He is an all-purpose gundog (hunt, point, and retrieve), but his temperament and character are quite dissimilar to those of other gundogs and he is not a soft option. The purpose for which he was originally bred must be understood. He was bred to do several jobs, the primary one being to hunt and hold at bay large game such as wild boar and deer. He had to have the ability to find, point, flush and retrieve fur and feather game. He had to catch and kill vermin (one of which was the wild cat and in some weimaraners today this instinct is still very strong and they will consider any cat "fair game" unless they have been brought up together). He was intended to be a powerful hunting dog with a strong guarding instinct to defend his master and family. Purpose-bred aggression still lurks in the background but need not be feared if it is recognised and controlled. The Weimaraner is no wimp, his appearance is powerful and proud and he will not tolerate another dog questioning his authority but he is quite prepared to share his home provided that it is accepted that he is top dog. He is also perfectly prepared to accept that humans are pack leaders, if it is made clear to him from the start.
His handsome looks and striking colour give the Weimaraner an exceptional and commanding appearance and this has been, to some extent, his downfall. These very attributes that make him so very attractive often blind people to the fact that he is a very complex, very intelligent, and very active dog.
What he is not!
Most definitely he is not the wisest choice for the novice dog owner, the elderly or as a dog for the children. He has a strong guarding instinct for his family, which can lead to possessiveness, but this is not always extended to the property. If you were looking for property guarding instincts, you would be better with one of the working breeds specifically bred for this purpose. He does not take kindly to being left alone all day and every day, and shows his disapproval by being very noisy, destructive or both together. He does not need a large garden, only a well fenced one, i.e. 6ft high, but he does require free running and disciplined exercise (a run in the local park is not his forte) and needs to have his brain exercised as well. With correct training, the Weimaraner will make a good family dog, but he will never make an 'easy pet'.
What makes him tick?
He is full of charm, a loving beast with a quick intelligence and a stubborn streak a mile wide. He will, given the chance, take over the household and all its adjuncts. He can become too possessive, too demanding, and too intolerant of strangers. Under-exercised, unoccupied and bored he can wreak havoc. Jaws such as his can make light work of the happy home and he is quite capable of re-designing your furniture, kitchen or your garden with very little apparent effort.
Truly he should work. We have adapted him to our requirements in this country and here he is primarily the rough shooter's dog and he can perform extremely well in this respect and yet… even for that function we must remember his origins. A strong and sometimes headstrong hunter, he needs careful training. He is a strange mixture of wilfulness and sensitivity. Too harsh an approach and he will 'blank' out, and seem unable to understand the simplest requirement. Give him an inch, and he will take a mile and he will do so in a way that will not amuse you. Get it right, however, and he will reward you with his total involvement as a working partner with you as the senior partner as there is little in him that is servile.
He does not have to work as a gundog, although this is preferable. Again, by exploiting his origins, he is good at working trials and agility. His extreme intelligence and muscular development, combined with his inbred ability to use his nose and track, ensure that he ranks very highly in this discipline. He has, of course, well and truly made his mark in the show ring.
What does he need?
The Weimaraner needs your time, patience and understanding. Training classes are essential and he needs socialising in as many varied situations as possible. Firm handling does not mean harsh handling and learning to read your dog is the first step to a long and happy relationship with him.
Everything about this beautiful animal, the Weimaraner, is an element of a challenge. He is such a 'get up and go' creature, possessed of a quick intelligence, an abundance of energy, a drive to hunt, a streak of possessiveness and an exaggerated devotion which has to be tempered to the demands of the modern world. He is not everyone's dog, not a commercial proposition and if you make him such you deny his heritage and do the breed no good service, but the rewards of taking on such a challenge are immense.
Now ask yourself, "is this the breed for me"?