Dog Breed Guide – German Shorthaired Pointer

Dog Breed Guide – German Shorthaired Pointer
Dog Breed Guide – German Shorthaired Pointer

All you Need to Know about the German Shorthaired Pointer

German shorthaired pointers are known as hunting dogs. They are the 11th most popular dogs in the United States according to the American Kennel Club.

They are known for their sleek slender bodies and their ticking and patches of color that can range from black and white to solid liver to roan and combinations of all four.


Their origin dates back to the 17th century. This breed was a result of a  crossbreed between the Spanish Pointer, English Foxhound, and local German tracking hounds which are known for their extraordinary sense of smell.

They were introduced in the United State in 1925 by Dr. Charles Thornton of Montana who later started breeding the dogs.

Physical Attributes

German shorthaired pointers are versatile dogs known for their hunting skills both in the field and in water.

Male pointers stand at a height of between 23 to 25 inches while females stand at a height of between 21 to 23 inches. In terms of weight, male dogs weigh approximately 55 to 70 pounds while female pointers weigh between 45 to 60 pounds. 

They are also longer or squared shaped than tall. 

Their heads are clean-cut adorned with almond-shaped eyes that are dark brown in color.

They have broad ears that are high up just above the eye level, lie flat and never hang away from the head.

They have long muzzles to allow them to seize their prey and carry it around.

The tail is set high and is usually docked to approximately 40% of its length. It should hang down when the dog is quiet or swig horizontally when walking.

They have muscular fore and hind limbs perfect for hunting and exercise.

They have a short thick hair coat that feels tough to touch. It’s fairly long on the underside of the tail and the haunches. It is softer thinner and shorter on the ears and the head. The coat may be of solid liver or a combination of liver and white such as liver and white ticked, liver patched and white ticked, or liver roan.

They have a general life span of between 12 to 15 years.

Personality and Temperament

German shorthaired pointers are friendly, intelligent and they aim to please. They get along with both small children and other dogs making them perfect companions and family dogs.

They are super smart and can also make excellent gun and hunting dogs.

They, however, require regular exercise otherwise they will devise ways of using that pent up energy that may turn out to be destructive. An hour or two of vigorous activity every day is equally adequate. This may include hikes, bike rides and runs. They make great companions for adventurous families.

They should be trained and if not their smartness may get in their way and they may come up with their own rules in the household. Early socialization with many different people, animals, sights, and sounds also enables them to develop into well-rounded dogs. Walks, visits to the dog park, taking him along to the store can help with this. Enrolling them to a puppy kindergarten can promote interaction with other dogs.

Living Conditions

German shorthaired pointers thrive in families that love adventure or those who like to involve their dog in everything. This enables them to use up pent energy which otherwise may turn destructive through digging, chewing and hiding things.

They hate being left alone and like to always be around their family members.

They require regular vigorous exercise making a home with a compound to run around ideal. They, however, can hop over fences therefore they compound should well fenced.

They also get along with small children making excellent family dogs. Their interaction should, however, be supervised as they may overpower small children causing unintentional injuries.

They also have prey drive, especially for small pets such as cats and birds but if socialized early they can live in harmony.

They are generally not known to be aggressive but can be protective of their human parents and home and may bark or become reserved around strangers.


Though smart and very intelligent, GSP can be hard to train due to love for independence. They require the trainer to show he is the boss and the leader. Patience, consistency and being firm is very important during training.

With good leadership, they are otherwise very eager to learn new tricks and commands.

Training should begin as soon as possible as a puppy. Enrolling him for obedience classes can also help temper his bursting enthusiasm and for them to learn control.

Once they learn good behavior they can be suited for a  wide range of jobs and activities, from agility training to field and hunting competitions, as well as making great show dogs. They have even been used as sled dogs, for bomb and drug detection, and as therapy dogs.

Health and Nutrition

Though generally healthy dogs, this bread is prone to hip dysplasia, eye conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy, and certain heart diseases. Prospective dog owners should always make a point of screening breeding records to avoid health scares in the future.

The American Kennel club records the following health scans on adoption:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Cone Degeneration DNA Test

In terms of nutrition, they require high-quality food that matches their size and level of activity.

Puppies should ideally be fed more than twice a day while adult dogs should be fed twice daily, in the morning and evening.

Due to their predisposition to bloat,  they should not be exercised shortly after eating or drinking. In the evening, feeding should be done after physical activities are through for the day. 


The German shorthaired pointer hair coat is generally easy to manage. Regular brushing a few days a week helps to get rid of loose hair. However, they occasionally shed especially during certain times of the year. During this time, brushing should more frequent to prevent having hair all over the house.

When bathed, always remember to clean the ears as well as keep the nails trimmed.

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