The eager to please, German Shorthaired Pointer is an excellent all-purpose hunting dog. This medium-sized hunter was developed in Germany and was known as the “Kurzhaar,” which means “short-hair” in German.
Recognized by their solid liver or liver and white coloring, these dogs have made an enormous impression on sports enthusiasts across the world.
German Shorthaired Pointer At A Glance
- Breed: German Shorthaired Pointer
- Temperament: Highly Intelligent, Willing to Please, Friendy
- D.H.T Outdoor Ranking: 6/10
- Worldwide Popularity: High
- Breed Origin: Germany
General Information And Breed History
The German Shorthaired Pointer roots can be traced back to the 1600s when it is believed german breeders crossed Spanish Pointers and Bloodhounds to create an all-purpose hunting dog, watchdog, and companion.
But the first studbook wasn’t created until 1870, so it’s simply educated speculation. This early German bird dog was heavier, broader, and less sleek than the current breed.
However, they were still good at pointing, retrieving, tracking both day and night, and hunting a multitude of different game animals. Game birds, possum, rabbit, raccoon, fox, and even deer were all on the list.
In the early 1800s, two remarkable dogs drew prominent acclaim at the German Derby. Nero and Treff performed so well that word of their incredible abilities spread and was highly sought after for breeding.
The 19th century saw the focus of their breeding turn toward enhancing their hunting qualities. The Pointer was added to the mix to improve their gait and sense of smell.
Adding a pointer into the mix made the breed thinner and faster, improved their nose, and tracking and retrieving abilities. Prince Albrecht zu Solms-Braunfels was central to the early development of the breed.
The German Shorthaired Pointer made its debut in the US in the 1920s. The American Kennel Club didn’t recognize it until 1930. The second world war saw many breeders hide their best dogs and their gold and other riches in Yugoslavia for safekeeping and prevent them from being confiscated.
This breed is a highly decorated one, winning 75 consecutive American Kennel Club titles. One dog named CJ even won the most coveted prize at the 140th Westminster Kennel Club Dog show in 2016, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The German Shorthaired Pointer has an air of aristocracy to him with his well-balanced and symmetrical form. His look screams of power, stamina, and agility. This lean and muscular dog isn’t just another buff babe; he’s also intelligent and eager to please working dog.
The German Shorthaired Pointer has a clean-cut head of adequate proportions. Their medium-sized, almond-shaped eyes portray their intelligence and are dark and expressive of their emotions. They have broadly set ears that are high on their heads but are floppy.
The skull is relatively broad, with a side arch and slightly rounded top, and their occipital bones are non-obtrusive. Their fore-face slopes gradually, rising from the nose to the forehead. Their powerful jaw sits in a scissor bite.
The jawline rises gradually without a definitive stop except when viewed from the side, where the eyebrows produce a visual stop in the line. Their muzzle length equals the length of the soul, making it ideal for carrying game.
A brown nose sports large open nostrils necessary for catching the scent of its prey. Their lips are full and deep. The neck of the German Shorthaired Pointer is long enough to give ease in reaching for game. It slopes downward, with a muscular nape that widens toward the shoulder.
Their chest was deep that reaches the elbow. You’ll see their back is short but strong and straight with a slight rise from the tail’s base to the withers. Their loin is strong, with broad hips that have a slight forward tilt.
In all, they are square in appearance or slighting longer than tall. Their bone structure is proportional to the body, allowing them to excel in rough terrain.
The German Shorthaired Pointer can be found with either a solid liver or with liver and white-colored coat. The fur is short, thick, and feels rough to the touch.
They have softer, shorter fur on their head and their long floppy ears. Longer hair can be found on the underside of their tail and the back of their backsides.
Legs & Feet
The shoulders of a German Shorthaired Pointer are sloped and strong but highly mobile. Their laid-back blades lie flat and at almost a 45-degree angle.
They have long upper arms, which are almost parallel when viewed from the front, and their firm, short pasterns are nearly vertical. They have compact feet that are close-knit, round, or spoon-shaped.
Their pads are hard and thick, which serves them well on rough terrain, with well-arched toes and heavy nails. They may have their dewclaws removed.
Tail & Hindquarters
The German Shorthaired Pointer’s tail sits high and firm on the rump, arching in a graceful curve and docked to 40% of its original length.
Their strong, muscular thighs lead to well-bent stifles and angular hocks.
The angulation of the stifle and hocks gives this breed increased balance, drive, and traction.
Differences Between Female And Male
One identifiable difference between the males and females of this breed is the distinction between their fore-faces’ slope. The gradually sloping fore-face rising from the nose to the forehead is more pronounced in the male than in females.
