Much has been written and many enthusiastic statements have been made about the Weimaraner. Its popularity has grown because of the love and admiration that individuals of this breed have inspired in their owners. Their three-fold purpose, as a hunting dog, companion and guardian of the home, makes them desirable, and these attributes have been bred into them through generations of selective breeding.
Theories of the Weimaraner's (pronounced Wi-mar-an-er) origin are the subject of much argument, and to this date there is no certain answer. One of the most acceptable theories proposes that the Weimaraner is a descendant of the bloodhound. The bloodhound is believed to have played an important part in the development of many of the hounds and hunting dogs of today. The gray coloring of the Weimaraner is believed to be a recessive color inherited from the red schweissenund. The amber eye coloring, as proposed in one theory, comes from the pointing breeds - black and white pointers and/orliver and white pointers. However, too many records were lost in World Wars I and II for people to know the entire story.
The Weimaraner originiated in the province of weimar, Germany, 130 miles southwest of Berlin. The earliest date recorded in the history of the development of the breed is 1810. Grand Duke Karl August, dreaming of a cultural Germany like Athens, took great pride in field sports, fine guns and breeding fine dogs. Whether the breed already existed before the grand Duke and his nobles took interest in them in unclear; however, it is known that August and his nobles did begin to develop the dog for their own use. Their well=stocked hunting grounds abounded with wolves, bear, deer and board, and, therefore, the Weimaraner was originally used for hunting big game. As the big game died out, Germans are believed to have bred some pointer stock into the Weimaraner, thus crating a multi-purpose or all-around field dog. It is reported the Great Danes and German Shorthair Pointers were used in crossbreeding, the first to give the Weimaraner more size, the second to give it more pointing instincts; however, it is not known if the modern Weimaranre is a direct descendant of these crosses, or if the crosses started other breeds, or if the crosses simply died out. The records of the history of the breed druing the following 50 years cannot be traced.
In 1882, the Thuringia Club for Breeding Dogs discouraged the breeders from crossbreeding the weimarnaer with other types of German pointers. A long struggle ensued to have the delegate commission recognize the Weimaraner as a separate and distinct breed. They were finally recognized in 1896.
The Weimaraner Club of Germany was founded in 1897 for the purpose of advancing the breed and emphasizing its use in the field. Strict rules of acceptance were established, which quickly returned the breed to its former high standards. Puppies could only be sold to club members, who had to promise to keep the breed pure and cull all unworthy pups. Breeding was a privilege given ony to animals passing all requiements of working ability and type. The culling of dogs whose performance did not meet their exacting standards brought about the sound quality of the German imports.
The first Weimraners were brought to the United States in 1929, but were later found to be sterile. Their owner, Howard Knight, had to join the German Weimaraner club over stiff opposition in order to obtain them. In 1933, he obtained Mars ausder Welfsriede and Aura von Gaiberg, also litter sisters Dorle and Adda v. Schwartzenkamp. he established the Weimaraner Club of America in 1941. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1943. When he retired, he gave his Weimaraners to Mr. and Mrs. A.F. Horn of Grafmar Kennels, who carried on the pioneering and produced many early champions.
Followng WWII, fantastic tales of the Weimraner's abilities, such as hunting mountain lions and tracking a lost child on a three-day-old track, caused widespread publicity, and prices soared. Fast-buck breeders, inevitably took over and sold everything that was gray, blue, black or longhaired.
Soon, it was evident that the dog couldn't live up to those claims. Furthermore, owners resented the Weimaraner Club of America's restrictions that the dog would be used for hunting only because in field trials, the dog's performance was slow and pottering. Eventually, the club realized Americans would promote breed improvement through competition, not through force, so restrictions were abandoned.
A vast improvement took place among the field dogs because they were being bred to compete with the American bird dogs. The speed and range of several strains have increased as the Weimaraner adapted to american field conditions. The year 1952 marked the first time a Weimaraner went Best in Show. This was the beginning of a history of victories in the breed ring that continues to grow.
The "Gray Ghost" has also shown his abilities in the obedience ring, agility and on the tracking field. The Weimaraner breed has the only dog to have achieved a championship in 5 venues, breed, field, tracking, obedience and agility. He is truly versatile dog.
We hope this information on the Weimaraner is helpful to you in choosing the best match for your family. We place anywhere from 50 to 100 Weimaraners in new homes each year and that's just AWR. Similar numbers can be seen all over the nation from other Weimaraner rescue groups. We hope the following will give you a little more insight into the needs of this breed.
For the most part we have had two problems with this breed fitting into today's lifestyle. One is an energy dissipation problem. The Weimaraner has a lot of energy stemming from his main purpose: to hunt upland birds. this breed performs in field trials in which some of the stakes are an hour long, the dog hunts birds that whole hour and the handler keeps up on horseback. We aren't saying that you need to buy a horse to own a Weimaraner; but this is the potential energy level because this is what they were bred to do. If you don't dissipate the energy outside, then the dog will dissipate the energy inside. Many people will call this breed hyper; and they care if you can't stimulate them mentally and physically.
The other problem we have had with the breed is that the demographics have changed greatly from when this dog was an ideal family dog in the 1950's. The Germans bred this dog to be a personal gun dog and family member and they do the later almost to a fault. They want to be with you all the time and can suffer a lot of sepation anxiety, if left for long periods of time alone. They worked well with the society of the 1950's because "mom" stayed at home. However, in today's society of two income families and single people who have to leave the dog while they go to work, this dog has become, in many cases, a mismatch. Having a Weimaraner is like have a 5 year old child for 12 years. Most people would not be willing to leave a 5 year old child at home, alone, and unsupervised while they went to work. the child will get into things, and so does the Weimaraner. This dog is supposed to the the intelligence and initiative to make something happen in the field, e.g., find the prey for the master, not just retrieve it. It is not a breed that sits around waiting for something to happen. They are bred to do something. In many cases sitting around waiting for the master to come home from work, they become bored and create their own activities. Unfortunately, we have never been able to teach this breed to wax floors or wash dishes while we are gone.
This is a breed that takes a lot of time. If you have that time and can dissipate the energy, a Weimaraner can be a very rewarding experience. This is a dog that has worked well with people who can take their dog to work, work from home, someone is home a good deal of time or all day. This is a dog that has a lot of loyalty and devotion to its master; the cost for those traits is time. The Weimaraner, regardless of what age, will require obedience classes to help you, the owner, learn how to lead the relationship. These dogs make excellent partners for not only field work, but obedience and agility. The Weimaraner is also one of the 10 best dogs to run with.
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