The Weimaraner is an all-purpose gun dog. The name comes from the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Karl August, whose court, located in the city of Weimar (now in the state of Thuringia in modern-day Germany), enjoyed hunting.
According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Weimaraners enjoy low rates of dysplasia. The breed is ranked 102nd of 153 total breeds and has a very high test rate and a very high percentage of excellent rating among those dogs tested. It is generally recommended to acquire Weimaraners only from breeders who have their dogs’ hips tested using OFA or PennHIP methods.
As a deep-chested dog, the Weimaraner is prone to bloat or gastric torsion, a very serious condition that can cause painful and rapid death when left untreated. It occurs when the stomach twists itself, thereby pinching off blood vessels and the routes of food traveling in or out. Symptoms include signs of general distress, discomfort, no bowel movement or sounds and a swollen stomach. Immediate medical attention is imperative when bloat occurs and surgery is the only option if it is caught early enough.
One way to help prevent bloat is to spread out the Weimaraner’s feedings to at least twice daily and to avoid any vigorous exercise an hour before or after meals. It is also recommended that the dog’s feeding dish not be placed on a raised platform to discourage it from gobbling its food too quickly and keep air from entering the stomach. Raised food bowls have been found to more than double the risk of bloat in large dogs.
Skin allergies are common among weimeraners. A vet should be consulted if a dog starts to lose hair, itch constantly or develop rashes. Parasites can cause an allergic reaction in addition to the normal irritation resulting from bites.
The Weimaraner was kept in the Weimar court in the 19th century and carried a good deal of Leithound ancestry. Two theories propose that they descended from the Chien-gris dogs, or the St. Hubert Hound whose descendant is the Bloodhound.