How much exercise does a weimaraner need? A lot!
Weimaraners are extremely high-energy dogs (generally). Not quite as much energy as a working border collie. Way more energy than most Labs, German shepherds or golden retrievers.
It also depends on the individual dog, though.
There are calm, lower-energy weimaraners. But most are very high-energy and have the stereotype attached to their breed as being “neurotic,” “basket case,” “crazy.” I must say, these stereotypes are pretty accurate.
My field-bred weim can run 18 miles and that is both the BEST and the WORST thing about him!
I dream of having a calm, lazy Lab happy to nap at my feet (coming soon!). But I love that my weim will crash up a mountain with me when I’m training for a race. Then he’ll do it again the next day.
So how much exercise does a weimaraner need?
I’m going to say very generally, you can get by with exercising your weimaraner for 1 hour a day. This is “getting by,” though. Two hours a day would be ideal.
Think, an hour of hard running off leash at a dog park or trail. Then an hour of lower intensity like obedience class or walking on a leash. Also, providing Kongs or other chew toys in between.
That would be a pretty good routine for most weims, and as you can see, that’s more than an hour of exercise a day.
And the younger the weim, the more exercise and interaction they will need.
How to tire out a weimaraner
If you get anything out of this article, it’s this:
Weimaraners need four things every day:
- A daily walk, 45-60 mins
- Hard exercise, at least 15 mins (running off leash, dog park, fetch)
- Mental training, 15 mins (obedience, tricks, puzzle toys)
- Down time to learn an “off switch” (crate train, chew on a Kong, etc)
If you’re thinking about getting a weimaraner, just be honest with yourself about how active you really are.
Most people tend to over-estimate how “active” they define themselves while under-estimating how much exercise a weimaraner will need.
- Are you ready to go run on the trails for several hours a week?
- Are you willing to go for a long walk every single day?
- Will you regularly take part in agility classes, training your dog for hunting, nosework or some other activity?
If this sounds exciting and fun to you, then maybe you’re meant for a weim in your life!
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How to exercise a weimaraner puppy
Weimaraner puppies shouldn’t run hard until they’re about a year old, so you need to do lots of leashed walks or off-leash play with them.
I recommend you start heading out for slow, casual leash walks for 30 minutes twice a day right away when your puppy is 8-9 weeks old.
Walking your weimaraner puppy is important for draining energy, building strong bones and muscles, socialization and mental stimulation. When in doubt, discuss it with your puppy’s vet.
The puppy stage is hard. You get through it with a crate, gates, lots of chew toys, lots and lots and lots of walks and puppy training classes.
I highly, highty recommend you crate train your weimaraner puppy. Teach your puppy to relax in a crate so he learns to “turn off.”
How far can I walk a weimaraner puppy?
Some people will tell you that you should not walk your weimaraner puppy for more than 15 to 20 minutes a day.
You may have seen a certain “math equation” that says take your puppy’s age in months and multiply that by 5 mins to get the total amount of time to walk in a day.
Example: 3 months old x 5 mins = 15 mins of walking per day. [yikes!]
**Absolutely do no NOT take this advice literally if you have a weim!
You need to be active with your weimaraner puppy. Just be reasonable about it.
Go at their slow pace. Stop for sniff breaks. Don’t take them running quite yet. Ask your breeder or vet for advice. Get multiple opinions if you’re not sure.
My opinion is you can gradually increase a weimaraner puppy’s walks from a mile or so up to 2-3 miles and then 4 miles before they are 6 months old. Just go at your puppy’s pace, which will probably be pretty fast!
The very first day we brought our weimaraner puppy home, he was 8 weeks old and my husband and I took him on a 1-mile walk up and down a big hill. We went at our puppy’s slow pace.
I remember I was a bit worried this was too much for our puppy. So I emailed the breeder and explained the distance we did.
Her response: “Sounds GREAT!!”
See my full article on this topic: How far can I walk a puppy?
When can I run with my weimaraner puppy?
