Every dog is an individual, even amongst breeds and littermates. This article shares my opinions and experiences with owning and living with a Lab vs Weimaraner.
I currently have a purebred Weimaraner named Remy and a purebred yellow Labrador named Rip.
I love and appreciate both dogs for who they are as individuals as well as how accurately they both meet their breed’s stereotypes in many ways.
Before welcoming my dogs into my family as puppies, I researched both breeds extensively, and talked with breeders and trainers. See our post: How to find a good breeder.
I also observed many dogs of both breeds through my work at a boarding kennel, owning a dog walking business, working with rescue groups and attending hunting dog events and seminars.
That being said, you might disagree with some of the things I say about Labs vs Weimaraners and you would also be right. Your experience with Labs vs weimaraners might be different from mine.
All dogs are certainly individual characters.
Living with a Lab vs Weimaraner
First, here are a few general observations comparing the two breeds.
Both breeds are active sporting dogs, generally very friendly and people oriented! They LOVE people, affection and attention. They are family dogs and enjoy being involved with whatever the people are doing.
They’re typically friendly with other dogs, too.
Labs and Weimaraners tend to chew and carry things in their mouths, even as adults. If they don’t have their own items to chew, they will pick up and carry around your shoes, socks and kids’ toys.
Labs and Weimaraners can both be very hyper and immature until they are well beyond 2 years old and both need some serious obedience training and exercise from very early on.
They are strong and powerful breeds and are very unruly without structure. They pull HARD on the leash if they are not trained otherwise.
At the same time, I consider both to be very sensitive, “soft” breeds who respond well to praise and affection, food and toys. Labs even more so than Weimaraners.
Differences between Labs and Weimaraners
The main difference between the two breeds other than appearance is that Weimaraners take “high energy” to a much higher level than Labs. Their endurance is truly impressive.
While both breeds need to run every day, Weimaraners are very difficult to live with if they don’t get some HARD running in every single day until they are at least 5 years old.
This difference in energy is because Weims are pointing dogs bred for upland bird hunting where they cover large distances searching for birds out in front of their people. They were originally bred for hunting large game such as deer and wild boar.
Labs can be great upland hunters too but they are usually bred for retrieving ducks and geese. When hunting waterfowl, the Lab might sit in a blind for hours patiently waiting for a duck and the perfect shot before he crashes into the water for his retrieve.
It’s rare for a weimaraner to have that level of patience, nor should anyone expect that from him.
Labs and Weimaraners love to sniff
While both breeds love to sniff and forage, Weimaraners love to sniff and follow their noses even more than Labs! They always have their little noses to the ground in all environments and sometimes this makes them less obedient.
Let’s just say Weimaraners are very “busy,” easily distracted dogs. Labs are high-energy, working dogs too, but most of them have an easier time settling down, especially when nothing’s going on.
This is one reason why Labs make such great therapy dogs and guide dogs. You do not see many Weimaraners working as guide dogs, though some are great therapy dogs.
Now let’s look at some more details comparing a Lab vs Weimaraner.
Lab vs. Weimaraner size
Both breeds can vary quite a bit in size with Weimaraners typically slightly taller and larger than Labs. But Weims also have a more “sleek” or slender look to them in my opinion because of their short coats.
The AKC says that male Labs are generally 22.5 to 24.5 inches tall and 65-80 pounds. (Dogs are measured to their withers, which is the highest part of their back).
Female Labs are 21.5 to 23.5 inches and 55 to 70 pounds, according to the AKC.
For Weimaraners, the AKC says males are generally 25 to 27 inches tall and 70 to 90 pounds. Females are 23 to 25 inches tall and 55 to 75 pounds.
That being said, these “breed standards” are for fit and trim dogs. I think we all know a few Labs and maybe some Weims who are much closer to 90 or 100+ pounds because they are very overweight! This is an unfortunate reality.
Both my dogs are on the smaller size for their breeds, especially for males. My Lab and my Weimaraner are almost exactly the same height, length and weight, actually. They are both about 23” tall and about 65 pounds.
Both of my dogs come from field lines vs. show lines. Sporting dogs bred for hunting or other sports are often a little smaller and more athletic than the lines bred for show (though, not always).
When I watch the Westminster Dog Show every year, I am always surprised by how bulky the Labs and Weimaraners look!
Weimaraner Vs. Labrador color
Weimaraners come in various shades of gray from a light “silver” gray or a mouse gray all the way to a deep, dark gray which is called “blue.” A “blue” coat on a Weimaraner is considered a disqualification in AKC Conformation events.
Labradors come in three standard colors – black, yellow and chocolate.
Yellow Labs have a huge range of shades from light cream to a deep red, often referred to as “fox red.” These shades are all considered yellow Labs. “Fox Red Labs” or “Red Fox Labs” are yellow Labs of the darkest shade.
There are also “silver Labs.” Some breeders reject silver Labs all together and some breeders specifically breed them.
What is a silver Lab?
Silver Labradors are Labs with a “silver” or gray coat color.
The gray or silver color is a result of a “dilute gene” that causes the Lab to have a lighter coat color, nose and eyes. It is actually a “dilute chocolate.”
