerful dogs, but are also suitable home animals given appropriate training. From adolescence, a Weimaraner requires extensive exercise in keeping with an energetic hunting dog. 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 needs. Weimaraners are high-strung and easily excitable, requiring appropriate training to learn how to calm them and to help them learn to control their behavior. Owners need patience, as this breed is particularly rambunctious during the first year and a half of its life. Like many breeds, untrained and unconfined young dogs often create their own diversions when left alone, such as chewing house quarters and furniture.

Professional training

Professional training is beneficial, particularly for less-experienced owners. This includes behaviours towards other family pets. Depending upon training they can be quite aggressive towards other dogs, but they are a loyal, playful and affectionate pet and an alert and friendly member of the family. Visitors are likely to be licked rather than warned away, but the Weimaraner does not miss a trick and is always aware of its surroundings. Prospective owners should note that the Weimaraner is not recommended for families with young children as it is usually boisterous, sometimes hyperactive. Furthermore, the breed will continually try to push the boundaries set by its owner. If it can get away with something, it will! This is also a breed with tremendous personality.


William Wegman's Dressup Batty William Wegman's Dressup Batty

Today's breed standards developed in the 1800s, although the Weimaraner has existed since at least the 1600s in a similar form. It is believed that Continental pointing breeds and mastiffs were its ancestors. The breed was created strictly for the nobility. 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 kennelled.

Originally, Germany was possessive of its skilled all-purpose gundog, but released a pair in the 1950s to America where the breed quickly became popular. Although slower than many other gundogs, such as Pointers, the Weimaraner is thorough and this made it a welcome addition to the sportsman's household. Furthermore, its happy, lively temperament endeared it to families, although it is perhaps too lively for families with young children. Unfortunately, with the rise in popularity, some careless matches were made and some inferior specimens were produced. Since then, both in Britain and America (where the breed remains popular) breeders have taken care to breed for quality and purpose.

Two occurrences in the breed's history have helped its popularity. One is US President Dwight D. Eisenhower owning a Weimaraner, Heidi; the other is the photographs of William Wegman. His dogs (which include Man Ray—named after artist Man Ray—and Fay Ray—a play on Fay Wray) are the subject of his photos, dressed in human clothes. These pictures are popular both in galleries of contemporary art and as pop culture icons. These "dogs with hands" have appeared frequently on Sesame Street, and occasionally on Saturday Night Live.

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