German Shorthaired Pointer

A Well-Muscled, High-Energy Gun Dog that Excels in Hunting

German Shorthaired Pointer

A Well-Muscled, High-Energy Gun Dog that Excels in Hunting With a Loving, Easy-Going Nature that’s Wonderful for Children.

If you own a German Shorthaired Pointer, you'll be one of relatively few people who can say that your dog has webbed feet. It's not a cross between a duck and a dog, of course, since the German Shorthaired Pointer is every inch a dog – and every bit as affectionate and marvelous a family dog as any other "family breed." One of the things that sets the German Shorthaired Pointer apart, though, is its webbed feet.


It is assumed that the German Shorthaired Pointer was developed in Germany during the 1800s, specifically as a hunting dog. According to the American Kennel Club, its ancestry comes from a breed called the German Bird Dog, and may also have ties to other Pointer breeds like the English Pointer. In addition, the dogs' heritage may contain ties to Foxhounds, German Tracking Hounds, and Italian Pointers. Accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1930, the first showing of the German Shorthaired Pointer was in 1941. Nineteenth-century German breeders' efforts have produced a dog that is an excellent companion and hunting dog, easy to get along with, friendly, cheerful, very intelligent and obedient.


Lean, long, and compact, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a perfect specimen of a so-called "gun dog" or hunting dog. Well-muscled and ready for action, these dogs stand 21 to 25 inches at the shoulder, and weigh between 45 and 70 pounds.

The outer coat is short and "hard” – flat with an undercoat that is very dense. The outer coat makes the German Shorthaired Pointer's fur water-resistant so that he or she can stay warm even in cold climates. Common colors are dark brown, black and white, brown and white, or black. Roan which is characterized by heavily mottled color mixed with a scant flecking of white is also seen frequently in these dogs. Black is disqualified in American Kennel Club sanctioned shows as a color for show dogs, as is any kind of sandy or yellow coloring. Often, the head is a nearly solid color, while the body is totally white or white speckled with color.

Compact, lean, and well-muscled, your pet may appear to be lanky even though he or she is really quite solid. The eyes are usually brown, the ears are long and low-hanging, and the tail may be docked, although this isn't always allowed; some countries have prohibited this practice. As a true "Pointer," the German Shorthaired Pointer easily assumes a classic Pointer stance, with the nose, head, and straight-pointing tail forming a straight line.


This affectionate, very easy-going dog is very high energy and makes a great pet for children. However, this breed is very active and needs lots of exercise, although this won't be a problem in a dynamic, rambunctious family. As long as you participate in lots of outdoor activity and you take your canine family member with you, he or she will be perfectly happy to play and romp as you do. Your pet is very agreeable and wants to listen to you, so you can train your pet to follow commands very easily.

That said, your dog is also very independent, and extremely intelligent. If you don't keep your pet occupied and give him or her enough mental and physical stimulation, you could find that your pet becomes destructive or hyperactive – not because he or she is misbehaving, necessarily, but simply because he or she needs something to do. This lovely, gentle creature is not destructive by nature. Keep him or her busy enough and provide enough companionship at all times, and you'll have a very well-behaved, harmless pet, indeed.

Proper Environment

If you're going to get a German Shorthaired Pointer, you need to have a lifestyle that supports his or her very active temperament. If you are someone who likes to sit at home in front of a cozy fire and read a book, the German Shorthaired Pointer is not for you. If, however, you are someone who thrives outdoors in all seasons (including in cold weather), to hunt, run, hike, and other challenging activities, and you want a canine companion who is hardy enough and has the physicality to withstand just about any environment, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a perfect dog for you.

This dog works especially well in rough terrain and actually needs to be off lead at least some of the time for the best exercise. If you can't take your pet hunting, hiking, walking, or somewhere out-ofdoors where he or she can be off lead at least some of the time for more vigorous exercise, make sure you take him or her to a dog park where he or she can run free. Leashed walking is certainly necessary, too, and will help cement for your pet that you are indeed the “alpha dog,” the one in charge. By its nature, however, the German Shorthaired Pointer is the perfect hunting dog and therefore needs at least some off-leash exercise.

The German Shorthaired Pointer also makes a perfect family dog. He or she has an excellent temperament for children – gentle, patient, and, if need be at the hands of oblivious children, long-suffering. Your pet is also very affectionate and will love you and your family with absolute devotion. Your pet makes an excellent guard dog, and will protect your family without hesitation. He or she is bold and courageous without training, simply as a natural instinct. Even though the dog is absolutely devoted as a pet, it can also work very independently apart from you as a hunting companion, for example, tracking game if need be, out of your sight. Your pet's excellent sense of smell makes it a superb tracking dog as well.

Other "Prey" Pets in the Household

The German Shorthaired Pointer is very intelligent and obedient. Although it is by its nature a hunting dog or bird-dog and therefore may initially be unsafe around small animals (especially birds or other "prey" animals like rabbits), it is actually so obedient and intelligent that you can usually train your pet to leave your small animals alone over time. Most German Shorthaired Pointers will do this without hesitation, although it's wise to keep an eye on your puppy or young German Shorthaired Pointer until you know he or she will leave your “prey” pets alone.

Health The German Shorthaired Pointer is very hardy and healthy, as you might expect from a typical roughand- tumble hunting dog. It can be subject to some breed-related disorders like hip dysplasia and in some cases epilepsy, but in general is a very healthy dog. Make sure as with any dog that spends a lot of time outside that you take special care to keep your pet hydrated and well-fed. Contact with game animals can cause bacterial spread and infection, so regularly-timed visits to the veterinarian should be part of your pet's life, to both keep abreast of any problems that might develop and to take care of those that do appear. This dog’s lifespan is long, about 12 to 15 years.

Your pet likely has long, floppy ears, and can be prone to ear infections. Check and clean them regularly, again visiting the veterinarian if you do see signs of infection.


Your pet sheds constantly but relatively lightly, and the coat is short. You need to groom very little, just brushing occasionally. Bathe your pet only if necessary.


AKC MEET THE BREEDS®: German Shorthaired Pointer.

Retrieved June 22, 2012.

All About GSPs.

Retrieved June 22, 2012.

German Shorthaired Pointer.

Retrieved June 22, 2012.

German Shorthaired Pointer (German Short-haired Pointing Dog) (Deutsch Kurzhaar) (GSP).

Retrieved June 22, 2012.

German Shorthaired Pointers.

Retrieved June 22, 2012.

Questions people often ask about the German Shorthaired Pointer...

  • +Is the German Shorthaired Pointer easy to train?

  • +How much exercise does a German Shorthaired Pointer need?

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