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Frequently Asked Questions

Many of the EMails we get are quite similar:
  • Can you recommend a breeder in our area?
  • Do you ship puppies?
  • Is a Weimaraner right for me?
In an effort to answer these, and other common questions, we've put together this FAQ.

Is the Weimaraner right for me?

Perhaps the best answer to this question is an EMail response I sent to a list of questions I received from a lady in Austrailia:

How are weims inside the house? Are they calm or hyperactive? If I wanted a calm weim, could a breeder pick me out one as a puppy? 

The Weimaraner is a hunting breed. As such, they are energetic and active. Like most hunting breeds, that means active in the house and outside. We have five in the house, and there's always at least one in motion. Unless, it's late and time for bed. An experienced breeder can pick out a calmer puppy for you. That's actually pretty easy to do.

What is the typical weim temperament/personality? 

This is a breed where either you own them or they own you. If they own you, you have a real problem. They are either the best dog in the neighborhood, or the worst. There is no in between. However, given a structured, desclipined environment you couldn't ask for a more faithful companion. They have a very stable personality, and "spooks" are rare in the breed.

Do weims make a good pet for a single owner or would they need more people around to be happy? 

Weims are not an "open family" dog, like a Golden Retriever. They do well with a single person or a family. And in my experience (since I had my dogs first, my husband second, and my son third) do well expanding that family to include other humans. In fact, Kaiya, who was here before George came along, is George's dog. While she listens to and respects me, George is definitely her prefered person.

Does the weim like to be around its owner wherever she goes? 

Well, all I can say is that I have to step over two or three Weims to get out of the bathroom. If you don't like to be followed around and watched all the time - this isn't your breed.

How do weims react to potentially stressful situations eg. crowds?

A well trained (obedience trained from a young age) Weim does well in a crowd when accompanied by his owner. They tend to be polite to strangers rather than friendly. If you raise a pup by exposing them to many situations and crowds and work through their uncertainty so that it is a positive experience, well, you'll have a self confident and extremely stable adult.

Can weims cope with the hot and muggy summer and the chilly winter?

Yes. I've lived with mine in Detroit (both hot/muggy and cold), Dayton Ohio (less extreme on both counts), and Colorado (not so hot, very dry, but COLD!)

Are weims aggressive at all? 

This is a protective breed. However, they are not natural biters. (Though some countries, and regions do have problems with overly aggressive Weims - definitely consult a local breeder on this one.) Under socialized or mal treated, and you can have problems with aggression.

Would they defend me if I ever got attacked? 

Interesting question. I really think this depends on the individual dog. Though if push came to shove, I do believe a Weim would do something about it. I have not experienced it, nor have heard of it however, so can't be certain. However, soon after we brought Jakob home from the hospital we had a nurse come check up on him. When she picked up Jakob, Benton was obviously distressed about it and moved to prevent her from walking off with the baby. I had to let Ben know that it was "OK", then he relaxed a bit, but was still very watchful.

Do you recommend positive reinforcement training for weims? 

ABSOLUTELY! This breed is too intelligent for negative training which dulls their interest in their work. As well, I know many bitches who will hold a grudge. (I have one.)

Do you recommend taking them to obedience school, or could I train them by myself? 

I recommend you train the dog yourself, through a obedience school or club. They usually offer classes. Also, the earlier the better. So, start with Puppy Kindergarten.

Do they like big country walks or would they need something more physically challenging? How many hours exercise do they need? 

Big country walks are great! You don't need to be a marathon runner to own the breed. <grin> How many hours of exercise to they need? That's a hard one. Enough to take the edge off so that they don't feel they need to make themselves busy indoors. When I had just one, Hogan and I had a very small backyard, but I compensated by working him in the field (hunting training) on weekends. (He compensated by digging under the fence and visiting my retired neighbors. To their great delight and my consternation.)

Are they a dominant breed? 

YES! And you'd better be more dominant than them. (Again, individuals will vary - the *cat* beats up on our stud dog who is very soft.)

Do they like getting wet? 

