German Pointers

German Pointers are easy to “point” out. Just look for their spotted bodies and solid, brown heads! This medium-sized dog is known for its energy, willingness to learn, and friendly demeanor. Owners should know that they love having tasks and things to do! German pointers typically reach 21”-25” tall and weigh between 45-70 pounds.

In 1925, Dr. Charles Thornton brought the first German shorthaired pointer to the U.S. He started breeding them immediately, and five years later, the German shorthaired pointer was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club.

The German shorthaired pointer is an aesthetically beautiful dog with a strong build and waterproof multicolored coat. A GSP is a versatile hunting dog specializing in pointing and retrieving and makes for an awesome family dog. The average lifespan of a GPS is between 10 to 12 years.

Bred for hunting, a well-trained, exercised German shorthaired pointer is an excellent addition to any active or “busy” family. They are intelligent, high-energy animals that need up to an hour of physical exercise per day. GPSs are ferocious hunters in the field but turn into cuddle-bunnies at home.

German Shorthaired Pointer: The Full Guide

German shorthaired pointers is a hunter’s dream dog, as it points to and retrieves prey. This intelligent canine breed is a joy to train, fun to exercise with, a good watchdog, and an awesome family-orientated dog.

German Shorthaired Pointes are known to live a long life that can average between 10 to 15 years, health conditions permitting. They are good with children, and grooming a German shorthaired pointer is a breeze compared to other dog breeds.

They don’t do well in confined spaces or low-energy families. The German shorthaired pointer is ranked 19th among the AKC’s 155 breeds and varieties.

History Of The German Shorthaired Pointer

German hunters had been crossing numerous kinds of hunting dogs for centuries, and when the GSP arrived during the 18th century, the task of creating the best hunting companion was made that much easier. The German’s were so prosperous that they are now one of the most successful breeds in hunting competitions.

The American Kennel Club (AKC), believes that the GSP originated from the German Bird Dog, linked directly to the Old Spanish Pointer, that made its way into Germany in the 1700s. Many different German dog breeds (hounds) and hunting dogs, as well as the Arkwright Pointer and the famous English Pointer, are considered to have formed part of the breed.

Hunters sought dogs with agreeable personalities, but they also desired style and elegance to complement their obedient temperament and outstanding scenting abilities. They added style with Pointers imported from England, and they produced a dog that could work in both water and land.

Dr. Charles Thornton of Montana brought the first known German Shorthair to the United States in 1925 and began breeding the dogs. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed only five years later. Greif Van Der Fliegerhalde was the first German Shorthair to be registered with the AKC.

German Shorthaired Pointers Referenced In Literature

German shorthaired pointers have so inspired some authors that many have immortalized the canines in their books:

The Characteristics Of A German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthair is a multiskilled hunting dog that can hunt rabbits and raccoons, trail deer, and retrieve on land or water. Pointing at birds is just one of their strong points, and you will struggle to find a more versatile canine.

Physical Appearance Of A German Shorthaired Pointer

The sporty German shorthaired pointer has a finely sculpted head with dark almond-shaped eyes; broad drooping ears situated high on the skull, a dark nose, short back, and is slightly smaller than a Pointer.

A liver-colored dog’s nose will never be black (and vice versa); a German shorthaired pointer’s nose will always match the color of his coat. The tail is typically chopped to roughly 40% of its natural length

  • Males, on average, measure 23- 25 inches tall and tips the scale at 55-70 pounds at the shoulder.
  • Females stand 21- 23 inches tall and tips the scale at 45 to 60 pounds at the shoulder.

Cost Of A German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthair possesses a water-repellent coat with short, coarse hair. Solid liver, white ticked liver, white patched liver roan (a deep reddish-brown base lightened with white hairs), or any combination of those hues and patterns can be found on a German shorthaired pointer.

Temperament Of A German Shorthaired Pointer

When properly raised, the German Shorthair is a wonderful family dog with good manners. To be sure, he’s energetic, but once his activity demands are met, he’s a peaceful house dog who is pleased to stay close by without requiring your full attention.

He has a high level of intelligence and a devoted and brave personality. He’s a ferocious hunter in the field, which can spill over into the house if cats, squirrels, or birds wander into his domain.

The GSP is smart, friendly, and eager in whatever he does, without being prone to flight. However, they dislike being alone and when left alone may suffer from some form of anxiety due to separation. The German shorthaired pointer is a home dog, and shouldn’t be kept in a yard or kennel. He will love the whole family, but could prefer some family members more than others!

Although most GSPs learn quickly at a young age, some need more patient instruction than others. Prepare to put up with puppy antics for a while because the young German Shorthair may not entirely control his thoughts until he achieves maturity at two years of age.

