We want to know everything about dogs. Everything! But there are countless breeds of dog out there, and each one is a unique animal with its own history. That's why every week, we shine a spotlight on a different breed. This week, learn some fun facts about Weimaraners.
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THE WEIMARANER IS NICKNAMED “GRAY GHOST”
Due to the breed’s distinct coloring, the Weimaraner is often referred to as the “gray ghost.” According to the American Kennel Club’s breed standard, the Weimaraner’s coat should be “short, smooth and sleek, solid color, in shades of mouse-gray to silver-gray, usually blending to lighter shades on the head and ears.”
A DUKE DEVELOPED THE WEIMARANER IN THE 19TH CENTURY
The Weimaraner is a relatively new breed, first appearing in the early 1800s. Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, was an avid hunter, and he developed the Weimaraner to be a gun dog. Originally meant for hunting big game, it wasn’t long before Weimaraners settled into their role as devoted home companions.
A BLUE COAT IS CONSIDERED A WEIMARANER DEFECT
The Weimaraner breed is easy to recognize for its distinctive coat, which ranges is color from a warm, brownish gray to a cooler blue-gray. While striking, this latter color is actually considered a defect, and blue Weimaraners are not allowed to compete in dog shows. According to the AKC breed standard, “A distinctly blue or black coat is a disqualification.”
WEIMARANERS ARE AMONG THE FASTEST DOG BREEDS
Due to its development as a hunting dog intended to chase big game like deer, wolves and boars, it’s no wonder that the Weimaraner is built for speed. These energetic dogs can attain speeds of up to 35 mph. Only a few other breeds can outpace them.
WEIMARANERS BECAME POPULAR IN AMERICA DURING WORLD WAR II
A Rhode Island hunter named Howard Knight was the first to import Weimaraners to the United States from Germany in 1929, but the breed didn’t catch on Stateside until World War II. Many American soldiers returning home from the war brought Weimaraners with them, impressed with the breed’s athletic skill and loyalty. The breed’s popularity peaked in America around this time, but after leveling off somewhat, has remained steady in the decades since.
WEIMARANERS ARE INFAMOUS FOR THEIR EXTREME ATTACHMENT TO OWNERS
If you’re looking for a loyal dog to be your constant companion — and we mean constant — a Weimaraner might be the right dog for you. Often called “Velcro dogs,” Weimaraners stick to their owners to the point where it can become a behavioral problem. Separation anxiety is a consistent issue for Weimaraners, which is a bad combination with owners who are often away from home.
THE EISENHOWERS HAD A PET WEIMARANER IN THE WHITE HOUSE
U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower and his family adopted a pet Weimaraner named Heidi in 1955. The beloved dog was given free reign to roam the White House, although she didn’t stay there for very long. After Heidi urinated on an expensive White House rug, she was sent to live on the Eisenhowers’ farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
ACTRESS GRACE KELLY WAS A WEIMARANER OWNER
Actress/princess Grace Kelly was an early celebrity Weimaraner fancier. Kelly’s brother Jack gave his sister a Weimaraner puppy as a wedding gift when she married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956.
PHOTOGRAPHER WILLIAM WEGMAN’S WORK HAS POPULARIZED WEIMARANERS
William Wegman has been well known for photographing dogs — his Weimaraners — for 40 years. Wegman first gained notice for shooting his dog, Man Ray, throughout the ’70s until the dog’s death in 1981. A few years later, Wegman adopted Fay Ray, and she became as famous a canine model as Man Ray had been. She died in 1995, but Wegman continues to photograph Weimaraners from Fay Ray’s lineage.
Next: Cool Facts About Chow Chows!
THE BAND NEW ORDER PUT WILLIAM WEGMAN’S WEIMARANER IN A MUSIC VIDEO
In 1988, New Order shot a music video for the new remix of their classic record, “Blue Monday.” The video featured, among other things, a Weimaraner balancing on tennis balls and chairs, or just starting into the camera. The Weimaraner in question was none other than William Wegman’s famous Fay Ray. The video also features Robert Breer’s animated sketches of Weimaraners.