Introduced early to water they love it. A late introducation is more iffy - but they are considered a water dog.

Do they like daily grooming? 

Yes, Yes, Yes!! Any kind of personal attention. (They do not, however *require* daily grooming.)

Do they shed a lot inside? 

With hair that short, who'd know? <grin> OK, with five in the house, you do start to notice the dust bunnies. But with just one, it really isn't noticeable.

Could I have a weim in bed with me? 

I used to. Then I got a husband, too many dogs, and not enough bed. <grin>

How are they with other dogs? 

They tend to be dog dominant, but not aggresive. Also, they tend to be breed bigots. For example, at shows we can walk by all the dogs in the world, but if they see another Weim across the way they want to go visit. That's not to say they can't live with other breeds, quite the contrary. However, there is a definite preference for other Weimaraners.

How are they with cats?

I think the Weimaraner's attitude towards cats is one of "My kitty is OK, but all others are dog meat." The Weim has a reputation for being bad with cats. To understand their attitude towards cats you must first understand that this is a versatile hunting breed. That means fur and feather, land and water. To many Weims a cat is simply a "small furry critter". Early introduction to a cat is the best way to teach a Weim to be around cats. Can it be done later? Sure. We introduced Cosmo as an 8-week old kitten to the gang when they were ages 9, 5, 3, and 1. The two older dogs took at bit more adjusting, but everyone got along quite well once the introductions were complete. training is the key.

How are weims with other people when I happen to not be around (which isn't very often, I would take my weim everwhere!) 

Not certain what you mean. Would other people have access to your dog when you're not around? Probably not a wise idea. They tend to be distrustful of strangers, but happy with friends. (For example, we have a dog sitter who comes over to let them all out during the day. After being introduced, so that they knew that Cathy was an "OK" person, they like her just fine.)

Are there any differences in temperament/personality between the sexes?

My experience says that the bitches are *bitches* while the males are mellow. As I like to put it, "for the first two years the girls are easier than the boys (non-neutered), then the bitches get smart, and the boys get their heads out of their butts." Bitches tend to be more manipulative and crafty. However, this is another area where you may find something completely different in your area or region. So you really should consult your local breeder.

Would you recommend a male or female for a first weim? 

Male - see the above.

Do weims like playing games and have a sense of humor? 

How many pages would you like? I'm seriously considering writing a book about Keri, her misdeeds, and misdeameanors. She's the one who holds a grudge. She's stripped the Christmas tree (twice!), spread 5 pounds of flour around the house, and eaten the Halloween pumpkin, to name a few of her mor unusual deeds. However, she does it with such a joy filled love of life that you have to love her for it. (Keri - contrite? Never!) She's invented and taught *me* games. And has such a sense of humor. Loves to embarrass me whenever possible.

Do they like being indoors or outdoors more? Do they need a coat for cold days? 

They want to be with their people at all times, in or out. We've never used a coat for ours.

Would the weim settle down and watch telly or something after he had his exercise, or would he be still want to run marathons inside? 

Give him a chew toy or space on the couch and he'll settle right in.

How affectionate are weims? Do they love kissing you or would they rather lay their head on your lap, or both? 

This really depends on the line. The typical Weim tends to be a bit like a cat - a bit independent. However, all of ours are very affectionate.

Do weims adapt well to new owners? 

If you are speaking of a "rescue" situation where you adopt an older dog. Yes. My first, Hogan, was adopted at the Humane Society when he was 2 1/2. I'm his 3rd owner. Our relationship is as close as the ones I've had from 8 weeks, or birth. I think it's the breed's extreme need for people that makes this possible.

Does the weim bark a lot? 

They can. A Weim with nothing to do will make himself busy. Ours don't bark without reason.

What else should I do [know] before making a decision to get a weim?

This is a thinking person's dog. If you want a dog who'll just stand in the backyard and wait on you. If you want a dog that you can just sort of "fake it" with. This isn't the breed for you. If however, you want a dog that will demand your full attention. If you want a dog who will fully engage you intellectually, emotionally, and physically. If you want a dog that you have to work to be smarter than. Well, then, you've found (or maybe met <grin>) your match.

