German Shorthaired Pointer

Breed Group: Sporting

Temperament and Behavior

Similar in many respects to their Wirehaired cousins, German Shorthaired Pointers try harder than many breeds to please their owners; but this does not mean they are a good choice for a first-time dog owner. Their activity level both inside and out, their playfulness, and need for exercise are all very high. They need to run, wrestle with teenagers, and chase balls or frisbees for at least an hour a day. They are also quite intelligent, so both physical and mental activities are needed to keep them satisfied. Fail to meet these needs and they are apt to become excessive barkers, destructive chewers, or hyperactive inside. They do best with an active family who is interested in engaging them in all their activities. If there is something a German Shorthaired Pointer enjoys more than activity, it is being with their family- they are devotedly loyal. They thoroughly enjoy children, especially if raised with them but, with their activity level, they will likely overwhelm small youngsters. Bred to hunt, owners should be wary when the dog is around small pets, especially birds. Some are aggressive toward other dogs and some chase cats, even if raised with them. He may be reserved or welcoming of strangers. A superior watchdog, his quick bark can be either a warning or a welcoming. Their size and reasonable protection ability should deter all but the most determined intruder.

Physical Characteristics

German Shorthaired Pointers are large, lean, muscled dogs. Females range from 21 to 23 inches tall and weigh between 45 and 60 pounds. Males are about two inches taller and about 10 pounds heavier. They have a smooth, short coat colored liver or liver and white. They need minimal grooming, increased only during their heavy seasonal shedding and do equally well in both heat and cold.

Trainer's Notes

Obediance training is a must to establish control over this dog that almost trembles with excitement, as he is barely able to contain his interest in every bird or blowing leaf. But young dogs are curious and very easily distracted, which makes training a challenge. Training them requires a patient, gentle hand. Once focused, they are capable of learning anything and are eminently trainable. A four-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer will work with skills few dogs ever have. But this does not mean a they make a good choice for a first-time dog owner.

Photo © by Xhienne available under the CC 3.0
German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer


German Shorthaired Pointers suffer from a number of genetic problems though few are of major significance. Inherited Lymphedema is probably the most frequently seen issue. Hip Dysplasia affects between 4% and 5% of the dogs tested and Entropion is sometimes seen. But Bloat and SAS are by far their most serious problems. German Shorthaired Pointers can live well into their teens.


Ranking 20th in the AKC list of breed popularity with between 12,500 and 13,500 registered most years, the German Shorthaired Pointer has long been a popular dog.

Breed History

The German Shorthaired Pointer was bred in Germany in the seventeenth century to be a versatile hunting dog. The Spanish Pointer crossed with the Hannover Hound resulted in a dog that could point and dispatch game as well as follow a scent trail. Later breeding with the English Pointer led to the look of the modern German Shorthaired Pointer and created a dog with retrieving ability. First recognized in Germany in the late 1800s, the first dogs arrived in America during the 1920s. The breed was fully accepted by the AKC in 1930. They quickly gained popularity in the U.S. due to their hunting ability, trainability, and their hard-to-rival interest in companionship.

Additional Information

As opposed to the Wirehaired variety, the German Shorthaired Pointer is slightly more affectionate and friendlier toward strangers and other dogs; but he works more slowly when hunting. Not as divided into field and show types as the English Pointer, many German Shorthaired Pointers are dual Champions. At home in the field, woods, or water with either feathered or furry quarry, they make an excellent choice for the hunter who only wants one dog who can do it all. U.S. President Grover Cleveland, actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (77 Sunset Strip and The FBI), and author Robert Parker (Spencer mystery novels) were all German Shorthaired Pointer owners. The National (US) Breed Club is the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America.

Is A German Shorthaired Pointer THE BEST Dog For YOU?

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