When considering how to breed Weimaraners, understanding their history and breeding purpose allows breeders to find the right family for them. Furthermore, knowing their background allows us to better understand their traits and needs.
These medium-large dogs were bred as a hunting breed. They targeted hunting game such as deer, bears, and boars. Therefore, this breed has high energy levels, strength, and are instinct-driven. They are a wonderful dog to own for those who like larger breeds and enjoy exercise. These are just a few factors you need to consider when researching Weimaraner breeding.
Background of Breeding Weimaraners
Do not disregard the importance of knowing the background of the breed you are breeding. Understanding a dog’s purpose helps us to explain their behavioral and physical traits to owners. It also allows us to properly care for our dogs as we truly understand their requirements.
This breed originated in Germany in 1810 by the Weimar Court. They aimed to create a courageous breed with high scenting skills, capable to take down large game animals. Although they achieved their goal, it is not recorded exactly how this dog breed came to be. Many of the records of their breeding origin were lost during World War 1 and World War 2. Here are some of the breeds believed to have had a genetic influence:
- English Pointer: It is suspected the black and white variation gave the Weimaraner their most common amber eyes
- Bloodhounds: are suspected to have the most genetic influence
- Red Schweisshunde: breeders believe Weimaraners got their gray coloring from a recessive coloring from this breed
- Silver-Gray Chicken dog
- Blue Great Dane
- German Shorthaired Pointer
This hunting breed took the best traits from each of these and created the all-rounder hunting dog; Weimaraners are able to point, follow a scent, hunt, and retrieve. However, it wasn’t until 1943 when the AKC recognized them as a breed.
The Weimaraner ranks 36 of 193 breeds in the AKC’s popularity listing. They are one of the most popular breeds and an extremely popular hunting dog. In the UK however, they rank 62 out of 244 which is a little bit lower, but also the recorded breed total is more, so they are in fact in similar rankings. Their increased intelligence and drive for human affection make them a wonderful home pet.
Their popularity has also spanned to working roles such as rescue and assistant dogs. They are very human-orientated and as such, they do very well in working roles. This breed also has very high intelligence, which means training them to assist humans as needs be is not as lengthy a process as with other breeds. Furthermore, as Weimaraners have such a strong sense of smell, search and rescue is an area where they dominate. They can quickly identify the scent of a lost climber, for example, and track them better than most breeds out there. These are just some of the reasons so many areas adore this breed as a working dog.
Here is a quick summary of the breed standard:
- General Appearance: A gray dog with high stamina and balance
- Head: A long neck, slightly folded ears, and overall long and aristocratic
- Body: Well developed chest and the back developed in a straight line
- Coat: Short, smooth, and sleek. The coat should be gray with white admittance to the chest
- Forelegs: Straight and strong
- Hindlegs: Muscular and well developed
What owners find most recognizable about this breed, disregarding their gray coat, is their sleek but muscular body. Weimaraners are long-bodied and limbed dogs. They are the perfect combination of strength and agility that so many hunting owners were looking for. Their tails are usually docked and point upright when alert, they are long and sleek with fine fur covering them. Although they are most well-known for being gray, there are blue and black Weimaraners. However, these are penalized in the AKC as they do not match the breed standard.
Like with every breed, there are wonderful and difficult traits concerning the Weimaraner, let us first look into the positives. These are wonderful family dogs, they adore children and love the company of people. Any family considering purchasing this breed are in for years of affection and adoration. These dogs also love to please and have very high intelligence, this combination leads to an easily trainable dog which is a fun experience for you both. Keeping them physically and mentally stimulated can be engaging and enjoyable.
As these are hunting dogs, they will always be very instinctual and will hunt any small animal. Training in this regard is very difficult, and trying to prevent chasing does not always work. Furthermore, they are not suitable to live with a cat. Of course, there are exceptions, but even with slow and thorough introductions, this breed will struggle to live alongside felines. Lastly, you need to consider their mental and physical requirements. They need long walks and a large amount of play daily to prevent them from getting frustrated. They also require regular mental stimulation to keep them feeling happy and not resorting to destructive behavior.
