Today's breed standards are alleged to have developed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. However, Chien-gris dogs, having very similar features to the Weimaraner, have been traced as far back as the 13th century in the court of Louis IX of France, during which most aristocrats owned one and used them for hunting. One theory is that the ancestor is the St. Hubert Hound (also known as the Bloodhound and Sleuth Hound). Though these dogs are black and tan, they can produce a grey dog when bred. Like the Vizsla at the time, the breed was created exclusively for the nobility. The aim was to create a noble-looking, reliable gun dog. With its restricted ownership and natural instinct, the breed was highly prized and lived with the family. This was unusual since during this period hunting dogs were kept in kennels in packs. This has resulted in a dog that needs to be near humans and that quickly deteriorates when kenneled. The Weimaraner was an all-purpose family dog, capable of guarding the home, hunting with the family and, of course, being loving and loyal towards children.
Originally, Germany was possessive of its skilled all-purpose gun dog. Some of the earliest Weimaraners, prior to being sent to America for breeding, were sterilized in order for America not to popularize their special breed. But starting in the late 19th century the breed became increasingly common throughout Europe and the United States. Although slower than many other gun dogs, such as pointers, the Weimaraner is thorough, which made it a welcome addition to the sportsman's household. The breed's happy, lively temperament has endeared it to families. With the rise in popularity, some changes have been made to the breed. Both in Britain and America (where the breed remains popular) breeders have taken care to breed to a standard.