I absolutely love my beautiful “Grey Ghosts”. The Weimaraner is a particularly striking breed with their silky silver-grey coats and blue-green eyes. They are not for everybody though. I wouldn’t trade mine for the world, but I knew what I was getting into before I got them by doing some thorough research on different dog breeds. I had always only had Labs before, another excellent dog, but after I lost my chocolate “Penny”, my heart was too heavy to fall in love with another Lab! So if you’re thinking about or just want to know a little more about Weimaraners, let me tell you first hand!
Weimaraners are known for their fine, short, sleek grey coat. The color ranges from a mouse grey to a silver-grey, and there is a line of “blue” Weimaraners that are almost a charcoal grey. Their distinctive colors have led to this breed being nicknamed the Silver Ghost or Grey Ghost. Their coat color is definitely a rarity among dog breeds. Most have very long aristocratic lines, long noses and big floppy hound ears, but there is also a more stocky square head line that reminds me of a square or box head Labrador. I happen to have one of each.
They were originally known as the Weimer Pointer (gotten from the court that sponsored the breed), and are a product of selective German breeding. Weimaraners come from the same general stock as other German hunting breeds. They are believed to be a descendant of the Bloodhound, and were originally used to hunt wolves, deer and bear. Over the years because of the rarity of bigger game in their surroundings, the Weimaraner adapted to become a bird dog and personal hunting companion. They are pointers, most will alert and point instinctively with no training, and they have a keen sense of smell.
Weimaraners are devoted and loving members of the family, and though they are usually quite large, 60-90lbs, they prefer to be in the house with their people. They are extremely smart, but Weims can be selective about when and how they use their intelligence. For example, they may yawn while being taught how to “stay” or “roll over”, or just give you the LOOK, but the moment you turn your back, they’ve figured out how to turn a doorknob and sneak outside. Mine managed to pull a 14lb frozen solid turkey out of a sink, and were halfway through the frozen turkey pop by the time their mischief was discovered, which was only a span of about 5 minutes!
Weimaraners have the tendency to rule the household if they are not trained properly. A strong-willed owner, with the time and ability to train, socialize and play with their Weim is almost essential. As with most dogs, neglect or poor treatment of a Weim can lead to destructive behavior that could include property damage, excessive barking and soiled carpets. If you’ve made them mad, they will let you know, not through aggression, but with excessive stubborn behavior. You can tell that whatever they do is ON PURPOSE, completely planned but maybe not thought out as to consequences!
Although they are very gentle and kind, Weimaraners can inadvertently knock things (and people) over. For this reason, they are probably not the best apartment dwellers, and not the best around very young children or the elderly. They love their water bowls for sure, and usually splash a good-sized puddle around their drinking area! The Weims are also known to want to come give you a big wet doggie kiss right after drinking… at least mine do! They WILL bark at strangers, or strange noises, being very alert to what’s going on around them. If you get them as puppies and have other animals around them they will socialize pretty well, but not so much with cats or small dogs. Their natural hunting instincts are strong, and when they’re older it’s not easy to introduce a new member to what they consider to be THEIR pack, or family. Weims are known to be very protective and particular of THEIR person or family.
Weimaraners need plenty of exercise and if possible a big yard to play in. On the subject of yards, Weims are very good at escaping them! They have been known to unlatch gates and jump fences, and they can also dig like groundhogs. Mine have actually pulled a bit of siding off the house because they smelled a lizard that had crawled behind there to escape the heat, and the dogs! Definitely take them out and give them time to play, but experts do not recommend leaving them alone in the yard for significant periods. They are very, very sneaky, and once again, they are escape artists!
So who would do best with a Weimaraner? The ideal person for a Weim is someone who is active and has time to spend with their dog. Young single people or families with older children are ideal. Raising a Weimaraner does require patience, and a more serene calm person with a gentle disposition. They absolutely DO NOT respond to yelling or being hit. They are sensitive! In fact they will go out of their way to do the opposite of what you wish if treated aggressively. I’ve been told, especially by the vet that my Weims are actually very calm and well behaved for the breed, but that’s because I have a very calm gentle nature, and I spent a LOT of time with them as puppies to head off any destructive behavior. Their breed is known for being a little hyper or excitable.
A healthy Weimaraner can live as long as 17 years with 12 to 14 years being average. Some common health problems for a Weim include hip dysplasia, tumors and immune system disorders. Weims are also prone to bloat. Instead of one big meal, two smaller meals a day is sufficient.
All in all, they are wonderful and so full of personality. Their expressions, beauty, and the way they interact with their person is priceless. The traits explained above are typical, but with any breed of dog, your animal is going to respond largely to it’s environment and to how it is raised and treated. Any breed of dog can be a good dog, and vice versa. It is best to fully understand what you’re taking on when adopting a Grey Ghost or any breed for that matter. Becoming a dog parent is a huge responsibility, and a 12 to 18 year commitment that should never be taken lightly or done on a whim. I must say though, one look into a little Weimaraner’s sweet puppy face with those big blue eyes and floppy ears is a very hard thing to resist!