German Wirehaired Pointer

The German wirehaired pointer (GWP), not to be confused with the German shorthaired pointer, was bred as a versatile bird dog. The wiry coat differentiates this breed from other pointers, and highlights distinctively kind eyes. Today, they make perfect companions for athletic owners, as they can keep up (or even outpace) for many hours. Read on to learn more about the German wirehaired pointer.

Description of the German Wirehaired Pointer

Muscular, but not bulky, these dogs look like true athletes. Their coarse, kinky coat makes them very well suited to the forest. They can simply slide right under brambles and other underbrush, while remaining unscathed.

The GWP has extra scruff around its chin and eyebrows. This may give this dog the appearance of a kindly old man. His eyes are always alert, looking for the next activity.

These dogs come in a variety of colors. They may be black or liver, with or without the addition of white. Perhaps the most famous colorations are the tick and roan, which consist of flecks of color within a white coat.

Life Expectancy and Size

This breed has a particularly long life expectancy. Healthy dogs often live to be 14 or 16 years old. Maintaining the GWP’s physical fitness can help them reach this ripe old age.

Despite their impressive longevity, these dogs are still relatively large. They usually stand between 24 and 26 inches, and weigh between 50 and 70 pounds. However, the German wirehaired pointer does not retain the bulk of some large breeds. They are leggy and lean.

Protective Ability

These dogs are not necessarily guard dogs, but they do have certain protective qualities. Well-socialized GWPs are not usually aggressive, but may be suspicious of strangers. They also tend to create strong bonds with their families.

Perhaps the German wirehaired pointer is best suited as a watchdog, rather than true guard dog. This breed is well attuned to the comings and goings of other animals. They may be able to guard your house better from groundhogs and chipmunks than human intruders!


The German wirehaired pointer has a desire to please, and they are plenty intelligent enough to follow through. In fact, with a consistent owner, the GWP can succeed readily in training. For motivated owners, sports like agility may be perfect for this breed. Their willing personality and endurance mean that they should have no trouble putting in the time necessary to excel.

It is particularly important to show calm, collected firmness with this breed. Start reward-based training young and remain consistent. This can help combat the GWP’s stubborn streak and tendency to ignore what they don’t want to hear.

Energy Level

Living with a German wirehaired pointer can be exhausting. These dogs are extremely high energy, and many of them enjoy bike rides, long runs, and backpacking on a regular basis.

Bred for the outdoors, this breed still has the endurance that helped them succeed as bird dogs. They need plenty of exercise in order to remain sane and manageable. Of course, keeping your GWP fit will also help him live a long, healthy life.

What Living with a German Wirehaired Pointer is Like

This breed is a good choice for vivacious owners that want a loyal companion to keep up with their active lifestyles. The GWP is an athletic dog that enjoys being occupied, especially in the outdoors. They are a poor choice for apartment or city living.

Some German wirehaired pointers to be reserved with strangers, but open with their attachment to their owners, making them happy and loving family members. With all their cleverness comes a stubborn streak, too. Early rewards-based training and socialization can address any aggression that stems from their egos.

Expect these dogs to live long, healthy lives, as long as they come from responsible breeders. It is important to test stock for genetic disorders that can drastically decrease the GWP’s quality of life.

Care of the German Wirehaired Pointer

The German wirehaired pointer was bred to be versatile and sturdy. They can fit into many lives and climates, as long as they receive the proper attention and exercise.

Environmental Needs

This breed’s coat means that they are adapted for almost all weather conditions. Their eyes are protected from the snow and rain, while their hair wicks water. Many GWPs enjoy swimming in even the coldest weather! Although they can tolerate hot weather, ensure that they have adequate shade and water to stay comfortable.

Exercise Needs

If the German wirehaired pointer does not receive adequate exercise, he will likely begin to act out. To avoid this, initiate long daily walks, runs, or bike rides. Ideally, these dogs should have a safe area to run and explore. Backyard playtime can help use up any extra energy they may have.

These dogs are also very adept at hunting, tracking, and agility. Allowing them to participate in sport is perhaps the easiest way to guarantee their happiness.

The breed thrives on running. However, be cautious when introducing this activity. Their bones and joints are sensitive as young pups, and it is always a good idea to keep them on soft ground. They will benefit later in life from such care.

Shedding and Grooming

The German wirehaired pointer does shed, but not as much as many other breeds. Their tough coat is easy to maintain, though it retains loose hair and dead skin. Simply combing it once a week should remove excess hair and dirt so that it stays nice.

Be sure to check these pointers’ ears; infections are not uncommon.

Ideal Home Environment

With the right owner, the GWP will thrive. It is important that this dog’s family is active and attentive. The German wirehaired pointer should not be left alone for significant periods. Adequate land, or access to trails, is also advised.

If these conditions are met, there is no reason that the GWP would not be a perfect family dog. They can be a bit rambunctious, and are not known for their gentleness, so a family with older children may be the most suitable.

These dogs should be fine with other family pets. However, early socialization and a confident owner will help to negate any aggressive tendencies. As always, consult a behavioral specialist if any serious problems arise.

Health Concerns

If properly cared for, this breed is quite healthy and can live for a long time. Be sure to keep tabs on their weight, especially as they age. Extra weight can negatively affect the dog’s joints.

German wirehaired pointers do suffer from more problems than their shorthaired counterparts. Joint, thyroid, eye, and heart disorders are not uncommon. The GWP is particularly susceptible to blood clotting disorders. Many of these can be screened for and avoided by responsible breeders. These dogs may also be susceptible to ear infections, so maintain regular care and check the ears often.

Behavior Problems

Most behavior problems are completely preventable with breeding, socialization, and training. Starting in puppy kindergarten, the GWP should be socialized with people, and especially other dogs to avoid any errant aggression. Ensuring that these dogs receive proper exercise can decrease the likelihood that they become destructive or barky.

Additionally, the German wirehaired pointer has some unique issues because of their specialized coat. Their kinky beard holds water, which means that they can create a mess while eating. This isn’t so different from humans with beards!