GSPs have a ton of energy and will let you know when they’re in the mood to play. They’re active throughout their lives, but from six months to three years, this breed is especially active and requires a lot of movement and care.

A dog’s temperament can be influenced by many factors, including genes, level of training and how they were socialized as a pup. Puppies with pleasant personalities are inquisitive and playful, and loves to be held.

Choose a puppy amid the pack, not one that is abusing its littermates or shying away from contact. Try to make contact with the puppy’s parents — the mother being your best bet — to confirm that they have pleasant personalities.

Meeting the parents’ siblings can also help you assess what the puppy will resemble as an adult dog.

German Shorthaired Pointers Are Family Dogs

The German shorthaired pointer’s concept of bliss is a day hiking in the field and an evening snuggled up by its owner’s side. This hunting dog was developed to be a watchdog for the home and an attentive, family-friendly companion.

For exceptionally busy households, the German shorthaired pointer is an excellent choice. GSPs are great for families with children, and they are polite to most strangers.

They enjoy playing with children but can be a little rowdy at times; as with any dog, children should be watched during GSP playtime and taught how to interact with dogs. They won’t bark excessively, but they’ll let you know if there are any visitors or weird noises.

German Shorthaired Pointers Are Hunting Dogs

The GPS is one of the few hunting breeds that can play almost every gundog role. The GSP has two functions: pointer and retriever. He can hunt upland birds, waterfowl, rabbits, raccoons, and deer, among other things.

A German shorthaired pointer will gladly accompany you on runs, hikes, and most outdoor activities if you’re not into hunting.

Because hunting prey is a part of their DNA makeup, some can be aggressive toward tiny pets if not raised with them.

Taking Care Of A German Shorthaired Pointer

GSPs point when they find prey ­- hence the name. They’ll lower their heads, lift one paw, and lean forward to show you which way to go.

This pointing action should already tell you that you are dealing with an intelligent animal. Let’s discuss how to take care of your clever best friend.

Grooming A German Shorthaired Pointer

Maintenance of a GSP’s coat is short and silky, and fortunately doesn’t shed too much. Use a bristle brush to brush them weekly, and wash them only when needed.

To make your GSP’s coat shine, rubbing their coats with a chamois or cloth will make it shine. Ensure to check his feet after any exercise or field work. Dry him properly after hunting, to avoid him getting a chill.

They require regular brushing to remove loose hairs during shedding seasons, which can be difficult to remove from furniture and carpeting. Nonetheless, they are regarded as very clean dogs and moderate shedders compared to other breeds.

Regularly inspect their ears for indication of infection, like redness, odor, or soreness. If your German shorthaired pointer scratches his ears a lot, it can be a sign of infection.

Training A German Shorthaired Pointer

Enrolling him in puppy kindergarten (age 10 to 12 weeks) is a smart way to start training your GSP. Regularly inviting family and friends over and taking him to crowded parks and dog-friendly stores can help him improve his social skills.

GSPs, like all dogs, benefit from early socialization, which includes exposure to a variety of people, sights, sounds, and activities. Socialization ensures that your GSP puppy develops into a well-rounded adult dog.

Formal training classes from an early age won’t do any harm, but, as mentioned, GSPs are highly trainable, so start training your dog as soon as you get him home. They are capable of soaking up everything you can teach them, even at the age of eight weeks.

Thanks to its excellent intellect and athleticism, the German shorthaired pointer excels in many AKC sports, including agility, dock diving, obedience, and service dog training. German shorthaired pointers are also utilized in law enforcement to detect and track illegal drugs.

The Exercise Requirements Of A German Shorthaired Pointer

Exercise is vital for GSPs since they were designed to have more than enough energetic stamina to go for the whole day. They can get a little nervous and destructive if they don’t get ample exercise.

Make sure to give them a proper exercise for a couple of hours a day. He’s an excellent water dog who enjoys frolicking in the water. A GSP has coat that’s resistant to water and their webbed feet makes swimming look easy.

He thrives on mental and physical stimulation, which he can obtain by hiking with you or playing for lengthy periods, and be sure to include some water action. GSPs make impeccable in-house dogs when given ample exercise.

Because young GSPs are curious, it’s good to keep them in a crate when you’re not there to oversee them.

Feeding Requirements Of A German Shorthaired Pointer

A German shorthaired pointer’s diet should consist of a diverse range of the following ingredients:

  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Carbohydrates

The best dog food for your best canine friend should contain real meat, fruits, and vegetables, resulting in a well-balanced diet that helps growth and sustains health.

Try some of the following meals if you are uncertain what to feed your German shorthaired pointer:

Dogs are unique individuals who require different amounts of food. An active dog will require more nutrition than an inactive dog. The amount of food your adult dog can consume is established by his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level.

