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Weimaraner

The Weimaraner's coat colour led to its nickname of "the Grey Ghost".
Other names Weimaraner Vorstehhund
Nicknames Weim
Grey Ghost
Country of origin Germany
Traits

The Weimaraner (WYE-ma-rah-ner or VYE-ma-rah-ner) is a dog that was originally bred for hunting in the early 19th century. Early Weimaraners were used by royalty for hunting large game, such as boar, bears, deer, and foxes. As the popularity of large game hunting began to decline, Weimaraners were used for hunting smaller animals, like fowl, rabbits, and foxes. Rather than having a specific purpose such as pointing or flushing, the Weimaraner is an all purpose gun dog. The Weimaraner is loyal and loving to his family, an incredible hunter, and a fearless guardian of his family and territory. The name comes from the Grand Duke of Weimar, Karl August, whose court enjoyed hunting.

Contents

Description

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Appearance

This profile head shot illustrates the balanced features of the Weimaraner.

The Weimaraner is elegant and athletic in appearance. All parts of the dog should be in balance with each other, creating a form that is pleasing to the eye. It must be capable of working in the field, regardless of whether it is from show stock or hunting stock, and faults that will interfere with working ability are heavily penalized.

Traditionally, the tail is docked to a third of its natural length at birth and dewclaws are removed. This is part of the AKC breed standard. However, these alterations have since been illegalized in several other countries; as such those dogs are shown with their natural tails.

Size

According to the AKC standard, the male Weimaraner stands between 25 and 27 inches (63-68 cm) at the withers.

Females are between 23 and 25 inches (58-63 cm). Of course, there are many dogs taller or shorter than the breed standard. The breed is not heavy for its height, and males normally weigh roughly 70-80 pounds. Females are generally between 55-70 lbs(25-32kgs). A Weimaraner carries its weight proudly and gives the appearance of a muscular, athletic dog.

Temperament

Weimaraners are highly athletic and trainable, characteristics which allow them to excel in a variety of dog sports, such as agility
A Picture of a curious Weimaraner.

Weimaraners are fast and powerful dogs, but are suitable home animals given appropriate training and exercise. These dogs are not as sociable towards strangers as other hunting dogs such as Labradors and Golden Retrievers. Weimaraners are very protective of their family and can be very territorial. They can be aloof to strangers, and must be thoroughly socialized when young to prevent aggression. They are also highly intelligent, sensitive and problem-solving animals, which earned them an epithet "dog with a human brain". They are ranked 21st in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, being of excellent working/obedience intelligence.

From adolescence, a Weimaraner requires extensive exercise in keeping with an energetic hunting dog breed prized for their physical endurance and stamina. No walk is too far, and they will appreciate games and play in addition. An active owner is more likely to provide the vigorous exercising, games, or running that this breed absolutely requires. Weimaraners are high-strung and often wear out their owners, requiring appropriate training to learn how to calm them and to help them learn to control their behavior. Owners need patience and consistent, firm (yet kind) training, as this breed is particularly rambunctious during the first year and a half of its life. This breed is known for having a penchant for stealing food from table and counter tops whenever given the chance. Like many breeds, untrained and unconfined young dogs often create their own fun when left alone, such as chewing house quarters and furniture. Thus, many that are abandoned have behavioural issues as a result of isolation and inferior exercise.

Weimaraners are often kind to children, but they may not be appropriate for smaller children due to their tendency to knock a child down in the course of play. The breed is so full of energy that early training to sit (through positive reinforcement) is critical to prevent jumping in the future, as these strong dogs may knock over elderly people or children by accident.

It should never be forgotten that the Weimaraner is a hunting dog and therefore has a strong, instinctive prey drive. Weimaraners will sometimes tolerate cats, as long as they are introduced to the cats as puppies, but many will chase and frequently kill almost any small animal that enters their garden or backyard. In rural areas, most Weimaraners will not hesitate to chase deer or sheep.

