Box: Did you know?
The Weimaraner remained a relatively unknown breed till
internationally prominent artist and photographer William Wegman discovered his dog Man Ray’s love for the spotlight in 1970. Wegman’s photos and videos of Weimaraners frequently dressed like people and striking unusual poses became a rage and the Weimaraner became known as the dog with the human wardrobe.
The Gray Ghost of the canine world, the Weimaraner is one of the best all-around gun dogs in the world today. The sleek grey dog dates back to early 19th century Germany.
Around 1810, Grand Duke Karl August of Weimar set out to create a multipurpose dog to meet the assorted needs of the German forester.
Bred for its superior scenting abilities, the Weimaraner is a descendant of the same breeds as the German Shorthaired Pointer. It is believed that the Red Schweisshund, ascent and tracking dog was used to develop this active dog.
Known as the Weimar Pointer in the early days of the breed, the Weimaraner hunted boar, wolves, bear and wildcat elk, and deer alongside the noblemen of the Court of Weimar. When the game became scarce in Germany, the breed made its transition into a bird dog. As with all German breeds, the Weimaraner was tightly controlled by its creators and was seldom seen outside its native province.
Strict rules governed who could own and breed the silver-coated canines, and a ‘Breed Warden’ evaluated all potential breeding stock and determined which pups were to be culled from each litter.
It was only after an American named Howard Knight was admitted into the German Weimaraner club in 1929, and was permitted to bring two of the dogs to the US, that the breed became known.
Fourteen years later the Weimaraner was accepted into the American Kennel Club, and it gained considerable popularity a few years later when President Dwight D. Eisenhower brought his pet Heidi to the White House.
A relatively large dog, the male Weimaraner stands at 26 inches at the shoulder, with females about two inches shorter. The short, sleek coat is always mouse-grey to silver-grey, often blending to lighter shades on the head and ears. A splash of white is permitted on the chest, but larger white markings are prohibited here and no white is permitted anywhere else on the body.
The dog’s head is aristocratic, with the muzzle and skull being the same length, and the stop (the rise from muzzle to skull) is moderate. The alert eyes are normally light amber, grey, or blue-grey; and the fairly long ears are set high on the head and folded over. The quivering nose, with a keen sense of smell, is usually grey. The Weimaraner tail is docked to reach six inches in length in the adult dog.
Some unscrupulous breeders may advertise “rare” blue or black Weimaraners to attract buyers, but these dogs are less valuable than the gray dogs for they are disqualified under the breed standard. Although disqualification does not detract from the dog’s value as a pet, the blue or black dog should never be bred, for its perpetuation dilutes the purity of the breed.
Although longhair Weimaraners are in the minority, they are regularly born into shorthair litters. Long-haired Weims are not accepted in the breed standard, and many long-coated puppies are culled at birth. Interestingly, long-haired Weimaraners are shown in all the major kennel clubs of the world except those in the United States.