Good dog food makes a difference; higher quality food will provide your GSP with all the nourishment it needs. With high quality food, it is important to follow the manunfacturers’s feeding guide at the back. Generally, GSPs eat between 2 and 3 cups of high-quality dry food each day, divided into two meals.

Because the GSP is a medium/large, active breed, it requires a lot of food. Obesity can develop in older or less active GSPs if they are fed too much for their activity levels. The last two ribs should be visible under the coat, and the dog should have a defined waist or “tuck-up” at a healthy weight.

The Living Requirements Of A German Shorthaired Pointer

German shorthaired pointers are perfect for energetic people who live in a house with a large yard and a high fence around it (at least 6 feet). People staying in apartments should not own a GSP.

When left to his own ways, a bored German shorthaired pointer who isn’t getting enough exercise may dig up the yard, scale fences to explore the area, bark at everything that moves, and chase small wildlife and pets with the passion of the dedicated hunting dog that he is.

The German Shorthair is a wonderful family dog, and yes, he’s energetic, but once his activity demands are met, he’s a peaceful house dog who is pleased to stay close by without requiring your full attention.

GSPs love to be around people and don’t like being left alone, so you should reconsider getting a German shorthaired pointer if you’re frequently gone.

Buying A German Shorthaired Pointer

Never buy a puppy from unregistered breeders, a general pet store, or a puppy mill; you might buy a puppy with many health issues if you do not look for reputable breeders. Search for a trustworthy breeder who thoroughly vets their dogs to ensure that they are clear of any genetic disorders that could be passed on to puppies.

How Healthy Are German Shorthaired Pointers?

The German shorthaired pointer, which lives for 12 to 14 years on average, is prone to minor health issues like:

  • Gastric Torsion
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Cancer
  • Lymphedema
  • Entropion
  • Von Willebrand Disease
  • Progressive Retinal Degeneration
  • Cardiomyopathy

A veterinarian may propose regular thyroid, hip, heart, and eye checks and testing to confirm vWD to discover some of these concerns.

German Shorthairs are typically healthy dogs. However, they are susceptible to certain health issues, as are all breeds. Although not all GSPs will contract any or all of these illnesses, it’s vital to be aware of them if you’re thinking about getting one:

Gastric Torsion Affects German Shorthaired Pointers

GDV (gastric dilation-volvulus), commonly known as bloat or torsion, can affect large, deep-chested dogs like German Shorthairs. When German shorthairs are fed one large meal a day, eat that meal quickly, and drink significant amounts of water after eating, exercising intensely after eating, they can develop this life-threatening illness.

GDV is a severe situation where the stomach is distended with gas or air, and while bloated, twists and cuts of the entrance and exit of the stomach. The usual blood flow to the heart is slowed because the dog can’t belch or vomit to relieve the gas in its stomach. When their blood pressure drops, the dog goes into shock and can die if not treated right away.

If your dog has a swollen tummy, increased salivation, and retches without vomiting up, it could be bloat. Your dog may also be agitated, sad, sluggish, and frail, with a fast heart rate. It is vitally important to take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible when you notice any of these tell-tale signs.

Hip Dysplasia Affects German Shorthaired Pointers

Hip dysplasia can be caused by many things like genetics, environment, and nutrition. The animal can have a full and active life in moderate circumstances with the correct diet and exercise.

Surgical correction may be required in more severe cases. Your veterinarian can examine your dog’s hips with an x-ray to diagnose if your German Shorthair is suffering from it.

Cancer Affects German Shorthaired Pointers

In a recent study conducted by the German shorthaired pointer Club of America, this was one of the most commonly reported health issues. Mammary tumors, mast cell tumors, and lymphosarcoma were the most frequently reported cancers.

Lymphedema Affects German Shorthaired Pointers

Lymphedema is a condition in which tissues enlarge due to a buildup of fluids due to valvular occlusion of lymph flow or twisted lymphatic channels. Lymphedema is seen as a major health risk for any dog breed.

Entropion Affects German Shorthaired Pointers

Entropion causes the eyelids roll inward. It is problematic because eyelashes can rub on the cornea, causing discomfort and perhaps causing damage to the eyeball.

It is usually noticeable by six months of age, and it may affect one or both eyes. You may notice your German Shorthair wiping his eyes if he has entropion. The problem can be fixed surgically and is rarely found in German Shorthairs.

Von Willebrand Disease Can Affect German Shorthaired Pointers

A blood disorder that can affect humans and canines alike. The lowering of the von Willebrand factor in blood influences the clotting process.