- Life Expectancy: 10 -12 years
- Male Height (at the withers): 23 – 25 inches (58cm- 63cm)
- Female Height (at the withers: 21 – 23 inches (53cm – 58cm)
- Male Weight: 55 -70 Lbs (25kg – 31kg)
- Female Weight: 45-60 Lbs (20kg – 27kg)
Recommended Dog House Dimensions
The recommended dog house dimensions for the German Shorthaired Pointer can be found on the dog house dimensions charts for 440 recognized breeds which include this dog breed. But to save you time, here are our dog house minimum size recommendations:
- Door Height: 28 inches (71 cm)
- Door Width: 17.5 inches (45 cm)
- Inside Ceiling Height: 33.8 inches (86 cm)
- Interior House Length: 55 inches (140 cm)
- Interior House Width: 35 inches (89 cm)
How The German Shorthaired Pointer Reacts To
The German Shorthaired Pointer is an affectionate and loving dog. They tend to like children, but some can be a bit wary of them.
German Shorthaired Pointer youngsters are very high energy, though, and you may find they’re a little too much for smaller children. It’s best to have supervised play dates between young children and young pups.
These dogs are happy social dogs and do very well in the company of other dogs.
Unfortunately for cats, the German Shorthaired Pointer has a powerful prey drive. A powerful prey drive means that they may take chase and harm them unless they’ve been trained not to.
Again, their strong drive to hunt prey makes them a poor match with small animals, rodents, and `birds. It is not a good idea for their safety to house them with small animals, and close supervision would be required if in their vicinity.
- Breed Average Puppy Cost:$800 USD (the price of a puppy can go up to $5,000)
- Starter Costs: $3,700 USD
- Anticipated Annual Care Costs: $1,700 USD
This is our estimate for initial purchase, shots, and a few things like food, a bed, leash, that sort of thing. Basically, this will get you set up but the costs will be greater once the dog is old enough to get spayed or neutered.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a bundle of energy, so they need plenty of activity every day. Vigorous exercise twice a day should suffice, but more is even better. If not adequately stimulated mentally and physically, they can become destructive and act out.
What kind of exercise does the German Shorthaired Pointer like? Almost anything that includes their favorite humans. They adore hunting as it is in their nature for it, but they also love swimming and a good fetch game.
Their love of the hunt can be channeled into other sports as well, such as agility, field trials, and dock diving. Their athleticism allows them to excel at almost anything they try.
Grooming & Coat Info
The smooth, flat coat of the German Shorthaired Pointer is very easy to take care of. A once over with a brush or glove every few days will keep your dog’s coat in top shape.
Like most dogs, they shed more during certain times of the year, and it’s essential to keep up with brushing during these times to keep the stray hairs at bay.
Their short hair tends to stick in everything like little needles and is difficult to remove! Bathing is only occasionally required.
Their ears should be regularly checked to prevent any infections. Floppy ears are adorable, but they tend to be prone to infection. Nails should be kept short.
Health and Nutrition
When searching for a breeder of German shorthaired pointers, make sure that the breeder is a responsible one, and gets their stock screened for any health issues.
The German shorthaired pointer can also suffer from bloat which is a life threatening health condition.
German shorthaired pointers do well on high quality dog food. An adult GSP will do just fine on a morning and evening meal, while puppies will have to be fed more than twice a day due to their activity level and the fact that they are growing.
A German shorthaired pointer should never be fed after a vigorous physical activity nor should they do any physical activity for an hour after they eat.
These “smarty-paws” are very quick learners. However, they do require a firm owner who can provide consistent, gentle, and patient training. Their sensitivity does best with a reward-based training system from an owner that gives control and leadership.
Because they are so smart, they also need short, entertaining training sessions as they will lose interest if they grow tired of tedious, repetitive training. A bored dog may also begin to challenge the owner for dominance.
You may find that the German Shorthaired Pointer will push the boundaries from the age of 6 months to 3 years before settling into their role in the family “pack” As with all dogs, early socialization is vital.
The strong prey drive in the German Shorthaired Pointer may cause him to see all the small neighborhood critters, such as backyard birds, squirrels, skunks, rabbits, as potential prey!
Even small neighborhood pets may fall into this category, prompting this guy to give in to his instincts and take chase.
For his protection and the neighborhood’s safety, a good, stable, high-fenced yard is most suitable for this dog breed.
This way, your dog is safe to enjoy the outdoors with less risk of running off to indulge his basic instincts.
- The Reader’s Digest Illustrated Book of Dogs: Second Edition. Random House
- American Kennel Club
- American Kennel Club – 10 Things To Know About German Shorthaired Pointers
- Pet MD
- Canadian Kennel Club
- Encyclopedia Brittanica