weimaraner hunting

General info

What Were Weimaraners Bred For?

Many people can easily spot a Weimaraner, thanks to their distinguished short gray coat and large expressive eyes. This medium-sized dog has a stately appearance, which fits with its aristocratic ancestry. They always look poised and strong and are often prized for their endurance and intelligence.

Weimaraners were originally bred for hunting in the early 1800s in regal courts of Germany.

Over the years, Weimaraners have been the companions of celebrities such as Grace Kelly and President Dwight Eisenhower. Today, they’re amongst the most popular dog breeds in the United States.


Original Breeding

The origins of the Weimaraner breed is still disputed to this day. It’s not exactly known which breeds make up the Weimaraner and the fact is, we will probably never know their origins.

There are a lot of theories about their origin and the most cited one is attributed to Grand Duke Karl August (1757 – 1828), who ruled over the Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach Grand Duchy. It’s capitol city was the city of Weimar.

Grand Duke Karl August

It’s rumored that he brought the Weimaraner ancestors from the Lands of the Bohemian Crown (today’s Central Europe – all of Czechia and parts of Austria, Poland and Germany) but there are unfortunately no written records.

The Grand Duke and his nobleman friends had a love for hunting and needed a reliable companion. The nobles set out to breed the ideal hunting dog. The dogs were first known as Weimar Pointers.

The German nobility loved their prized hunting dogs and kept them a secret from the rest of the world for as long as they could. The Weimaraner didn’t even arrive in America until the 1920s, over 100 years after it had first been bred.

Sporting Qualities

The first Weimarnaners enjoyed success as big game hunters, helping noblemen track and take down large animals like bears and wolves. Big game hunting poses a danger to the hunting party, so their hunting dogs needed to be intelligent and strong.

The Weimaraner’s athletic build lent it the stamina it needed to keep the pace on long hunting days and its exceptional tracking abilities were certainly very useful for keeping the hunters one step ahead of their prey. These dogs proved to be the perfect companions for noblemen hunting large game. 

Modern Hunting

When large game disappeared from the European Wilderness and big game hunting fell out of favor with the noble crowd, the Weimaraner took on a new role as a pointer and retriever. The Weimaraner’s intelligence and eagerness to please its owners allowed it to transition with ease as it quickly adapted to its hunting job. 

Hunters still use Weimarners today, as they are easy to work with and make an exceptional hunting companion. They’re even a great choice for an inexperienced hunter due to their loyalty and desire to be by their owner’s side at all times. 

Gun Dog

Weimaraners are considered a “gun dog” meaning they’re bred to help hunters in the field. While gun dogs can be broken down into three categories – pointers, flushers, and retrievers – Weimaraners excel at pointing and retrieving, making them a superior hunting breed

When a Weimaraner is acting as a pointer, it’s tracking small game, usually a bird of some sort. When it spots the gamebird, it freezes in place and points its snout toward the game. Weimaraners make great pointers because of their intelligence with regards to tracking, making use of their keen sense of smell.

Weimaraners also make great retrievers. They’re a high-energy breed that loves to track and chase, so retrieving game comes naturally to them. Weimaraners also have webbed paws, allowing them to swim with ease, so retrieving waterfowl is also an easy task for them. 

As a Pet

Many of the traits that make Weimaraner’s excellent hunting dogs also make them good pets. A Weimaraner loves its owners and wants nothing more than to be close to them, so they’ll love being shown affection. They’re also easy to train, thanks to their above-average intelligence and eagerness to please.

However, Weimaraners also need activity. As a hunting dog with a strong prey-drive, they need stimulation and exercise to remain happy. A Weimaraner needs an active owner willing to exercise them regularly.

Weimaraners also shouldn’t be left alone, as they quickly develop separation anxiety. They want to be close to their owners and become stressed and unhappy if they’re alone for too long. I wrote an article about dealing with separation anxiety here.

Conclusion

While the true origin of the Weimaraner is still speculated, the most accepted theory seems to be that Weimaraners were bred in today’s Germany in the early 1800s combining several Europeans hunting breeds to create a new hunting companion.

Possessing the intelligence and stamina required of a true hunting dog, Weimaraners excel at their job. They’re capable pointers and retrievers and their tracking ability is amongst the best.

These active dogs also make good pets for the right owner. Weimaraners love their owners and just want to be part of the family, even though their true calling is the hunt.



One comment

  1. Tom Bailey
    April 12, 2021 at 3:13 am

    I lucked into my first Weim, a regal, aloof Misty Blue. She became a Certified Hospital Service dog. Then Stormy Blue and Diamond Blue. Wonderful girls with patients. Will never have anyone other than a Weim. And they will work.

    Reply

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