German Wirehaired Pointer

The Intelligent Friendly Hunting Dog with Many Skills and Lots of Energy

German Wirehaired Pointer

The Intelligent German Wirehaired Pointer is a Friendly Hunting Dog with Many Skills and Lots of Energy

This lively, jovial canine is an excellent working dog and family companion. Exceedingly loyal, the German Wirehaired Pointer is friendly with people he knows, but somewhat aloof with strangers. Originally developed to be a "multitasking" dog for hunters that wanted more than a pointing dog, German Wirehaired Pointers have subsequently developed into excellent pets, as well, as long as you provide plenty of mental and physical exercise.


Although named a "pointer," the German Wirehaired Pointer is actually a multitasker. Why? Because German hunters had pointers – and they wanted dogs that did more than just point. They wanted them to retrieve, too. Because of that, they began to develop the German Wirehaired Pointer in the late 1800s. The result was a versatile, rugged dog that is blessed with an excellent nose, and well-developed pointing and retrieving skills, as well. Even better, the German Wirehaired Pointer does all of these things from both land and water.

The German Wirehaired Pointer is somewhat different from the German Shorthaired Pointer because of coat and size. The German Wirehaired Pointer is slightly larger than the German Shorthaired Pointer, with a longer, larger body and different head shape and temperament. The breed was developed from a number of breeds that almost certainly included German Shorthair, the Polish Water Dog, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, the Foxhound and the Pudelpointer.

The American Kennel Club recognized the German Wirehaired Pointer as a member of its Sporting Group in 1959; the breed is still popular, with a ranking of 69 among some 200 registered breeds.

Deutsch Drahthaar or German Wirehaired Pointer?

There is some confusion; many believe the German Wirehaired Pointer and Deutsch Drahthaar to be the same breed – including the Kennel Club – but the German Breed Club, the Verein Deutsch Drahthaar (VDD) has control of the Deutsch Drahthaar worldwide and disagrees. This has been a subject of debate ever since the American Kennel Club began to register the Deutsch Drahthaar as the German Wirehaired Pointer in the late 1950s.

Why the debate?

Many who breed German Wirehaired Pointers state that if you trace the German Wirehaired Pointer's pedigree back far enough, you'll find the German-registered Deutsch Drahthaar. Assuming that there are no genetic differences between the German Wirehaired Pointer and the Deutsch Drahthaar (not known, but assumed by many), the difference then falls to the debate between breeders as to what the German Wirehaired Pointer and Deutsch Drahthaar are.

What is known is that the "versatile hunting dog" design and standard was established as described above in the 1800s. The Deutsch Drahthaar is mentally and physically tough; can point and retrieve; has a strong nose facilitating its excellent tracking and flushing skills; and is aggressive enough to bring down game yet calm enough to be a good family dog. They thus developed the best breed stock from the above breeds as listed and possibly others.

The determined breeders were carefully in control of the breed – and have been to this day. They established the Verein Deutsch Drahthaar, the club devoted to the breed in Germany, in 1902. Carefully selecting the best breeding stock was the goal, under strict and rigid supervision with demanding breeding standards. Today, the VDD still maintains the breed standard, registers litters, and uses registration cards.

Some 50 years later, in the early 1970s, the VDD subgroup known as "Group North America (VDDGNA) took root in the United States. These breeders, too, conformed to the VDD breed standards and testing developed in Germany. The German Deutsch Drahthaar club of America was formed in 1953, and in 1959, that name was changed to the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America, at which point, the breed could be registered to the AKC.

What does all of this mean?

While these dogs are basically treated as the same in physical appearance, hunting ability, and temperament – especially in Europe – some countries, like the US, have different breed standards and breeding regulations so that there is a difference between the German Wirehaired Pointer and the Deutsch Drahthaar.

Most essentially, the Deutsch Drahthaar can be registered as a German Wirehaired Pointer and be interbred, but dogs interbred as German Wirehaired Pointers outside the VDD regulations cannot be registered as Deutsch Drahthaars.


Muscular and of medium size, the German Wirehaired Pointer is longer than it is tall; it has rounded ears and a long, straight muzzle. In the US, the tail is usually docked, although this is illegal in most of Europe. The coat is dense in winter, and thin in summer, with a wiry, water-repellent, weather-resistant outer coat that is flat, harsh, and lies straight. Length is about 2 inches or 5.8 cm long. Hair on the forehead, beard and whiskers is slightly longer to provide protection to the face, and coat colors are white and liver, with ticking, spotted, or roan. Occasionally, the coat is solid liver. The head is usually solid liver with or without white blaze, and ears as well are liver. In adulthood, German Wirehaired Pointers stand between 22 and 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh 60 to 70 pounds.


Intelligent, active, eager to learn and very loyal, the German Wirehaired Pointer is a working dog that likes to have something to do. Socialize as early as possible to have a pleasant, obedient dog. German Wirehaired Pointers can sometimes be willful, especially if the owner doesn't quite know how to handle this very intelligent and capable breed. Therefore, it's a good idea to put your puppy in obedience school as soon as you get it home, at about eight weeks.

If you hunt, you'll have no better dog as your companion. This dog can do everything – track, point, retrieve – on and in both land and water. Very steady and calm, and lively and vigorous at the same time, this is an excellent companion and guard dog for the entire family. (Do try to exhaust some your pet's rambunctious energy, because despite its jovial personality, you will indeed find yourself with a lot on your hands if you don't tire your very active dog out at the end of the day.)

Proper Environment

This is not a dog for apartment living. Your pet needs a lot of exercise so that its naturally calm nature can come out at the end of the day. If you don't hunt, you can go jogging with your pet, or swimming. This breed absolutely loves to swim and retrieve.


Although German Wirehaired Pointers are generally healthy, they can be prone to hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, entropion (an eyelid disorder), and von Willebrand disease (similar to hemophilia in humans). Your breeder should readily give you information that your puppy's parents have elbow and hip scores of fair, good, or excellent ranking from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, and certification from the Canine Eye Registered Foundation that your puppy's eyes are healthy. Most of these dogs rarely develop these disorders thanks to the prevalence of good breeding practices, but should this happen, your dog can still live a very good life. Average life expectancy for German Wirehaired Pointers is 12 to 14 years.


Brush twice a week with a firm bristle brush, and strip occasionally. Bathe only if necessary; the coat is hard and should be stripped just to make it look neat. Ears should be checked to make sure they're clean and check feet whenever your pet has been outdoors for a significant length of time.


German Wirehaired Pointer.

Retrieved October 6, 2015.

German Wirehaired Pointer. R

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German Wirehaired Pointer (German Wire-haired Pointing Dog).

Retrieved October 6, 2015.

German Wirehaired Pointer.

Retrieved October 6, 2015.

German Wirehaired Pointer (Deutsch Drahthaar) Central – GWPC.

Retrieved October 6, 2015.

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