Weimaraner Breed Magazine - Showsight

and in the pursuit of poachers. Second, capitalizing on the breed’s strong bond to its master, Weimaraners were also charged with the task of protecting their master and guarding his possessions, including any game captured during the hunt. To the great peril of the cats, squirrels and deer inhabiting the neighborhood Weimaraners have largely retained the constellation of traits representative of the breed’s historical purpose. Weimaraners are capable personal hunting dogs that typically love to swim and retrieve, are crazy about agility and universally excel in any type of work requiring the ability to track. Th ough the personal protection function of the breed has been markedly de-emphasized over time, Weimaraners continue to make excellent watchdogs. From inception, the fortunes of the Wei- maraner have fluctuated dramatically. Th e formative Weimaraner population in Ger- many was decimated during World War I but preserved from extinction by Major Robert Herber’s fervent promotion of the breed for which he was later denoted ‘father of the breed’. Consequently the breed gained core support in Germany and Aus- tria with word of the breed’s existence even- tually crossing the Atlantic and reaching the ears of sportsman Howard Knight who was able to import the first pair of Weimaraners to America in 1929. So impressed was he with the abilities of his imports afield that despite significant setbacks—unbeknownst to him the original pair of adult imports had been sterilized by radiation before leav- ing Germany and the very next shipment of puppies contracted distemper with all but one perishing—Knight persevered in acquiring a small group of foundation stock from Germany and became the breed’s first American spokesman. Weimaraner populations in Germa- ny were once again ravaged during the World War II conflict with further chal- lenges presented in the aftermath of the war. For the first 7 years of the occupation of West Germany by the Western Allies severe restrictions placed on both hunting activities and the possession of firearms made field testing of Weimaraners di ffi - cult and the division of Germany during the subsequent four decade long Cold War

hampered communication and movement between East and West Germany. Ironically, the major force in the recov- ery of the breed during the post-war period was the ready and eager market for Wei- maraners provided by returning American and Allied Forces servicemen, one that also provided a welcome influx of new blood to American breeders. In fact, such was the demand for puppies at that time that the German Weimaraner club had to pass a resolution forbidding the selling of more than half of any litter of puppies for export lest there be no Weimaraners remaining

in the breed’s home country! Due to the odd circumstance that America opted not to recognize the recessive long-hair coat variety that occurs in the breed and that is otherwise recognized worldwide, a number of long-haired descendants of these exports that later cropped up in U.S. litters were welcomed back to the breed’s homeland. In his capacity as gun dog editor for Field and Stream magazine, Jack Denton Scott became acquainted with the newly-intro- duced-to-America breed and soon became the Weimaraner’s most ardent promoter. Scott’s pivotal 1947 Field and Stream article S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2014 • 251

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