Focus On

Document Sample
Focus On Powered By Docstoc
					VICDOG_May_06      7/3/06     1:27 PM       Page 2

      s    O

    WeimaranerSubmitted by
              Elizabeth Harding
                                                                                 obtained in Germany. Initially there were several dogs shown but most
                                                                                 were sold for pets or to hunters. The first show champions in Australia
                                                                                 were the first imported pair, Ch Strawbridge Graf and Ch Strawbridge
              Vice President,                                                    Fidget shown to their titles by their owners Dr Chris and Dr Roma
              Weimaraner Club of                                                 Christenson in 1957, and in 1958 Weimaraners competed and placed in
              Victoria Inc                                                       retrieving trials in Sydney. As the first four imported dogs were of the
                                                                                 same bloodlines, it wasn’t until the mid 60s when further dogs/bitches
                                                                                 were imported that the breed in Australia became more popular. By the

     Part of the Gundog Group, the Weimaraner (and the variety Weimaraner        70s and 80s Weimaraners were starting to make a name for themselves
     Longhair) is one of several breeds in Australia known as a Utility Gundog   in all facets of dog work. The Weimaraner record in Australia speaks for
     – this may be best described as a ‘versatile continental hunting dog’ –     itself with multiple Best Exhibit in Show Winners (All Breeds), multiple
     referring to the diverse natural abilities of the Weimaraner. The           Grand Champions, multiple Dual Champions (obedience, tracking and
     Weimaraner personality has been described as a complex mix of the           retrieving/field), let alone a multitude of show champions and obedience
     ‘aloof’ aristocrat and a silly clown.                                       titles. The first Grand Champion (show) and Retrieving Trial Champion in
                                                                                 Australia was a Weimaraner. There are several Weimaraner clubs
     Its handsome looks and unique, striking colour gives the Weimaraner an      throughout Australia as well as a National Breed Council, to date there
     exceptional and commanding appearance (it has been nicknamed the            have been three National Shows (held approximately five years apart).
     “Grey Ghost”). This unusual colour often attracts people to the breed       Victoria hosted the 3rd National Show in November, 2005, and to
     who are oblivious to the fact that the breed is a very complex, very        celebrate this event and the fiftieth anniversary of the breeds’ arrival in
     intelligent and active hunting dog and not necessarily suitable for their   Australia, club members Elizabeth Harding and Debra Ryan wrote the
     exact requirements as a family pet. However, this versatile gundog is       book ‘Searching for Silver Grey’ which contains more than 400 pages of
     also a dedicated companion dog.                                             photos and articles dedicated to a pictorial history of the breed in this
                                                                                 country. The book also includes a current pictorial breeder’s directory.
     Information is available from the                                           This book, written as a fundraiser, can be purchased directly from the
                                                                                 Weimaraner Club of Victoria Inc.
     Weimaraner Club of Victoria Inc.
     A leaflet titled “Is The Weimaraner Right For You” is available no charge
     plus a small handbook containing information on the breed and how to
     care for it available for a small fee. The Weimaraner Club of Victoria      An aristocratic looking dog with a soft expression, the Weimaraner is
     holds shows, obedience trials, retrieving and field training days and fun   one the largest in the gundog group, well muscled with clean lines, its
     days throughout the year. The Weimaraner Club of Victoria Inc. was one      movement should be driving but effortless. The breed is built to hunt
     of the first Victorian clubs to maintain a rescue/re-housing programme;     and exhibits grace, stamina, alertness, and balance. The head and ears
     it was also one of the first breed clubs to actively run a tattooing        are distinctive, the skull broad and a foreface that gives the impression
     program enabling a quick identification of lost dogs. The club also has     it is slightly longer than the length of the skull. Nose colour compliments
     its own breed research officer and financially supports research            the coat but it is the amber eyes that also contributes to the breeds’
     undertaken in specific areas from time to time. Further information on      unique appearance. This eye colour is blue in puppies and changes to
     the club can be obtained through their website                              yellow/amber at about four months. The Weimaraner and Weimaraner or by contacting the club secretary, Mrs              Longhair coat colour varies from silver grey, to a roe deer colour or
     Debra Ryan (PO Box 783, Macleod, Vic 3085) Ph: 0417 553 474 or              mouse grey. The short coat is dense and has a sleek topcoat, whereas
     e-mail                                         the longhair is soft with a long top coat, long feathering on ears, tail and
                                                                                 breeching and moderate feathering on other parts of the body i.e. legs,
                                                                                 belly, forechest. Whilst both the Weimaraner and the Weimaraner
     Weimaraners in Australia                                                    Longhair appear to be different they should conform to the same
     The first Weimaraners arrived in Sydney in July 1955, with another pair     standard. Weimaraner specialist judges have said, “Physically a shaved
     six months later. These dogs were bred by Major Petty under the             Longhair should be the same as the short hair variety, coat and tail
     Strawbridge Prefix and were the progeny of the Weimaraners he had           lengths being the only difference”.

