The natural athletic ability, high energy level and the Weimaraners drive to always please the owner has made this breed and outstanding competition dog. Originally the Weimaraner was bred and developed specifically as a larger game hunting dog, scenting, tracking and holding in position large animals such as deer, wild boar, bear and other types of wild game in the wilderness areas in Germany. Owned only by royalty and the wealthy, Weimaraner were much sought after and protected by the German Weimaraner Club, which only permitted members to own the breed or sell puppies to other club members. With this restricted type of ownership commitment, the Weimaraner was not well known outside of the country until the early 1900s.
Once people found out about the breed, curiosity and interest increased in these very elusive German hunting dogs. By this time the demand for large game hunting had really declined due to lack of wildlife in the country, so the breed was used in bird hunting, both on land and in water. The natural hunting instincts and the strong swimming ability of the Weimaraner made them a natural match.
In 1939 an American by the name of Howard Knight managed to obtain some breeding stock from the German Weimaraner Club. This unprecedented move by the club occurred in order to attempt to protect the breed in the event of possible destruction of the various kennels during World War ll. Once in America, Howard Knight followed the same strict breeding program, however he was much less interested in the breed as hunting dogs as opposed to companion and show dogs.
In the United States, despite the lack of requirements for the Weimaraner to be hunting dogs in the early breeding programs, the instincts have still remained. So while conformation and adherence to the breed standard was really the goal of the early American kennels and breeders, it did not diminish or breed out the hunting instincts. This is proven time and again as American show champion dogs compete in international and national competitions in hunting and field trials and do exceedingly well.
Hunting or field events or trials with the Weimaraner breed are completed all over the United States. Some are sponsored specifically for the breed by the Weimaraner Club of America while others are sponsored for all breeds by the Field Dog Stud Book registry. There are also local gun dog clubs and field dog clubs that host a variety of different hunting or field events in different states and areas.
Field events for the Weimaraner are very wide since the breed is considered a versatile gun dog or HPR dog, which stands for hunt, point and retrieve. The Weimaraner can be used in any type of field trial including tracking events, making them a great competition dog at any level. They are very intelligence and able to respond to the hunter's commands, making them an exciting dog to watch during the competition.
For those not interested in hunting, there are several other types of competitions that Weimaraners really excel at. Agility is one such event that combines the dog's natural athletic ability and energy with its competitive drive and interest in working with and pleasing the handler. These dogs literally fly around the agility course, taking the jumps, weaving through poles and even dashing through the tunnels without a stop or hesitation. One possible issue with the breed is the pause table, where the dog actually has to jump up and stop, waiting for the owner's command to jump up from the sit or down position to continue on with the course.
During the agility events the dog and the owner are working together only by voice, signal and movement commands. The owner cannot physically touch the dog or physically direct the dog. Since every course is designed by the judge, the dog has to follow the owner's commands in order to complete the course correctly in the fastest possible time. Points are deducted for any faults or errors on either the dog or the handler's part, and the dog with the fastest and best score will win the event.
Although not commonly seen in Flyball or Frisbee types of competitions, the Weimaraner makes a great competitive dog. Their speed, natural agility and incredible stamina and winning drive are wonderful in combination for these events. Perhaps one issue that prevents these dogs from being seen in these events is that they can sometimes by easily distracted if they are not focused, and they events tend to be very loud with lots of other dogs and people in constant motion.
Doggy freestyle dancing or heelwork to music events, dogs and their owners are judged on their ability to perform close and distant work all to specifically choreographed routines. Heelwork to music involves the dog working in the heel position with the handler, following a set of required moves throughout a routine. It is done to music, but the pattern is restrictive in that the dog must stay in the heel position.
Freestyle events are different than heelwork to music in that the handler and the dog can create a unique routine including tricks, distance work and some very fancy footwork. The dog may weave through the owner's legs, jump up on the owner or over their back, or the dog or owner or both may use costumes and props to enhance their routine. In addition in freestyle work the music and the choreography is very different from each pair of dog and owner, allowing all types of very unique tricks to be included in the routine.
Showing a Weimaraner in obedience events is also a great opportunity to bond and work with the dog. Obedience requires consistent training and lots of practice, both activities that the Weimaraner will adjust every well to performing. Obedience trained Weimaraner typically place very high in their class and can be found at some of the highest levels of obedience competitions.