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On the Side of Weims

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    Melissa Hampton

Vice President:
    Beth Hacker

    Britt Emanuel

    John Bonner

Board Members:
    Sue Ramspacher
    Kim Petri
    Terry Groman

Weimaraner in woods

The Weimaraner Standard (pronounced Y-mar-honor)

Written by Carole Richards, DVWC Member

General Appearance: a medium to large gray dog with short hair that was bred for hunting ability. Height at Shoulder: Males 25 to 27 inches, Females 23 to 25 inches. Weight: Males 70 to 85 pounds, Females 55 to 65 pounds. The tail is docked to an approximate 6" length. The head is moderately long and aristocratic. Ears are long and lobular. The eyes range from light amber to gray or blue gray. Above all, the dog's conformation must indicate ability to work with great speed and endurance in the field. Developed in Germany, they came to this country during the middle of the twentieth century.

Personality: They are known for high activity levels, loyalty to their family and great intelligence. The temperament should be friendly, fearless, alert and obedient. They want to be with their people and be involved in their activities. Weimaraners cannot be continually housed in a kennel, the backyard, or the basement. They are "people dogs." To have a Weimaraner is to have a second shadow. They insist on being with you as much as possible. This is NO exaggeration. While they do not possess the aggressive personality of a guard dog, they will protect their property and let you know when a stranger is approaching their territory.

Exercise Requirements: Weimaraners need lots of exercise. A couple of long walks each day on a leash does not meet their needs for exercise. They were bred to have great stamina so that they could hunt all day. They are great companions for the active individual or family.

Grooming: An occasional bath (usually no more than once a month), brushing, trimming of nails and cleaning of ears and teeth is all that's required.

Health Problems: Hip dysplasia is an occasional problem especially with breeding stock that has not been x-rayed and received a passing rating from the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals). Bloat (an accumulation of excess gases in the stomach) and gastric torsion (twisting of the stomach) is a leading cause of death. Most other health problems are in the realm of accidents, including swallowing foreign objects.

Training: Obedience training is a must for the Weimaraner. Weimaraners physically grow up very quickly and training helps to control their enthusiasm, channel their energy properly and give them satisfaction that they are doing what you want. While they are very intelligent their attention span is short, especially when they are puppies. Training is most successful when it is done in short sessions; firmly, consistently, and with a gentle hand. Despite their size and strength Weimaraners are sensitive. Heavy corrections will have an adverse impact on the dog's training program.

Who should own a Weimaraner: only people and families who enjoy an active life style with lots of time outdoors. They are excellent companions for runners, walkers and hikers. If hunting is part of your recreation they are an excellent personal gun dog. They are thorough, meticulous hunters with a great nose and natural retrieving instincts. As such, they need to live on a fenced property.

Who should NOT own a Weimaraner: Weimaraners require a serious time commitment. Weimaraners do not do well when they have hours of time on their hands for they will take out their boredom on furnishings, or anything else they see as a source of amusement They are not a dog that can be relegated to a kennel situation. They are strong and are not recommended for frail people.
How Are Weimaraners with Children? They love their family and are wonderful playmates for children. However, Weimaraners may accidentally knock over very small children because of their size, strength, and quick motions. Their energy level is a good match for that of active kids. Weimaraners are possessive of their children and will protect them if they think they are threatened. Roughhousing by children who are not members of the family maybe interpreted as a threat and such play between family members and outside children should be supervised.
How are Weimaraners with Other Pets? Reactions vary tremendously. Some coexist with cats, birds, and other types of pets while others will not tolerate other species. Generally, if a puppy is raised with a cat or kitten they will live together peaceably. You must remember the Weimaraner is a hunter and therefore do not put the dog into a situation that would trigger a hunter's reaction.

What age Weim should I adopt?

Over the years, we've heard many misconceptions about the best age of Weimaraner to adopt:

"A younger dog will bond faster and closer than an older dog." False! Eight-year-old Cyris moved right in with his new family, which includes another Weimaraner and two children aged six and eight. He loves the kids, and Mom doesn't have to put up with the activity of a very young dog. Cyris loves to retrieve and catch Frisbees. He is eager to learn and was the star of his obedience class. In all our years of rescuing Weimaraners, we have never heard a complaint that an adopted dog didn't bond. Our adoptive homes often report that they feel like they've always had a particular rescue dog. As weeks and months pass, the bond with your adopted dog grows stronger. You will soon forget, regardless of what aged Weimaraner you adopt, that you haven't had this dog all its life.

"What age is best?" If you are 30-something or older, or have a young, active family, we suggest a Weimaraner around four or five years old because puppy hood is just about over. If you like to curl up for an early evening after a rough day at work, a Weim five or older may be the best companion for you. But keep in mind your Weim will still need daily exercise - Cyris is fit and trim at eight years old and very athletic. He loves his daily walks and still plays like a pup.

"Will an older dog adjust to a new home?" Adopted at age five, Susie had been abused. Through the patience and love of her adoptive family, she overcame her fears and happily shared their lives for more than nine years. A year after adopting Susie, the family welcomed four-year-old Gunther into their home. He immediately became pals with Susie and was with the family for nearly 10 years.

"I'm afraid to adopt an older Weimaraner because of losing the dog to death." We all know there are no guarantees in life and that death is part of life. It is particularly hard with canine companions because of the unconditional love they so generously give. But, when you purchase a puppy, you don't know what health problems may appear. By adopting an older Weimaraner, it's pretty much "what you see is what you get."

