titled ‘ Th e Gray Ghost Arrives’ was filled with accolades for the remarkable hunt- ing talents inherent in the breed and veri- fying claims of incredible feats performed both on and o ff the hunt field, including a Weimaraner leaping 30 feet o ff a bridge to retrieve a duck without encouragement and another finding a child that had been lost for days. Subsequent articles in prom- inent magazines such as Look, Life, Argo- sy and Sports Afield made similar gran- diose claims with the Weimaraner touted as being “America’s Wonder Dog” a dog better than a pointer, retriever, and hound combined, one that was born trained for hunting and heck, could even answer your telephone. Th e breed’s nebulous early history proved to be a publicist’s dream, embellished depiction of the Weimaraner as a heavily guarded secret product of over a century of selective breeding in the Royal Court of Weimar lent mystique to the breed. Th e publicity sparked an utter frenzy of demand that lasted well over a decade and resulted in Weimaraners being bred indiscriminate- ly and puppies commanding exorbitant prices. During this heyday Weimaraners became status symbols and were owned
by film and television star Roy Rogers, President Eisenhower and Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco. While true that individual German imports had indeed been capable of spec- tacular accomplishments afield and many had achieved distinction in competition including earning Dual Championships, Best in Show wins and a record-setting Companion Dog obedience title at just 6 months and 2 days of age, Weimara- ners of course were not all superstars and the breed fell out of favor with the mis- led public to exist in relative obscurity for several decades. But then one day, artist and photographer William Weg- man trained his camera lens on his own dogs. Wegman’s quirky, captivating and anthropomorphic photographs captured the personality and striking beauty of the Weimaraner, drawing critical acclaim and introducing a whole new generation to the breed. With his images emblazoned onto everything from calendars to co ff ee cups by the turn of the century Wegman was a household name and another mas- sive wave of Weimaraner popularity was underway, one from which the dust is just now settling. However, this time around,
many smitten new owners were unaware that the Weimaraner was a hunting breed and that in a few months time their ador- able floppy puppy would likely grow to be a cat-chasing marathon runner that was upset at being left home alone for 10 hours a day while they were at work. Res- cue agencies were formed to rehome ever- growing numbers of Weimaraners that su ff ered separation anxiety or became destructive in the house or yard due to pent up energy and boredom. Fortunately for the breed in America there has always remained a stalwart group of committed breeders that have picked up the pieces and sustained the breed over the long haul, probably none more so than the late Virginia Alexan- der, geneticist by trade, breeder for well over 50 years under the Reiteralm prefix, staunch advocate for the Weimaraner, mentor to untold numbers of Weima- raner owners and breeders and primary author of the definitive encyclopedia of the breed ‘Weimaraner Ways’. Th e breed is also well-represented by its parent club, the Weimaraner Club of America, a club that actively supports and celebrates the Weimaraner in all of its versatile roles.
254 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2014
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