Breed Comparison

Weimaraner vs German Shepherd: What’s The Difference? (Complete Guide)


The Weimaraner belongs to the Sporting group per the AKC standard and Pointing group in the FCI standard. The German Shepherd belongs to the Herding group (AKC) and Sheepdog & Cattledog group (FCI).

The German Shepherd, also known as an Alsatian in some parts of the world, is a medium to large sized dog, reaching up to 26 inches and 90 lbs, while the Weimaraner can measure up to 27 inches and 90 lbs.

Weimaraners come in shades of grey and even blue, while German Shepherds are rather golden or reddish brown with black saddle or can be solid black.

BreedLifespanDog SizeDog WeightCoat ColorSheddingDog PersonalityPuppy Cost
Weimaraner10-13 yearsup to 27″up to 90 lbsgray, blueseasonalvery active$700-2500
German Shepherd9-13 yearsup to 26″up to 90 lbsgolden, reddish brow, blackregularactive$800-2000
Weimaraner vs German Shepherd comparison table

As the name suggests, the German Shepherd’s roots are in 19th century Germany, where they were bred by Captain Max von Stephanitz by breeding German shepherd dogs. The history of Weimaraners isn’t as clear cut but their name comes from the region of Weimar in the 19th century Germany.

German Shepherds were bred as herding and working dogs, while Weimaraners were bred as hunting companions. You can read more about Weimaraners’ origins in my post.,

Appearance of Weimaraner vs German Shepherd

Both breeds are similar in their size, they’re both medium to large dogs. The Weimaraner stands up to 27″ in heigh and 90lbs in weight. The German Shepherd can measure up to 26″ and 90 lbs as well.

Weimaraners are generally very sleek, muscular and sinewy. German Shepherds are strong and muscular, they’re longer than they are taller. The German Shepherd has a sloping back, while the Weimaraner’s back is more straight.

Weimaraner vs German Shepherd

Eyes

German Shepherd’s eyes are medium size, almond shaped and usually dark. They eyes of a Weimaraner are medium size and round. When they are puppies, their eyes are strikingly blue and as they grow up, they turn into amber or blue-gray.

Ears

Weimaraner’s ears are fairly long and have a rounded tip. They are set high on their head. German Shepherd’s ears are set high on their head, pointed upright and open toward the front. If they’re relaxed, they can be carried somewhat pulled back.

Nose

German Shepherd’s nose is quite long, slightly tapering and should be black. Weimaraner’s nose is usually dark brown in gray dogs, dark blue in blue Weimaraners. If you’d like to read more about blue Weimaraners, I wrote a post about them here.

Coat

The Weimaraner has a solid colored coat and doesn’t have an undercoat. They come in shades of gray from mouse to silver and sometimes blue, though that color isn’t standard. Some white markings are premitted on chest and toes. Their coat is silky and shiny. There is also a long-haired variant of Weimaraner but they are

German Shepherds have a thick undercoat and medium length coat. There is a long-haired variant of the GSD but that trait is a recessive gene and it’s not as common. The AKC treats long haired type as a fault but the FCI recongizes it as another variant of the breed.

Their coat is usually golden/tan and black marks, reddish brown and black marks or pure black. The lighter varieties usually have the characteristic “saddle” on their back in black color. There are white GSDs but this type cannot become a show dog as their coloring will lead to instant disqualification.

Tail

Weimaraner’s tail is strong but not too thick and it tapers to a point. Where law permits, short-haired Weimaraner’s tail is cropped to cover their genitalia (about 6 inches). I wrote an article about docking Weimaraners’ tails here.

GSD’s tail is quite bushy and set rather low. There’s long hair on the underside and generally hangs down in a slight curve.

Personality of Weimaraner vs German Shepherd

German Shepherds are known to be very affectionate and loyal to their family. They’re usually confident and make excellent guard dogs. German Shepherds were the 3rd most favorite dog breed in the US in 2020, Weimaraners ranked in 39th place.

They can be a little bit reserved towards strangers, though they are not aggressive. If they’re not properly socialized early on, they can become overprotective over their family. The might not get along other dogs at first and it’s recommended they grow up along other pets to minimize conflict.

