- Activity Level: high
- Grooming Level: low
- Trainability: moderate
- Adaptability: moderate
- Kid/Pet Friendly: often
- Average Size: Medium
- Average Lifespan: 10-12 years
- Prey Drive: high
- Watchdog: very alert
- Registered?: aca, akc
German Shorthaired Pointer Breed Profile
- Owner Experience
- Activity Level
- Life Span
- Did You Know?
The German Shorthaired Pointer’s (GSP) extraordinary versatility may account for its popularity – even celebrity – during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This dog breed was featured in numerous works of fiction by well-known authors as the smart, agile, and loyal sidekick to the stories’ heroes.
Prior to this time of fame and favor, the GSP was bred to be a superb hunting dog. It is uniquely suited for hunting fowl and small prey as both a retriever and a pointer. It is even a competent tracker for deer hunters. During World War II, German Shorthaired Pointers were so valued that they were smuggled away along with other valuables such as jewels and artwork to avoid confiscation in Nazi Germany.
Because of the GSP’s intelligence, dependability and sporting talents, there is, perhaps, no better hunting companion. Yet, the elegant and athletic German Shorthaired Pointer also makes an outstanding family pet. These energetic dogs are highly sociable and really work to please their human families. They are highly trainable and will perform for praise as well as food.
“Enthusiastic” is a good all-around adjective to describe the German Shorthaired Pointer’s personality. They are intelligent and cheerful in a stimulating and nurturing environment. The GSP is not a yard dog and does not like to be left alone. These dogs may experience acute separation anxiety with prolonged absences from their human families. Bred to serve, they crave interaction and purpose. They are not known to be irritable or aggressive, but they will bark at strangers in an attempt to protect the family.
They are great with kids, but may be a bit too energetic for very small children. Properly socialized and cared for, the GSP has a curious disposition. It’s important to set boundaries for your German Shorthaired Pointer, as they may wander to inspect what lurks beyond their immediate surroundings. They also tend to get along well with other dogs. However, due to their exceptional hunting instincts, other small family pets, such as rabbits or guinea pigs, should be protected from your GSP, at least until they have been properly trained not to hunt them.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a sturdy sporting breed and is, therefore, fairly adaptable. They love the outdoors and outdoor activities. Yet, they also make a very good house pet. Their short coat is good in hot weather, but not cold weather. Their unique “liver” coat is actually water-resistant. German Shorthaired Pointers also have webbed feet, making them excellent swimmers.
Due to their intelligence, curiosity, and energetic nature, the GSP may get bored and become mischievous. Their exercise needs are fairly high, which makes them a very playful family dog. While they are a sensitive animal, as they were specifically bred to be aware and alert, they are not overly demanding in a social/familial setting. Properly trained to understand the ways of the family, a German Shorthaired Pointer adapts to the needs of their humans.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a healthy dog breed. Like all breeds, they may be especially susceptible to certain illnesses. Cancer is among the most reported diseases affecting the German Shorthaired Pointer, according to the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America. Hip dysplasia, a condition whereby the thighbone doesn’t fit properly into the hip joint, affects the GSP, as it does many large dog breeds with large chest cavities. The GSP can also contract Lymphedema (valvular blockage of lymph flow); Entropion (inward-rolling eyelids); Von Willebrand’s Disease (a blood clotting disorder); or bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus).
This dog breed is highly trainable and eager to please. The German Shorthaired Pointer may not be the best choice for first-time dog owners or those not familiar with this breed’s special qualities and propensities. They may simply be too energetic and needy of stimulation for the novice. The German Shorthaired Pointer is the ideal dog breed for the outdoor-loving family. One can hardly ask for a better dog breed with which to go hiking, swimming and hunting.
Due to their high energy and eagerness to please and be purposeful, the German Shorthaired Pointer must be carefully trained and guided in human activities. The GSP is not an apartment dog. Keeping your GSP in a confined space or leaving them alone for long periods would be seriously detrimental to the dog’s physical and mental well-being. Depending on the family’s lifestyle, the GSP will be a burden or a blessing.
The German Shorthaired Pointer’s spectacular coat is easy to maintain. Its short, lustrous fur requires only weekly brushing to maintain a healthy appearance. An occasional bath should be easy enough to manage if they are well-trained to appreciate the tub or the rewards that might follow. Your GSP’s feet should be regularly inspected because these athletic dogs may pick up unwanted splinters from their activity. If you go swimming with your dog, be sure to dry them well to prevent them from catching a chill.
This dog breed has a high activity level. German Shorthaired Pointers are bred for endurance and to use their keen senses to hunt and communicate with their master. Therefore, they are always ready for action. As a house dog, GSPs will need to be rigorously exercised – preferably off-leash – for one and a half to two hours per day. They will thrive with an active family, who can keep pace with their joyful curiosity of the world around them.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is considered a medium-sized, muscular dog breed. Males weigh between 55 and 70 pounds, while females weight between 45 and 60 pounds. There is usually about a one to two inch difference between males and females, where the range in height is from 21 to 25 inches.
A well-cared for, properly nourished, and healthy German Shorthaired Pointer is expected to live for 10 to 12 years or longer.
In 1968, three out of the top four AKC National Field Trial Champions were German Shorthaired Pointers. In 2016, the winner of “Best in Show” at the 140th Westminster Dog Show was a German Shorthaired Pointer.