Weimaraner Temperament: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
Weimaraner Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
The high-energy Weimaraner, bred to hunt all day, needs an athletic owner who can meet his demanding exercise needs: running, biking, hiking, jogging, field work.
Too much confinement leads to hyperactivity and destructiveness, as does being left alone too much. A bored Weimaraner will bark up a storm, demolish your home and yard, even attempt to escape in search of adventure.
Reserved with strangers, dominant with other dogs, predatory toward small animals such as cats and rabbits, most Weimaraners need an owner who can provide leadership, socialization, and training beyond the beginner level. Though this breed is headstrong, in the right hands he is capable of learning and doing virtually anything.
Indeed, a well-matched owner will find the Weimaraner a loyal, aristocratic gentleman of great presence and character.
A novice with little time and space will find him a rambunctious bully, difficult to control.
If you want a dog who...
- Is large, powerful, and tautly-muscled, a true athlete bred to hunt all day
- Has a sleek, carefree coat
- Is unusual-looking, with a ghostly gray/silver coat and (somewhat eerie) light eyes
- Is packed with energy and thrives on vigorous exercise and athletic activities
- In the right hands, is a loyal, aristocratic gentleman of great presence and character
- Is watchful with strangers, so makes a keen watchdog (with a booming bark)
A Weimaraner may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Vigorous exercise requirements
- Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young or not exercised enough
- Massive destructiveness and barking when left alone too much or bored
- Suspiciousness or skittishness toward strangers when not socialized enough
- Potential aggression toward other animals
- A strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
A Weimaraner may not be right for you.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Weimaraners have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Weimaraner to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
More traits and characteristics of the Weimaraner
If I was considering a Weimaraner, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and companionship. Weimaraners are athletic dogs who need regular opportunities to vent their energy and gallop. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored, which dogs usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored Weimaraners are famous for chewing through drywall, ripping the stuffing out of sofas, and turning your yard into a moonscape of giant craters. This is not a breed to leave alone for much of the day.
If you simply want a pet for your family, and don't have the time or inclination to take your dog running or hiking or biking or swimming, or to get involved in hunting, or agility (obstacle course) classes, or advanced obedience, I do not recommend this breed (unless you adopt an older adult with a mellow temperament).
- Bounciness. Young Weimaraners (up to about two years old) romp and jump with great vigor, and things can go flying, including small children and infirm people.
- Potential animal aggression. Many Weimaraners are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. And quite a few Weimaraners have strong instincts to go after cats and other fleeing creatures, often with deadly intent. Remember that this breed was developed to hunt small mammals, as well as birds.
- Potential training difficulties. Weimaraners are capable of learning a great deal. But many individuals are easily distracted by exciting sights, sounds, and scents; it takes some training experience to hold the dog's attention throughout a training session. And man individuals can be quite willful and dominant (they want to be the boss).
You must teach your Weimaraner to respect you. A dog who respects you will do what you say and will stop what he's doing when you tell him "No." Read more about Weimaraner Training.
- Barking. Weimaraners have a deep bark that carries a long way and they are often too quick to use it. You have to be equally quick to stop them, else it become a very bad habit.
- Health problems. Weimaraners are extremely prone to a life-threatening digestive syndrome called bloat, which can kill a dog in just a few hours. Joint and bone problems, eye diseases, bleeding disorders, and cancer also make this breed a bit risky in the health department. Read more about Weimaraner Health.
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.