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General info, Training

What Do Weimaraners Hunt?


One thing that you should always remember is that Weimaraners were bred as hunting dogs and as such have hunting instincts in their blood. They have a very strong prey drive.

Weimaraners hunt pheasants, hares, cormorants, ducks, foxes, martens and others. In the early days, hunters used Weimaraners for hunting animals like deer, boar, and bear.

weimaraner puppy with stuffed retrieving toy

Weimaraner Hunting History

The hunting history of the Weimaraners dates back to the 19th century. The breed, recognized for their impeccable hunting skills and high intelligence, was used by the Nobles of Weimar regularly while hunting a range of big game like bears, mountain lions, wolves, etc.

Interested to learn more about what Weimaraners were bred for? I wrote an article here.

The Weimaraners have exceptional speed, tracking ability, durability, and courage. These specific traits and qualities that developed within them were a result of their breeding programs. However, the use of the breed had declined with the lack of popularity of hunting big game.

It was only in the late 1920s when this breed arrived in the USA. Slowly, its popularity enhanced in the 1950s.

Presently, the Weimaraners are again becoming popular among the hunters. Now, the dogs are being used more for hunting relatively smaller animals. Apart from that, the dogs belonging to this breed are also being used as an all-purpose gun dog for their excellent traits and qualities.

Hunt Training

Like with any skill, hunting needs to be trained. While Weimaraners are naturals, the proper hunting technique has to be taught. The prerequisites to training how to hunt is basic obedience, which your puppy should know between 5 to 6 months of age.

The training can be separated into several steps where each of the step has to be learned 100% before continuing with the next step. All training should be done with the dog on a leash and in a calm environment.

  1. Bite strength/soft mouth – needs to be taught so the dog doesn’t do any more damage to the hunted game. First taught with your hand, then later with a wooden retrieve training tool or stuffed rabbit skin or similar.
  2. Distance – teaching the dog to retrieve from a distance on a long line, later without a leash.
  3. Adding weight – Once the Weimaraner is used to fetch, increase the weight of the object. In the field the dog will have to fetch animals of varying sizes and weights.
  4. Train with real animals – Once the dog has mastered every command, you can start using real animals (pheasants, rabbits)

Your Weim should master this basic training by one year of age. After this training, the next step is to take the dog out in the “real world”. The best place to begin training is the field. You can also teach hunting in the water or in the forest.

We don’t use Nelly for hunting purposes but she sure shows us her hunting side sometimes.

Nelly pointing

How do Weimaraners hunt?

If you own a Weim, you might have seen them display their natural hunting behavior – pointing. I’d like to note that not just hunting type breeds point but so can other breeds. However, it’s more common with all hunting breeds.

Pointing

If a Weimaraner spots an animal (either with their eyes or their nose), their body goes still and rigid and they are laser focused on the prey, awaiting the command of their owner. Most dogs point by lifting one of their front legs.

Pointing is an inherent part of hunting breeds and rather instinctual, so it can’t be taught. You can cultivate it by exposing your pup to situations where pointing is more likely to occur.

Stalking

Your dog needs to be calm during a hunt to avoid scaring the prey. If the animal flees, the dog shouldn’t automatically run after it. That’s why training is crucial.

You might have seen your dog move very slowly towards an animal (or an object) they were locked in on with their head slightly lowered.

Nelly stalking an unsuspecting pigeon

Is Weimaraner a Good Gun Dog?

Weimaraners are excellent gun dogs. However, they need to be trained to the sound of a gun.

Dog’s ears are very sensitive and a gunshot is very loud, so it’s important to teach your dog not to be afraid of it. The best way is to connect the gunshot with a game of fetch, so that the dog can connect the two and use that in real life situations in the field.

A gun dog’s job is to flush out the prey so that the hunter can kill it.

What do Weimaraners Hunt?

Bird Hunting

Bird hunting is a popular sport and Weimaraners are an excellent choice for it. Their keen eyesight and incredible noses help their masters to locate and retrieve birds very easily. The dog searches for birds while maintaining a comfortable speed for the hunter. The breed can navigate through rough and complex terrains without any difficulty.

The most commonly hunted birds by Weimaraners are:

  • pheasants
  • geese
  • ducks
  • turkeys

Rabbit Hunting

Weimaraners usually get familiar with rabbit fur during the training. Usually stuffed objects to retrieve are made out of rabbit skin.

Boar Hunting

The credit for the successful use of Weimaraners in boar hunting probably goes to the high level of intelligence that this breed has. However, the breed is not a pursuit dog and thus fails to chase a boar for a long time. His perseverance is the most suitable and usable when hunting for boars. The strong constitution, reliable flair, intelligence, perseverance, and sharpness make Weimaraners one of the best boar hunting dogs.

Fox Hunting

Since foxes are extremely cautious, hunting them requires a hunter who is also cautious and is highly responsive. The sharpness of the Weimaraner helps them to find a fox, flush it, and then, once dead, carry it to the hunter.

Big Game Hunting

If you are wondering what do Weimaraners hunt, you will be amazed to know that they have a big role to play in big game hunting too.

What usually happens is that the hunters will release their Weimaraners into the area. The dogs will drive the big game out and the hunter will shoot the prey.

Conclusion

Weimaraners, when properly trained, are very versatile. They can hunt a range of species including small mammals, game birds, and animals like boar or deer.

Generally, they are used as gun dogs just like other hunt-point-retrieve (HPR) breeds.



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