No matter who you ask, you will get a different opinion. So, keep that in mind and ultimately you’ll have to do what feels right for you.
Most vets and breeders will agree you should wait until your weim is at least 6 months old before you start running. Some will say to wait until they are a year or 18 months. I would have an honest discussion with your weim’s vet and also with your breeder.
I put a lot of thought and research into my decision and I started taking my weim on slow, short runs when he was about 6 months old and built the distance up very gradually.
Weimaraner puppy running schedule
This is simply what I did with my weimaraner. This does not mean it is right for you. He came from a line of working weimaraners bred for hunting. His parents are on the smaller side, short and stout – about 65 pounds.
Prior to 6 months: Walking and hiking only. We did up to about 4 miles a day.
6 months: We started out with just a half-mile of running. Probably about a 10-min mile pace. Once or twice a week. Then a mile. We also continued our regular walking in addition to these short, slow runs.
9 months: We continued our short runs a few times a week and increased to about 2-3 miles. Probably around a 10-min per mile pace. (Slow for him, quick for me.)
12 months: Once he was a year old, I increased our Saturday “long” run to 5 miles. We also ran 3-4 miles two or three other days per week.
18 months: I removed all limits. We gradually built up our weekly long run to 6, 8, 10 and eventually 13+ miles.
Today: My dog is now almost 5 years old and he is very fit, muscular and healthy. There’s really no limit to what he can do. The longest trail run we’ve done together was 18 miles. I would love to run a marathon with him.
Exercise for an adult weimaraner
My weimarener is now 5 years old and I feel like we have finally reached “adult.”
The first three years were challenging because he was basically a puppy in an adult body.
Weims, like many of the sporting breeds, are super slow to mature mentally. They’re “pups” for a long time.
Weimaraner exercise schedule
First walk: These days, I typically take my 5-year-old weimaraner on a 20-min walk in the morning and then give him a Kong stuffed with peanut butter or a bully stick.
Second walk: He gets another 45-minute walk or run in the afternoon and we do agility twice a week.
Training: I also try to spend about 15 minutes a day training him. This is to give him mental stimulation. We work on obedience, tricks, agility commands, etc.
Weekends: We do a longer run or hike in the 5-mile range.
This ends up being about 20 miles a week when I’m not training for a race, so not too bad. More would be better. Sometimes, I’ll take him to the dog daycare once a week to play hard with other dogs.
If my dog starts acting up, such as jumping on me, “talking back” or getting the “zoomies,” I know he needs a hard off-leash run so we visit a trail mid-week or I put him in his canicross harness to pull me.
Seriously, letting your weim pull you in a harness (see below) is an awesome workout for them! Do it. Teach them “heel” and leash manners too, but letting them pull you on your terms is a really, really good workout for them.
Exercise for a senior weimaraner
I have not had a senior weim in my life quite yet. Just like any senior dog, your senior weim will likely slow down a bit and might show signs of feeling stiff or sore.
Senior weimaraners are still likely to be more active than other senior breeds. More than likely, your senior weim will still enjoy heading out for walks or even some running. You just night not put on the same amount of miles or speed as you did in their younger years.
Allow your dog to set the pace. If she still seems to want to head out for short or medium runs, then let her go. If she still enjoys walks, then this is great! If she still wants to head out for a half-day of hunting with you, well that is up to you but if it were me, I would take her!
See my post: Exercise ideas for senior dogs
Best exercise for weimaraners
Running: Well, the best thing you can do for your weimaraner is provide him with an opportunity to run hard every day. See my post on running with dogs.
This could be running with you on a leash. It could be trail running on or off leash. It could be visiting the dog park. I like to run “canicross” style with my weim where he’s pulling me in a harness and the leash is attached to my waist. It could even be running around playing at the dog daycare.
Biking: biking with your weimaraner might be an option, depending on where you live and how your dog’s leash manners are. This can be done on or off leash.
