Weimaraners, famously known as the “Gray Ghost,” have the personalities of a true hunting dog. Friendly in the home but fearless on the field, Weimaraners are some of the most loyal and dependable dogs. But how do their intelligence compare to the rest?
Weimaraners are highly intelligent dogs. In fact, they’re the 25th smartest dog breed for obedience & working intelligence. However, when it comes to instinctive intelligence, the Weimaraner is at the top – thanks to superb hunting and tracking instincts. Having the ability to track game requires this special type of dog intelligence seen in Weimaraners.
Weimaraners are all-around intelligent dogs. But what is it that makes these unique hunting dogs so much “smarter” than others? Let’s examine all dimensions of dog intelligence and how Weimaraners compare.
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Table of Contents
- Measuring the Weimaraners’ Intelligence
- Other Reasons Why Weimaraners Are Smart
- Is Your Weimaraner Smart?
- How to Deal With Smart Weims
- Are Weimaraners For Me?
Measuring the Weimaraners’ Intelligence
Measuring the true intelligence of a canine is not as easy as you think. While there is no way to accurately measure dog IQ in a completely objective way, we have data that compares obedience & working dog intelligence.
This specific type of intelligence was coined by Stanley Coren, a canine psychologist and pHD from the University of British Columbia. Furthermore, Coren developed the infamous list of smartest dog breeds we know today.
Coren’s Dog Intelligence Criteria
With the help of 199 obedience trial judges from North America, he evaluated dog breeds based on his criteria. Coren’s criteria was relatively simple. It was based on just two factors:
- The number of repetitions needed for the dog to learn a new command. Fewer repetitions meant that the dog was “more intelligent” due to faster learning.
- The success rate in which a dog obeys a known command on the first attempt. Breeds that saw a higher success rate ranked higher on the smartest dogs list.
As you can see, the test is essentially an obedience test, hence obedience & working intelligence.
However, not all breeds were evaluated by the obedience judges. Only dogs recognized by a major North American kennel club participated. In addition, breeds needed at least 100 responses to qualify for the final list of dog intelligence.
As one of the 50 most popular dog breeds in America, the Weimaraner had no problem getting 100 responses. Plus, they’re recognized by both the American and Canadian Kennel Club.
How Weimaraners Performed
As expected, Weimaraners did very well on Coren’s intelligence trials. So well, that they’re ranked the 25th “smartest.” This puts them in the 2nd highest performing class, along with other household names.
This meant that Weimaraners are able to learn a new command with 5 to 15 repetitions. Weimaraners are also highly biddable dogs, obeying a known command on the first try with an 85% plus success rate.
Weimaraners vs. “Average Dogs”
Weimaraners are far from average. However, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with dogs that scored in the average category. They’re just intelligent in other ways.
The average dog needed 25 to 40 repetitions to learn a new command. In other words, Weimaraners are at least 60% faster at learning than the average!
Similarly, Weimaraners were far more obedient than the average. An average dog only obeyed a known command (first attempt) with a 50% plus success rate.
Other Reasons Why Weimaraners Are Smart
Obedience and working intelligence isn’t everything. While it’s a great start, there’s more to dog IQ than being able to learn and obey quickly.
Stanley Coren knew this too. In fact, the renowned psychologist agrees that there are three components of canine intelligence. In addition to what obedience, there are also instinctive and adaptive intelligence. Both of which, are arguably more important.
The “Gun Dog” Intelligence in Weimaraners
Instinctive intelligence is the ability or skillset that a certain dog breed was bred for. In the past, nearly all dogs were purpose-bred, whether for herding, hunting, retrieving or just companionship.
Take the Australian Shepherd for example. These herding dogs were bred to have the instincts to herd. With little to no human training, they’re able to push and drive livestock in formations. This is instinctive intelligence.
Similarly, Weimaraners were bred for tracking, retrieving, pointing and hunting. They’re some of the most versatile pointer dog breeds! And according to How Stuff Works, Weims are one of the 5 best hunting dogs for families.
These dogs have the natural ability to track down and chase birds. That’s their instinctive intelligence. However, it doesn’t take a hunting trip to see these instincts.
It’s likely that these dogs will instinctively chase any small animal, such as a cat. It’s hard for them to control the urge, so a lot of patience and socialization is necessary with them.
The Weimaraner’s Adaptive Intelligence
The final component of dog intelligence is adaptive intelligence. At last, this refers to the dog’s ability to learn for itself. This can be problem solving or learning from previous experiences.
Most Weimaraners share the roughly the same instinctive intelligence. But when it comes to adaptive intelligence, individual dogs will vary.
Still, we hear tons of stories that make us believe these dogs have extremely high adaptive intelligence. For example, one owner tells us why his dog is a great problem solver:
My Weim loves anything that flies and is very smart, but more of a problem solving smart. I should have named him McGuyver or Houdini. He can escape his kennel in the house, leads, anything.– Hi-tech Redneck (Owner)
The ability to escape from kennels and such require high adaptive intelligence. It’s not all about strength. This Weimaraner solved how the kennels worked and used it to his advantage.
