German Wirehaired Pointer

Breed Group: Sporting

Temperament and Behavior

German Wirehaired Pointers are similar in many respects to their Shorthaired cousins. They 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, and their playfulness, are all very high. With an almost insatiable need for exercise (even higher than their shorthaired relative), they need to run, wrestle with teenagers, go on long hikes chase balls or frisbees, and preferably participate in field work for more than 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 will likely become excessive barkers, destructive chewers, or hyperactive inside. They need an active family who is interested in engaging them in all their activities. If there is something German Wirehaired Pointers enjoy more than activity, it is being with their family- they are devotedly loyal though may show less affection than the shorthair. 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. Most are aggressive toward other dogs and they consider cats fair game, even if raised with them. Less friendly with strangers than the shorthaired, he is likely reserved or aloof with them. His quick bark as a superior watchdog is likely a warning than a welcoming. With their response to strangers, it is no surprise they outshine the shorthair as a guardian with some dogs being overly protective.

Physical Characteristics

German Wirehaired Pointers are large, lean, muscled dogs. Slightly larger than the shorthair, females range from 22 to 24 inches tall and weigh between 50 and 60 pounds. Males are about two inches taller and about 10 pounds heavier. They have a rough, wavy coat with bristly beard and eyebrows giving them a wise old grandfather look. Coat colors are liver or liver and white; rarely black replaces the liver coloring. They need a little more grooming than their shorthaired relative. Brush them every few days and clip them as needed. They shed less than the shorthair, about as much as an average dog, 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. Compounding that challenge is more of an interest to do things their way than his shorthaired cousin. Training them requires a patient, gentle hand. Though they have their clownish side, they tend to be more serious than the shorthair. Once focused, they are capable of learning anything and are eminently trainable. If properly trained, a four-year-old German Wirehaired Pointer will have mastered skills few dogs ever possess. However, they are not for any owner who is not dog savvy.

Photo © by Mosesofmason available under the GNUFDL
German Wirehaired Pointer

German Wirehaired Pointer


German Wirehaired Pointers suffer from a larger number of more severe genetic problems than the shorthair and have a shorter lifespan. About 1 in 6 dogs have Thyroid problems. Another almost 10% have Dysplastic Hips and about 3% suffer from Elbow Dysplasia. German Wirehaired Pointers typically live to between 10 and 12 years of age.


Not as popular as the shorthair, German Wirehaired Pointers rank 73rd on the AKC list of breed popularity with about 1,300 registered in a typical year.

Breed History

The German Wirehaired Pointer was bred in Germany following the German Shorthaired Pointer, which was one of the breeds used in the creation of the wirehaired. Other breeds that contributed to the Wirehairs include the Pudelpointer, the Griffon, and the Polish Water Dog. They were first recognized in Germany in the late 1920s, about the same time the first dogs arrived in America. The breed was accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1959 but have yet to achieve the popularity of their shorthaired cousin.

Additional Information

As opposed to the Shorthaired variety, the Wirehair is slightly less affectionate and less accepting of other dogs and strangers. But without any hound in his background, he works more quickly when hunting. Not as divided into field and show types as the English Pointer, many German Wirehaired 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. The National (US) Breed Club is the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America.

Is A German Wirehaired Pointer THE BEST Dog For YOU?

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