Bred as a hunting dog, originally for large animals and then for game birds, the Weimaraner is very much an outdoor dog. This does not, of course, mean you should keep your dog outside, but it does mean she needs plenty of opportunities to run and play in the open air. For this reason, the breed is not suited to apartment living. In fact, the American Kennel Club suggests the Weimaraner isn’t suited to city living at all. If you live in a rural area, however, this bright, affectionate and attractive breed can become an excellent family pet. Because of their need for socializing, Weimaraners are best suited to active families where at least one person is at home for most of the day.
Take your Weimaraner to the vet within the first couple of weeks for a general check-up, vaccinations and, if necessary, to arrange spaying or neutering. The animal sanctuary or breeder she came from may have already done some of this, but she still needs a check-up and this is a good opportunity to ask any questions you might have about grooming, diet or general care.
Walk her for at least an hour, preferably more, each day and ensure she has plenty of time to run freely in an enclosed field or large yard, while you are watching. A long leash for walks lets her get additional exercise. Ensure that all members of your family spend as much time as possible playing with her or just supervising her runs. A Weimaraner is very much a pack dog, requiring lots of time with her family.
Provide a diet with a reasonable amount of protein and fat. A high-quality dog food for medium to large breeds that is not marked as “low protein” – a necessity for certain other breeds – is suitable.
Groom your dog once or twice a week using a brush for short-haired breeds. If she belongs to the long-haired variety, brush two to three times a week. Wipe her ears with a dampened cotton ball and check her eyes, ears and joints. Look out for a discharge from the eyes or ears, wax build-up in the ears or an unpleasant smell and any difficulty walking. As with a number of pedigree dogs, Weimaraners can be vulnerable to canine hip dysplasia, according to Pet MD. If you notice any of these problems, or anything else unusual, make an appointment with your vet.
Book a series of training classes. Depending on your own experience and the age of the dog, this might be basic obedience or advanced training. Obedience training is essential for any breed but especially this one, which can be rebellious, while advanced training provides mental stimulation and an opportunity for you to bond with your pet.
Please note this is intended as an introduction, not a detailed care guide. Aside from books, good places to find more information on looking after the Weimaraner, or any other breed, include the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the American Kennel Club, your vet and the animal sanctuary or breeder the dog came from.
Never buy a puppy from a pet store or online. You might be inadvertently supporting puppy mills, which are essentially factory farms for dogs. Always adopt dogs or puppies from animal sanctuaries or reputable breeders in your area. Note that there are rescues that specialize in rehoming particular breeds.
Supervise your Weimaraner while she is running outside to ensure she doesn’t either find a way out of the field or yard or discover some smaller animal to chase.
Be careful of introducing an adult Weimaraner to small pets, including cats, rabbits and ferrets. This is a hunting breed and her instinct could be to see these animals as prey. Additionally, be careful where you let her run free, making sure that she won’t have access to smaller farm animals, notably sheep and poultry, or threatened wild mammals.
If you are unsure about any aspect of grooming your Weimaraner, perhaps trimming the nails or cleaning the ears, ask your vet or a professional dog groomer to show you the procedure. Although regular professional grooming can work out to be rather expensive, one or two visits could be a worthwhile investment.
Items You Will Need
- Dog harness and leash
- Dry dog food for medium to large breeds
- Cotton balls
- weimaraner image by Emilio Maull from Fotolia.com