The German Shorthaired Pointer is an extremely versatile dog. A member of the sporting group, the German Shorthaired Pointer’s original role was to serve as a hunting companion; however, this athletic dog’s skills include water and land retrieval and hunting.
A dog breed with a coat that is very low maintenance, owners will need the lost grooming time to help their best canine pal expend his excess reserves of energy. The German Shorthaired Pointer is a high energy dog and needs a family committed to a very active lifestyle.
Height: Males=23 to 25 inches; Females=21 to 23 inches
Weight: Males=55 to 70 pounds; Females=45 to 60 pounds
Life Span: 12 to 15 years
Best Suited To: Active families, experienced dog owners
Personality: Playful, intelligent, athletic, determined, active, affectionate, friendly
Intelligence: Very intelligent
Shedding: Heavy shedding
Exercise: High activity requirements
Barking: Moderate barker
Drooling: Not prone to drooling
AKC/CKC Group: Sporting group
Colors: Solid liver or liver and white
Coat: Short, straight, and thick. The German Shorthaired Pointer’s coat should repel water.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is an elegant breed that is well suited to any athletic activity. A member of the American Kennel Club’s sporting group, the German Shorthaired Pointer is well renowned for his versatility. Sometimes referred to as simply a GSP, this dog breed carries itself with an air of royalty. Bred to serve as a hunting companion, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a skilled hunter and retriever on both land and water. However, one of this dog type’s most cherished roles is that of family companion.
Not quite as large as the Pointer, the German Shorthaired Pointer’s solid liver or liver and white colored coat is quite striking to behold. The breed is known for its short, straight coat that is quite thick and designed to easily repel water.
A dog breed with energy to spare, the GSP requires mental and physical stimulation on a daily basis to remain content. The German Shorthaired Pointer is best suited to families who enjoy a highly active lifestyle and makes for the ideal hiking or jogging companion. A breed of high intelligence, the GSP enjoys both working and playing.
An excellent family companion, the German Shorthaired Pointer loves the company of children. Loving, loyal, and deeply affectionate, the GSP is recommended for families with older children as his natural exuberance and size can overwhelm small kids and toddlers.
If not provided with sufficient activity and daily mental stimulation, the GSP can be prone to developing nuisance behaviors such as destruction and may become neurotic or engage in excessive barking. A breed that is highly social, the German Shorthaired Pointer does not do well if isolated from his family or left alone for lengthy periods of time.
A dog type that takes great pleasure in pleasing his family, the GSP is a willing worker and happy training participant. The GSP has a very muscular frame and benefits from a minimum of one hour of vigorous exercise each day. The German Shorthaired Pointer possesses webbed feet, a trait that makes him particularly well-suited to swimming.
A rare treasure, the German Shorthaired Pointer can function equally well as a pointer or a retriever.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a regal dog whose appearance should be properly balanced and symmetrical to the eye. The structure of the breed supports a dog that is powerful, agile, and of immense stamina.
A dog of moderate size, the ideal German Shorthaired Pointer is characterized by a relatively short back without compromising the amount of ground the dog’s frame can cover. Excess leg length is discouraged in the breed.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a graceful dog whose substance is easily seen through its excellent bone structure and well-muscled frame.
Intelligent, sociable, and extremely eager, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a joyful dog who approaches life with a natural exuberance. The breed is never shy and displays a ready confidence when approaching new situations and people. The breed does not do well when separated from those it loves most and can be prone to succumbing to separation anxiety. To this end, the German Shorthaired Pointer should always be housed indoors with his family members.
Though the GSP is an equal opportunity lover of every member of the family, this breed can be predisposed to selecting one person as his favorite. Very intelligent, the German Shorthaired Pointer can easily learn new skills. However, the breed bores easily, making training challenging at times.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is not suited to life in an apartment. Since the breed is extremely active, a home with a fully fenced backyard is best for the GSP. Because the German Shorthaired Pointer does possess high prey drive, it is vital that the outdoor containment system for this dog be fully secure and include a high fence. The breed is known for its high levels of endurance and energy, and thus, requires vigorous exercise on a daily basis.
A breed designed to work with people, the GSP is an excellent hunter. However, part of their role as a hunting companion involved a certain amount of independent thinking, meaning the breed needs a strong bond with its owner based on trust and love. It is best to train this breed using positive reinforcement techniques only. Praise and food-based rewards are excellent tools for motivating the GSP to learn. Punitive training methods can damage the relationship between owner and dog and may yield a dog that is quite obstinate and unwilling to learn.
If raised with children from the time the dog is a puppy, the German Shorthaired Pointer excels in a home with kids. Because of their naturally high energy levels, they are ideally suited to families with older kids who enjoy running and playing. However, the breed’s roughhousing can be too much for small kids who may be intimidated or even possibly knocked over during rambunctious play.
