Weimaraner: Breed History & Origin

The first Weimaraner breed standard was written in 1896, the official standard was developed in Germany in 1925, and it was registered in the FCI in 1969.

But in fact, the history of the appearance of this dog is shrouded in mystery and is rooted deep in history. There are different versions of the origin of these dogs.

In the Middle Ages, such dogs were mentioned in ancient manuscripts. Some documents from that time speak of the dog of Saint Louis, resembling a modern Weimaraner.

The French king Louis IX, better known as Louis the Saint (1214-1270), was captured in Egypt in about 1248 during a crusade. After he returned to France, he had a pack of gray dogs, which they called so: the dogs of Saint Louis – Chiens gris de St-Lois.

The most famous work of the Middle Ages is the “Book of Hunting” by Count Gaston de Foix (1331-1391). It details the gray dogs of Saint Louis. There are tapestries depicting hunting scenes of the nobility of that time with these dogs.

The success of these dogs was such that by the end of the fourteenth century, very many noble people in France kept gray dogs, which were certainly used to hunt large animals: deer, wild boar, bear. Later, when the beast became smaller, these dogs were taught to hunt birds.

Other royal courts of Europe followed the example of the French. Due to their elite status, the ancestors of the Weimaraner were highly valued and were always with the owner. Apparently, this constant contact with a person for almost 8 centuries instilled in the Weimaraner the need to always be close to a person, he cannot live separately, for example, in an aviary, like other hunting dogs, the Weimaraner suffers from this emotionally.

Depictions of gray dogs can be found in works of art from the seventeenth century. Van Dyck’s paintings dating back to 1631 depict gray dogs very similar to the Weimaraner.

For the first time a breed called Weimaraner was mentioned in the 1850s. The document says that the breed was formed in East Germany in the vicinity of the city of Weimar. These dogs were very popular at the court of the Grand Duke of Weimar. This is where the name of the breed comes from.

There is a photograph from 1871 in which the young Baron Wintzigerode Knor is depicted with his Weimaraner named “Nord”

In 1880, dogs of this breed first participated in an exhibition in Berlin (Germany), where they were classified as crossbreeds. Duke of Weimar County (Germany) Karl August wanted to create a multifunctional breed. It is believed that he crossed several other dog breeds to complete his plan. He wanted to create a dog that can work at speed, work efficiently, and have the endurance that this dog could be good for hunting in the field and be a companion at home. The Weimaraner is called the “Silver Ghost” not only for its coloration, but also for its ability to be quick, using an almost feline ability to sneak in fields, combined with a silent, almost ghostly style of work.

In 1896, a commission of delegates finally recognized the Weimaraner breed as an independent breed. Now this breed was no longer referred to as hybrids. Meanwhile, the German Weimaraner Club was founded by several amateur sports hunters. These people wanted to breed dogs only for hunting, not for sale. Therefore, the rule was adopted that no one can buy a dog of this breed without first becoming a member of the club.

This led to the fact that it became difficult to buy a Weimaraner even in Germany, and outside its borders it is practically impossible. Now the state of affairs in Germany itself has practically not changed, there, as before, the working qualities of the Weimaraner are at the forefront, sometimes, unfortunately, to the detriment of the exterior. Abroad, this breed can already be purchased quite freely, the main thing is to know where dogs with good working qualities and excellent conformation are bred.


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