The German Shorthaired Pointer is a breed of a dog advanced in
the 1800s in Germany for hunting.///
Pheasant Hunting with Winnie
The breed is streamlined yet powerful with strong
hindquarters that make it able to move rapidly and turn quickly.
It has moderately long flop ears set high on the head. Its
muzzle is long, broad, and strong, allowing it to retrieve even
heavy game. The dog's profile should be straight or strongly
Roman nosed; any dished appearance to the profile is incorrect.
The eyes are generally brown, with darker eyes being desirable;
yellow or "bird of prey" eyes are a fault. The tail is commonly
docked, although this is now prohibited in some countries.
correct location for docking for GSP is after the caudal
vertebrae start to curl, leaving enough tail to let the dog
communicate through tail wagging and movement. The docked tail
should not be too long or too short but should balance the
appearance of the head and body. The GSP tail is carried at a
jaunty angle, not curled under. When the GSP is in classic point
stance, the tail should be held straight out from the body
forming a line with the pointing head and body. Like all German
pointers, GSP have webbed feet.
Coat and colour
The German Shorthaired Pointer's coat is short and flat with
a dense undercoat protected by stiff guard hairs making the coat
water resistant and allowing the dog to stay warm in cold
weather. The colour can be a dark brown, correctly referred to
in English as liver (incorrectly called chocolate or chestnut),
black (although any area of black is cause for disqualification
in American Kennel Club sanctioned shows), or either colour with
white. Commonly the head is a solid or nearly solid colour and
the body is speckled or "ticked" with liver and white, sometimes
with large patches of solid color called "saddles".
are also common, with or without patching. Solid liver and solid
black coats also occur, often with a small blaze of ticking or
white on the chest. While the German standard permits a slight
sandy coloring ("Gelber Brand") at the extremities, this
colouring is rare, and a dog displaying any yellow colouring is
disqualified in AKC and CKC shows. The colouring of the GSP
provides camouflage in the winter seasons. When standing next to
dead trees and in broken snow, the white and dark brown coat
makes the dog difficult to see.
Various breed standards set its height at the withers
anywhere between 21 and 25 inches, making this a medium breed.
Adults typically weigh from 45 to 70 lbs (22 to 32 kg), with the
female being usually slightly shorter and lighter than the male.
Since the German shorthaired pointer was developed to be a
dog suited to family life as well as a versatile hunter, the
correct temperament is that of an intelligent, bold, and
characteristically affectionate dog that is cooperative and
easily trained. Shyness, fearfulness, over submissiveness,
aloofness, lack of biddability, or aggression (especially toward
humans) are all incorrect traits. The GSP is usually very good
with children, although care should be taken because the breed
can be boisterous especially when young.
These dogs love
interaction with humans and appreciate active families who will
give them an outlet for their energy. Most German Shorthaired
Pointers make excellent watchdogs. The breed generally gets
along well with other dogs. A strong hunting instinct is correct
for the breed, which is not always good for other small pets
such as cats or rabbits. With training, however, the family dog
should be able to discern what is prey and what is not, and they
can live quite amicably with other family pets.
When it comes to everyday family life, the pointer is a
recommended addition to the family. They are extremely loyal,
friendly and fun. They tend to also be careful and protective of
The German Shorthaired Pointer needs plenty of vigorous
activity. This need for exercise (preferably off lead) coupled
with the breed's natural instinct to hunt, means that training
is an absolute necessity. The GSP distinctly independent
character and superior intelligence.
Pointer ready for the hunt
Lack of sufficient exercise and/or proper training can
produce a German Shorthaired Pointer that appears hyperactive or
that has destructive tendencies. Thus the breed is not a
suitable pet for an inactive home or for inexperienced dog
owners. Although these dogs form very strong attachments with
their owners, a dog that receives insufficient exercise may feel
compelled to exercise himself.
These dogs can escape from four
foot and sometimes six foot enclosures with little difficulty.