The dilute gene is normal in many dog breeds, such as Weimaraners, and is the reason all Weimaraners have that unique gray coat, light nose and eyes.
You can read more details on the dilute gene in silver Labradors in this article: silver Labrador facts.
Silver Lab vs Weimaraner
Silver Labs and Weimaraners both have the “dilute gene” that gives them their gray coat, light-colored nose and light eyes.
Other than that, they are two separate breeds. Silver Labradors are just like the other Labradors!
Labrador vs Weimaraner coat length
Weimaraners have a short, sleek coat. They get cold easily in the winter, and their paws get cold easily in the snow and ice.
Labs have a thick, dense coat that is straight and medium length. They are very hardy and can handle cold weather, snow and icy water very well because of their undercoat.
Like most breeds, you do have to be careful with Weimaraners and Labs in hot weather so they don’t overheat. It helps that Labs usually LOVE to dive into any source of water whether it’s a plastic kids’ pool, a lake or the ocean.
Some Weimaraners love the water as well. It’s kind of hit or miss with them. My Weimaraner does not like the water unless it’s a very hot day, then he’ll wade into a creek or puddle.
Which is better with kids? A Lab or a weimaraner?
Labradors and Weimaraners can be very good with kids. In general, both are very friendly and love all people, including children.
These breeds are large and high energy so of course they can easily knock over small children or crash right into them when chasing a toy. They also love to lick small children in the face.
Labs are generally even more tolerant with children than Weimaraners. Labs are one of the top breeds for guide or service dogs. They are generally very tolerant, patient and gentle dogs. This is one of the reasons they are so popular as pets.
Weimaraner puppy cost vs Lab puppy cost
Prices vary quite a bit, but you can expect to pay $1,500 to $3,000 for a purebred Lab or Weimaraner puppy from a reputable breeder who keeps a wait list.
Since Labs are one of the top breeds in the United States, you can certainly find one for less money because there are plenty of people breeding their dogs just to have a litter or two or just as a “hobby.” I personally prefer to buy my dogs through established breeders who I know and trust.
There are also thousands of Labs and Lab mixes available for adoption through shelters and rescue groups. In some areas, you can adopt a dog from your county shelter for around $150.
Rescue groups typically charge larger adoption fees, but they vary quite a bit. On the high end, I’ve seen adoption fees of around $800 and on the lower end the fee is $200-$300.
Labrador vs. Weimaraner energy
This is the main difference between the two breeds. Weimaraners have a lot more energy than a typical Labrador and they need to run for a good hour or more every single day.
This could be running with their person, visiting the dog park, hiking, etc. Playing fetch in the yard is not going to cut it.
If walking on a leash is a Weimaraner’s main form of exercise, then an hour a day is the absolute minimum. During their younger years, 90 minutes would be better.
Of course, there are some Labradors that might be almost as high energy as a Weimaraner, but not usually. And there are some lower-energy, calm Weimaraners out there, as well.
Running with Lab vs running with a Weimaraner
One of the reasons I wanted a Weimaraner was so I would have a dog who could tag along on my long training runs. I enjoy training for marathons and it has been nice to be able to take my Weimaraner along for almost any distance.
My Weimaraner is also a really good canicross dog. Canicross is a sport where the dog wears a harness that attaches to a bungee line you wear around your waist. You run with your dog pulling you.
Weimaraners make good canicross dogs because they want to run hard giving it 110% at all times pulling like a train!
Sometimes people get a Weimaraner or similar breed thinking they will make good running partners. This is true, but heading out for a 30-minute run once or twice a week simply will not cut it for these breeds.
For this reason, I want to stress that Labs also make very nice running partners. Labs are probably better running partners for most people because they usually fall into a nice, steady pace near your side. Running with my Lab is very peaceful.
If you like to run for 30 to 60 minutes a few times per week at a comfortable pace, then Labs are perfect! Some Labs can even tag along for longer distances up to a half marathon or so. I plan to run a half marathon with my own Lab in the future.
Hunting with a Weimaraner or Labrador
Nothing makes my dogs happier than doing what they were bred to do. They absolutely light up and get so excited when we go hunting or do any type of training involving their hunting and sniffing instincts.
Weimaraners are a pointing breed. Labradors are flushers and retrievers so they have different hunting styles.
While pheasant hunting, Weimaraners are bred to search for birds and “point.” When they find a pheasant or grouse, ideally they freeze and “point” with their body language so the hunter can go in, flush and shoot the bird.
The advantage to having a pointing dog is the dog can cover a huge range and when she finds a bird, ideally she will “point” and remain steady until the hunter catches up. This could take several minutes, depending on how far ahead the dog was.
Labradors search for pheasants the same way but instead of “pointing” they go right in and flush the bird up so the hunter can make the shot. For this reason, Labs ideally work much closer to the hunter.
One style is not better than the other. It’s all just personal preference and how you prefer to hunt.
I personally love watching pointing dogs in the field and Labs in the water.
For duck hunters, Labs are one of the best choices. Like I said earlier, they have the patience to wait in the blind and then crash out into the freezing cold water to make their retrieve. They absolutely love it!
What is your experience with Labs vs Weimaraners?
Let us know in the comments!