Weimaraners are generally affectionate, although it depends on the individual dog. They’re famous for their attchment to their families and that has earned them the nickname “velcro dogs” as they will follow their owners everywhere.

General Care of Weimaraner vs German Shepherd

German Shepherds have a thick, dense undercoat that protects them from the elements. They shed regularly, so if you don’t want their dog glitter all over your house or apartment, you should probably look for a different breed. You should brush them at least weekly to keep their coat smooth and free of matts.

Bear in mind that they shed a lot more during the shedding season, so you will have to upgrade to brushing daily and most likely vacuuming daily too.

Weimaraners have a thick coat with no undercoat. They don’t require that much care, weekly brushing and nail trimming is enough for most dogs. Both breeds don’t need much bathing unless they rolled in something stinky or are extremely dirty.

Once in a while you should check their ears for dirt and infection. Make sure to clean their teeth as well to prevent future problems.

Training and Exercise of Weimaraner vs German Shepherd

Weimaraners are a very active breed and need at least 2 hours of exercise daily. German Shepherds are quite active too, but they are happy to laze around indoors.

Mental stimulation is just as important (if not more) as physical exercise and it often tires them out quicker. Both breeds are very smart and eager to please their owners, so training them should be a breeze with lots of praise.

Both breeds love to work and have been used in rescue and as police dogs. German Shepherds are favorite among the military as well. Both breeds have an excellent sense of smell, so they can and have been used in scent work (cadaver search, narcotics, etc.)

You can’t go wrong with canicross, agility or obedience training.

While German Shepherds weren’t bred for any water activities, their curious nature and their general fitness make them a good swimmer. With Weimaraners it’s bit of a hit and miss but they can learn to love water as well.

Lifespan and Health Issues of Weimaraner vs German Shepherd

Both breeds have a similar lifespan, generally 10 – 13 years. The oldest Weimaraner was 18 years and 10 months old. The oldest German Shepherd recorded was 18 years old.

Both Weimaraners and German Shepherds are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. As both of them are considered deep-chested breeds, they are more prone to bloat and gastric torsion. If you’d like to learn more about gastric torsion and bloat, I described it in this post with a helpful video!

German Shepherds can suffer from degenerative myelopathy, allergies, Von Willebrand’s disease and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI).

Make sure you are getting a puppy from a reputable breeder who does health screenings on the parents and the puppies for hereditary issues and the above diseases.

Average Puppy Prices

The average price of Weimaraner puppies has increased dramatically in the recent years. The average price nowadays can be anywhere between $700 and $2,600.

German Shepherd puppies can go between $800 to $2,000, with “champion” puppy it can climb up to $4,000.

The prices vary due to location of the breeder, the parents’ pedigree and lineage. Sometimes people may offer puppies above or below these price ranges but that may not be a good thing as that can indicate either an inexperienced breeder or a puppy mill.

German Shepherd Rescues

German Shepherd is a favorite breed and so there’s a lot of rescues all around the world. Make sure to check out the directories below to find a GSD rescue near you:

If you’re interested in rescuing a Weimaraner, do check out my Weimaraner rescues category, where I describe each rescue per state and their adoption process and fees.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Both Breeds

Weimaraner

Advantages

  • easy to groom
  • loyal
  • highly intelligent
  • easy to train
  • good guard dog

Disadvantages

  • requires a lot of exercise
  • potentially stubborn
  • prone to separation anxiety
  • can get over-excited
  • needs a solid recall
  • risk of bloat and gastric torsion

German Shepherd

Advantages

  • loyal and affectionate
  • very intelligent
  • good with children
  • easy to train
  • excellent working and guard dog

Disadvantages

  • sheds a lot
  • can become overprotective if not socialized
  • risk of bloat and gastric torsion
  • can be quite reserved with strangers
  • might not get along with other pets if not raised from puppy

Conclusion

The German Shepherd and the Weimaraner are both beautiful breeds. If you’re deciding between these two, make sure you know their traits and personalities rather than looks. If you’re purchasing a puppy, make sure they’re from a reputable breeder.


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