     2            VicDog May 2006
VICDOG_May_06     7/3/06      1:27 PM       Page 3

     To strangers, some Weimaraners may appear aloof and self-assured
     (they will often stand well back when strangers arrive preferring to
     come over for a pat in their own good time) whilst others may be

     overpowering and possibly boisterous. With their own people however,          The Weimaraner (Weimaraner Vorstehhund) is one of the
     Weimaraners reveal a more complete personality as they are fun loving,        oldest of gundogs and can trace its initial ancestry back as far
     demanding, clever, devoted, cuddly, pushy, responsive, obedient,              as the 1300s. Tapestries from early Europe/France show a
     stubborn and loving. Their most expressive faces, groans and sighs            silver grey dog in many hunting scenes. Descended primarily
     seem to convey a language all of their own. One would possibly                from the “German Braque” the breed was purized during the
     describe a lot of their action as ‘attention seeking’ as they adore being     19th century. Prior to this some cross breeding had been
     the centre of attention.                                                      occurring. It wasn’t until 1880 that the first official records of
                                                                                   breeding were kept. In 1896 the first standard was determined
                                                                                   and 1897 the Weimaraner Klub e.v. was formed in Erfert,
                          Size                                                     Germany. There has been much debate over the years as to
                                                                                   the origins of the Weimaraner and it is in no way related to the
                          Dogs: 59-70cm and                                        German Shorthaired Pointer – it has the purest bloodlines
                          Bitches: 57-65cm                                         relating back to the Leithund (lead dog in a hunting pack).
                                                                                   Whilst the breed was a much slower working dog it produced
                                                                                   far greater quantities of game per hunt than comparable
                                                                                   breeds. Many of the original breeders were noblemen with
     This pushy personality requires the Weimaraner owner to be a firm but         game wardens (Forrestors) who would care for the dogs –
     fair leader. Without clear leadership, they will take over a household;       they lived with the Forrestors and were often kept in small
     obedience training is advisable from an early age. Long time breeder’s        packs of 3-4. Initially the Weimaraner was used as a trailing
     and fanciers will often say that “the Weimaraner is a breed for those         dog, seeking the wounded large game such as bear, boar and
     who enjoy a dog that is intensely devoted and responsive to attention –       stag, as this game diminished through over shooting the
     they demand attention, and will often follow owners from room to room,        breed was adapted to become a truly versatile dog - able to
     usually lying down with body contact when owners sit down” – they are         hunt, point, flush and retrieve both fur and feather.
     not a dog that can be ignored for long periods of time. Whilst they can       Enthusiasts required a dog with courage, a keen nose and
     be kennelled during the day they do not tolerate permanent isolation          sharp eye that would be obedient to recall under all conditions
     from their owners – they crave human companionship. Breeders believe          and ready to take to water when necessary.
     this is a natural instinct carried over from the centuries of living in
     hunters/forrestors quarters. Left unsupervised they can become bored          After 1897 the German Weimaraner Klub e.v. controlled all
     and with all dogs this can lead to chewing and digging.                       breed activity, including matings and registrations. Dogs
                                                                                   could not be sold to non-members, only approved litters could
     Weimaraners are wonderful with children, but supervision is                   be registered, and poor specimens were destroyed. The logic
     recommended around very young children because they could be                  behind these actions was to ensure that the Weimaraner was
     accidentally knocked down by an energetic dog.                                always bred to be a hunting dog – not a show dog. Specially
                                                                                   appointed breed wardens evaluated all potential breeding
     Weimaraners have an unusually strong prey drive and may not be good           stock and determined which pups would be culled from each
     with cats or other small animals. In general Weimaraners can be trained       litter. Although there are some who believe that the distinctive
     to accept cats if introduced at an early age, but rabbits will be a littler   grey coat colour was developed by accident the caretakers of
     more difficult. Weimaraners have a stronger protective instinct than          the breed can and will prove this is not so. The late Dr. Werner
     other gundog breeds and are often natural guardians or watchdogs.             Petri – author of the ‘Der Weimaraner Vorstehhund’ and
     It is not suitable for everyone, but the rewards of taking on such a breed    ‘Heute’ (the Weimaraner today) elaborates through
     are immense. As a companion it is important to acknowledge,                   documented evidence the history of this unusual coat colour.
     understand and respect its heritage.                                          Up until the 1930s few outsiders really knew much about the
                                                                                   breed and legends developed about the great grey hunting
     Training                                                                      dog. In Germany today the original hunting instincts are
     Weimaraners are quick learners and benefit from obedience training            retained through specialised hunting tests and breeding
     right from an early age. Basic sitting and toilet training should             programmes. In Australia, America and Great Britain much of
     commence from the day they go to their new homes. Crate training can          the original hunting instinct remains with enthusiasts
     be a benefit for those who are unable to supervise puppies at all times       participating in fieldwork and retrieving and field trials. In the
     in the home. Early training of leaving the puppy in its kennel for short      1930s the first Weimaraners were sent to America, but they
     periods is also recommended. Weimaraners respond to food training             were relatively unknown and it was not until after the Second
     and repetition, training methods should be firm but gentle, and the           World War that the breed was truly discovered. Many U.S.
     puppy should learn to obey all family members. As with all dogs               soldiers developed a liking for the breed and through them –
                                                                                   Major Petty (an English soldier in the caretaker force)
     Weimaraners should be taken to obedience classes to learn the basics,         discovered this wonderful breed. With Colonel Eric Richardson
     heel on lead without pulling, the recall and stays.                           they exported 13 Weimaraners to England in 1952.—the starting point for all things dog                                                             VicDog May 2006           3
VICDOG_May_06      7/3/06      1:27 PM       Page 4

