Category Archives: History


Young Arliss

Chester's ArlissBlue Runner Duck_

This Blue Runner Duck was introduced to the young Arliss. We can only imagine what he was thinking; both survived the experience. It was a good thing as the duck was a Christmas present.

Ten Year Old ArlissChester's Arliss Birdy

He is still checking out the birds. This time to his chagrin the pheasant has no bird scent, but it appeared on the deck. He did his duty.

The Weimaraner is a Versatile Hunting Dog.

               ~What does that mean? 

Here is the definition of a versatile hunting dog taken from the Versatile Hunting Dog Federation (VHDF) website:

The versatile hunting dog is a foot hunting dog developed for work before and after the shot under a variety of conditions in the field, forest, and water.   Generally speaking, most of the versatile hunting dogs were developed in Europe during the 19th century due to hunting laws which required all game to be recovered after it was shot.  This change in hunting ethics led to the need for a dog that could perform universally at a range of tasks.  Breeders of that time took traits from the best of the specialist breeds and combined them into what are known as the versatile breeds today.  Because of the demands placed on them, versatile dogs must be intelligent, with the willpower to persevere and the ability to concentrate under numerous and variable conditions.  Searching, pointing, tracking wounded game, cold water retrieving, blood tracking and blind searching are all necessary capabilities for versatile hunting dogs.

Since most versatile dogs enjoy a long tradition of selective breeding for highly cooperative and trainable character, they make great companions in and around the home.  Well bred versatile dogs are highly intelligent with a calm demeanor.  These characteristics make them suitable family dogs as they love people and are gentle around children.

OwyheeStar’s Succeeding with the Weimaraner.7

Stackhouse-4955-2The Other Weimaraner

~Origins of the Longhair Weimaraner — part one

Aspects Relevant to Origin, Behavior and Species Protection
by Dr.Hans Schmidt- -noted Weimaraner Longhair Breeder.
Wrisse, Germany (click here to read the original post)

Close-up head study of Esta with pigeon in mouth.

The Weimaraner with its notable gray coat is considered the oldest purebred German fowl hunting dog. There have been purebred Weimaraners since 1878 according to Ernst Richnow of Aurich, Ost Friesland, Germany. He held the position of Secretary of the German Weimaraner Breeders Club, founded in 1897, from 1908 until 1935.

In Germany, mostly shorthaired (SH) dogs were used for hunting land fowl. Water fowl were hunted primarily with longhaired (LH) dogs. Members of the Delegate Commission, which was the forerunner of the Jagdgebrauchshundeverbandes- – JGHV (a hunting/working dog club), eagerly tried to copy the sleek aristocratic English hunting dogs. They did however dock the tails to create a distinguishing feature. 

The LH Weimaraners poorly matched this desired ideal. They did appear from time to time, as is evidenced in the old classified ads, but were not used for breeding. One reason for its rarity might have been the fact that the LH gene is recessive. Shorthair is the dominant trait. LH x LH always produces LH. Sometimes, LH puppies will appear from two SH parents, if both parents have some LH blood. The “mixed” blood is not always obvious in the SH Weimaraner.

Frequently, there is a tendency towards Stockhaarig (a shorter, coarser coat type). While breeding such genetically mixed dogs, there will be 25% SH, 50% genetically split and 25 % LH in the first generation. These LH specimens are pure LH once again. The Long- and Stockhaarig varieties must not be considered a novelty. The characteristics reflect their origin. Two early authorities in the breed’s history share their opinions concerning the longhair issue.


A puppy from Dr.Schmidt’s “N” litter.
  • Dr. Loewe: “In appearance these dogs exhibit strong muscular build with especially broad chest and very good ear set (regarded as very important at the time). Apart from the satiny, glossy, slightly lighter head, these somewhat lower and heavier dogs had thick, dense weatherproof coats.”

  • W. Schmiedeberg: “Occasionally I have come across longhaired, completely German looking dogs that were called ‘Weimaraner,’ however, nothing could be found as to their origins. I believe, that their name was derived from the geographical location or that they originated from Deutsch longhaired dogs crossed with Weimaraners.”

Welcoming 2016

Happy New Year!

~ Greetings From OwyheeStar

Dear Family, Friends, and Fans,

We wanted to start the year with a heartfelt message.  Last year in January, Shela was in cancer treatment–doing radiation five days a week.  We are happy to have that in the rearview mirror. Our health is good; it allows us to pretend to be younger most of the time. For this, we are extremely thankful.Blue-14

Our life is a rural one. We live and raise the Weimaraner in far Eastern Oregon. Technically the Snake River which divides Oregon and Idaho is only 1/4 mile from our land. (Star Island is located in the river along where we live, and it most certainly is in Oregon–just to complicate things a bit.) Nevertheless, driving to Idaho requires we drive either through Ontario or Nyssa. We can skirt the northwest end of town and catch the freeway without driving through town per say; however, there is considerable traffic on this route too! The Idaho border via Ontario is almost 7 miles. Taking the alternative Ontario route, makes the trip about 10 miles. We are about an hour west of Boise, Idaho; six-plus hours east of Portland, OR. When people hear we are in Oregon; they don’t usually understand we are quite so rural.