Just think - no housebreaking or getting up in the early dawn hours to take your Weim outside. No teething to destroy your lovely furniture. And, many of our Weimaraners have had some obedience training. You get a ready-made friend all you need to add is loving care and companionship.

Should I get a Male or a Female?

Frequently, people we talk with about adopting a Weimaraner believe that the female is more affectionate than the male. This is simply not true. Most owners of male Weimaraners wouldn't trade their "boys" any day because they are loving and affectionate. Some owners have commented that their males bonded closely with their families and follow them "like a shadow." Others note how well their dogs get along with other breeds in the household.

As in many other breeds, female Weimaraners are affectionate, but tend to be more independent and bossy than males. In homes with both males and females, the "leader of the pack" is usually a female. Some owners of both males and females say that the females rule the roost, but the males have more distinctive personalities. Devoted to her family, "top dog" Sophie shares her home with two male Weimaraners and two rescued German Shorthaired Pointers. All five are certified therapy dogs, but the male Weimaraners are favorites with the nursing home residents.

Another misconception is that males will mark inside the house. The Weimaraner is a very clean dog and, unless it is ill or very stressed and confused, would rather hold its bladder than soil its home. Accidents can happen, but if a dog of either sex often urinates in the house, it should be examined by a veterinarian for a possible health problem.

The main difference between males and females is size. A female usually weighs 55 to 65 pounds, while a male usually weighs between 70 and 85 pounds. Of course, genetics varies this figure. We will be happy to put you in touch with people who have always had females and have adopted males, and swear they will always have males in the future. If you would like to talk to someone who has "made the switch," and we'll have someone contact you.

Crate Training

The best thing you can do for you and your new dog is to crate train him. Many who think crates are cruel often change their minds when they come home to find their new dog has frantically chewed up shoes, lamp wires, sofa cushions and legs of dining room chairs because of stress of being left alone. Weimaraners can do considerable chewing damage and even injure themselves if left alone uncrated.

Although there are many different kinds, the most popular style of crate is the collapsible wire mesh type. Be sure to get a crate that is large enough for the dog to stand up, turn around and lie flat in comfortably. As your dog adjusts to his new home, he won't need his crate as often. He may sleep on the bedroom floor as an adult and finally be trusted with the run of the house. But dogs that have undergone crate training seek out their den for naps and quiet times alone - don't take away his natural retreat.

When it is time to introduce the dog to his crate den, toss in a toy or piece of his food. Encourage him to go inside and praise him when he complies. Close the door while praising him and give him another piece of food. Leave him in for a short period of time. Gradually lengthen the time. Never put him in his den while he is wearing any type of collar and most importantly, NEVER put him in his crate as a form of punishment.

Leaving a dog in the crate more than 8 hours while you go to work is too long! Some dogs may need to go out more often than every 8 hours. Other dogs that are not comfortable with the crate may find a way to escape and take their frustrations out on your house. If you work and cannot come home during the day to let the dog out, try enlisting a good neighbor, relative or friend, or hire a pet sitter. If you crate your dog at night, place it next to your bed. You are including him in your pack by allowing him to sleep in your den... a much better idea then isolating him away from you in another part of the house, only to cry for hours. Take him to his special spot outside to do his duty the very last thing before retiring for the night. Do not console crying, barking or whimpering after the lights go out, as this consolation is a form of praising the very behavior you want to stop. The crying usually stops and the dog goes to sleep.

The safest way to transport your dog in the car is in his crate. Crates have saved dogs' lives in accidents, preventing them from being tossed around in the car. Many dogs provide too great a distraction for the driver when left loose in the car. Permitting your dog to hang out the car window, however pleasurable it may seem to him, is dangerous. It sets him up for possible eye irritations and serious injury or death if he is thrown from the car. Letting your dog ride uncrated in the back of a pickup truck is even more foolhardy.

If you plan to vacation with your pet, the crate is a real asset. Motels and even friends and family are more inclined to take dogs as guests when you explain that the dog will not be sleeping on the beds, but instead will be in his crate. The dog will also feel better having his safe place with him in a strange location.

Buying a Puppy

Over 50% of the puppies raised in the US are raised by people who NEVER have another litter. Relatively few of these people are well informed, prepared for the experience, and do a good job. They don't usually stand behind their puppies. Very few are equipped to take adequate care of all puppies until they can be placed in good homes, regardless of how long that takes.

Another LARGE PERCENTAGE of puppies are raised by "PUPPY FARMS" that sell numerous litters of many breeds, or sell to pet stores for resale. The dam is usually constantly kenneled and her only purpose in life is to be a moneymaker.

That leaves a relatively small percentage of puppies being raised by experienced people who are dedicated to one or two breeds and raising puppies for reasons other than maximum profit. Not all of these breeders are knowledgeable and conscientious.

Puppy Referral

The DVWC makes available names of individuals who have puppies (and sometimes adults) available or are planning a future litter. All people referred are members of the DVWC and/or Weimaraner Club of America which has a breeder’s code of ethics. While not endorsing any particular breeder we have personal knowledge of these people who are active in the AKC's sport of dogs.

For names and other information about owning a Weimaraner contact:
Carole Richards, Public Education and Breeder Referral, 856-854-6336 or email: zarasweimaraners@yahoo.com

Weimaraner Rescue Links:

   Weimaraner Club of America *

   Weimaraner Club of the Washington D.C. Area *

   Nutmeg Weimaraner Club *

   Tri-State Weimaraner Rescue *