This breed of dog tends to be very stubborn. However, with good training, these instincts can be curtailed to some degree. A properly trained Weimaraner is a wonderful companion that will never leave its master's side. The Weimaraner has been given the appellation "Velcro Dog", as when once acclimated to its master, sticks to its master at all times. Many Weimaraners tend to lean on their master when sitting or standing.

Behavior Disorders

Since they were bred to be true members of the family, some Weimaraners suffer from severe separation anxiety. Manifestations of this behavior disorder include panicked efforts to rejoin the owner when separation occurs, excessive drooling, destructive behaviors, and associated injuries such as broken teeth or cut lips.

2 fully grown Weimaraners

Behavior modification training and medications may reduce the severity of symptoms associated with this disorder in some Weimaraners. However, the breed is generally refractory to such treatment and behavior modification training efforts. As individuals of the breed age the severity of separation anxiety symptoms decreases somewhat, but does not completely abate.

More common, lighter manifestations of separation anxiety include wailing, which mimics a high pitched crying tone. This is even more noticed when the Weim's master is near, or returning home. If properly socialized young, the tendency for separation anxiety may be reduced.

In similarity to lighter manifestations of separation anxiety are the inability for the Weimaraner to leave its master's side. Many Weimaraners will insist on even sleeping as close to the master as possible. It is not uncommon to find the Weim sleeping on the master's bed.

Health

The Weimaraner is a deep-chested dog, which makes them a breed which is high on the list of dogs affected by bloat or gastric torsion. This is a very serious condition that causes a painful rapid death when left untreated. It occurs when the stomach twists itself, thereby pinching off blood vessels and the routes of food traveling in or out. Symptoms include a dog showing signs of distress, discomfort, no bowel movement or sounds, and a swollen stomach. Immediate medical attention is imperative when bloat occurs and surgery is the only option if it is caught early enough. One way to help prevent bloat is to spread out the Weimaraner's feedings to at least twice daily and to avoid any vigorous exercise right after feedings. It is also recommended that the dog's feeding dish NOT be placed on a raised platform, to stop the dog from gobbling the food too quickly and to keep air from entering the stomach. There are special bowls made for gulping dogs, as well. Weimaraner owners might never see this problem in their dogs but should be familiar with the ailment and keep emergency vet numbers handy. According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Weimaraners suffer from low rates of dysplasia. The breed is ranked 102nd of 153 total breeds and has a very high test rate and a very high percentage of excellent rating among those dogs tested.[1] It is generally recommended to acquire Weimeraners only from breeders who have their dogs' hips tested using OFA or PennHIP methods. Other health issues include:

Two year old Weim in the field hunting.

History

Grand Duke Karl August of Weimar and his dog.

Today's breed standards developed in the 1800s, although dogs having very similar features to the Weimaraner have been attested as far back as 1200s in the court of Louis IX of France. One theory is that the ancestor is the St. Habertus Branchen. Though these dogs are black, these dogs can produce a grey dog when bred. Like the Vizsla at the time, the breed was created exclusively for the nobility and alike. The aim was to create a noble-looking, reliable gundog. As ownership was restricted, the breed was highly prized and lived with the family. This was unusual, as during this period, hunting dogs were kept in kennels in packs. This has resulted in a dog that needs to be near humans and that quickly deteriorates when kennelled. The Weimaraner was an all purpose family dog, capable of guarding the home, hunting with the family, and of course, being loving and loyal towards children.

Originally, Germany was possessive of its skilled all-purpose gundog. But starting in the late nineteenth century the breed became increasingly more common throughout Europe and the United States. Although slower than many other gundogs, such as Pointers, the Weimaraner is thorough and this made it a welcome addition to the sportsman's household. Furthermore, its happy, lively temperament endeared it to families, although it is perhaps too lively for families with young children. Unfortunately, with the rise in popularity, some careless matches were made and some inferior specimens were produced. Since then, both in Britain and America (where the breed remains popular) breeders have taken care to breed for quality and purpose.