Cliff and DocWe have been involved with the land and critters all our married lives. Cliff grew up on this farm. In a few days, he will celebrate his sixty-fifth birthday. Today is is significant in and of itself for other reasons. It is the anniversary of the day Cliff’s parents took possession of the land — the year was 1952. When they moved onto the place, no one would have imagined us raising the Weimaraner. However, the seed was planted not too far from where I sit typing this note. Cliff was a grade schooler at the time.

Uncle Clifton and Aunt Kathleen were living near Othello, WA. Clifton was farming and involved with agricultural movers and shakers of the time. Like many post-WWII Americans–Weimaraner infatuation lead to acquisition.  In a short while, he and Kathleen decided to raise the Weimaraner. In turn, they shared their Weimaraner infection with their young nephew–Cliff.

Later, Uncle Clifton had to give up raising the Weimaraner as his position with the Department of Agriculture took him away from rural living. Nonetheless, he and Kathleen never forgot the Weimaraner. They were delighted to learn that the nephew had retained the same kind of affection for the breed. While we lost Uncle Clifton a few years back, Aunt Kathleen is still in contact with us. We share our photos and information about the OwyheeStar pups we raise. She loves sharing this with the other residents who live in assisted-living in Yuma, AZ.

We felt like a little history might be a good way to start the New Year. We hope you enjoy our story, and we thank you for your continued interest.

~Shela (and Cliff)Cliff and Shela back to back0134.jpg


The Post WWII Weimaraner

The Weimaraner gained popularity in America as the World War II (WWII) Veterans returned home. Here is Uncle Clifton pictured with one of the first Nielsen Weim’s “Doc.” Over the years, the Weimaraner has been misunderstood, and often touted as the ‘do-all’ dog. True, the Weim can wear many different hats, but they are not for everyone. To many who see their first Weimaraner romping on the beach or sitting regally alongside their owner, they seem to look to be perfection. Indeed, a well-mannered, mature, and good-natured Weim can melt almost any dog-lover’s heart.

The German Weimaraner of the fifties was the more traditional gray ghost variety. There was no Blue Weimaraner, and although the longhair gene was present, many were working to eradicate it. Times change, and today in Germany to many a Weimlover’s chagrin the Blue Weimaraner is gaining popularity. The once almost extinct longhair is back in vogue and gaining popularity. Reports cite that one-in-three German Weimaraner is of the longhair variety.

Trends change along with people’s preferences. In America, the longhair is gaining popularity too! Much like the blues, it slow to see the die-hard Weimlovers embrace, but over time more and more are falling for them too!

It seems appropriate on a day such as this to discuss the Weimaraner’s tie to a period in time when veterans were returning to America. Having made the discovery of the gray ghost (Weimaraner) many returned wanting one of their own. Today, they are once again gaining popularity in America. Some are finding their rightful place in the field as a hunting companion. Others are companions of another sort. Whether the Weimaraner is right for you or not, for some, there is no other choice.

If you are serving in the military, we salute you! If you have lost a loved-one that gave their life as the ultimate sacrifice, we send our condolences. We pray that on this day, set aside to honor those who gave their life that we have the freedom to make choices, we all remember some paid by giving their life. Hug a Weimaraner in honor of a fallen veteran today, or do something else to honor one!

~Blessings from Cliff and Shela

3 Cliffs and 2 Docs

Keeping things simple works…

Uncle Clifton and Doc

Ok being the primary blog author I must admit I am a late comer to the Nielsen family. At least I came a lot later than our Cliff–my husband and your Weim guru! To put things in perspective Cliff and I married 41 years ago. These events all happened before I met Cliff and became friends.

Summer band 1961 was our first encounter. It was more a brief encounter that meant we saw each other but stuck with the kids we knew from our own grade school. I doubt we said two words to each other–me with my clarinet and he with his Euphonium. If you, like most everyone, don’t know what an Euphonium is then think Baritone or click here to read more! Cliff still owns that Euphonium that his father (Clifford) also played in the Nyssa City Band.

Our Cliff with his first Weimar -- Doc

Before summer band and before our Cliff got his first Weimaraner (1958-1959) Uncle Clifton obtained his first Weimar–Doc. Uncle Clifton was in love with the breed and shortly added a female. The plan was to raise a litter of pups. It was from here our Cliff obtained his first Weimaraner which he named Doc just like Uncle Clifton’s Weimaraner.

