Often referred to as the “grey ghost” because of the distinctive color of its short, sleek coat, the Weimaraner is a graceful dog with aristocratic features. Bred for speed, good scenting ability, courage and intelligence, he remains an excellent game hunter and active participant in other dog sports. They were originally known as the Weimer Pointer (derived from the court that sponsored the breed.) Weimaraners are a product of selective German breeding and come from the same general stock as other German hunting breeds. It is believed to be a descendant of the Bloodhound and was originally used to hunt wolves, deer and bear. Over the years because of the rarity of bigger game in his surroundings, the Weimaraner adapted to become a bird dog and personal hunting companion.
Unless you are careful (and sometimes even if you are) the Weimaraner will own you rather than the other way around.
The Weimaraner has the talents to let you choose from among many things you can do with one!
There’s only one thing that you can’t do with one—and that’s NOTHING. The breed does not accept being shut away from people well.
Below is a by no means exhaustive list of the activities you can do with your weimaraner:
A companion—naturally clean, short coated, easy to care for.
A personal hunting dog—many are used with minimal training, and work ideally for the foot hunter. Contrary to the original ballyhoo years ago, the Weimaraner is not a Superdog, does not walk on water, does not clear tall buildings in a single bound, is a dog, does better if its instincts are helped by some training, and does vary in its abilities from dog to dog.
A show dog—dog shows offer fun and challenge to many. The Weimaraner can provide its owner with many a pleasant day in quest of blue and purple ribbons, and eventually the title of Champion. He has also shown that he can compete successfully with other breeds in competition for Group and Best in Show awards.
Obedience Trials—Because the Weimaraner is intelligent and quick to learn, it makes an excellent obedience competition dog. AKC offers five increasingly difficult and meaningful titles: CD (Companion Dog), CDX (Companion Dog Excellent), UD (Utility Dog), UDX (Utility Dog Excellent), and OTCH (Obedience Trial Champion), which can be earned. Many owners take themselves and their dogs to obedience school just so that they can live together better—a very good idea.
Tracking Trials—AKC also offers the titles of TD (Tracking Dog), TDX (Tracking Dog Excellent), and VST (Variable Surface Tracker); earning all three leads to the title CT (Champion Tracker). Because the Weimaraner has excellent scenting ability they do well in this activity. They have actually been used for rescue work.
Guard Dog—Although the well-bred Weimaraner’s temperament is basically friendly, he will usually regard his Master’s family and possessions as his, and with encouragement will bark on the approach of strangers. We do not recommend guard dog training for any breed unless the owner is skilled in that activity since a guard-trained dog in unskilled hands is just like a loaded gun in a child’s hands. Nevertheless, the mere proximity of a dog of the size and presence of the Weimaraner has often had a great discouraging effect on unwelcome people.
Field Trials—A Field Trial is a competition to determine the best and most spectacular hunting dog. They provide a great deal of enjoyment and challenge for many. There are three classes of competition—puppy, derby and all-age. Puppy requires mostly instinct, derbies must show experience, and all-age dogs must be fully trained. AKC offers the title of Field Champion for those few who can earn it. WCA offers three ratings: Novice Shooting Dog, Shooting Dog, and Shooting Dog Excellent. Each rating is more demanding. The Novice can be earned with relatively little training, while the SDX dog should be a candidate for the Field Champion title.
Hunting Tests—The American Kennel Club offers titles for pointing breed dogs demonstrating instinct and training at these levels: JH (Junior Hunter), SH (Senior Hunter) and MH (Master Hunter). Dogs at the JH level show instinct and some amount of training, while the MH dog is a highly trained hunting dog.
Retrieving Trials—The Weimaraner is a fine instinctive retriever and Retrieving competitions are held in most parts of the country in the summer. AKC does not offer a Champion title, but WCA offers three Ratings similar to the field ratings. They are Novice Retrieving Dog, Retrieving Dog, and Retrieving Dog Excellent. Here again the novice relies mostly on instinct, while the RDX requires a great deal of training and ability.
Agility—With their lithe and athletic bodies, Weimaraners can and do excel in this new and increasingly popular activity. Titles may be earned at various levels of difficulty through AKC and other organizations.
Junior Handling—For those with children, AKC offers the challenge of competition to see who can learn and develop the skills to handle a dog in the Show ring and present it to its best advantage. The WCA has an active Junior Program.
Versatile Ratings—WCA offers two Versatile Ratings (Versatile and Versatile Excellent) which require demonstration of excellence in at least three major areas, such as show, field, obedience, retrieving, etc. The ratings recognize the versatility of this breed.
That’s just a starter list of what one can do. Try for an AKC Triple Champion title (Champion in Show, Field and Obedience)–or go on from obedience to team, hurdle or scent races and special events–or try for a WCA Versatility Rating–OR you can just sit by the fire and enjoy the love of the dog at your side. The choice is yours, there’s something for everyone.
For more information on how to find a Show or Trial or get started, contact WCA headquarters.
—adapted from material written by T. W. Jarmie for the Weimaraner Club of America