As Weimaraners are wonderful, very loving family dogs, a downside that comes into play is separation anxiety. Their high dependability on humans and their need for attention lead to some distressed pups when left alone. Separation anxiety is when your dog becomes distressed during or when you leave because they do not want you to do so. This can lead to anxiety-based behaviors such as:
- Vocalizations: howling, growling, barking
- Destructive behaviors: tearing up cushions, chewing on furniture, scratching at doors
- Urinating and defecating
- Self-harm: chewing at their limbs until inflammation and bleeding, pulling out fur, compulsive licking
These behaviors can be incredibly distressing for both you and your dog. It can also be damaging to your home. This is why we have included separation anxiety in our list, as you most likely will need to be prepared for this to arise and have actions put in place from a young age to prevent it. For example, calming oils can be sprayed in your room, the TV can be left on for gentle noise, and you can leave and enter the room more calmly. These are just a few cures but each case is unique and will require different treatment.
Health Concerns When Breeding Weimaraners
When researching how to breed Weimaraners you need to be aware of all the possible health conditions that can arise in a breed. This is so you can identify symptoms that may be part of a larger illness in your dams, sires, or your litter. It is also useful to alert buyers of potential problems they will have to be aware of in their new family member.
‘A small percentage of Weimaraner puppies manifest an autoimmune reaction following vaccination’ according to the Weimaraner Club of America. This is when the puppies’ systems respond so diligently to the vaccination, that their bodies react in the same manner they would if the disease affected them. Therefore, they may experience shaking, temperature problems, and even inflammation. Although it is not common, these cases have been found to take place in Weimaraners and therefore owners and breeders must be aware of this.
It is unknown exactly why some individuals are more vulnerable than others and why it occurs. Some vaccinations have been told to only be given under certain circumstances, this is so these cases are avoided. It can be an especially risky reaction in very young puppies, as they cannot regulate their own temperature. Consult your vet for any worries concerning this, and make sure this does not influence you to avoid the vaccination. Overall, a vaccination will save your dog’s life and all others around you.
Gastric torsion is a twisted stomach that occurs from excessive gas. This is seen most often in deep-chested breeds such as the Irish Setter, German Shepherd, and the Weimaraner. It is a deadly disease with a high mortality rate, which is why it requires immediate surgery.
Although it is an internal disease that is usually affected by uncontrollable factors, there are actions that can make it worse. If your dog eats very quickly or drinks so, it can swallow a lot of air which will increase the likelihood of them being affected. Symptoms can include general distress, pain around the abdomen, salivating, and trouble breathing. They may also attempt to vomit but be unable to do so, therefore you can just see them retching and drooling. If you have worries, take them straight to the vet as time is of the essence in this case.
Weimaraners have sensitive skin that can result in allergies. This is due to their short fur, meaning their skin is in easier contact to deteriorates which may affect it, hence why they are more susceptible. Itching, irritation, and dandruff are all symptoms of a skin allergy manifesting.
Because of their sensitive skin, you have to be more careful with the products you are using around the house. A change in laundry detergent or perfume can all irritate your dog’s skin and lead to them feeling very uncomfortable. The removal of the affecting product should eliminate the symptoms, but it is very difficult to discover which product is affecting your dog. We recommend removing one product at a time and giving a week to see if any changes occur, often it can take two. Once you have found the affecting product, replace it with something more skin sensitive.
This is when one or both of your male dog’s testes do not descend from the abdomen. They then require surgery to have the testicle removed from the abdomen. Usually, this only takes place up to six months of age and can be identified during a vet visit. It is a relatively simple surgery and you should not be too worried about it. However, if both testes are not decided in a dog, there is a high chance that they are infertile. You can have your dog screened to check for this after their surgery and healing time.
Depending on your dog, their age, and whether one or both testes were not descended, your dog may be recommended to have an overnight stay after the surgery. Luckily though, it only takes around two weeks healing time but your pup should avoid jumping, running, or licking the wound.
Distichiasis is when extra eyelashes grow out of the same opening. It can lead to irritation, pain, watering eyes, tearing and even ulcers. If your Weimaraner appears to be regularly pawing at one eye, rubbing it on the ground or even struggling to open it, this is most likely the cause. Also, be aware of the reddening of the eyes as this can show irritation.