If you are getting confused we can understand. Clifford (our Cliff’s father) has a identical twin brother named Clifton. Therefore, you can see by the 50’s there were 3 Cliffs and 2 Weims both named Doc.

Note: If you are reading this and live in the State of Washington then you might have run across a Cliff Nielsen (Uncle Clifton). For most of his life he worked for the Department of Agriculture in many different capcities such as a Federal Produce Inspector. Over the years he advanced up the rungs of the ladder and when he retired he held the office of the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for the State of Washington.

Granddad and Dottie make the rounds...

Granddad and Dottie Watch Pups Swim!

For a season, after retiring Uncle Clifton lead agricultural tour groups around the world. They traveled to Australia, China, and South America. Eventually he and his wife Kathleen relocated to Yuma, AZ where they still reside. Cliff’s father stayed on the farm he bought in 1951.

Cliff’s Father and the Nielsen Farm

Cliff and I followed suit building a home on an adjacent piece of land (deeded to us by Cliff, Sr.) in 1971. Cliff’s father and his twin brother are still both living and will be 93 years old come June. For this we are extremely thankful!

As you can see our roots have sunk deep on the Nielsen Farm. It is here we and the OwyheeStar vision took hold of our hearts. We are truly blessed to have such a nice location in which to raise and work with the Weims.

Thanks Dad if you are reading this! Thank you Uncle Clifton for planting that early seed that grew into a passion for the Weimaraner……..

Now you know the story of 3 Cliffs and 2 Docs.

Again, being a late comer I found it unique that twins were both named Cliff. Then to have my husband also named Cliff tied him very close to his father and uncle. That close family feeling probably lead to naming our Cliff’s Weim first Weim after Uncle Clifton’s Weim.  Some might think it was lack of originality but I feel it was more a feeling of tradition and loyalty.  Quite possibly the Nielsen’s are also a bit concrete-thinking like our beloved Weim.

I sincerely hope you enjoyed our tale of the Weimaraner and the Nielsen family. ~Shela

The First Nielsen Weim….

Here is Doc, Uncle Clifton, and Cliff ……

A The First Family Weim_Doc Crop_PICT0316

Like so many of today’s Weimlovers, the Nielsen introduction to Weims happened in the 50’s. Pictured above with “Doc” is Uncle Clifton and Cliff, Jr. It was “Doc” who sired the litter that produced our Cliff’s first-ever Weim.

Uncle Clifton and Cliff’s father are identical twins. His grandmother either needing to expedite things or having a great sense of humor named the twins–Clifton and Clifford. We suspect both was true.  So much the easier to holler Cliff and get two Cliff’s.  (Considering she was working hard and had three young boys all being less than a year apart, we feel she was phenomenal!) Today, June 18th, 2009 the twin brothers are still alive. They are not only alive but celebrating their 91st birthday!  Happy Birthday Dad and Uncle Clifton!

Now to add to the Nielsen saga consider this.  The pup they got from Doc’s litter was given a very special name–“Doc”. Do you see a pattern? Maybe we are a bit concrete-thinking like our beloved Weimaraners.

Cliff, Jr. like so many of the 50’s generation moved on and had other dogs. Nevertheless, he never forgot his first Weim. Pictured right is Cliff, Sr. with Dottie on the 4-Wheeler. He has once again embraced the Weimaraner and Dottie is no doubt his best friend and ever present companion.

Moxie_0075Pictured right is Cliff’s newest hunting star hunting companion “Diva”.  Ms Diva is turning heads and causing a stir. She recently attended the Versatile Hunting Dog Federation Hunt Test (VHDF) in Centralia, WA where she scored well showing that she is a true Versatile Hunting Dog! Kudos to our Diva for her great showing.

From the earliest beginning when the love of Weims took root in a young man’s heart until today little has changed. Cliff loved the dog and even though they were never to have another while he grew up, he never forgot his first Weimaraner friend. Like so many other Weim fanciers, later he returned to his roots and brought the Weimaraner back to the farm. Although the farm had been populated with Labs and a few GSPs eventually they were all replaced with Weimaraners.

Today, some fifty years later the Weims are at home once again at the Nielsen farm. It is funny how life comes around full-circle.

Versatile Hunting Weims

You may print or copy items ONLY for your own personal use! This Blog, information, and photos posted herein are copyright protected and remains the sole property of Cliff and Shela Nielsen.  No unauthorized use is permitted. Wader hunting

What is a versatile hunting Weimaraner?  Or you might say it this way — What makes the Weimaraner a versatile hunting dog?

