Great Weimar

Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Great Weimar
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The Great Weimar is a hybrid cross between a Great Dane and Weimaraner. A large-to-giant sized dog, they require plenty of living space and an owner committed to regular exercise. Although they have a gentle temperament, these dogs can be boisterous, making them better suited to families with older children rather than toddlers.

The Great Wiemer is a happy blend of characteristics that make for a great canine companion for owners looking for a dog that is playful and energetic. However, their large size makes their upkeep expensive. They are also prone to serious conditions, such as bloat, and so prospective owners should read up on prevention of this life-threatening disorder.

About & History

As a hybrid the Great Weimar’s story is a relatively short one, and is really the tale of the two parent dogs.

The Great Dane

The Great Dane has a long history, with images of a similar dogs found in Egyptian artefacts dating back to 3,000 B.C. These dogs found their way to Italy and Greece, where their impressive size was in demand as war dogs. These canines were a common ancestor to other giant breeds, such as the Mastiff and Wolfhounds.

In Germany, in the 1600s, more selective breeding took place to create an elegant dog of giant proportions. The name Great Dane came about in the 1700s, but is actually erroneous as this is a German Dog, and Denmark had no part in its creation.

The Weimaraner

The Weimaraner was the result of selective breeding in the German court in the early 19th century. Breeds that contributed to their development include the German Shorthaired Pointer, the Bloodhound, and ironically the Great Dane.

The Weimaraner was created as a hunting dog, popular for their scenting ability, stamina, and intelligence. Breed numbers came under threat during the Second World War, but American servicemen fell in love with this attractive ‘grey ghost’ and took several back home to establish the breed in the States.


The Great Weimar can truly be described as handsome. These large to giant dogs are elegant, with sleek lines, whilst not being fine-boned. They have a deep ribcage and tucked up waist, and a long flagpole of a trail. The Great Weimar’s skull is fairly heavy with a long broad, snout, and long pendulous ears.

They have a short coat, which may be a range of solid colours, including grey, blue-grey, blue, and fawn. Parti-coloured coats are unusual, as are the rare double-layered coat inherited from an uncommon long-haired gene inherited from some Weimaraners.

Character & Temperament

Many Great Weimar owners favour this hybrid because the blend of characters takes the edge off more extreme characteristics. For example, Weimaraners can be a bit bonkers in a hyper-active way until middle age, whilst the Great Dane can be so laid back they don’t want to walk far. Happily the character of most Great Weimars meets somewhere in the middle, with a dog that is eager to exercise but also content to be in their owner’s company.

However, the former hints at one of the Great Weimar’s potential downsides, in that they love human company. Unless trained to spend time in their own company, they can be prone to anxiety attacks when left alone. This may manifest as destructive behaviour, such as chewing or barking.

That said, the Great Weimar is a gentle-giant. This is just as well given their large size, since an out-of-control dog would easily knock children or the infirm over. Many owners report how their dog seems aware of their size and act extra careful around people less strong than themselves.


The Great Weimar has an excellent reputation when it comes to training. They are an intelligent and generally biddable dog that is happy to please. Team this trait with reward-based training methods and it makes a dog that’s eager to learn with the brains catch on quickly.

Training should start young, with important cues being “Sit” and “Look”, so that an over-exuberant puppy can quickly be brought under control. This is good practice for when they grow into a large adult dog that could be a hazard to others if not properly trained.


As a hybrid breed there are no statistics as to the diseases most commonly linked to them. However, certain conditions are prevalent in one or other of the parent breeds, so it’s reasonable to assume this places their off-spring at increased risk.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia impacts on the dog’s mobility because it causes pain and inflammation in the hip joint. It results from poor anatomy whereby the head of the thigh bone (femur) clunks against the pelvic socket (acetabulum.)

Several factors contribute to whether a dog develops hip dysplasia or not, including their diet, exercise level, and genetic factors, such as breed. An owner can reduce the risk by selecting a pup born from parents that were screen for hip dysplasia, by feeding a diet designed for large breed growth, and by avoiding excessively concussive exercise whilst bones are still maturing.


Bloat (also known as gastric dilation and volvulus) is a life-threatening condition caused by a build-up of gas in the stomach. Bloat arises as a result of the stomach flipping over on itself, which seals off the entrance and exit, trapping gas inside.

It is the deep chest of both the Great Dane and Weimaraner which is the cause for concern here. Their anatomy means the stomach swings like a hammock, placing them at increased risk of bloat.

The wise Great Weimar owner feeds a good quality diet that is low in cheap, fermentable fillers, such as soy. They also never exercise their dog immediately after eating, and always wait at least an hour (preferably 90 minutes) before walking their dog.

Signs of bloat include restlessness, distress, and retching where nothing comes up. If you even suspect your dog may have bloat, always contact the vet as an emergency.

Heart Disease

Unfortunately, giant breeds, such as the Great Dane, are linked to a form of heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy. This weakens the heart muscle such that it no longer pumps effectively. Ultimately, this can shorten life expectancy.

Heart scans can detect this condition at an early age. There is a medication available that is proven to extend life, however, for a large dog this is costly and is needed for the rest of the dog’s life.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The Great Weimar is an active dog that needs plenty of exercise. Not to provide this means the dog will divert their energy into bad habits, such as chewing, barking, or digging. However, the influence of the Great Dane has a calming effect on the bouncy Weimaraner, meaning bringing their energy down to a more manageable level. But it should be remembered that their enthusiasm for life and general excitability means they do need a home with plenty of space.

The Great Weimar needs exercise not just to stay physically fit, but also to provide mental stimulation. One caveat to providing lots of walks is to avoid overly strenuous activity whilst the pup’s bones are still growing. If the youngster regularly jumps from a height or becomes over tired, this is when they are likely to move awkwardly and damage a developing joint.


The short coat of the Great Weimar makes for the ultimate in low maintenance. Although this means the coat doesn’t knot, regular brushing is a good idea. This spreads natural oil and gives the coat a superb gloss. Also, the Great Weimar does shed, and brushing will capture most of this hair.

Other routine care should include daily tooth brushing and checking the ears regularly for infection. Make sure to walk the dog on pavements (not just fields) so as to wear their claws down and avoid the need to trim them.

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