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Dog Files Fact: Weimaraner

Weimaraner_01
Photo by Craig Koshyk

Weimaraners were first bred by the court of Weimer in Germany during the early 19th century. While the dog’s earliest origins are something of a mystery, the historical record and various theorists have tried to fill in some of the holes. Some believe the Weimaraner is the result of albinism in an old breed of German pointing dog, while others claim to see traces of the Bloodhound in the Weim, and others still believe the Weimaraner is simply an amalgamation of many German hunting breeds. A Van Dyck painting from the early 1600s portrays dogs that bear a distinct resemblance to the Weimaraner, though it is impossible to prove whether they are related.

The Weimaraner is a pointer, and was originally used for hunting, tracking, and bringing down big game. They were popular in German courts for their speed, athleticism, sense of smell, courage and stamina. Because they have webbed feet Weimaraners are fine swimmers, and as big game became scarce in Germany the dog was put to use retrieving downed waterfowl from lakes and streams.

The Weimaraner was introduced to the United States in 1929 by Howard Knight. Up until that time it was extremely difficult to obtain a Weimaraner, as they were only sold to members of the German Weimaraner Club. After becoming a member himself, Knight began breeding the dogs in America, thereby propagating the once elusive breed. The Weimaraner was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1943; since then, the dog’s popularity as a family pet and a contestant in competitive obedience shows has steadily grown.

After World War II ended, many soldiers brought home stories of this wonderful, strangely colored dog known as the Weimaraner. As people heard of these stories many wanted this new Wonder Dog. The 1950’s all but destroyed the Weimaraner breed. It is said that, “the best bred dogs were unable to live up to the hyperbole that made the breed famous, and the mass-produced stock (from puppy mills) barely qualified as good companions”.

Since that time, breeders have struggled to recover this magnificient hunting and companion dog. Almost all that breed this dog also hunt with the dog. Their attitude is the only reason to breed is with the intention of improving the breed. Within six months a Weimaraner will go from a 3 pound puppy to a 70 pound dog with a mind of its own. It is not a plaything, nor should ownership be frivalous. Without proper training and socialization, this dog can become a neurotic, problem dog and almost impossible to manage.

Over the years, the Weimaraner has been used as a rescue dog, service dog for the disabled, and as a police dog in the UK and Germany.

In the 2002 Jennifer Lopez film Maid in Manhattan, senatorial candidate Chris Marshall (Ralph Fiennes) owns a Weimaraner, which appears in multiple scenes.

The first president and founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, had a Weimaraner called Fox.

US President Dwight D. Eisenhower owned a Weimaraner named Heidi

The photographs of William Wegman prominently feature Weimaraners. His dogs (which included Man Ray—named after artist Man Ray—and Fay Ray—a play on Fay Wray) are the subject of his photos, dressed in human clothes. These pictures are popular both in galleries of contemporary art and as pop culture icons. These “dogs with hands” have appeared frequently on Sesame Street, and occasionally on Saturday Night Live.

A Weimaraner was also the subject of the music video for Blue Monday by the rock band New Order. This dog is the previously named Man Ray, since Wegman did the artwork for this clip

A neurotic Weimaraner named Beatrice (played by Can. Ch. Arokat’s Echobar Take Me Dancing) is featured in the movie Best in Show.

Singer Kate Bush poses with two Weimaraner on the cover of her 1985 album Hounds of Love

Actor Esai Morales (NYPD Blue) owns a Weimaraner named Frankie

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor had a female Weimaraner named Daisy May.

Grace Kelly (later Princess Grace of Monaco) had a Weimaraner, and there are photos of her playing with him during her trip to Monaco before her marriage to Prince Rainier.

A Weimaraner also makes an appearance in the movie Fever Pitch starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore.

Larry The Cable Guy adopted a Weimaraner from the Heartland Weimaraner Rescue

Queen Latifah owns a weimaraner named Isis.

Dick Clark owned a weimaraner.

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Kelly J
Kelly J
11 years ago

That picture is too cute! She looks so sad.

Jen R
Jen R
11 years ago

Reminds me of Dobby the House Elf from Harry Potter for some reason…too cute!

Kelly J
Kelly J
11 years ago

That picture is too cute! She looks so sad.

Jen R
Jen R
11 years ago

Reminds me of Dobby the House Elf from Harry Potter for some reason…too cute!

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