Weimaraners are medium- to large-sized hunting dogs with short-haired, smooth coats that don't require a lot of maintenance overall. A few dogs of this breed have longer hair that includes feathering on the legs, tail, and ears, but this variety is rare, and is found mainly in Europe. See below for plenty of details about maintaining a Weimaraner's coat.
With this breed's short, sleek coat, Weimaraner grooming is pretty simple. (The rare long-haired variety, though, does take a little more work.) Dogs of this breed shed regularly, but their coats are in reality too short to mat or tangle, so weekly brushing should suffice. And they only require occasional baths (every 3-4 months, or when they're particularly dirty or stinky); haircuts are not required at all.
Brushing a Weimaraner with a bristle brush works best. To brush your Weim: first wet the coat with mist from a spray bottle, then brush the coat section by section, moving in the direction of hair growth. If you're following the brushing with a bath (and dogs should always be brushed thoroughly prior to bathing): make sure to use canine shampoo, as the human kind can irritate a dog's skin. Bathe a Weim either in a bathtub, or in an outdoor kiddie pool using a garden hose. Apply a quarter-sized amount of shampoo to the dog's back, then lather well, working downward as you go. Don't forget the legs! Rinse until the water runs clear, towel-dry, then give the coat another quick brush-through to make it look sleek and clean.
(A NOTE ABOUT LONG-HAIRED WEIMARANERS: This coat variety can be sort of misleading. "Long-haired" on these dogs actually means body hair of 1½-2 inches, which is about equal to medium length on other breeds. The feathering on the ears, legs, and tail may mat or tangle more frequently (but still not much overall), so long-haired Weim owners may need to go through the featherings occasionally with a 2-in-1 comb to keep them tangle-free.)
Do Weimaraners smell? Though not especially known for their "doggy odor," Weims can get funky if they play outside a lot--and if they're overdue for a bath! In general, these dogs will need baths every 2-3 months, unless of course the dog gets especially dirty or stinky and an "emergency bath" is in order.
It's important when bathing your Weimaraner to use canine shampoo, as the kind made for humans has a different pH and can irritate the dog's skin. Since a lot of dogs of this breed have very sensitive skin, they'll need hypoallergenic or organic shampoo, which is free of artificial chemicals or dyes that will irritate the Weim's skin. The best dog shampoo for Weimaraners includes brands like Healthy Breeds, Earthbath, and Oxgord, all of which have hypoallergenic and/or organic products. These shampoos will also make your Weimaraner smell great!
How to bathe a Weimaraner: first give the dog a good brushing. You can bathe your Weim in a bathtub (which hopefully has a spray nozzle attachment) or in an outdoor plastic pool using a garden hose. Wet the coat thoroughly, then apply a generous amount of Weimaraner shampoo to the dog's back. Lather well, working downward and outward as you go. (And don't forget the legs, underbelly, and tail!) Clean the dog's face, head, and ears with a washcloth, then rinse the coat completely.
Towel-dry the coat, then give it another quick brush-through to make the dog look clean, fresh, and neat.
Several different ways to maintain your Weimaraner's paws:
- Nails: If Weimaraner nails click when the dog walks or runs on hard surfaces, it's time for a trim. Use standard nail clippers to cut the nails as close to the toes as possible, but be careful not to cut them too short! Doing so can cut into the nail's quick (the blood vessel running through it), which will make the nail bleed and be painful.
- Toe Hair: The hair between your Weim's toes can get very long, and if it does it'll get extremely dirty and even cause infections. Use scissors to trim the hair short if needed.
- Paw Pads: Your Weim's paw pads can get dry, cracked, and tender, especially if the dog walks or runs a lot on hot asphalt or snow and ice. Apply canine paw pad moisturizer (available at pet stores or online) to the pads weekly to keep them soft, moist, and healthy.
In addition to its coat and paws, a Weimaraner will also need regular care for its teeth and ears.
- Teeth: Just like a human's, Weimaraner teeth need regular brushing to reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar, and to minimize that Weimaraner bad breath! Brush the dog's teeth twice a week or so using a regular toothbrush--but be sure to use canine toothpaste (available at pet stores or online), as the kind made for humans can make dogs sick if they swallow it.
- Ears: If your Weimaraner's ears aren't cleaned periodically, they'll collect excess dirt, grass, and other debris, and even get infected--which could lead to hearing loss. Cleaning Weimaraner ears is best done with canine ear cleaning solution (again, available at pet stores or online). Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions, and always use cotton balls (never Q-Tips!) to wipe out any excess solution.