Regular hunting, running, carting, bikejoring, skijoring,
mushing, dog scootering or other vigorous activity can alleviate
this desire to escape. The natural instinct to hunt may result
in the dog hunting alone and sometimes bringing home occasional
dead trophies, such as cats, rats, pigeons and other urban
animals. In addition to exercise, especially formal hunting, the
GSP needs to be taught to distinguish legitimate prey and off
Like the other German Pointers (the German Wirehaired Pointer
and the less well known German Longhaired Pointer), the GSP can
perform virtually all gundog roles. It is pointer and retriever,
an upland bird dog and water dog. The GSP can be used for
hunting larger and more dangerous game, and in addition has a
scent hound's talented nose. It is an excellent swimmer but also
works well in rough terrain. It is tenacious, tireless, hardy,
and reliable. In short, it is a superb all-around field dog that
remains popular with hunters of many nationalities.
The GSP is an intelligent and highly trainable breed,
thoroughly capable of working out of sight of its handler. This
independence can lead to the dog seeming to have a mind of its
own, especially if poorly trained. The dog must know that the
owner is in charge and not, as sometimes happens, claim to be
the owner of the hunt. Along with its superb hunting ability and
companionable personality, the superior intelligence and
biddability (trainability) of the GSP make it one of the more
popular large breeds.
During hunting sessions, a completely instinctive
scent-hiding activity through rubbing against carrion can be
The short GSP coat needs very little grooming, just
occasional brushing. The dog should be bathed only when needed.
Like all dogs with flop ears, GSP can be prone to ear
infections and their ears require regular checking and cleaning.
The GSP has a longer life expectancy than many breeds of this
size, commonly living 12 to 14 years, with individual dogs
living to 16 to 18 years not uncommon.
As the GSP is a large, active breed, the dogs can require
considerable food; however, they can also become obese if fed
too much for individual activity levels. A healthy weight should
permit the last two ribs to be felt under the coat and the dog
should have a distinct waist or "tuck-up".
Due to the short GSP coat, body heat management is not
generally a problem. However, the GSP's high levels of activity
require the breed to drink considerable amounts of water to
prevent dehydration. Early symptoms of dehydration show itself
as thick saliva and urine with an excessively strong and
Most German Shorthaired Pointers are tough, healthy dogs, but
according to Margo B. Maloney, DVM (NAVHDA Versatile Hunting Dog
Magazine, April, 2003) the breed can be subject to a number of
hereditary disorders just as any other purebred. Due to their
breeding as a hunting dog the german shorthair pointer have
narrow nose and air passages this can cause the dog to gag and
then have trouble breathing especially under confusing
circumstances, and a few individuals may suffer from hip
dysplasia, genetic eye diseases, skin disorders and cancerous
lesions in the mouth, on the skin and other areas of the body.
Unexplained swelling and growth of the nipples in adult males
is considered normal in this breed and is fairly common.
However, if the nipples become sensitive to the touch, a
veterinarian should be consulted. Occasionally a biopsy will be
recommended. Bleeding from the nipples may suggest infection or
cancer. Female GSP in some lines are prone to breast cancer.
As with any other hunting dog, contact with game can cause
the spread of fungi and bacteria that can easily colonise in the
gums or cause infections on open wounds and small cuts from
scratching against plants and bushes during a regular hunting
of the German Shorthair
The German Shorthaired Pointer is descended from the old
Spanish Pointer, which was taken to Germany in the 1600s. From
that time until the first studbook was created in 1870, however,
it is impossible to identify all of the dogs that went into
creating this breed. Most-likely candidates for its ancestors
include local German breeds such as the schweisshund, an early
German tracking hound, the Foxhound, various French hounds,
assorted Scandinavian breeds, the German Bird Dog, and the
It is generally accepted that no Bloodhound was
used as foundation material. In the late 1800s, breeders
included the English Pointer to the foundational breeding
program, adding style and run to round out the breed's
all-around versatility as a hunting dog. Prince Albrecht zu
Solms-Braunfeld of the Royal House of Hannover is credited with
encouraging breeders to select early specimens on the basis of function rather than form. It is believed that this
enlightened guidance was instrumental in making the breed what
it is today.
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