North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) describes the perfect versatile hunting companion as follows:

In the field, a versatile dog should exhibit a fine nose, staunch pointing and the desire to search for, track and retrieve game in a cooperative manner. A versatile dog needs to further prove his independence, stamina and quality of nose by transferring his search for, and retrieving of game, to the water.

True versatile dogs should perform all tasks with enthusiasm and be willing to work with, and for, their handlers.

Those breeds considered as versatile hunters include:  Bracco Italiano, Braque D’auvergne, Braque Du, Bourbonnais, Braque Francais, Brittany, Cesky Fousek, Drentse Partridge, English Setter, French Spaniel, German Longhaired Pointer, German Shorthaired Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer, Gordon Setter, Irish Red & White Setter, Irish Setter, Large Munsterlander, Pointer, Portuguese Pointer, Pudelpointer, Slovensky, Hrubosrsty Stavac, Small Munsterlander, Spinone, Stichelhaar, Vizsla, Weimaraner, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

As you can see there are many different breeds considered versatile hunters. Today, we see more hunters favoring the Weimaraner.  Howard Knight imported the first breeding Weimaraners in 1938.  By 1942 the Weimaraner Club of America was founded and the breed had been accepted by the American Kennel Club.

After World War II ended the popularity of the Weimaraner skyrocked.  Returning soldiers brought Weims to America.  The Weimaraner was touted as the one-dog-suits-all-needs miracle hunting companion.  President Dwight D Eisenhower even had a Weimaraner in the White House.  For a season, the Weimaraner ranked 12th in popularity.    By the 60’s, however, the Weimaraner’s popularity began plummeting.

The Weimaraner like many breeds was originally owned by nobility.  Owning a Weim required status.  In the Fatherland, they were originally bred to hunt deer and other large game.  As the game population slumped, The Weimaraner (like their owners) adapted to bird hunting.

Today in America, there is a group of select breeders working to produce healthy, well-balanced, hunt-driven Weimaraners.  This is truly the primary use for the breed.  Anyone wanting a Weimaraner for status, companionship, or their sheer elegance should take note that a Weimaraner is by nature a hunter.

For all the talk about the hunting instinct being bred out of the breed there is evidence to the contrary.  It is true many Weims lack serious evident hunt drive, however, even in the most carefully bred Show Weims there is often a propensity towards hunting.  Sometimes to a Weim owner’s chagrin a well trained off-leash Weim will suddenly disregard commands and follow scent. All too often, this ends tragically in an accident.

Dash & Zee at the River Aug 2007_2666

Key to any Weimaraner’s versatile hunting ability is proper training.  Even with proven hunt-drive it requires patience and time to train a great hunting companion. This is never truer than with the Weimaraner.  From our experience, we have discovered that this breed often matures more slowly than other pointers and versatile hunters.  To be true to the versatile hunting tag the Weimaraner must not only hunt upland game, but water retrieve with proficiency.  Time spent training will pay off in huge dividends, however, your Weimaraner will learn more quickly if you keep your training fun.  Once you have them thrilled about retrieving on land it is important to start working with the dummy in the water. Normally we use a farm pond.  Before we had the pond we went to the river.

Dash & Zee at the River Aug 2007_2692

Pictured:  Dash and Zee at the river with Cliff.  Dash passed on a few weeks ago but his legacy in the water is well known.  Zee was a novice swimmer in these pictures.  This was just prior to his NAVHDA Natural Ability Prize II.  To earn a prize your versatile hunter must not only perform on land but in the water. Failure to do both would result in failure to prize.

Dash & Zee at the River Aug 2007_2698sm

Dash & Zee at the River Aug 2007_2700

In our opinion, NAVHDA and VHDF offer a more true hunting experience for the versatile hunter.  Although AKC and WCA offer hunt trials the majority of those hunts are field trials.  Field trials are executed on horseback.  We do not want to minimize the achievements or importance of field trials, however, we feel both VHDF and NAVHDA  more aptly addresses the average hunter’s style.  Both NAVHDA and VHDF are patterned after the German hunt testing format, and thus considered by many as more difficult venue in which to prize.

Although earning a prize is noteworthy it is not all about titles and prizes.  It is about having a Weimaraner companion that is well mannered and a good hunting companion.

We continue to see more hunters interested in switching from other versatile hunting dogs to a Weimaraner.  We believe there are many reasons for the renewed interest in the Weimaraner.  Drop by tomorrow and we will talk further about the rising popularity of the Weim.

~ Shela and Cliff Nielsen

For your convenience here are the links for the two Versatile Hunt Organizations:

In honor of our Dash’s Passing:

Note:  If you are part of the extended OwyheeStar family or are on our waiting list, then please feel free to share your pointers, experiences, or helpful hints.  I am sure everyone would appreciate your thoughts.