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 and 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 often 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.
RECOMMENDED: 100 Smartest Dog Breeds
Measuring the Weimaraners’ Intelligence
Measuring the true intelligence of a canine is not as easy as you would imagine. While there’s no way to accurately measure dog intelligence in a completely objective way, we can estimate based on our data of “obedience and working dog intelligence.”
So what is obedience and working intelligence? In short, it measures how quickly a dog can learn a new command (their training). It also measures how well a dog can retain their training.
This specific type of dog intelligence was coined by the world-renowned canine psychologist and pHD, named Stanley Coren. With the data collected on O&W, he developed the infamous list of the smartest dog breeds that we know today.
Coren’s Dog Intelligence Criteria
With the help of 199 obedience trial judges from North America, Coren was able to evaluate and assess 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 being called the “obedience & working intelligence.” However, there are certain flaws to point out right from the start.
Not all breeds were evaluated by the obedience judges. Only breeds recognized the AKC or CKC were allowed to participate. 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 at least 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” dog. This places the intelligent hound in the 2nd highest performing class, along with other household breed names.
For example, both Corgis (Pembroke and Cardigan), the Cocker Spaniel, Pomeranian, Belgian Sheepdog and the Springer Spaniel are in the same intelligence class. That’s some good company to be with! But what exactly does this mean for the dog?
This meant that Weimaraners are able to learn a new command with 5 to 15 repetitions. Weimaraners are also highly biddable and obedient dogs, obeying a known command on the first try with an 85% or better success rate.
Weimaraners vs. “Average Dogs”
Weimaraners are far from average. However, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with dogs that scored in the average class. 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.
So who are these average dogs? Again, some of America’s household dog names, including the Boston Terrier, Greyhound, Havanese, Boxer and the Great Dane.
2 More Reasons Why Weimaraners Are Smart
I think it’s safe to say that obedience and working intelligence isn’t everything. While it’s a great starting point, 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. There are also instinctive and adaptive intelligence. Both of which, are arguably more important.
1. 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 bred for a role in society. Purpose-bred dogs were used 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, Weimaraners are one of the 5 best hunting dogs for families.
But how is this a type of intelligence? These dogs have the natural ability to track down and chase birds. They’re also smart enough to flush out birds towards the hunters. This is the instinctive intelligence. But, 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.
2. The Weimaraner is a great problem solver
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 or mistakes.
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. After all, there’s a reason why Weimaraners are famously known as the “dog with a human brain.”
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.“
Dealing With Smart Weimaraners
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.
Is the Weimaraner 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 or family dog, understand that all dog breeds are smart enough for what you need.
Rather, you should ask whether the Weimaraner fits your personality. Also consider the amount of time required to raise a happy and healthy dog. 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.
Posts you may like:
Sunday 17th of April 2022
I had a wein mix but she was the sweetest dog and incredibly intelligent. She truly wouldn’t hurt a fly and wouldn’t even defend herself when another dog would try to attack her. She was terribly obsessed with food though, even chocolate. I left an almost full bag of dove chocolates on top of my 4 foot entertainment center on top of a speaker. There was no way she could reach it. However, when I came home from work I found the speaker on the floor and found that my dog had eaten the entire bag of chocolates. I had a doily under the speaker so she figured out that if she pulled the doily the speaker would fall off the entertainment center along with the chocolates. Also since I was at work and she had the time she individually unwrapped each one of the chocolates before eating them! Thank goodness it wasn’t dark chocolate! I called her my canine McGuyver because that dog could always figure things out! My Jackie’s been gone for several years now but I still miss her. She could be naughty sometimes but she was the sweetest dog ever!
Saturday 16th of April 2022
I have 2 Weims, Ragnar and Laegertha. They are both smart enough to get the other one to do things to distract me while one steals food!
Thursday 30th of December 2021
My weim, in the morning everyday runs down the driveway and picks up the paper and brings it to me without me telling her!! Loves swimming in the pool and doesnt mind bathing! So eager to learn commands! Perfect dog!!
Friday 12th of November 2021
My Weim ,Axil, is super smart and able to think two dimensionally. If one of our other dogs is getting too much attention he will grab a bone and bring it to the other dog to distract them so he can get the attention. Very Clever!
Thursday 25th of November 2021
@Jeffrey Reid, That's actually brilliant 😂
Wednesday 9th of June 2021
I love my Wein. He is the sweetest smartest dog. He brings me surprises from the woods the same turtle three times. No matter where or what time day or night my husband hid it. Never hurts a fly. Would just lay an watch it crawl. He was a gift when cousin an family could no longer keep him. ❤️