      It has often been said that a tired Weimaraner is a good Weimaraner,
      exhausted even better. This breed was originally bred to spend all day
      running and hunting, working independently of handlers for up to six
      hours at a time. A quick walk on the lead around the block and a pat on
      the head daily is not enough for a dog with so much energy. Free running
      daily in a park or large area (not your backyard) and some training to
      exercise their brain prevents Weimaraners from becoming bored. A bored
      Weimaraner is often a destructive one.

      Grooming requirements for the breed include regular brushing to remove
      dead hair, regular cleaning of ears, trimming of toenails and dental care.
      Weekly or fortnightly bathing to avoid doggy odour in the house with a
      good quality dog shampoo is advisable. The Weimaraner does shed its
      coat, however the shedding is much less visible on this the smooth coat
      variety than with the Weimaraner Longhair. Shedding usually occurs
      twice a year, but can also occur after a bitch has a season.

      Hip Dysplasia – whilst this abnormality occurs in many large breeds, it is
      not a chronic problem in the Australian Weimaraner. Most reliable and
      conscientious breeders screen their dogs for hip dysplasia but it is not a
      Weimaraner Club of Victoria breed requirement at this stage.

      Bloat – or more correctly, ‘gastric dilation and volvulus’ is a condition in
      which the stomach swells and twists. This is a condition that occurs in
      most large, deep chested breeds and suitable feeding regimes are
      recommended. The affected dog is often distressed, has a bloated or
      swollen abdomen and commonly drools excessively. It is very important
      that the owner recognises these signs and contacts a vet immediately if
      the dog is to have a chance of survival.

                     This breed was originally
                     bred to spend all day
                     running and hunting,
                     working independently of
                     handlers for up to six
                     hours at a time.

      Immune-Deficiency – does not affect all Weimaraners, it has been
      genetically linked and it is no longer as prevalent as it was in the 1980s in
      the breed. Symptoms can develop at an early age, constant or re-occurring
      infection quite often following vaccination can be the trigger. Research in
      both Australia and America has seen an improvement in this area.

      The life span of a Weimaraner is between 10 – 14 years, well cared for
      and spoilt Weimaraners have been known to live up to 18 years.

      Do you think a Weimaraner is right for you
      and your family?
      The Weimaraner is a breed that you will either love or hate. Spend as
      much time as possible around them before you decide if this is the breed
      for you. Contacting the Weimaraner Club will help you find a Weimaraner
      and breeders, and can provide you with further information.

     4            VicDog May 2006