Weimaraner Care

The Weimaraner is a sporty, athletic breed that loves its owners--and craves a lot of love in return. Overall Weimaraner care will take a moderate amount of time, mostly with exercising these athletic dogs. This page has plenty of details on raising a Weimaraner: puppy development, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and more. For useful Weimaraner tips, read on!

Weimaraner Breed Development

As a fairly large breed, Weimaraner puppy development from birth to adulthood typically spans about two years. Physically, these dogs grow in spurts: their entire bodies grow rapidly for the first 6-8 months, then much of their growth slows except for their legs, which continue growing for several months more. At 14-16 months these dogs reach nearly full height and length, but they'll continue to add muscle mass until they reach adult size at about two years old.

Socially, Weimaraner puppies develop somewhat steadily: they normally enter adolescence at 4-5 months; they mature sexually at 10-12 months; and they're considered mentally mature at about 18 months, though they may retain their puppy-like behavior for an additional year or more. For specific milestones in Weimaraner puppy development, see the following chart:

Weimaraner Exercise Needs

As an extremely athletic, active breed, Weimaraner exercise requirements are quite extensive. These dogs were originally developed to hunt game like deer and rabbits, so their lean, muscular bodies are canine equivalents of NBA basketball players; they're used to a great deal of prolonged, quick movement, in other words.

But specifically how much exercise does a Weimaraner need? In short, it needs a whole lot. Though the amount may vary depending on the dog's age, the typical adult Weim will need about two hours of exercise each day; you can start exercising a Weim puppy at three months of age by taking it on short (15-minute) walks, and increasing the duration as the puppy grows.

There are, of course, precautions that need to be taken when exercising your Weim. Puppies shouldn't participate in activities that include lots of jumping and running, as doing so can injure their still-growing bones and joints. These dogs are also highly suspicious of strangers, and may turn aggressive towards them if they feel threatened, so it's a good idea to keep them leashed when in public to avoid an unprovoked attack. On the flip side, Weimaraners thrive on attention from their owners (and quickly develop separation anxiety if left alone), so activities in which you both participate--walking/jogging, fetch, or hiking--are best.

Weims need exercise not only to keep in good physical shape, but to maintain their mental health as well. An under-exercised Weimaraner will become a hyperactive mess: it'll dig a hole in the living room floor, chew your slippers into tatters, and bark. And bark. Then bark some more. Suffice it to say that Weimaraner exercise will keep the dog from going nuts--and will keep you sane too. A few exercise ideas:

  • Walking/Jogging: Two 30- to 45-minute sessions per day is a good target
  • Fetch/Frisbee: A Weim will chase a ball or Frisbee for hours
  • Tug-of-War: Good indoor activity on rainy days
  • Canine Sports: Weimaraners excel at agility, flyball, and other competitions
  • Hiking: Great bonding activity for you and your Weim

When indoors, it's a good idea to give your Weimaraner access to one or more balls or chew toys, as these allow the dog to burn some pent-up energy. Another good suggestion is to have a consistent daily exercise schedule for your Weim, such as walks/jogs after breakfast and dinner and a prolonged play period in the afternoon.

Weimaraner Maintenance

Maintenance for this breed in terms of shedding and drooling is low to moderate. Weimaraner shedding is very light for most of the year, but becomes moderate during the spring and fall shedding seasons; Weims drool a bit as well, but not heavily.

These dogs normally have short-haired, smooth coats that fortunately don't lose a lot of dead hairs. (There is a longer-haired variety with a double coat that sheds more frequently, but these long-haired Weims are fairly rare and found mainly in Europe.) When the seasons change and Weims "blow" their coats, they may shed a bit more, but owners say most of the shed hairs can be collected by brushing.

Weimaraners sometimes drool in anticipation of food or when visibly stressed. Owners also say that because Weims have "flappy" lips, they're quite messy when drinking water, which can almost seem "drool-like." Overall, though, these dogs don't have much of a slobbering issue. If your Weimaraner is drooling excessively, it may be a sign of a medical problem, in which case you should consult a veterinarian.

Weimaraner Diet

Weimaraner food and diet choices are important in maintaining these dogs' health and well-being. Weimaraner dog food will need to be full of calories to match their extremely active lifestyle--but it needs to be high-quality food, not the cheap generic kind. There's an important reason for this: Weimaraners can be intolerant to grains like wheat, corn, and barley, which most cheap dog food has a lot of, so premium food (particularly one labeled as "Grain-Free") is best.

But specifically what to feed a Weimaraner? The general consensus among owners is high-quality, grain-free dry food. Not only does premium dry food provide substantial calories and nutrients, but since Weims are very big eaters, feeding a dog of this breed canned or fresh food will be outrageously expensive. Depending on its age and activity level, the typical adult Weim will need about three cups (1,900 calories) of food per day, divided into two meals. Weimaraner puppy food portions are somewhat less: a six-month-old Weim puppy, for example, requires about two cups (1,150 calories) divided into three meals. For more details, see this Weimaraner feeding guide:

It's important to try and and stick to the above-listed portions, because obesity can be a big problem in dogs of this breed. A fat Weimaraner will have digestive and breathing problems, and obesity can significantly shorten its lifespan. Another major issue for overweight Weimeraners: hip dysplasia, which is the abnormal formation of the hip socket that causes lameness and severe pain. Hip dysplasia normally begins when a dog is young--and its occurrence is much more likely in a puppy that's obese, as carrying around the extra weight puts undue stress on the hip joint. It's very important, therefore, not to allow your Weim puppy to pack on too many pounds.Another main cause of obesity in this (or any) breed is "free-feeding," whereby food is left in the dog's bowl all the time, allowing it to eat anytime it wants. Veterinarians urge all Weimaraner owners to put their dogs' bowls down only at mealtimes, then pick it up 20 minutes or so after the dog begins eating. It's also recommended that you have a consistent daily feeding schedule for your Weim--and start scheduling meals when the dog is still a puppy, so it can become accustomed to eating at the same time every day.If you're worried your Weimaraner is becoming obese, give the dog this simple Ribs Test: run a hand along its side, and if you can't feel any ribs, it's diet time. Decrease your Weim's daily food intake by one-fourth, and add an extra walk or play period to its daily exercise routine.

Living Environment

Even though it's a hunting breed, the Weimaraner is better suited to living indoors. While these dogs will certainly need a lot of outdoor exercise each day, they'll be much happier living inside with their human family members. And for the Weimaraner, apartment living is a terrible idea, as these dogs are just too large and energetic for such confined spaces. Overall, Weims are best suited to life in homes with large, fenced yards.

Another consideration for owners of a Weimaraner: weather. While Weims will be okay in hot temps, they may get cold easily--which means owners living in cold climates will need to stock up on some Weimaraner winter coats!