Treatment depends on the severity and what your vet clinic can offer but include surgery, cryosurgery, and electrolysis. Both surgery and electrolysis will permanently remove the problem eyelashes whilst cryosurgery freezes the areas where the hairs are to prevent regrowth. Do not consider just plucking the hairs as they will grow back and also this can be distressing and painful for your pup. One wrong move and you could seriously injure their eye. Your dog should be fine after treatment, but this condition is hereditary and you should avoid using them as a breeder dog because of this.
This is where the elbow socket has not formed correctly in the womb, and therefore the elbow does not fit comfortably in the socket. The older a dog gets, the worse the condition becomes. Initial inflammation increases in pain leading to limping, rubbing cartilage and eventual arthritis. All of which can be extremely uncomfortable for your dog. Depending on the severity, different treatments are available.
If the elbow dysplasia is not severe, physio and hydrotherapy along with exercise control can manage the condition. Shorter walks will reduce the swelling and inflammation in the joint but still allow your dog to go outside and enjoy themselves. Physio and hydrotherapy will aid in your dog’s movements and slowly begin to reduce pain. This is a gradual process and patience is required. If it is more severe, your dog may require surgery to have the joint scraped of uneven bone which will allow smooth movements.
This is a medical issue where a dog’s eyelid folds inwards and rubs on the eye. It is usually the lower lid but this can affect the upper as well. The folded eyelid rubs on the eye which can lead to inflammation, discharge, and tearing or rupture of the cornea. It can be identified quickly by a vet so if your dog is struggling with one of their eyes, take them to a veterinary.
Your dog will probably require surgery to suture their upturned eyelid back into normal place. Vets can then treat the cornea with antibiotics, antibiotic cream and artificial tears depending on severity. In severe cases of fully grown adults, facial reconstruction may have to be considered. However, after a minor surgery, your dog will require regular check-ups to make sure the issue has not reoccurred. Furthermore, as this is hereditary, you may want to consider not breeding a dog affected with this condition.
How to Breed Weimaraners
Now for the segment you have all been waiting for: how to breed Weimaraners! Here are the main considerations you need to think through before doing so.
Choosing the Bitch and the Stud
You should not pick the parents of a litter through one single glance at a dog, there are many physical, behavioral and genetic areas you need to evaluate. Firstly, are both the potential dam and sire healthy? Do a full health check on both individuals to make sure there are no unnoticed illnesses or injuries.
Next, you want to check that genetically, they are not going to pass on any hereditary illnesses. You can do a biological screening to check within their genetic lineage and see if there are any hereditary illnesses either could pass on to a future litter.
Finally, you need to consider both’s physical appearance and behavioral traits. If you are breeding for the breed standard, make sure these two match all the required criteria from head to hindquarters. You then need to evaluate their behavior with other dogs, humans, and generally. You want two even-tempered individuals with low aggression and fear tendencies. This will help to create a gentle litter perfect for any home.
On average, a Weimaraner litter is between six and eight pups with a mean number of seven. This is around the average litter size for many dog breeds.
Due to them not producing a large litter, it may not be as profitable a business-oriented activity unless you are breeding the breed standard of puppies or offer other services. For example, if you have multiple dams and sires, the litters produced will slowly add up, although, check the costs of overall breeding. Furthermore, you can consider making a dog stud service for a larger income and some breeders may offer to split the price of puppies with you as long as a contract is in place.
Birthing problems refer to dystocia, difficulties during birth for both the mother and her litter. A common dystocia problem during birth is the umbilical cord being wrapped around the neck of a puppy. This not only increases the physical difficulties of birth, as pushing them out with the cord around them is a thicker diameter. But also, a puppy will begin to suffocate if the tube is not removed quickly. This is one of many situations that may result in a C-section. Usually, Weimaraners do not require C-sections, but that does not mean the possibility will not occur. Therefore, before and during her birth, be sure to have a vet on speed dial.
Considering business aspects, you need to find the appropriate clientele. This means considering who would purchase a Weimaraner and where you can advertise to get their attention.