Hunting: This is obviously a great way to provide off leash running and exercise as well as a mental workout. If you’re not experienced in hunting, see if your area has a local NAVHDA chapter or an AKC group for pointing dogs. Read about our experience here.
Backpack: Carrying a backpack is another simple idea.
Leashed walks: Important too for sniffing and staying active. But weimaraners really do need to run! And they like to run HARD.
Daycare: Dog daycare once or twice a week is a great idea if you have a social, friendly weim. My weim loves to wrestle and play with his dog friends. Just make sure to choose the right daycare that can handle the intensity of a weim. Some weims might get too excited at daycare.
Prevent your weimaraner from overheating
Weimaraners have a lot of drive and if you’re out running or hunting with them, they give it their all – even in hot weather.
So be careful. Bring a lot of water. Force them to take a break in the shade every now and then because they might not do so on their own.
There are different ways to carry water for your dog. You might train your dog to drink right from a squirt bottle. I prefer to wear my running vest that has pockets for water bottles. I put a collapsible dog bowl in my pack for Remy.
I always bring water for Remy if we’re going to be out in warmer weather. Not necessarily for a walk but if we’re running. If he’s panting too heavily with that long tongue, we stop for a break.
How long can a weimaraner be left alone?
Like all dogs, you don’t want to leave your weim home alone for more than about 6 hours without a potty break. Maybe 7-8 hours on occasion, but not every day.
If you can come home during your lunch break you should. Or, hire a dog walker to break up the day.
For the most part, if you do your part to provide plenty of exercise, mental training and a solid routine, most dogs can learn to be left alone for a few hours a day with no issues.
Weimaraners and separation anxiety
Weimaraners are smart, active dogs and they have a reputation of being prone to separation anxiety. My weim’s breeder stresses they are social dogs who like to be with their people. They should not be left alone for hours a day, she warns.
That being said, I have never had even the slightest issue of separation anxiety with my weim (thankfully). I work from home most of the time, but even when I head to the office he could care less. So, a lot depends on your individual dog.
I know it helped that I started leaving my weim home alone for at least 30 minutes a day right away from day 1. I would make a point to crate him and go run some errands or walk my senior dog without the puppy along.
I recommend you start leaving your weimaraner puppy home alone for 30 mins here and there right away on his second day home. I also recommend crate training your weimaraner puppy so he has a safe, comfortable place to just “be” while you’re away.
If your weimaraner is experiencing separation anxiety, check out my post on separation anxiety and dogs. You may want to consider doggy daycare a few days per week.
I also offer help through my one-on-one dog training by email.
Crate training your weimaraner
I recommend you leave your weim in a crate when home alone for at least the first six months of age or so, maybe longer. After that, you can try leaving your weim loose. If he does a few weeks without causing any “weim crime” then he’s earned the privilege to be loose when left alone.
If you have a setback, then go back to the crate for a couple of weeks. This is normal for a young weim to find mischief. Some adult weims will need to be crate still, and that’s OK too.
How do you keep a weimaraner entertained?
If you leave your weimaraner home alone during the day, I highly recommend you head out for a walk or run first thing in the morning. Shoot for 30 minutes if you can.
Then, give your dog a Kong toy or other puzzle or chew toy when you leave. (Note that no chew is 100% safe but I feel comfortable leaving my weim home alone with a black Kong. He destroys the standard red Kongs).
I do recommend you take your weim to daycare a few times per week or hire a dog walker if you can afford it. Eight to 9 hours a day is a long time for a weim to be regularly alone and inactive.
You could potentially leave your weim alone in the back yard or set up a dog door so he has access to the yard. I find this tends to set dogs up to form bad habits like digging, barking, eating the patio furniture or climbing the fence. But every weim is different so maybe this will work for you.
What ideas do you have to add to my list?
Well, we covered a lot so in the comments, please let me know if you have any questions or if I’m missing something.
- How far can I walk a puppy?
- Life with a weimaraner in an apartment!
- Exercise ideas for hyper dogs!
- Puppy exercise ideas
- Are weimaraners OK with cats?