Weimaraners in popular culture

  • In the 2002 Jennifer Lopez film Maid in Manhattan, senatorial candidate Chris Marshall (Ralph Fiennes) owns a Weimaraner, which appears in multiple scenes.
  • On the show Trailer Park Boys, the character Julian dances with a "dirty old dog", which is a Weimaraner.
  • The first president and founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, had a Weimaraner called Fox.
  • US President Dwight D. Eisenhower owned a Weimaraner named Heidi
  • Dan Solley, Viewpoints columnist for University of South Carolina's student newspaper, the Daily Gamecock, owns a Weimaraner - Millie.
  • French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing owned a Weimaraner called Jugurtha, who is said to have had such human habits as laughing or drinking tea
  • The photographs of William Wegman prominently feature Weimaraners. His dogs (which included Man Ray—named after artist Man Ray—and Fay Ray—a play on Fay Wray) are the subject of his photos, dressed in human clothes. These pictures are popular both in galleries of contemporary art and as pop culture icons. These "dogs with hands" have appeared frequently on Sesame Street, and occasionally on Saturday Night Live.
  • Kyra Sundance and her Weimaraners performed their stunt dog show on The Tonight Show, Ellen, ET, and Showdog Moms & Dads
  • A Weimaraner was also the subject of the music video for Blue Monday by the rock band New Order. This dog is the previously named Man Ray, since Wegman did the artwork for this clip
  • A neurotic Weimaraner named Beatrice (played by Can. Ch. Arokat's Echobar Take Me Dancing) is featured in the movie Best in Show.
  • A Weimaraner was used in the Sylvester Stallone movie "Daylight" (1996).
  • Actor Hosea Chanchez (CW's The Game) owns a Weimaraner puppy named Brando.
  • Singer Kate Bush poses with two Weimaraner on the cover of her 1985 album Hounds of Love
  • A cowardly Weimaraner named Hyena plays a minor role in the Japanese series Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin.
  • Brad Pitt owns a Weimaraner named Purdy[1]
  • Angelina Jolie did a St. John ad campaign [2] with Chalcy the Weimaraner [3]
  • Actor Esai Morales (NYPD Blue) owns a Weimaraner named Frankie
  • Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor had a female Weimaraner named Daisy May.
  • In the 2007 film Juno, Brenda MacGuff (Juno's stepmother played by Allison Janney)'s fondness for dogs is frustrated by her stepdaughter's allergy to their saliva. During an argument, she exclaims, "When you move out, I'm getting Weimaraners!" In the end sequence of the film, she is seen playing with a pair of them.
  • Grace Kelly (later Princess Grace of Monaco) had a Weimaraner, and there are photos of her playing with him during her trip to Monaco before her marriage to Prince Rainier.
  • Bestselling novelist Fiona Walker owns a female Weimaraner called Pudding.
  • A Weimaraner features on the cover of the album The Best of the Pogues
  • F1 racing driver Mark Webber owns a Weimaraner, Shadow.
  • A Weimaraner also makes an appearance in the movie Fever Pitch starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore
  • Four were used in the video for the Pet Shop Boys song - I Don't Know What You Want But I Can't Give It Any More in 2002
  • Larry The Cable Guy adopted a Weimaraner from the Heartland Weimaraner Rescue
  • Queen Latifah owns a weimaraner named Isis.
  • Dick Clark owned a weimaraner.
  • Bella the dog the most famous Oregon big dog, is a weimaraner
  • Two Weimaraners are featured in Paul McCartney's "Nod Your Head" music video, which was a submission from a fan in Maine.

Image Gallery

References

  1. ^ See www,OFFA.org for statistics
  2. ^ a b c d e http://www.weimclubamerica.org/health/index.html Weimaraner Club of America: List of common problems afflicting Weimaraners
  3. ^ a b c d e f http://www.upei.ca/~cidd/breeds/weimaraner2.htm Canine Inherited Disorders Database

External links


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