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What Are The Differences Between a Weimaraner vs. Labrador?
Let’s look at some of the differences that these breeds have from each other.
The Appearance Differences
A Weimaraner is a large, short-haired hunting dog with floppy ears and an extended snout. The Weimaraner has a short coat with tight skin, while the coat of a Labrador is a hairy double coat. This difference means that the Labrador has better resistance to water (their outer coat is waterproof) and will take to water with more willingness than the Weimaraner. The Weimaraner's coat is less hairy, and as a rule, they tend not to tolerate cold or outside temperatures as a labrador.
Both breeds have floppy ears, but a Weimaraner grows larger than a Labrador. A Weimaraner will have a shoulder height of 24 - 27 inches, while a Labrador reaches heights a couple of inches smaller. The hind legs of the Weimaraner tend to be longer, and the tail is often docked. The snout tends to be slightly more extended than a Labrador, making it better to root smaller crevices where small animals like rabbits and squirrels might hide. (Some historians believe the Weimaraner has its original roots from the Bloodhound line, so a long nose would make sense).
The History and Ancestry Differences
Let’s explore the differences in where these beautiful breeds came from.
The History of a Weimaraner
First bred in Germany in the early 19th century, the Weimaraner began as a breed used exclusively to track down boar, bear, or deer. As the prevalence of aristocracy began to wane, in light of the industrial revolution, the dog’s hunting and tracking abilities were adapted to smaller wildlife like rabbits, foxes, and quail. Labeled as the “Grey Ghost,” the dog blended in with the dark woods, which only enhanced its ability for stealth while hunting its prey.
The breed made its way to the American continent in the 1920s but became increasingly popular in the 1950s. Celebrities such as Grace Kelly, president Dwight D Eisenhower, and others appeared in public with these unique dogs, and the increased notoriety spurred public interest. The Weimaraner that President Eisenhower owned, named Heidi, was a holy terror in the White House, jumping up on photographers attempting to snap pictures. After the dog ruined an expensive rug, the first family repatriated the dog to the farm outside Gettysburg.
The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1943. For more history on the Weimaraner, see the website on AKC.org
The History of a Silver Labrador
While the Labrador Retriever is a grey-colored labrador whose origins are routed in controversy. While a part of the Labrador family, which originated in the 1830s in Newfoundland, the dogs were raised as gundogs, with thick waterproof coats. The double coat lent itself to the colder temperatures of the Canadian wilderness and the natural ability for fetching and retrieving made them excellent hunting companions.
The Silver Labrador is not a recognized color of Labrador recognized by the American Kennel Club, but many breeders register them as “chocolate” labs. Although the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in American homes, the friendly, intelligent breed is a welcome addition for many families.
The Temperant of These Breeds
Both Dogs tend to be very active and athletic. The Weimaraner will require daily exercise and needier open space where they can run and frolic than their Labrador counterparts. If your Weimaraner is going to be cooped up all day, expect them to greet you at the door with a leach in their mouth the moment you open the door.
Silver Labradors also need an hour or two of exercise daily, which makes them needy. However, a Labrador seems more willing to accept training and simple commands. A Weimaraner has a tradition of stubbornness and will refuse to comply with the owner's wishes on occasion just because they can. Both dogs have a propensity to dig, as many dogs do, but because they are large and love to dig, you should be prepared to keep an eye on them. A Labrador is calmer and less temperamental than a Weimaraner, so don’t be surprised if the Grey Ghost shows an occasional aggressive tendency, particularly around other dogs.
While both breeds tend to do well with children and as a family pet, the Weimaraner will want to be the sole pet and monopolize the attention of its owner. This breed is less tolerant of other pets and will gravitate to the intense loyalty of a single member of the family. This trait makes them very protective, and their size lends themselves to effective and protective guard dogs.
On the other hand, the Labrador is more social and, as such, has a calmer, quieter disposition. They are very good with multiple children and pets, often adopting other pets as if they were their own. These dogs are not good sentries and tend to greet an intruder with a tail wag and lick on the hand.
There are Differences in Grooming
Both dogs require grooming because they tend to shed. However, the labrador, with its thicker coat, will shed more often and in more significant amounts. Labradors need to be brushed and groomed a couple of times a week, and more frequent bathing can help owners manage excessive hair loss. Weimaraners require regular bathing like active dogs, but their grooming needs are not as extensive.
It should be noted that Labradors should not be shaved to make their coats shorter like what is on the Weimaraner. A shaved labrador will be more sensitive to sunburn and inhibit the natural shedding of the inner coat as standard protection against extreme heat or frigid colder temperatures.
The Longevity of these Dogs
The Weimaraner tends to live about 11-12 years, whereas a Labrador will live longer for a couple of years. There are health concerns that both breeds have, particularly in their later years. A Labrador tends toward hip dysplasia, while the Weimaraner can develop gastrointestinal issues. For a review of some of the health issues, please see webmd.com.
While Silver Labs can become arthritic in their older years, Weimaraners tend toward cancers and other ailments, making them harder to care for as they age.
All that being said, both breeds are extraordinary pets and should be adopted into homes with confidence. For an excellent site on adopting a pet, see petfinder.com
About THE AUTHOR
Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.Read more about Mark Brunson