The German Shorthaired Pointer is a noble dog that comes from a hunting background. These regal dogs are excellent at hunting small game, but after a long day in the field will love to come home and curl up next to you on the couch. Affectionate, easy to train, and intelligent, the German Shorthaired Pointer, or GSP for short, is a great adventure dog.
With soft, droopy ears and almond shaped eyes, this breed will be sure to draw your attention. Their boundless energy makes them an ideal companion for outdoor enthusiasts and hunters alike. Despite being a hunting dog, this breed is not aggressive and does well with other dogs. Read on to learn more about the German Shorthaired Pointer.
Description of the German Shorthaired Pointer
Often described as regal and aristocratic, this graceful breed shows its agility, power, and endurance in its medium size frame. With long legs for running fast and a short-backed body, this dog is an ideal hunter on both land and water. They are a joy to watch slinking across the yard or bounding through the forest.
The characteristic coloring of the German Shorthaired pointer is liver (brown coloring) and white speckled over the body with a solid colored head. Other colorings can be solid liver, patched liver and white, or liver roan. Their fur is short and rather course to the touch, but softens around the head, giving them those soft ears that they love to have stroked!
A hunting dog and an all-around gun breed, the German Shorthaired Pointer has a streamlined body that is great for powerful movement and sharp turns and has a long, broad, and strong muzzle for grabbing birds. But don’t let this power fool you. German Shorthaired Pointers make great family dogs because of their sweet temperament and friendly nature.
Originating in Germany as a hunting breed, their sporting blood means they require vigorous activity and would not do well in a sedentary household. Be sure you are able to commit to giving your four-legged friend enough daily exercise before getting one. These dogs are some of the most energetic around.
Life Expectancy and Size
This robust medium to large breed is a great size for someone looking for a dog that isn’t too small or too big. Females stand between 21 and 23 inches tall, and weigh 45 to 60 pounds. Males stand 23 – 25 inches, and weigh 55 – 70 pounds. Their sleek bodies and short fur make them symmetrical and properly proportioned from head to tail.
The German Shorthaired Pointer lives an average of 10 – 12 years. While a typically healthy and tough dog, they can be prone to certain hereditary diseases. Working with a breeder to know the complete health history on the dog’s parents can help, but always be prepared to deal with health issues should they arise.
Spirited and loyal, the German Shorthaired Pointer has a natural instinct to alert his family to danger (real or perceived). But don’t expect a dog that is going to attack strangers. This breed will most likely only bark if a stranger is around, if at all!
Their friendly nature makes them more inclined to be friendly with strangers, especially if well socialized. Don’t expect guarding behaviors from this breed, rather, expect a sweet and active companion that is good with kids and often affectionate towards everyone.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is an intelligent and eager breed. They do well with lots of direction and activity. Because they crave this structure, GSPs don’t do well with inconsistent training or boring training. Be sure to give your German Shorthaired Pointer lots of patience, affection, and game-based training. They especially love working in exchange for a ball or a tug!
Be sure to start training your GSP as soon as you bring him home. By doing this you will give your pup a structure and routine that he will want to follow. If you are consistent and fun, the German Shorthaired Pointer learns very quickly, and will do well with whatever you throw at him.
Use this dog’s natural inclination towards activity, and its love of family to your advantage. By rewarding this breed with love, treats, and activity they will be very excited to listen.
Keeping training sessions short, around 5 to 15 minutes, will also greatly improve the efficacy and efficiency in which your German Shorthaired Pointer learns. Easily distracted, it is important to maximize training by only working with your dog when he can focus. Allowing at least an hour of activity a day will greatly improve training sessions by helping your pup expend some of his seemingly infinite energy!
Socializing your GSP early is also a very critical part of training. This breed can be wary of strangers, new experiences, and other dogs if not introduced to these types of interactions early. By socializing early you will have a German Shorthaired Pointer that is affection and open.
Bred to spend long days in the field hunting, these dogs needs lots of vigorous exercise. At least one to two hours of playtime is recommended each day to help keep the German Shorthaired Pointer’s energy levels in check. Without this exercise they can become bored, and may resort to destructive behaviors. It is also recommended to have a fence at least six feet tall, as these active dogs are quite the escape artists!
While exercise is key, the German Shorthaired Pointer also loves to snuggle up with the family after long days outside. As long as they are given plenty of daily exercise they are happy, healthy, and loving dogs. This breed excels at skijoring, canicross, bikejoring, hunting, and much more. Expect a lot of running with your new GSP.
What Living with a German Shorthaired Pointer is Like
There is no shortage of praise for this breed.
Their adorable faces, great size, and even temperament makes them enjoyable companions to live with. They do well with strangers and other dogs, if properly socialized, and are great with kids. Intelligent and quick to learn, this breed will be a loyal companion for those who are able to provide them with firm, positive training and consistent structure.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a loving a lovable dog that requires lots of social activity to remain happy. Be sure to give your dog ample time with yourself and other dogs to keep him calm and happy.
Care of the German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a reasonably adaptable dog whose biggest needs are lots of exercise and companionship.
This breed does better in mild climates. Their short coat and tight skin doesn’t provide a lot of warmth in winter. Consider providing a coat or limiting outdoor time in cold climates. They do well in warmer climates and if provided unlimited fresh water can spend long days outside in hot weather.
Lots of exercise is an essential for this breed. They require at least one hour, two being preferable, of vigorous activity everyday. This is best served in the form of outdoor activities that allow for full-on running. Since they require so much exercise, the German Shorthaired Pointer is not the best breed for those who cannot be active with their dog.
Their webbed feet and water-resistant coat makes them great dogs for the water. If you have a pool they may jump right in with you, and love time at the lake or nearest body of water. Dogs that have never been swimming before might still be nervous around the water, so be sure to expose your puppy gently if swimming is in his future.
Training you German Shorthaired Pointer about when and where it is appropriate to chase will help keep them safe when they are off leash and to not pull when they are on.
Shedding and Grooming
The German Shorthaired Pointer’s coat is short and easy to manage. The shedding is pretty minimal and they only need weekly brushing to rid extra hairs and keep their coats healthy. Using a firm bristle brush and towel will make your dog’s coat shine.
Only bathe as needed. Be sure to check your GSP’s feet and ears regularly as they are prone to cutting up their feet after long days in the field, and getting ear infections in their long ears.
Ideal Home Environment
These dogs are popular with hunters and families alike. Their friendly nature makes them a great choice for most people. But that said, this breed is not the best choice for first time dog owners because of their need of nonstop exercise. A bored GSP is a destructive dog indeed!
The German Shorthaired Pointer doesn’t make a great guard dog, but they more than make up for this is their devotion and warmth.
Despite being a hardy and pretty healthy breed, the German Shorthaired Pointer is still prone to certain health problems. A common concern is hip dysplasia. This orthopedic disease can be controlled with proper diet and exercise in milder cases, but may require surgery if severe enough. GSPs also are known to suffer from cancer, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), hypothyroidism, epilepsy, and skin disorders.
As a deep-chested dog, the German Shorthaired Pointer is also highly susceptible to Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV or bloat). This arises when the stomach becomes bloated and gets twisted so no air can be released. It is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate treatment. To help mitigate this problem feed your dog smaller meals throughout the day and limit vigorous activity right after meals.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a breed that bonds strongly with its family and can suffer from severe separation anxiety. They shouldn’t be left alone or they will become nervous and destructive. Some of these dogs may become shy and nervous if they are not properly socialized so be sure to provide ample opportunities for interaction with other people and dogs from a young age.
This trainable breed also thrives on fun, game-based training. They are eager to learn and excel at learning new skills.