Another Weimaraner owner explains how his dog takes advantage of the situation, saying:
Gunner (our weim) is a very intelligent dog but plays dumb when he’s in a “mood”. If you have a treat, he’ll do anything for you.– Mrslizz (Owner)
Gunner is clearly a smart dog. This intelligent Weimaraner learned when the “optimal” time to do the owner’s bidding is (from past experiences). Again, a clear sign of high adaptive intelligence.
If we wanted to, we could have found many more stories to prove our point. However, I’m sure if you asked any Weim owner, they’ll tell you very similar stories too.
Is Your Weimaraner Smart?
Tests are usually great at gauging IQ, but personal hands-on experience is far greater when it comes to dogs IQ. To truly understand how smart these dogs actually are, it’s best to ask real Weimaraner owners.
With that said, we surveyed the popular Weimaraner Subreddit and other dog hunting forums for answers to this question. Here’s what these owners had to say.
Real Owner Answers:
1. Rednada says Yes: “We rescued a weimaraner named Luna. For a 5 month old pup, she is soooo smart, and obsessed with her tennis balls.”
2. Willumvander says Yes: “Luka is one of the smartest dogs i have ever met! We love her and she’s always figuring out clever ways to get us to play with her. It’s amusing to say the least.”
3. Bamahunter says Yes: “Weims are head strong dogs. They’re so smart that sometimes they freak me out…but very good dogs after establishing dominance in the pack.”
4. Catandjim says Yes: “He’s not the best hunter in the world, but intelligence is a sure thing. He just uses his smarts towards achieving other goals than tracking birds.“
5. H20wlkllr says Yes: “If you and your weim are on a personal level, he will hunt much better. They’re extremely smart dogs and can be stubborn. But with a gentle hand and letting them know what you want, can be trained easily.”
6. Hollowheaven says Yes: “Every weimaraner I’ve ever met has been crazy friendly, intelligent and biddable. And totally nuts. Like a deer on a sugar high.”
7. Sinkodedoggo says Yes: “Only had my weimaraner for a few months now. They’re not just quick learners but eager learners too. Never seen a dog so eager for obedience training. Lucky me, I guess!“
8. Santorinialliv says Yes: “You’re in for a bad time if you underestimate the smarts of these dogs. Most likely they play dumb to not get what they want.“
How to Deal With Smart Weims
Weimaraners are extremely smart dogs because they scored high in all three components of canine intelligence. But is having a smart dog always a good thing?
While owners can be “proud” of owning a smart dog, the truth is, they require a ton more work. In other words, smarter dogs need more mental stimulation.
Weims are beautiful and devoted dogs. They are intelligent, more confident then Vizslas and less prone to separation anxiety, but do not under-estimate the physical and mental needs of this breed.– Travelingswift (Owner)
Mental stimulation can come in many forms. The most obvious is obedience training. But you can also provide dog puzzles, make an obstacle course or play hide and seek. The point is to provide plenty of stimulation.
And according to PetMD, failing to provide a Weimaraner with enough exercise and mental stimulation can lead to restless and/or destructive behaviors. So, it’s really that important.
My favorite method of providing Weimaraners with their daily quota of mental stimulation is with dog puzzles and games. It gives you a chance to relax and let the dog’s mind work itself out.
Smart Toys for Smart Weimaraners
I’ve owned many dogs in the past – all of them, very intelligent dogs too. Fortunately, I’ve found what my dogs loved and what works best.
My Australian Shepherd’s favorite toy as a puppy was the StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive dog toy. It’s a weighted bobble toy, where your dog needs to tilt it to release the food or treats.
The point of this toy is to make your Weimaraner work for his food. If you get a large size, you’re able to fit in three scoops of food. Plus, a second chamber works great for smaller treats.
Another toy I high recommend is the Outward Hound Dog Puzzle. Hide some treats in the puzzle and let your Weim go to work. It kept our Pembroke Welsh Corgi occupied for hours in the beginning.
However, once your Weimaraner figures out the puzzle a few times, the dog will start to solve it much much faster. Like with all dog puzzles, it doesn’t “last” as long as you’d want.
Obviously, there are too many dog puzzles and toys on the market that we’ve never tried. You don’t need to get these for your Weim, but make sure to get something – anything!
Weimaraners need both mental and physical stimulation, and a lot of it. If you can provide hours a day with obedience training or games, that’s great. But if not, these puzzles are essential to keep their minds sharp.
Are Weimaraners For Me?
When bringing home a Weimaraner, there are many things you should consider. However, the intelligence of the dog isn’t one of them.
If you’re just looking for a companion and family dog, all dog breeds are smart enough for what you need. Rather, you should ask whether the Weimaraner fits your situation and matches your personality.
You should also consider the amount of time required to raise a happy and healthy Weimaraner. Not only are they smart and require mental stimulation, but they need a ton of physical exercise every day.
It’s not that easy keeping up with one of these active dogs. But if you think they’re for you, they make amazing family dogs and even better hunting companions.
Do you own a Weimaraner? Is your dog smart? Tell us a time that made you believe that your dog was highly intelligent. We’d love to hear from you.
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