German Shorthaired Pointer Overview
- Dog Breed:
- German Shorthaired Pointer
- Breed Group:
- Friendly, enthusiastic, energetic, exuberant, and smart.
- 21-25 inches
- 45-70 pounds
- Life Span:
- 10-12 years
- Coat Colors:
- Solid liver or a combination of liver and white.
- Area of Origin:
- Best For:
- Active Owners/Interest in Training/Access to large open spaces for exercise
German Shorthaired Pointer Characteristics
German Shorthaired Pointer Gallery
About The German Shorthaired Pointer
An allrounder in the field
Needs active owners
A whirlwind youngster
The German Shorthaired Pointer is one of the most popular Hunt, Point, and Retrieve breeds. In the field, they are the all-rounder, they excel in pointing, have a soft-mouthed retrieve, and they are thorough in their search for game.
Away from the field, they excel in a whole range of canine performance sports, but one thing is for sure, this is a dog who needs a job to do. They are best suited to very active owners who can provide at least an hour’s exercise, along with training opportunities every day. There are no lay-ins for GSP owners. Weekends are the chance to get out on the trails and provide them with the opportunity to really stretch their legs.
As a youngster, the GSP can be a whirlwind, and they’re not the fastest maturing of breeds. Expect puppy and adolescent behavior to stretch well into their second or even third year. But when they’ve had the opportunity to use their brains and the chance to run to their heart’s content, then this is a breed who wants nothing more than to be beside their adored family.
German Shorthaired Pointer Breed History
Developed in Germany
Breed for function as much as form
Arrived in the US in 1925
It took generations for German hunters to perfect this versatile breed. They crossed Spanish Pointers and Bloodhounds to create the forerunner of the GSP, then named the German Bird Dog.
While these early dogs had an obedient nature and amazing scenting abilities, the hunters wanted to refine the breed to become more elegant. So, they then crossed their dogs with English Pointers, resulting in a dog with both style and the ability to work on both land and water.
One of the key enthusiasts of the breed was Prince Albrecht zu Solms-Braunfels. He’s credited with encouraging breeders to develop the GSP based on function rather than form. This lead resulted in the lean, athletic, and responsive GSP who was also an affectionate companion dog.
The GSP was first imported into the US in 1925, and five years later, they were recognized by the AKC. Over the coming years, they’re popularity grew, and in 1968, three of the top four GSP finishers at the AKC National Field Trial Championship were also conformation champions. This confirmed the GSP as a true multipurpose dog combining beauty and brains.
Today, the German Shorthaired Pointer retains its popularity by ranking 19th of the 155 breeds recognized by the AKC.
German Shorthaired Pointer Size & Weight
Males are 23-25 inches and females 21-23 inches
Males weigh 55-70 pounds and females 45-60 pounds
A home with plenty of space is needed for this high energy dog
Males measure 23 to 25 inches at the shoulder, and they weigh between 55 and 70 pounds. Females are a little smaller at 21 to 23 inches tall, and they weigh between 45 to 60 pounds.
With their high level of energy and enthusiasm, this is probably not a breed for owners who have ornaments at low height!
German Shorthaired Pointer Personality & Temperament
Very enthusiastic dog
Very loving with their family
Not suitable for apartment living
The GSP is well known for their friendly and willing nature. They’re enthusiastic in everything they do, and it’s rare to come across a GSP who is nervous or aggressive. This is a dog who will work all day out in the field and then enjoy cuddling up on the sofa in the evening.
Some owners report that their GSP’s dislike being alone and quickly develop separation anxiety. This can usually be avoided by introducing short periods alone from when your dog is a young pup. The German Shorthaired Pointer is a house dog, they don’t do well when kept in the yard or in a kennel. Their energy levels also means that they’re unlikely to be a suitable candidate for apartment or condo living.
The GSP loves everyone they meet, so they are not likely to be a suitable candidate for watchdog positions! They love children as much as adults though care does need to be taken when they are young, as their enthusiasm may send a toddler flying. Most GSP’s get along with other dogs very well, though this is often down to appropriate socialization when they are younger.
With their short single coats, this breed is not a lover of extreme weather, though they’ll adapt more readily to a hot climate than a cold one.
German Shorthaired Pointer Health & Grooming
Generally, a healthy breed
Some genetic conditions which dogs should be screened for
Minimal grooming needs
Although this generally a healthy breed, there are some conditions that they can be prone to. Responsible breeders will have their dogs checked for the following conditions before deciding to breed from them:
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia causing issues at the joints which can cause lameness and pain
- Eye conditions, including Cone Degeneration disease which causes daytime blindness
- Cardiac Exam to check for aortic stenosis. This condition causes the narrowing of the main artery, which leaves the heart, and which carries oxygenated blood to the organs. If the aorta is narrowed, this makes it harder for the heart to push blood all around the body.
The GSPs coat is easy to take care of and, for most of the year, will simply need a good brush every few days. During shedding season, then you’ll need to brush every day to remove loose hairs before they’re all across your home.
German Shorthaired Pointer Training
Trained needed from being a young pup
Needs a purpose in life
High prey drive
Training needs to start from when your GSP is a young pup. So, it’s recommended that you find and book a place at a puppy class before you collect your new arrival; great classes book out months in advance, so advance registration is important.
This very intelligent breed needs a purpose in life; without one, they will find their own entertainment, and that’s unlikely to be something that you would want them to be doing! If your GSP won’t be working in the field, then you will need to find an alternative outlet to tire both their brains and their body. Agility, flyball, and scent work are all possible options.
The German Shorthaired Pointer has a high prey drive, and this is another reason why obedience training is essential. Your dog needs to be able to focus on you in distracting situations and have an excellent recall from things they want to chase; when these are in place, then your GSP will have much more freedom to run off-leash.
The GSP can be quite a vocal dog, especially when something startles them, or a stranger comes to the gate.
German Shorthaired Pointer Exercise Requirements
Trained needed from being a young pup
Needs a purpose in life
High prey drive
This is a high energy dog. They have been bred to work all day in the field, and so they’re not going to be content with a short walk on the lead. They will need at least an hour’s exercise every day, ideally two, with the opportunity for off-leash running.
In addition to this, they will also love the opportunity for longer treks at the weekend. Adult dogs are the perfect jogging companions to take part in Canicross running events where teams of dog and handlers race against each other.
German Shorthaired Pointer Diet & Feeding
Seek professional advice for individual dog nutritional needs
Look for food suitable for your dog's age, size, and exercise intensity
Be aware of the risk of bloat
For advice on the feeding needs of your individual dog, chat with your veterinarian or pet nutritionist. Generally, most young dogs do well on a specially formulated puppy food until they are around 6 months of age. Then they transfer onto an adult feed, which is designed for the age, size, and exercise intensity of your dog.
GSPs can also be affected by bloat. This is a life-threatening condition caused by the stomach becoming distend and often twisted. Although the cause has not been completely identified, it is thought that large meals directly before or after exercise may be a trigger.
You may also be interested in:
German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue Groups
There are times when a GSP will find itself in need of a new home. If you’re interested in offering a rescue dog a new home, do get in touch with the breed rescues which are located in many states including:
GSP Rescue Pennsylvania – https://www.gsprescuepa.com/
California GSP Rescue – http://www.gsp-rescue.org/
Wisconsin GSP Rescue – https://www.wgspr.com/
For more information on the German Shorthaired Pointer, check out the website of the breed organization – http://www.gspca.org/