German Shorthair Pointer – An All Around Hunting Dog
It can basically perform all the roles of a gun dog with a bit more to spare.
The German Shorthair Pointer like many other hunting breed dogs are descendants of the Spanish Pointer and bred with other hound and tracking dogs, like the Foxhound and the English Pointer, to be what it is today.
The German Shorthair Pointer studbook was first established in 1870, more than 140 years ago.
Power and Enthusiasm
The German Shorthair Pointer is a powerful and fast hunting dog with a keen sense of smell and a love for all things hunting. Their short flat coat has a water resistant undercoat of ‘guard hair’ to keep the dog warm during harsh winter weather.
In order to camouflage itself in the undergrowth or snow, the color of a typical German Shorthair Pointer is correctly known as liver color, and not chocolate or tan, with white tipping on its body and a solid color on the head. In the US, any black coloring is frowned upon as unacceptable according to the AKC, but in Europe the GSP can also be black with white tipping.
Easy to groom, the German Shorthair Pointer requires minimal hair grooming but special attention should be paid to thorns and parasites that could attach themselves to the dog after an outing.
If you live in warmer climates, a German Shorthair Pointer would be a better choice than some other longer hair hunting dog breeds such as the English Setter.
The characteristics of a good German Shorthair Pointer:
HEAD - Should be wide from ear to ear, long and slanting from the top of the skull to the setting on of the nose; cheek bones prominent.
EARS - Set low and thin in texture, soft and velvety.
NOSE – Broad at the base to carry larger animals, mouth large and jaws level.
NECK—The neck should be very strong, but long and slightly arched, meeting shoulders well knit into the back, which should be straight and joining a wide loin. There should be great depth of heart room, very deep brisket, narrow chest rather than otherwise, shoulders long and slanting.
LEGS AND FEET—Should be as nearly like the Foxhound’s as possible. There should be really no difference, as they must be straight, the knees big, and the bone should be of a good size down to the toes. The webbed feet should be very round and cat-shaped.
HIND-QUARTERS—A great feature in the German Shorthair Pointer is his hind-quarters. He cannot be too long in the haunch or strong in the stifle, which should be well bent, and the muscles in the second thigh of a good Pointer are always strong. The hocks may be straight and the shank bones below the hock should be short.
TAIL - In many countries especially Europe, docking of the tail is prohibited. However, should tail docking be acceptable, it should be docked at about about 40% of its full length or after the caudal vertebrae starts to curl. When it is pointing, the tail should point straight in line with its body and not curl.
Size of a German Shorthair Pointer:
Height (measured at the withers) : Male 23-25″, Female 21-23″
Weight : Male 55 – 70lbs, Female 45 – 60lbs
The German Shorthair Pointer is also a great family dog and will also perform the role of a guard dog. It is affectionate, intelligent and fits in well with families with children. One has to be cautious though as due to its size and exuberance, it can easily knock a small child over.
They crave structure and will be faithful and obedient to a firm leader. They respond well to someone who is in charge but kind and understanding at the same time. Harsh discipline is counter productive in this breed of dog.
Lots of Exercise
This is an athletic hunting dog with a huge amount of energy that requires a lot of exercise. Long walks off leash of minimum an hour to two hours a day is required otherwise it will become restless and disruptive. If you cannot provide your German Shorthair Pointer with ample stimulation and exercise on a daily basis, this is not a dog for you.
However, if you are an active hunter, this is the perfect dog for your hunting trips as it is powerful, keen, tireless, versatile and eager to please.
Dog obedience training is also important for this dog especially if you have other small animals living in the same house such as cats and rabbits. It needs to be trained to know what is and what is not off limits; when it is acceptable to hunt and to listen to your commands.
As with most hunting breed dogs, German Shorthair pointers are prone to hip dysplasia, eye diseases, and skin disorders. Their gum and teeth are also prone to bacterial infections if they carry game a lot in their mouths, so regular dental checks are necessary.
On the whole though, the German Shorthair Pointer is a robust dog that has a life span of 12 -15 years.