The German Shorthaired Pointer’s lineage comes from crossing the Spanish pointer with the German bird dog, and later on, the English pointer. He is officially registered in the Kennel Club as a gundog.
Gentle and easy-going, the German Shorthaired Pointer is an energetic dog breed ideal for an equally active owner. He is an affectionate dog breed that loves to be with people and enjoys the outdoors with his family.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a low maintenance dog. He is a moderate shedder but only requires weekly brushing. Being a high-energy level canine, he requires one and a half hour of exercise and mental stimulation.
Whilst not proven, it is believed that the German short-haired pointer descended from the Spanish pointer, German bird dog, and a local German scent hound. It was originally bred to be a multipurpose hunting dog in the mid- to late-nineteenth century.
In the late 1880s, records show that German breeders continually refined the GSP to develop a breed that is elegant, with improved stance, keen intelligence, and effective scenting skills. Through the process of selective breeding, the English pointer was later added to the mix, along with the foxhound.
However, the breeding programme was disrupted when World War II broke out. As a result, most breeders hid their German short-haired pointers, whilst some of the best GSPs were sent to Yugoslavia for safekeeping. After the war, access to Yugoslavia became impossible, which means German breeders had to start redeveloping the earliest version of the breed to what it is today.
In 1930, the GSP was officially recognised by the American Kennel Club and later by the United Kennel Club in 1948. The German short-haired pointer is said to have contributed to the development of the German wire-haired pointer.
Appearance and Grooming
One of the most adaptable sporting breeds, the German short-haired pointer is a stylish and regal hunting dog that is also a superb family companion. It is slightly smaller than most pointer breeds, standing 53–64 centimetres at the withers and weighing 45–70 pounds. This dog breed is described as having a square body being slightly longer than it is tall. The GSP has a chiselled head and dark almond-shaped eyes that express intelligence and humour. It has a large brown nose with wide nostrils and broad ears that drop and lie flat against the head. It has a graceful outline, sturdy quarters, and an athletic physique that allows for smooth movement, light and ground covering.
The GSP's skin is tight, sporting a short water-resistant coat that is thick and rough to the touch. Its coat is slightly longer on the underside of its tail and the back of the edges of the hips or haunches, whilst shorter and thinned on the head and ears. The German short-haired pointer wears coat colours such as solid liver, liver and white, liver patches, white ticked or liver roan. Other colours are not acceptable by breed standards.
When it comes to grooming needs, the German short-haired pointer is low-maintenance. It's a moderate shedder and only needs weekly brushing using a firm bristle to keep dead hair under control. Bathing must be done only as needed. Frequent bathing can remove its natural, water-repellent oils, which can cause for its hair to break down. Rub your GSP with chamois to keep its coat's healthy gleam. Check ears regularly for signs of infection and irritation. Brushing the dog's teeth weekly will keep away bad breath and prevent the build-up of tartar. Also trim its nails, especially when they start making a clicking sound on the hard floors.
Temperament and Intelligence
Bred as a multipurpose hunting dog, the German short-haired pointer is a loving and devoted family companion. This breed is smart, friendly, and sometimes overly enthusiastic about everything it does. The GSP loves being around people and will like nothing more than being outdoors with friends and its family engaging in some activity such as a long walk, hike, jog, or a game of Frisbee. It is best suited for a family who is equally active. When the GSP lacks exercise, it can get agitated and develop bad behaviours. It also doesn't like to be left alone and can develop separation anxiety.
This dog breed is excellent with children, preferably with older ones, since toddlers may easily get knocked over, which means interaction should always be supervised. The German short-haired pointer is an excellent watchdog and will not hesitate to alert by barking when someone is approaching the house. The breed gets on well with other dogs, but with its strong hunting instinct, it is not always good around small pets such as cats or rabbits.
When it comes to training, the GSP is a people-pleaser, so providing instruction and guidance will be easy. Although it does not respond well to harsh discipline, the German short-haired pointer will need an owner who can display an air of authority and is able to provide a firm, calm, and consistent training. Early socialisation will help ensure that the GSP will grow to be a more flexible and adaptable dog.
Nutrition and Feeding
A typical serving for an adult German short-haired pointer is 2.5–3 cups of premium dry dog food daily, split into two meals. The ideal nutritional requirement including the frequency of feeding will depend on the breed's age, weight, metabolism, activity level, and health. If in doubt about what and how much to feed a GSP, make sure to consult a veterinarian.
Below is a guide to the typical calorie needs of an adult German short-haired pointer that weighs 55 pounds.
- Senior and less active: up to 1,250 calories daily
- Typical adult: up to 1,400 calories daily
- Physically active/working dog: up to 1,570 calories daily
The German short-haired pointer is a medium-to-large dog, which means it should be fed good-quality dog food and specially made for medium/large dogs.
Health and Exercise
The German short-haired pointer is generally considered a tough and sturdy dog. The average lifespan for this breed is estimated to be between twelve and fifteen years. However, like all dogs, some hereditary health issues exist. These health issues include hip dysplasia, lymphoedema, entropion, von Willebrand disease, bloat/torsion, and even some forms of cancer.
When it comes to exercise, it is of paramount importance that the GSP be given an adequate amount since it is a tireless and energetic dog. Take your dog for a brisk, long walk daily or have it accompany you on a jog or run. The German short-haired pointer becomes restless and destructive when underexercised. It is also important to make sure that it is well within a secure, fenced backyard that is not lower than six feet. The GSP tends to escape by jumping over fences.
Cost of Ownership
Once you find a German short-haired pointer breeder that you are happy with, you might have to wait for them to have a litter available. A purebred German short-haired puppy will cost about £650–£850. Feeding your dog high quality food can set you back another £40-£60 a month. You would also need to factor in the initial cost of buying basic dog accessories and equipment such as bed, food bowls, lead, collar, and toys. These can amount to £150-£200 depending on the brand and quality. Grooming can be another expense if you choose to use the services of professional groomers, which is within the region of £30-£40.
You also need to be prepared when your GSP suddenly falls ill or gets into an accident. To offset some bills, it is recommended that you pay for a pet insurance, which can cost from £25 a month for a basic time-limited cover up to £60 a month for a lifetime one. The prices can vary depending on your dog’s health and age, your location, and the level of cover you opt for.
Other outgoings to consider are veterinary expenses that may not be included in a pet insurance coverage such as vaccinations, routine checks, neutering or spaying, and annual boosters, which can have a combined cost of £800-£1000 annually. On average, the monthly cost for raising a German Shorthaired Pointer is £70-£100. This is exclusive of the type of pet insurance policy and other expenses such as dog walking service or dog day care.
German Shorthaired Pointer Breed Highlights
- The German short-haired pointer is a loving, devoted, and intelligent family dog.
- The GSP has boundless energy, hence it is suitable for outdoorsy families.
- It tends to suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods.
- Its grooming is low-maintenance since it has a short, glossy, and water-resistant coat.
- This dog breed is great with children, but preferably with older ones.
- Only a few litters of GSP puppies are available a year, hence it’s a rare breed.
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