Meet Skylar the Weimaraner.
This beautiful Weimaraner lives in London but loves to travel.
When Skylar isn’t roaming Richmond and Bushy Park, you can find her exploring different parts of the UK.
It’s easy to see why Skylar has forged a career as a dog model with her striking appearance.
We spoke to Skylar’s mum Anne to learn more about Skylar and the Weimaraner breed overall.
If you’re interested Weimaraners or perhaps contemplating becoming an owner of one of these German dogs, this interview will provide a fantastic insight into the quirks of the breed.
You can follow Skylar on Instagram (@skylar_weimaraner).
1) How did you end up with Skylar?
We had been looking at KC breeders around the country for quite some time. However, we found that most bitches and their litters had characteristics which were more suited for countryside living, rather than for us in London. We also found that many breeders from the countryside were quite opposed to us considering a Weimaraner for the reason we lived in the city.
We finally found a small KC breeder in London who wanted to produce puppies with her own family dog. We managed to get on her waitlist, and then started the process of getting to know one another. I felt like the breeder really understood us.
When we started looking for a dog we were living in a 1 bedroom flat in Highgate across from Hampstead Heath (We have since bought a house and moved to SW London). Despite having no green space in our flat, we literally had Hampstead Heath as an extension of our backyard. To us, we did not think it would deprive the dog from having the required amount of daily exercise. We knew we had to put in the hard work to cater to her physical demands.
After three months of getting to know one another and making sure all checks were in order, it was time to select our puppy. We initially had set our eyes on another puppy in the litter, but Skylar’s confidence yet calm demeanor towards her own siblings really attracted her to us. She also seemed to pick us – trying to get our attention and being really affectionate, while the puppy we had set eyes on basically ignored us.
It’s so important to feel that instant connection and identify it, rather than being over excited in the presence of puppies. I really believe as much as you find your dog, the dog finds you too.
2) What attracted you to the Weimaraner breed?
In all honesty, my husband who’s German introduced me to this breed, I had never heard of it before. He told me about how strict their breed standards were and in Germany, it was only an exclusive few who were allowed to own one and a hunting license had to be produced before buying a Weimaraner puppy. I, like everyone who’s ever wanted to own a Weimaraner, was first attracted to their unique looks. Whilst I had a lot of experience of dog ownership throughout my childhood, I did a lot of research into the breed and joined Weimaraner groups on social media to get honest feedback.
3) How would you describe the temperament of Weimaraner?
Skylar is very calm, sensitive and considerate – but many Weimaraner owners who know her can attest that she’s more of an anomaly than the norm. Weimaraners can be very boisterous and add how powerful they are, it can be challenging to any owner and can get into very tricky situations. They need very disciplined owners to provide them with the leadership and structure. Otherwise they will take the control out of you. They are very energetic and extremely intelligent — which requires not just physical exercises but mental stimulation. They can become destructive if this energy is not channeled correctly.
This is something most owners of the breed don’t factor in when considering owning a Weimaraner. They need to think, not just run for miles. They are very eager to please and need validation of love and affection from its owners. By understanding what motivates them, owners can use this to their advantage to train them appropriately and curb unwanted behaviours. Though they can be both aloof and goofy at the same time. They generally have a strong prey-drive. But with a lot of training and establishing trust between dog and owner, they can suppress their urges to chase anything wild. However, if there isn’t a 100% success rate in recall no matter the distraction, then Weimaraners should always be on the lead in the presence of wildlife and small animals.
4) Do Weimaraners suffer from separation anxiety?
Yes. It is almost in their genetic DNA when this breed was created… and they haven’t changed much due to their strict breeding standards. A Weimaraner cannot be left home alone for long periods of time. They crave constant companionship and if they don’t receive it, they can cry, howl and will destroy the home if left unattended. Early training during puppyhood is essential to make this anxiety bearable. The key is to start slow and build up the time apart, sticking to a daily routine which the Weimaraner will appreciate. But if there is any sudden change (lockdown), all will be erased and their separation anxiety will become more prominent again. Re-training is essential.
Anyone interested in owning a Weimaraner must consider the following if they do not have the time:
• Disposable income to spend on dog walkers – sometimes multiple dog walks in a day if you are working 9-5.
• Flexibility of work schedule e.g. remote working, WFH, dog-friendly office etc.
• Having more control of your daily life so you can allocate time to spend with your Weimaraner
5) Do Weimaraners make great family pets?