German Shorthaired Pointers can enjoy the company of other dogs; however, same sex aggression can be a problem with this breed. The breed also possesses a high prey drive which may make this dog type unsuited to life with small animals the dog may mistake as prey. Though GSPs can learn to live peaceably with small animals if raised with them from puppyhood, the dog may still respond aggressively to unfamiliar small animals that roam onto its property.
The German Shorthaired Pointer has relatively low grooming requirements. Its coat is short, straight, and quite dense and should be completely water repellant. On the back of the dog’s tail and on the dog’s haunches, the hair will be slightly longer. The hair found on the head is soft to the touch and thinner.
The GSP’s coat is either completely liver in color or a combination of liver and white. The coat can contain ticking or may be patched or roan. A dog breed that sheds quite heavily, the GSP’s coat should be brushed at least once weekly to help reduce the amount of shedding into the dog’s home environment. Bathing should occur on an as needed basis.
Because of the GSP’s long ears, the breed can be prone to developing ear infections. The German Shorthaired Pointer’s ears should be regularly examined and cleaned.
Nails should be trimmed at least once every few weeks. To maintain optimal oral hygiene, the GSP’s teeth should be brushed several times a week at a minimum.
All dog breeds are predisposed to certain genetic conditions. Thankfully, through careful health testing of breeding dogs, it is possible to limit and even possibly eliminate the transmission of some of the most commonly seen problems in some breeds. The main problems that can affect the German Shorthaired Pointer include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Von Willebrand’s disease
- Gastric dilatation-volvulus (bloat or torsion)
Reputable breeders conduct the appropriate physical and DNA tests on their dogs prior to any matings to ensure genetic illness is not knowingly passed from generation to generation.
Though the German Shorthaired Pointer’s roots trace back as far as the 1600s, the modern GSP we are most familiar with did not appear on the scene until the mid-19th century at the earliest. This dog breed was developed to be a versatile hunting company. Its earliest predecessor was the German Pointer or German Bird Dog, a dog type that was founded through thoughtful matings between Spanish Pointers and Bloodhounds. The German Bird Dog was larger than the GSP of today and more closely resembled a hound than a sporting breed. From this stock, hunters chose dogs that had the most eager personalities and began selectively breeding them to produce a dog that was more aristocratic in appearance and obedient in nature. Also of great importance to these early breeders was the ability for the dog to track a scent. Over time, Pointers were brought over from England to help breeders to move closer to their goal as well as to help the breed excel on both water and land.
Prince Albrecht zu Solms-Braunfeld of the Royal House of Hanover was instrumental in the development of the modern GSP. He was responsible for promoting the use of dogs that were known for their working ability rather than simply selected for their appearance.
In 1925, the first German Shorthaired Pointer was brought to the United States. This dog was owned by Dr. Charles Thornton, a Montana resident who immediately began a breeding program in the US. Five years after this, the American Kennel Club extended full breed recognition to the GSP. The first German Shorthaired Pointer to achieve AKC registration was a dog by the name of Greif v.d. Fliegerhalde.
During the second World War, German Shorthaired Pointers in Europe fell into decline as fewer people were breeding dogs. A breed considered to be very valuable, owners not only tried to hide their cherished possessions such as gold, jewellery, and precious works of art; they also hid their beloved GSPs. Many of these dogs were transported to Yugoslavia to keep them safe until the war was over. Unfortunately, during this time, little breeding occurred, and the breeding stock was extremely limited, resulting in a poor genetic pool for a time.
In the United States, the German Shorthaired Pointer’s popularity was sharply on the rise. In 1968, three of the top four competitors at the AKC National Field Trial Championships were German Shorthaired Pointers who had also titled in conformation.
German Shorthaired Pointers have inspired people in many different walks of life. Many writers have included this dog type in their novels including Robert B. Parker who wrote a series of books about a detective whose sidekick was a GSP. Author Rick Bass also penned a novel about his beloved hunting companion, a German Shorthaired Pointer that resided with him and his family in Montana.
Today, the German Shorthaired Pointer is one of the most popular breeds in the American Kennel Club and is divided into two distinct types that are registered as separate breeds: the German Shorthaired Pointer and the German Wirehaired Pointer.
Fun Facts About the German Shorthaired Pointer
- The German Shorthaired Pointer has a very high prey drive.
- A dog breed with energy to spare, it can be very difficult to tire out the German Shorthaired Pointer.
- German Shorthaired Pointers are excellent swimmers.
- A versatile dog breed, the German Shorthaired Pointer excels in all active pursuits.
- Surprisingly, the German Shorthaired Pointer sheds a lot.
- Bloat is a common problem that can affect the German Shorthaired Pointer.