There are a great many reasons why Weimaraners have been a very popular breed from their first introduction into the United States. Part of the allure of the dog is their unique coat and eye color, which has earned them the nickname of the "gray ghost". Another major attraction for many owners to the breed is their high energy level, wonderful athletic abilities and their strong bonding tendencies to their families. These same traits, however, can also pose challenges for some individuals and families that are considering the breed. As with all dogs, there is no one breed that is a perfect match for everyone. Taking the time to research both the good and potentially problematic traits, behaviors or even health considerations of a particular breed is the best way of finding the dog or dog breeds that are most suited to your life.
Living with a Weimaraner is a wonderful experience for an active family or individual that wants a dog that is really a center of the action type of breed. Weimaraners are not going to be relegated to the outer circle to just watch what is going on, they are going to want to be right in the thick of things. This need to be in the center of the human activity is part of the specific breeding programs used in the early development of the Weimaraner. Unlike many of the other hunting dogs in Germany, the Weimaraner was always meant to be both a companion dog to the royalty that bred and owned the dogs, as well as a truly excellent hunting dog. The breed, although not commonly used by most families as a hunting dog, still retains the very strong need to be involved with humans in every sense of the word.
The Weimaraner, because of this trait, makes an excellent traveling companion. Once they learn to go in the vehicle you won't be able to mention the word car or pick up the keys without having a very excited and eager dog at your side. They do seem to love to travel and are typically very well behaved in a vehicle providing there are regular exercise stops planned for along the drive. Weimaraners are also a breed that does take fairly well to the shoulder harnesses, meaning you can also keep them safe on the drive without the need for crating.
Successfully living with a Weimaraner means accommodating this dogs needs into your everyday lifestyle. This breed has a huge energy requirement that, if not met, will funnel all their energy into doing things that can be highly destructive. Weimaraners without proper exercise and chewers, and their powerful jaws make short work of almost any type of furniture. A well trained, well exercised Weimaraner does not have a chewing problem, but a bored or untrained Weimaraner is really a problem in this regard. The good news is that they are a playful dog and will love to keep themselves entertained with balls, chew toys and other very durable types of dog play toys while you are away.
The short coat of the Weimaraner is not ideal for very cold climates, although they do enjoy brief periods outside in all types of weather. Extended time in very cold and wet climates can lead to health issues in this breed, as with any other shorter coated dog breed. Although short coated, they are considered a moderate to heavier shedding breed all year round. Their need to be with the family also can lead to issues if you are wanting an outdoor breed or a kennel dog. The Weimaraner is not well suited to either of these options, preferring at least to spend the evenings inside with the family when people are home.
Exercising the Weimaraner, even if you have a larger, fenced yard, is going to be a priority with this breed. With access to a large fenced yard for several hours a day, the breed is happy with one or two longer walks per day. They are ideal at games such as fetch or hide and seek, and they have a natural playful nature. The Weimaraner typically is very loyal, loving and protective of children of all ages in the family. Their rather exuberant and rather rambunctious behavior may make them unsuitable for families with very small children, however when raised together and taught how to play with smaller kids they are an ideal family pet.
Most Weimaraners are great with dogs they have been raised with, but do need routine and regular socialization to prevent issues with dog aggression. They are a natural watchdog and will defend and protect their territory or family against any other dogs that arrive on the scene. Well socialized Weimaraners are typically tolerant of other dogs off their own property, and can adjust to other dogs in the home with proper introduction and supervision until the dogs are comfortable with each other.
Originally used for hunting both small and large mammals, the Weimaraner does have a naturally high prey drive. This means they will hunt other animals, including cats or any other smaller types of non-canine pets. Some Weimaraners, when raised with cats are great, others never really seem to accept any cats other than the specific house cats of the family. Weimaraners raised without cats should not be considered if you are planning on having cats or currently have feline pets in the house. Typically birds, rodent type pets, rabbits or even barnyard fowl such as chickens or ducks are not a good match for the Weimaraner.
Although a very healthy breed by nature, Weimaraners are prone to a condition known as bloat. Bloat, also known as gastric torsion, occurs when the stomach twists on itself, cutting off blood supply and also preventing gas and digested material from passing through to the intestines and out of the body. This condition is life threatening and will cause death if not treated immediately. Living with a Weimaraner means knowing the signs of bloat and immediately getting the dog to the vet if he or she starts to show distress after eating. Feeding several small meals a day and avoiding specific types of foods and excise immediately after eating can help in preventing this condition.
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