German Shorthaired Pointers were initially bred for hunting purposes. However, they’re also excellent pets with long lifespans.
Therefore, if you’re considering purchasing a German Shorthaired Pointer, prepare for a long commitment because these dogs live long (12-14 years).
Some have reached 17 years of age. So, they usually live longer than average medium-sized dogs, with a lifespan of between 10 and 13 years.
However, the life expectancy of any canine depends on many factors, including diet, exercise habits, genetics, etc. I will discuss these factors and share common health issues in German Shorthaired Pointers, so take a look.
How Many Years Do German Shorthaired Pointers Live?
A survey about the life expectancy of German Shorthaired Pointers suggests that these German hunters have a lifespan of about 12-14 years.
How Old is the Oldest Living German Shorthaired Pointer?
German Shorthaired Pointers have a median life expectancy of about 9 years, suggests a Danish survey. However, a UK survey says these dogs have a longer lifespan, as 1 in 8 dogs lived up to 15 years and more.
The oldest German Shorthaired Pointer had 17 years.
What Can Affect the German Shorthaired Pointer’s Lifespan?
Genetics, nutrition, regular health checkups, and exercise affect a dog’s lifespan, including the lifespan of this versatile hunting dog.
Here’s a breakdown of these factors:
Genetics can play a part in a dog’s lifespan.
Although it’s not guaranteed, if the ancestors of a dog had a long, healthy life, there’s a good chance their German Shorthaired Pointer puppies will also enjoy a long life.
Your breeder can provide information about the longevity of their lines.
Diet plays a crucial role in any dog’s lifespan. If your German Shorthaired Pointer isn’t getting adequate nutrition, they could be susceptible to nutritional deficiencies.
Signs of nutritional deficiencies include a dull coat and dry and irritated skin. So, provide high-quality dog food if you want a happy and healthy dog.
Routine Veterinary Care
Regular vet checkups affect your dog’s lifespan because they help reveal health issues promptly.
If your vet catches a health issue on time, they will provide treatment and hopefully cure your pet. Additionally, shots also help dogs live longer.
Some people disagree and associate vaccinations with many health issues in pets. Still, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your dog.
Ask your vet about ways you can prolong your puppy’s lifespan.
Like humans, dogs need daily exercise to remain happy and healthy.
However, some dog breeds require more physical activity than others. For instance, German Shorthaired Pointers have high energy levels and need extra exercise.
Your German Shorthaired Pointer should have at least 1 hour of vigorous exercise daily. Regular physical activity also helps regulate your dog’s weight.
Therefore, take your dog out more often, play fetch, or take long hikes.
What Health Issues Do German Shorthaired Pointers Have?
Common health concerns in German Shorthaired Pointers include lymphedema, entropion, progressive retinal atrophy, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease, bloat, eye issues, and joint problems.
Let’s discuss these health problems in detail.
Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)
German Shorthaired Pointers develop joint issues, such as Osteochondritis Dissecans. OCD happens when the cartilage over the bone breaks away and gets stuck in the joint. In severe cases, this joint disorder can cause arthritis and lameness.
This dog breed usually develops OCD in shoulder joints. However, other dogs can also experience OCD, especially large ones.
If your German Shorthaired Pointer shows signs of OCD, call your vet immediately. The sooner you catch this condition, the better for your canine.
Lastly, joint issues usually worsen because of inadequate diets in young dogs.
If your puppy displays signs of this condition, you should provide a diet with calcium and phosphorus in a 1.4:1 Ca:P ratio.
German Shorthaired Pointers can also experience hip dysplasia, which causes pain and arthritis as the dog ages.
A canine’s joint can become misaligned when the ball in the hip joint doesn’t properly fit into the socket, causing pain and arthritis over time.
Unfortunately, hip dysplasia starts when the dog’s young and becomes worse over time. It’s a progressive condition that can cause a loss of mobility.
If you suspect your dog has hip dysplasia, schedule a vet appointment immediately.
Von Willebrand’s Disease
German Shorthaired Pointers can enter this world with a genetic blood clotting disorder known as von Willebrand’s disease.
If your GSP has this disorder, they can lose a fatal amount of blood during surgery and after injuries. If you think your canine was born with this disease, visit your vet clinic for confirmation and helpful tips.
German Shorthaired Pointers can develop Progressive Retinal Atrophy, a disease of the retina (the layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of the eye).
The condition develops usually progresses slowly and can cause complete blindness in dogs. The worst part? There’s no treatment and prevention for this eye condition.
If PRA shows early, the dog will lose sight within two years. The same happens in older dogs, just slowly.
Early signs of PRA include difficulty seeing in a dark room or outside after sunset. So, if you suspect your dog can’t see in the dark, visit your local vet clinic.
If you consider buying a German Shorthaired Pointer, ensure your breeder tests all their dogs through OFA or PennHip, which confirms the canine doesn’t have PRA.
German Shorthaired Pointers can also develop another eye disease, known as pannus, which happens when immune responses damage the cornea in the eye.
These canines can also experience entropion (the eyelid curls inwards and causes eye irritation), which requires surgical correction.
When a body can’t withstand thyroid hormone production, it’s called hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism usually happens when the thyroid gland isn’t active enough and doesn’t produce enough hormones or when your pet can’t take in enough iodine.
Other causes include issues with the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland. Symptoms of this condition include changes in the coat.
If you see your German Shorthair Pointer’s coat changing, visit your vet.
Excessive shedding and loss of shine can indicate hypothyroidism. Your dog can also experience weight gain, gastrointestinal problems, lethargy, and difficulty breathing.
Luckily, your vet can help cure your dog’s condition with medication.
Lymphedema occurs when fluid remains in a dog’s limbs, a common health problem in German Shorthaired Pointers.
So, if you have a GSP, stay alert for signs like swelling around the joints and limbs.
Your vet can cure this condition with medication, but you should diagnose lymphedema on time to prevent complications.
Your vet will easily recognize lymphedema by the signs. However, the swelling can also indicate other health issues, so visit your local vet clinic as soon as possible.
Most German Shorthaired Pointers experience bloating because of their deep chests.
When these dogs eat too much or too quickly, the food can get into their bellies quicker than expected, causing bloating.
If your dog has a bloated tummy, visit your vet immediately because bloating can cause gastric dilatation-volvulus or gastric torsion, which can kill your god within hours.
You can easily prevent this issue by ensuring your dog has enough time to digest meals before exercising and consuming multiple smaller portions throughout the day instead of fewer larger ones.
German Shorthaired Pointer Lifespan: Closing Thoughts
German Shorthaired Pointers usually live between 12 and 14 years.
However, the German Shorthaired Pointer’s life expectancy depends on different factors, such as health issues.
Common health problems in this intelligent breed include bloating, hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and von Willebrand’s disease, among many others.
Some of these health issues can be treated with medication, while others progress over time and can’t be cured.
Lastly, I want to mention that the lifestyle of these extremely active dogs and their active families increases their risk of injuries.
Generally, a German Shorthaired Pointer can run without issues and participate in organized dog sports, unlike other dogs, but accidents can happen. Therefore, watch over your German Shorthaired Pointer when spending time outside.
Pet parents can join the American Kennel Club for more information about this German bird dog.