Other Names: Deutcher kurzhaariger, Vorstehhund, Kurzhaar
Country Of Origin: Germany
Dog Group: Sporting
Size: Medium to large
Recommended For: Families, couples, single owners
Maintenance Level: Moderate
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Temperament: Intelligent, curious, bold
Good For First-Time Owner: No
Good With Children: Yes
Good With Other Animals: Yes
Good With Strangers: No
Good For Apartments: No
Exercise Requirements: Daily walking
Can Live In Hot Weather: Yes
Can Live In Cold Weather: Yes
Can Tolerate Being Left Alone: Yes
The German Shorthaired Pointer originates in Germany, where it was used for sporting and hunting purposes. They were bred to retrieve both on land and in water, so are strong swimmers.
German Shorthaired Pointers also make great family pets, although owners need to be aware of their exercise needs and care. They don’t make a good choice for first-time owners because they can be a bit of a handful if not trained by a confident owner.
Color: Liver, liver and white, black, black and roan
Height: Males – 23-25 inches, Females – 21-23 inches
Weight: Males – 55-70lbs, Females – 45-60bs
Personality and Temperament
The German Shorthaired Pointer was bred primarily for hunting and sporting purposes, and so is a very intelligent breed.
The German Shorthaired Pointer temperament is generally friendly, but can be wary around strangers.
They love to work, and thrive when given a task. However, they’re also very affectionate dogs, and love to cuddle.
While they were mainly bred for working purposes, the German Shorthaired Pointer also makes a great family dog.
They love interacting with all members of the family, and are particularly caring around children.
For this reason they’ve become a popular choice as a companion pet outside of their normal working purposes.
However, the breed should be socialized with family members from a young age to ensure there are no problems later in life.
Pointers are pretty easy to train, although they can become stubborn if they don’t see how a command benefits them.
This is easy to resolve with early obedience training and consistent praise. Providing the dog understands they’re getting something nice, they shouldn’t have a problem with training.
Taking them to puppy obedience classes is also a great way to socialize them.
When it comes to other animals, German Shorthaired Pointers are generally fine around other dogs, but owners should be wary around smaller pets.
The breed retains a very strong prey instinct so might not be a good choice for keeping around things like rabbits.
Cats should be fine, although it’s very likely the dog will chase them. As with all breeds, early socialization is the key to success.
German Shorthaired Pointers are a reasonably sociable breed, but can be very wary around strangers.
This shouldn’t happen while out walking, but they can become defensive of their property if they feel threatened. For this reason they make a good choice as an alert dog, but they’ll do little more than bark.
German Shorthaired Pointers aren’t known for being aggressive, although this will vary between dogs.
The breed has very high stamina and plenty of energy, which means they need long daily walks.
A German Shorthaired Pointer should be taken out for at least an hour every day, but more would be better.
They also love to play, particularly fetch, so make sure they get plenty of this too. The breed is very intelligent and so needs plenty of mental stimulation to stay happy.
Due to their size and energy levels, German Shorthaired Pointers aren’t a good choice for apartments.
In fact, they’re not a good choice as a city dog and are much better suited to suburban or country living.
They benefit from a house with a large backyard that they can be left unattended in. Make sure you microchip your dog though because they love to explore.
Although German Shorthaired Pointers aren’t a very high maintenance breed, they don’t make a good choice for first-time owners.
This is mainly because of their energy levels, and the fact that the breed can easily become stubborn if not properly stimulated.
First-time owners are much better with an easygoing breed. However, if you’re committed to raising the dog properly, a German Shorthaired Pointer will make a great pet.
One of the best features of the breed is the fact that they can live in both hot and cold climates.
Their short hair means they’re fine in hot places, but in colder environments, they might need a coat when it gets cold.
German Shorthaired Pointers are quite skinny and so can’t retain warmth as easily. However, their origins in Germany mean they can tolerate colder temperatures.
German Shorthaired Pointers are fine to be left alone for longer periods of time, although this should be avoided too regularly to avoid the dog becoming depressed.
The breed is suitable for working owners, providing a routine is established from a young age to teach the dog about being left alone.
However, German Shorthaired Pointers are fine to be kept with other dogs, and would be much happier about being left alone if they had a friend to keep them company.
German Shorthaired Pointer colors are easy to recognize, and the breed’s short, bristly coat is most commonly liver and white, although they also come in black and roan.
They shed all year round, but also have several shedding seasons each year.
To control their shedding, brush your German Shorthaired Pointer once a week with a grooming glove.
During their shedding seasons, increase this to once a day or once every 3 days. This will help minimize the amount of loose hair you find around the home.
German Shorthaired Pointers don’t need bathing that often as their coat is short enough to not catch dirt, and is also water repellant to an extent.
Bathe whenever needed, but don’t do it too often or you’ll dry out their skin.
German Shorthaired Pointers have long floppy ears, so these need to be checked every few days for wax buildup and debris.
Similarly, brush the dog’s teeth several times a week and trim their nails whenever necessary.
Common Diseases and Conditions
German Shorthaired Pointers are quite a healthy breed but do suffer from several genetic conditions.
Other than hip dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy, the breed also suffers quite badly from bloat.
This is a condition that affects many breeds with large chests and skinny waists that are a similar size to the German Shorthaired Pointer.
Bloat isn’t really a condition the dog’s born with, and can happen at any time.
It’s believed the main causes include eating food too quickly and poor diet, and the condition can be fatal if not caught early.
Warning signs include panicked behavior and vomiting, so if this happens, call your vet immediately.
While dogs resembling the German Shorthaired Pointer have been used in hunting for hundreds of years, the actual origins of the breed are uncertain.
Most sources point back to the Old Spanish Pointer as the breed’s main ancestor, although much of this is based on speculation and logic.
The Old Spanish Pointer was brought over to Germany in the 17th century for hunting purposes.
It then descended into the German Bird Dog, which was used for hunting and retrieving birds.
The breed was developed for its intelligence and independent nature, allowing it to work quickly without verbal commands.
During the breed’s lineage, experts believe several other hunting dogs were introduced for their qualities.
These included the English Pointer and several other breeds of German tracking dog. The first German Shorthaired Pointer as we know it today was defined in 1870, when the studbook was written.
The breed made its was over to America shortly after, and was registered by the American Kennel Club in 1930.
German Shorthaired Pointers were used in America for hunting purposes, but also became a popular choice as a companion pet.
As the love of hunting died out across Europe and America the breed’s popularity dropped slightly, but it’s come back in recent years as a family pet.
German Shorthaired Pointers are also a common sight in competitions and shows, with the breed often doing very well.
- The German Shorthaired Pointer’s ancestor was initially bred solely for its working purposes, but as people developed an appreciation for breeds, more was done to selectively produce dogs that were taller, thinner, and more “attractive”.
- Famous sports journalist Mel Ellis writes largely about his dog, a German Shorthaired Pointer, in his memoir Run, Rainey, Run. He describes in detail the relationship he had with the dog, and what it was capable of doing.
- The US Air Force uses German Shorthaired Pointers as their primary sniffer dog. The dogs are used to smell explosives and warn of early detection.
- The breed is called “pointer” because of the stance it adopts when alerting its owner to something. They lower their head so it’s in line with their back, raise a leg, and stare. It actually looks like the dog is pointing!
- A German Shorthaired Pointer, named CJ, won the 140th Westminster Dog Show “Best in Show” title.
You’ll find more German Dog Breeds in the links below: