In judging the Weimaraner, we must remember to seek type, as type makes the Weimaraner unique from all other dog breeds. The outline of the dog, sound movement, and head are of great importance. Our opening statement in the breed standard, “Above all, the dog’s conformation must indicate the ability to work with great speed and endurance in the field’” should be foremost in your mind once you determine that the dog has the correct outline.
First thing to consider when judging the Weimaraner is the side view from a distance. Is the outline of the dog rectangular? Why rectangular and not square or off-square? Because the back is moderate in length and you also have a well-developed and deep chest in front of those well laid back shoulders. The rather prominent prosternum protrudes beyond the point of shoulder, and there is a wonderful return of upper arm, so the dog stands well over himself with balance, front-to-rear and withers-to-elbow-to-leg (equal lengths). These features give the dog a lovely half-circle from the withers to the prosternum and around to the elbow, which is directly under the withers. This, along with the moderate tuck-up in the flank, in addition to the well sprung and long rib cage, gives the dog its rectangular outline and are the hallmarks of the breed.
As you approach the dog from the front, do so with purpose. Look at the feet (firm, well-arched, thick pads), the chest (good fill to the elbow), oval in shape. Does the dog stand well over himself (with elbows against the body)? After checking the teeth (FS), move to the side of the dog and, using a gentle but firm hand, examine the remainder of the dog, considering the need for a slightly sloping topline, strong loin (not long), well-angulated stifles, straight hocks with musculature well-developed. Once you place your hand(s) on the dog, let your hand(s) move continuously over the back, chest, loin, tail set, and rear, and only remove your hand(s) when done with the entire exam, including checking the testicles.
I find the top-view (coming down the line from behind) to be very helpful in sorting out a line-up of very good dogs. If you wish to check something on the dog, turn and approach him from the front rather than laying your hand from behind when he is not aware that you are approaching. This view is frequently overlooked, but it tells all! As you walk down the line from the rear to the front, you can see if the neck is of sufficient length to balance with the body, if the shoulders lay back and lie down so that there is a smooth transition from the neck to the body, and if there is sufficient length and spring of ribcage (not slab-sided, not barrel-chested). Is there a waist at the loin (but not so much as to be wasp-waisted)? Are there well-developed first and second thighs? And is there a good butt, with tail as an extension of the spine—preferably carried at one o’clock?
Finally, turn and look at the line-up from the front to have a final look at the heads, moderately long and aristocratic. The planes should be parallel, equal length of muzzle and skull, good chiseling, and although the muzzle tapers on the sides, it should have a squared-off finish to accommodate the large nostrils and well-developed teeth. The eyes are lighter than with most breeds. Occasionally they remain blue, but most of the time, adults have amber or blue-gray eyes. Eye shape is not defined in the standard, but consider two points: 1.) A round eye, and little to no brow expression along with a light eye, will give you a very stark look. 2.) A light but oval eye with a soft brow presents with a softer expression and still has the intensity of a pointing breed rather than a spaniel. Consider the desire for aristocratic features. This comes from the smooth body with no bumps and dips as well as from the regal expression.
Of course, the dog then needs to move as it stands, indicating the ability to work with great speed and endurance. As the dog moves around the ring, remember that most of the Major Faults listed in the Weimaraner breed standard bring you to the conclusion that a sound dog is of great importance, both coming and going as well as in side-gait. Considering the Very Serious Faults in judging the Weimaraner: A gray dog is a dilute color and cannot have a black mottled mouth. It could have a gray mottled mouth and this is ok. If the dog has a black nose, you would be excusing it for a color not allowed, and if the coat was black or blue, the dog would be disqualified. I surmise they left this in to remind you that a purebred Weimaraner cannot have black. The Weimaraner is a single-coated dog. Their un-docked tail is very long, like a whip. This long tail has no protection from the brush and trees that it hits while hunting.
It can become very damaged. Docking the tail is a preventative measure. The United States is the only country that does not accept the longhaired variety. I have judged longhairs in other countries. Personally, I feel they do not retain the same aristocratic features that we look for in the United States. To my knowledge, our Weimaraner Standard is the only one that asks for aristocratic features.
Within every breed there will be differences in style from kennel to kennel. We do not pursue style, but if used within the confines of the breed standard to produce better dogs, it allows for latitude in the expression of qualities that make-up type. In the Weimaraner, these qualities are:
- Rectangular Outline;
- Prominent and Deep Forechest (Balanced with the Rest of the Body), Including a Well Laid Back Shoulder and Matching Return of Upper Arm;
- Neck, Clean-Cut and Moderately Long;
- Ability to Work with Great Speed and Endurance in the Field.
Weimaraners were developed from the St. Hubert Hound.
Remember that hound characteristics are the “drag of the breed” —level underline, ears too long, bone too heavy, excessive skirting in the loin area, thick tail, tan markings as in a black and tan dog, and pendulous flews.
Judging the Weimaraner by Gale Young