The German Shorthaired Pointer is loved by hunters and outdoor enthusiasts throughout the United States for its intelligence, endurance, and versatility. Also known as the German Shorthaired Pointing Dog and GSP, this breed loves going on adventures with its family and spending plenty of time outdoors. Keep reading to learn more about these steadfast and dynamic dogs.
The ancestry of the German Shorthaired Pointer can be traced back to the 1600s; however, the breed that we know today didn’t emerge until the 1800s. In 19th century Germany, hunters began breeding dogs in hopes of creating the perfect multipurpose hunting dog. These hunters wanted a dog that was a pointer, retriever, and tracker that could hunt on both land and water.
The German Shorthaired Pointer made its way to the United States in 1925 and was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1930. Today, the GSP is an accomplished sporting breed that excels in all types of competitions while still being a beloved family pet and hunting companion.
German Shorthaired Pointer Characteristics
Appearance & Coat
German Shorthaired Pointers are medium-to-large-sized dogs that usually weigh between 45 to 70 pounds and stand around 21 to 25 inches tall. Because this is a pointer breed, the German Shorthaired Pointer has a demeanor that is strong and alert. These dogs have athletic builds and floppy triangle ears that hang down. Like many other breeds, the GSP commonly has a docked tail that is short or medium length. When alert and pointing, the German Shorthaired Pointer will freeze with its tail upright or straight out.
These dogs have coats that are short, coarse, and wiry. They are typically easy to identify by their signature coat colors and markings. GSPs have coats that can be solid liver or liver and white in patterns that are patched, ticked, or roan. Despite having short coats, German Shorthaired Pointers shed moderately throughout the year and may not be a good fit for households with allergies.
The German Shorthaired Pointer has a temperament that is lively and friendly. This breed is great with kids and makes a wonderful family dog; however, the GSP’s high energy level is best suited for families with kids over the age of 7. German Shorthaired Pointers are very loyal and affectionate with their families. The GSP is a great watchdog as it’s very vigilant and protective of those it loves without becoming aggressive.
When bought from reputable breeders, German Shorthaired Pointers are generally very healthy dogs that live around 10 to 14 years. While they don’t have many health issues, GSPs are prone to some hereditary health conditions like subaortic stenosis and idiopathic epilepsy. These hereditary conditions make it all the more important to buy from reputable breeders who screen their dogs for health issues. Outside of these conditions, GSPs can be susceptible to common canine health problems like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, bloat, and Von Willebrand’s Disease.
Caring for a German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer’s Ideal Home
German Shorthaired Pointers do best with owners who are active and enjoy the outdoors. These dogs need homes where their owners can spend plenty of time with them, including them in activities and family outings. This breed can struggle with separation anxiety and doesn’t do well when left alone for extended periods of time. GSPs generally get along well with other dogs but due to their hunting background, may chase small pets like cats and rabbits.
Training Best Practices
The German Shorthaired Pointer is an intelligent, adaptable breed that learns quickly. These traits make the GSP easy to train. This breed is eager to please its family and responds well to positive reinforcement through praise, treats, and attention. That being said, GSPs may require some extra patience when training because of their high prey drives and bounds of energy. To prevent your GSP from losing interest during training, keep training short at around 15 minutes or less.
German Shorthaired Pointers are very active dogs with high energy and endurance. This breed needs regular physical and mental exercise every day to stay content. GSP owners may find themselves running low on energy before their dogs do. Fenced-in yards or dog parks where your GSP can run and play freely will help burn its energy without draining yours as well.
While the German Shorthaired Pointer’s energy may seem like too much for many households, owners who enjoy strenuous outdoor activities like jogging, trail running, backpacking, and hiking will find the GSP to be a perfect workout buddy. Once this breed has gotten enough exercise, it will be happy to quietly lounge with its family at home.
Grooming & Hygiene
German Shorthaired Pointers should be brushed about once a week to keep their skin and fur healthy. Regularly brushing your GSP during seasonal changes in the spring and fall will help minimize loose hair around your home and manage your dog’s heavy seasonal shedding.
If your GSP joins you swimming or fishing, always make sure to dry their ears out to prevent infections. Unless your GSP has gotten dirty playing outside, this breed will only need a bath once every few months. Like other breeds, routine nail trimming and good dental hygiene are important for your German Shorthaired Pointer’s health and comfort.
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