Initially, you can target the most obvious group, those that love Weimaraners. There are forums, Facebook pages, and clubs that you can attempt to advertise through. You can also consider creating a social media page to advertise your breeding through, such as an Instagram page with pictures of the dam, sire, and litter. With advertising considerations though, you need to make sure to maintain high-quality pictures, possibly invest in a logo and have a regular output of posts. This can be very time-consuming and is not ideal for all breeders.
Other clienteles include those that purchase this breed for search and rescue and those with disabilities for an assistance dog. Contact companies that use this breed for such purposes and make sure to have all the appropriate papers of every dog involved. Always consider your breed’s purpose when finding the right clientele.
A minimum cost of a Weimaraner is $1400, the price increases with how accurately a puppy matches their breed standard. Here is a summary of the AKC breed standards on the Weimaraner Club of America website. Furthermore, if a puppy is already registered to a kennel club and has all the appropriate papers, such as proof of three pure Weimaraner lineage, the price will increase. In the UK, the costs of these can often be less but as the popularity of this breed is higher in the UK, it is logical why they are more expensive.
Breeding Weimaraners – FAQs
To make sure you are fully prepared to breed Weimaraners and feel confident, we have composed the five most-searched FAQs and answered them below.
Are Weimaraners Good Family Dogs?
Weimaraners are brilliant family dogs with their love for attention and sweet natures. They can quickly be trained to go to the toilet outside and be calm around children. Therefore, they are not a concern to have around young children. They adore affection and form very close bonds with the family they are in. Training will help to strengthen this bond, so if you are part of a family, consider getting children involved in this process. Even teaching basic tricks such as sit or lie down can be an enjoyable experience for your dog to learn and your kids to instruct.
When do Weimaraners go into Heat?
A Weimaraner will usually go into heat at around a year of age. However, this can range from eight months old to two years old. Small breeds typically go into heat at 6 months of age whereas large breeds can go into heat at two years of age. This is because breed size will influence the growth rate, and a small dog has a much quicker growth rate. As Weimaraners are a middle to large-sized breed, this is why they usually mature at a year old but can take up to two years. However, never breed a dog just because they are physically able, only breed a female once she is two years old or older to make sure she can physically sustain a pregnancy.
Are Weimaraners an Aggressive Dog Breed?
Weimaraners are not an aggressive dog breed with humans or other dogs. However, due to their high levels of instinctual drive, they can be aggressive towards cats and small animals. This is because they are prey orientated. They may just bark and growl at a cat, but any prey animal such as a rabbit, you can guarantee they will chase. Furthermore, as they are very scent driven and adept, they may continue to pursue it long after it has escaped their field of vision. This means a lot of digging or jumping in your yard and pulling on the lead. This is why training is so crucial in this regard.
How Long are Weimaraners Pregnant for?
Most dogs have a similar pregnancy time length, which is 63 days from the ovulation period on average. Pregnancy times have a range of 58 – 68 days, however. Dog pregnancies are much shorter than ours. Dog’s lifespans are shorter and therefore they have evolved to have shorter pregnancies in order to effectively maintain population numbers. To both morally and healthily breed a female you should wait eighteen months to two years between each litter to breed a dog again. This ensures a healthy female who can physically handle a pregnancy.
Are Blue Weimaraners Recognized by the AKC?
Blue Weimaraners are recognized by the AKC, however, they cannot compete in regular dog shows as they do not fit the breed standards. They can compete in dog sport competitions though, once they are AKC registered. They are not a part of the Weimaraner Club of America as they were voted out. A new club has been created specifically for blue Weimaraners. This color variation has been controversial since the 1940s where debate arose as to whether blue Weimaraners were crossbred. There is no evidence for this though, and many argue it to be a genetic mutation. This coat color does not suffer from any more health problems than the gray color variant. Furthermore, they are not rare, so an increased price for these pups should not be expected.
This human orientated breed can be a wonderful family dog. Like all breeds, they have their drawbacks, such as separation anxiety and destructive behavior. But with proper care, understanding, and training, this can be the perfect pup.