The following symptoms may indicate von Willebrand’s disease:

  • Bleeding of the nose
  • Bleeding of the gums
  • Extended bleeding during and after any surgery
  • Extended bleeding after whelping
  • Extended bleeding when on heat

When you find blood in a dog’s poo, it may indicate von Willebrand’s disease. Unfortunately, the disease is usually identified between the ages of 3 to 5 years in a dog, and is incurable.

It can, however, be treated with procedures like sterilization or stitching of injuries, von Willebrand factor allocation before medical surgery, and steering clear of specific medicines.

The AKC Recommends The Following Tests

The German shorthaired pointer Club of America suggests via the American Kennel Club that all German shorthaired pointers undergo the following continuous tests throughout its life:

  • Cardiac Exams
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Cone Degeneration (DNA) Test


The German shorthaired pointer is an excellent dog breed, with a long life expectancy, good with children, and the best hunting companion. In return, the GSP wants attention, regular exercise, and a loving family.

If you are not physically active due to age or a medical condition, do yourself and the German shorthaired pointer a massive favor, and don’t get one. They will not be happy with a mundane existence.


German Longhaired Pointer vs. German Shorthaired Pointer vs. German Wirehaired Pointer

Classification, Lifespan, And Appearance

AKC ClassificationFoundation Stock ServiceSporting GroupSporting Group
Alternative ClassificationBird Dog – PointerBird Dog – PointerBird Dog – Pointer
Lifespan12-14 years10-12 years14-16 years
Height22-28 inches21-25 inches22-26 inches
Weight55-80 lbs45-70 lbs50-70 lbs
Coat LengthMedium to longVery shortShort (longer on belly)
Coat CharacteristicsSleek with undercoatThick and coarse on body; thinner and softer on head and earsStraight, harsh, and wiry;  undercoat is dense in winter and thin in summer
FeatheringModerate; on ears, back of all legs, and tailNoneLittle to none
Hypoallergenic CoatNoNoNo
EarsHang down; medium to long; featheredHang down; medium to long; un-featheredHang down; short to medium; un-feathered

Grooming Requirements

Maintenance IntensityModerateModerateLow
EarsChecked daily; cleaned weekly; brushed 2-3 time a weekChecked and cleaned weeklyChecked and cleaned weekly


General Temperament (AKC)Versatile; calm; family-orientedFriendly; smart; willing to pleaseAffectionate; eager; enthusiastic
Affectionate (to family)Yes; often prefers one personYes; often prefers one personYes; often prefers one person
IntensityModerateModerate to moderateModerate to high
SensitivityModerateModerate to moderateModerate to high
Aggression LevelLowLowModerate (dog aggression)
Energy LevelHighHighHigh
Attention RequirementsHighHighHigh
One-Person DogLikelyLikelyLikely
General FriendlinessHighModerateHigh
Child FriendlinessHighModerate to high; better with older childrenHigh (can be too boisterous)
Stranger FriendlinessFriendlyReserved to friendlyReserved
Dog FriendlinessModerate to highLowLow
Cat FriendlinessLowLowLow
ProtectivenessLow to moderateModerate to highHigh
Prey DriveHighHighHigh
Barking PotentialModerateModerateModerate

Exercise And Training Requirements

Intelligence LevelHighHighHigh
Eager to PleaseHighHighHigh
Exercise NeedsHighHighHigh
Exercise Frequency2-3 times a day2-3 times a day2-3 times a day
Exercise Duration30-60 minutes per session30-60 minutes per session30-60 minutes per session
Exercise IntensityModerate to highModerate to highHigh
Owner RequirementsActiveActiveActive
Exercise CompanionGoodExcellentExcellent
Training MethodsPositive preferredPositive yields best results; shorter duration is betterPositive preferred
Mandatory TrainingObedienceObedienceObedience
Canine Sport TrainingEligibleEncouragedEncouraged
Affinity for WaterHighModerate to highHigh

Adaptability And Living Environment

Good for First-Time OwnersPossiblyNoNo
Good for Single-Person HomesYesYes (if person can meet their exercise requirements)Yes
Good for Multi-Person HomesYesVeryYes
Alone TimeIntolerantIntolerantIntolerant of extended periods of isolation
Indoor LivingShould be allowed indoors with family; not suitable for apartment livingShould be allowed indoors with family; not suitable for apartment livingShould be allowed indoors with family; not suitable for apartment living
Outdoor RequirementsShould have access to a secure yard; should be taken outside each dayShould have access to a secure yard; should be taken outside each dayShould have access to a secure yard; should be taken outside each day
Toleration of Cold WeatherModerateLowModerate to high
Toleration of Hot WeatherLow to moderateModerate to highModerate to high

Our Pages About German Shorthaired Pointers: