The average person knows a Weimaraner to be a medium-sized gray dog. In fact, the Weimaraner is much, much more than that.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) currently recognizes 193 breeds. Each breed comes with a multi-paragraph blueprint, or standard, that describes what that breed should be. For example, an Irish Setter is supposed to have a moderately long, silky, and a red or chestnut colored coat. A French Brittany is “athletic, compact, energetic, and solidly build without being heavy.”
The first paragraph of our breed standard indicates that a Weimaraner is “a medium-sized gray dog, with fine aristocratic features. He should present a picture of grace, speed, stamina, alertness and balance. Above all, the dog’s conformation must indicate the ability to work with great speed and endurance in the field.”
Baja 2017 Rossi x Mika in his Field Futurity Run in Ardmore, Oklahoma
Field trials are how we showcase our dog’s ability to work with great speed and endurance in the field.
Below is a Q&A we had with a recent prospective Barrett puppy owner about field trial Weimaraners:
Why are field trial Weimaraners important?
There is nothing more exhilarating than seeing a dog do what it was bred to do. And a Weimaraner that is capable of working with great speed and endurance in the field is a sight to behold. And this ability needs to be preserved.
What can you tell me personally about field trials?
Field trials are awesome. We go into the desert, camp out with our rigs and tents, carry around shotguns, and shoot birds for our dogs to retrieve. And when they do that well, we win stuff. 🙂 At night, we camp out, drink beer, wine, or whiskey, BBQ really good food, and hang out with great friends. In the morning, we start all over again. What’s not to love?!
1. MY DOGS LOVE IT. My dogs light up when they get to field trial. They live to run, find birds, and have a good time in the wide open spaces.
Zara (2020 King x Luna) running in the Open Puppy stake in Parks, AZ
2. IT’S NECESSARY. I believe that the sport is valuable to prove that Weimaraners are capable of competing in the venue. (Full disclosure: one of my mentors is a field trialer, so I came into dogs through the lens of what she does and values.)
Pax (2019 Echo x Gracie), a Weimaraner, beating a German Shorthaired Pointer in the Open Derby stake in the Mojave Desert, CA
3. I ENJOY THE PEOPLE. The breeders, owners, trainers, and handlers (and their spouses) that make up the field trial community are the kindest, most supportive, enthusiastic, and passionate folks I have the pleasure of knowing. While we come from all walks of life, none of that matters when we come together for our dogs. The camaraderie is amazing.
Participation in the sport is a lifestyle. It’s also expensive and time consuming. Plan on having your dog worked/trained consistently during the spring and fall (when the weather is favorable), and putting in a good 3-5 years of work and competition before you “finish” a dog, meaning the dog has earned the elusive title of a “Field Champion.” In absence of being available to train on a consistent basis, you can also send your dog out to a professional trainer and field trialer. We do a combination of both. We train the young kids on weekends and send my older ones out to a pro to keep working with them. If you plan to use a pro, budget about $800/month in expenses for training and trialing dogs. If you do it yourself, most of your expenses are in gas/travel to get to the training grounds every weekend. (In other words, fairly minimal!) If your dogs do well, you’d have to make a pilgrimage to Oklahoma every December so your dog can compete at the National Field Trial (two of my dogs appear in this set of photos).
Weimaraners are very, very different between bloodlines. We can’t stress enough how CRITICAL it is for a breeder to send the right puppy to the right home. (And good breeders should know how to do that.) When breeders get it wrong and aren’t around to support their puppy buyers, folks end up dogs that weren’t right for them to begin with and nobody is happy (the new owners or the dog). I know because I run a rescue and see plenty of people who give up on their dogs. (Gah!) Click here to read more about it.
Click here to read our latest field trial update. In summary, I hope that if you’re the active, adventurous, competitive type, you’d consider owning and working with a field trial Weimaraner. The sport has changed my life. 🙂
Just Weimaraners Article – How to Start a Weim Pup in the Field
Blue Weimaraner Today Article – One Owner’s Experience with her Field Trial Weimaraner
Facebook group – Field Trial Weimaraners
Facebook group – Field Trial Friends
Cheers! – Kim
Dual Champion Prospect – Stella, bred by Timberdoodle Weimaraners in Michigan, and owned by Touchstone Weimaraners in California, is currently show-pointed. She is also stunning to watch work in the field.
Field Trial Prospect – Hammer, one of the Autobot Six (co-breeding between Touchstone Weimaraners and Barrett Weimaraners), in May 2016.