Originally bred for hunting, early Weimaraners were believed to be used by royalty for hunting large game such as bear, deer, and boar. As the popularity of large game hunting began to decline, Weimaraners were then used to hunt smaller animals like birds, rabbits, and foxes. The early origins of the Weimaraner are a little “gray” but what we do know is that in the 19th century the Weimaraner parted ways with the registry it shared with German Shorthaired Pointer Club and its own German breed club was established in 1897.
The Weimaraner first hit U.S. soil in October of 1929 and was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1942. Breed popularity soared in 1950 after a pair of Weimaraners graced the cover of “Look” magazine with the description “Wonder Dog” and stated the Weimaraner had human-like intelligence. This explosion in popularity hurt the breed tremendously as people were more interested in making a profit on these Wonder Dogs than maintaining their incredible hunting instincts. Over the years the dogs just did not live up to their great reputation and their once high demand fell to near zero.
Fast forward to 2020. Unfortunately, most of the Weimaraners bred today in the U.S. come from pet and show breeders and they are indiscriminately bred without any regard to their hunting ability or lack thereof. Thankfully though, there are also many dedicated breeders that focus on breeding talented gundogs that hunt hard and because of their years of selective breeding today’s U.S. field bred Weimaraner will make any hunter proud! Today’s field bred Weimaraner is a hard hunting versatile gundog that points game and retrieves from land and water. They are primarily foot hunting dogs that excel in NAVHDA type Tests, but some can also range out to become competitive field trial dogs. Weimaraners are known to be “Velcro Dogs” and love to share the couch with their owners as much as the field. If you think a Weimaraner is the hunting dog for you, please seek out a breeder that has years of experience and success breeding Weimaraners that hunt.
— Judy Balog, photos: Craig Koshyk