Yes, and no.The whole family will need to be on-board when getting a Weimaraner. Understanding the general profile of the breed, their temperament and natural characteristics will help most to prepare the family for a Weimaraner. When small children are involved, the parents need to establish boundaries for both the Weim and the child. Consistency in care is important among different members of the family. House rules must be clear and agreed by all for a Weimaraner to thrive in. Weimaraners are active, strong, large and powerful dogs — parents of young children and toddlers must be open to forgive any unintentional roughhousing. Weimaraners will do better with a home with older children.
6) How did you train Skylar?
Editor's note: This article is meant to be informative in nature but it does not represent professional advice. Always contact a licensed dog behaviorist or trainer if you have any questions about how to train a dog.
Skylar likes structure. She likes firm commands via verbal and hand gestures, and doesn’t entertain baby talk. Being a large dog in busy London, we decided to do a lot of sensitisation training from puppyhood so she will not react negatively in situations that may come as a surprise to her. I believe that city dogs are expected to have a higher standard of training to coexist daily with so many people, children and distractions. We also trained her to cope in public social situations where she will find herself a lot in. As I am not a qualified trainer, I cannot say if these are the best techniques and ones to follow, but it has worked out great for us. We began training Skylar the moment she arrived home at 10 weeks. We first taught her not to hoard resources by taking her toys when she played with them. Then the second most important command was everything “No” and “leave”-related. She isn’t food motivated so I had to train her differently to my previous dogs. She responds best with positive reinforcement. She would rather hear the words “Good Girl / Clever Dog” than to have a treat.
The next most important basic command is Stay and Recall. We never stop training this (she’s now 8 years old) and she’s been 100% consistent. To me these are basic commands and are most essential — and must have 100% accuracy. Skylar associates all our commands as a way to keep her safe.
Once the essentials have been established then more advanced training can be explored. Skylar has learned quite a number of skills for her job as a commercial dog model based on advertiser requirements.
7) Do Weimaraners bark a lot?
No. They bark to protect, notify and when necessary. There are some who bark out of certain anxieties but those cases should be individually addressed by its owners with professionals.
8) Are Weimaraners high maintenance?
Yes. They have high physical and mental demands. They require your attention and presence constantly. They gained their reputation as a velcro dog for this reason. Some Weimaraners are prone to certain health conditions — and if not tested or have been involved in improper breeding practices, may be very costly to the owner. Weimaraners have very sensitive stomachs and can develop food allergies too, so choosing the right diet may come at a high price.
9) Do Weimaraners need regular grooming?
No. Their fur is essential mud-proof and brushes off when dry. They only require a wash once every few weeks and essential grooming (toothbrushing, nail clipping and ear cleaning) once a week.
10) Do Weimaraners have any health problems?
Yes. They can be prone to hip dysplasia (from low quality breeding), bloat / torsion (deadly), eye diseases, inherited blood disorders and some Weimaraner puppies develop severe reactions to vaccinations. Older and overweight Weimaraners are susceptible to lumps – fatty tumors under their skin. Although most are innocuous, some turn cancerous.
11) Are Weimaraners fussy eaters?
Probably. They respond better to high quality kibble to “fresh to raw” foods.
12) Would you recommend Weimaraners to first-time owners?
Definitely not. Although a Weimaraner’s love is pretty unique and spectacular, this breed is not for the novice dog owner. This breed would also not thrive with an experienced dog owner who does not have any knowledge of the gundog history and characteristics. Weimaraners need confident, firm and disciplined owners to fulfill their requirements and needs. To train a well-behaved and controlled Weimaraner takes a lot of dog training experience (it doesn’t need to be from professional trainers but through ownership of various large breeds) which can then be adapted to the Weim’s personality.
13) What are the pros and cons of Weimaraners?
Pros: Full of personality, extremely intelligent, very loveable, easy grooming, dogs that love to work, loves to be active
Cons: Stubborn, strong-willed, separation anxiety, can be destructive, can have strong prey drive, needs to be active
14) Where is your favourite place you’ve photographed Skylar?
We love photographing Skylar on our holidays abroad – best memories as a family. We’ve been to 7 European countries with her so far and can’t wait to plan for more.
15) What comments do you get about Skylar on Instagram?
Among Weim owners we get a lot of support for how well-behaved and well-mannered Skylar is and they ask for tips / tricks to help them with their own Weim.
Among people interested in the breed, they ask me for my honest account of having a Weim because they too have considered the breed. So far, 4 people have opted for a different breed which has been more successful for their lifestyle and life situation.
For other dog owners, they just love to see us explore and introduce to them dog-friendly food & travel places around the country and continent.
Among London dog owners, many share their experiences of owning a large dog in the city or staying in touch as we see each other at dog social events, etc.
16) Is there a big Weimaraner community in the UK?
Not too big but a very supportive community. We have Weimaraner FB groups for UK, Scotland and London which all have very active members.