three German Shorthaired Pointer dogs
Photography by: ©BranstonandTwiglet | Getty Images

German Shorthaired Pointer

Meet the German Short-haired Pointer! This sociable, athletic breed makes a great hunting companion and family friend.
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Sociable, eager to please and tremendously athletic, the muscular GSP has a heart for the hunt. He also makes a fine family friend. An all-purpose gun dog, the breed has strong scenting powers and boundless curiosity. His energy matches up nicely with active, outdoor-loving families or singles.

Hunting in his history

Throughout the late 19th century, the Germans bred the GSP as an all-purpose hunting dog. After all, why use one dog breed to hunt, another to point and yet another to retrieve, when one breed could do it all?! Developed with versatility in mind, the GSP was bred to hunt on both land and water, point, trail injured game and search out varied game. Primarily a bird dog, the GSP hunted quail, pheasant and waterfowl but also deer, opossum and raccoon. With his phenomenal endurance and strong field instincts, the GSP soon became an exceptional hunting companion. Unlike many of his hound counterparts who hunted in packs, the GSP was developed to work with man alone.

Busy. Busy. More busy.

Today, GSPs continue to excel in hunting, but they also shine in tracking, companionship and keeping their property free of vermin, too. As puppies especially, GSPs have an almost boundless energy. The pups need both structured and unstructured outlets for their playful get-up-and-go makeups. The GSP usually takes naturally to swimming, hiking, and sports like tracking or flyball.

German Shorthaired Pointer in water
Suggested Breed Quote: “A body in motion
stays in motion!” Photography by: ©Tierfotoagentur | Alamy Stock Image

A well-exercised GSP makes a lovely housedog. He can tolerate both cold and warm weather, but he isn’t meant to be left outdoors alone for long periods. If he isn’t included in family fun and sports, he’ll likely devise creative sports of his own. “What do you mean you didn’t want me to dig up all your sprinkler heads? They’d taken over the yard!”

Traditionally, GSPs may excel in sports over “academics,” but they’re still an intelligent breed. GSPs can shine in obedience, but families will need to keep lessons stimulating and non-
routine. While hunting is the crowd favorite among GSPs, other movement sports such as dock jumping, agility, disc dog and rally are likely to hold his attention.

GSPs usually get along with other dogs; many chase cats or other small animals. With children, young GSPs show (too much, at times!) exuberance, but they’re almost always well-intentioned. Some GSPs evidence a watchdog gene. Most engage agreeably with new visitors, particularly if the guests have good ball-throwing arms!

Point to the Facts

Weight: 55 to 70 pounds (male), 45 to 60 pounds (female)

Life span: 10 to 12 years

Coat: The short, thick coat has a slightly rough feel.

Color: Solid liver or a mix of liver and white

Ears: The breed’s ears’ shape and fold may inhibit airflow, sometimes allowing for infections. Regular cleaning with mild ear solution is beneficial.

Equipment: Plenty of tough, durable retrieving toys

Grooming: Frequent brushing keeps the coat in good shape, but in general the breed isn’t high maintenance (for grooming, at least!).

Shedding: The GSP sheds, and his hair’s texture means it often sticks to furniture and carpeting.

Best for: Hunters, active singles. Busy families with a true commitment to exercising the dog daily.

Possible health issues: Canine hip dysplasia

About the author:

Originally an attorney, Lynn Hayner writes about dogs and law, in no particular order. Lynn lives in Waco, Texas, with her family, a rescued cat and her German Shepherd Dog, Anja.

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11 thoughts on “German Shorthaired Pointer”

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  4. Kathleen Bondurant

    I have 3 rescued GSP’S now and have had them all my life (61 years). My “older sister” was a GSP who allowed me to dress her up, run around the ranch and burrow into the haystack. My 3 guys now all “play” piano just like my students. Since I have become disabled, Snapper (my black and white Arkwright German Shorthaired Pointer) gets me up for dinner, MY walk and wakes me for my meds. Who needs a clock when you’ve got a GSP. They are excellent travelers, my oldest, Bruce, loved staying at Lowes Hotels with room service and clean sheets. They also can be quite sensitive. Bruce knew my other dog Elvis was dying of lung cancer three months before it happened (age 7), and was truly heartbroken and depressed. It has taken YEARS for him to recover. My GSP’S have normally lived from 12-16 years. They are capable of learning just about anything if you give them the chance; are good protectors and invaluable family members.

  5. We have had GSP dogs for over 37 years! Best breed out there in my opinion! We have the invisible fence because this breed needs a ton of exercise! Highly trainable but you need to be consistent! Mine doesn’t counter surf nor does he get on any furniture! Hard to believe, I know, but it’s the truth!
    This breed loves everyone, too! Great with kids! My kids grew up with them and now my grandchildren are growing up with them!

  6. Pingback: Meet the German Shorthaired Pointer | ITS A NEW PETSTORE EVERYDAY

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