What do you think is the best thing about weims? 

See the above. Also, I think our dog sitter (a vet tech, ex Rottweiller breeder) says it best: "You know, I've been around a lot of dogs. And a dog is a dog. But a Weimaraner is a person. Each of your dogs has a unique and strong personality. I've never experienced anything like it before." What can I say, her next dog will be grey. <grin>

I want to hunt my Weimaraner.

How should I train my hunting companion?

Start early. I think the key to this is in understanding the Weim's history. The Weim was originally a tracking dog, a type of bloodhound. The pointing instinct was added through a single outcross to a pointer. Consequently, while the Weim has a tremendous nose, they tend to have a weaker pointing instinct than the other pointing breeds.

Early and repeated exposure at a young age (through 12 months) is absolutely necessary if the Weim is to develop into a superior hunting companion. Given a late start, the Weim can be trained into a fine hunter, but will not develop as fully as if started early.

What kind of hunting companion will my Weimaraner make?

The Weim is naturally a close working dog. He is expectied to hunt fur or feather, water or land. He is a generalist, not a specialist. So, he will not point with the intensity (standing there for hours waiting for you to find him) of a pointer or Setter. Nor will he retrieve with the intensity of a Lab or Retriever. However, if you want a nice workhorse, put meat on the table, sort of hunting companion, then the Weimaraner certainly deserves consideration.

What can I hunt with my Weim?

Well, what do you want to hunt. I certainly wouldn't recommend using a Weimaraner for Chesapeke Bay or very cold water work - they simply aren't built for it. However, Benton's brother was sold to an active hunter in Michigan. He hunts pheasant, quail, rabbit, duck, and fox over that dog.

Should I use a professional trainer?

We trained our first dogs ourselves. And we enjoyed it immensely. However, time constraints being what they are. And work being what it is. And field training requiring the kind of resources that it does (birds, land, etc). We did eventually start using pros.

This is our advise on using pros.

  • Find one that has trained Weims before. The Weim is a different sort of bird dog, and the "usual" methods used for bird dog training don't generally work well on the Weim.
  • Find one who is willing to work for and with you. Don't be afraid to make "special requests", or ask that the dog be trained to work in a specific way. The pro is working for you after all. Remember, you are *his* customer.
  • Check out the pro's facilities - IN PERSON. It's easy to bullshit a prospective customer when he hasn't seen your facilities. Go check out this person. Stay the weekend. Watch him train his dogs. Have him evaluate yours. If you are at all uncomfortable with this person, his methods, or his facilities - LEAVE!! Remember, you are entrusting this individual with your dog's life.
  • Check out the pro through other means. Don't be afraid to ask him for references. And then check them out.
  • Ask lots of questions:
    • Find out how long he's been training dogs.
    • How long has he been working as a pro.
    • Does he do anything else to secure income besides train dogs. Beware the part time trainer. How committed is he really to making your dog? How many dogs is he trying to train at one time? And (in my opinion) he certainly isn't worth as much as someone who trains full time. Besides, if you wanted a part time trainer - you could probably do it yourself.
    • What does he charge? And how?
    • What does he feed? When? How is the kennel maintained? Who does it?
    • You get the idea.

I'm not local, can I still get a pup from you?

We will ship. However, we do feel that unless you are looking for something very specific, or looking to work with a specific breeder or special reasons, you'll probably be just as happy with a pup from closer to home. And your breeder will certainly be more accessible for all those inevitible questions.

Can you recommend a local breeder?

We generally recommend that folks contact their local Weimaraner Club for breeder referals. Most of the breeders we know and recommend breed as infrequently as we do.

This website contains a list of all the local Weimaraner Clubs, and their contact person: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Prairie/2747. It's known as the Weimaraner Club of America's Unofficial Home Page.
 


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Esteri Hinman at info@graenit.com
Last revised on December 9, 1998
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