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German Shorthaired Pointer

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Obedient, loyal and of noble appearance, German shorthaired pointers can be excellent pets but are primarily working dogs. They boast amazing energy and so require a huge amount of exercise and they are happiest leading active lives in the countryside.

Which breed group is the German pointer in?

Breed group: Gundog

German shorthaired pointer breed history

Although similar dogs date back to the 17th century, German shorthaired pointers as they are seen today were evolved in the late 19th century. Bred to be multipurpose hunting dogs with keen noses and obedient personalities, the dogs were the result of crossing native hounds with English breeds to refine their look.

The first example of this breed was exported to the USA in 1925. Dr. Charles Thornton of Montana began breeding the dogs which were recognised by the American kennel club just five years later. The breed quickly became establish in America but breeding in Germany was interrupted by World War II when the best dogs were taken to the then Yugoslavia for safety. They were then trapped behind the iron curtain at the end of the war and breeders had lost their finest stock. The breed was eventually re-established with dogs being treasured for their tracking ability and impressive stamina.

German shorthaired pointer breed characteristics

Prized as working dogs, German shorthaired pointers are highly athletic and boast a noble look. Their long necks are elegant yet muscular and their shoulders equally muscular and sloping, their chests are deep and their hindquarters powerful while their backs are level. These dogs carry their long tails horizontally and they have short, dense coats with slightly longer hair under their tails. Acceptable colours are black & white, liver & white, solid black, solid liver and liver ticked.

German shorthaired pointers are intelligent and alert dogs which like to be kept busy. They are active, outdoor souls which form strong bonds with their owners and have oodles of energy. They can suffer from separation anxiety and this may lead to destructive behaviour.

  • Lifespan: 12-14 years
  • Height: up to 64cm
  • Weight: up to 32kg
  • Noble appearance
  • Athletic
  • Long tail
  • Sloping shoulders
  • Energetic
  • Intelligent
  • Short, dense coat
  • Permutations of white, black and liver
  • Loyal
  • Form strong bonds with owners

Health issues with German shorthaired pointers

Generally robust dogs with reasonably long lifespans, German shorthaired pointers can nonetheless suffer from the following conditions:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Eye diseases
  • Epilepsy
  • Skin diseases
  • Cancer
  • von Willebrand's Disease
  • Lymphedema
  • Bloat - Gastric torsion
  • More about tail docking

What is the German shorthaired pointer for?

This dog was bred to track prey and point for the benefit of hunters. They were specifically evolved to be obedient and to possess impressive stamina as when accompanying hunters, it was necessary to cover large distances.

What sort of owners does the German shorthaired pointer suit?

Obedient and loyal, German pointers can be excellent family pets but require a copious amount of exercise every day. As such, they are best suited to working lives or living in the countryside with active owners. They are comparatively large dogs which could accidently knock over small children and their prey drive could lead them to chase cats. They enjoy human company and build strong bonds, but this means that they don’t enjoy being left home alone. Their coats shed throughout the year which can be messy and while they don’t need a lot of grooming, they do demand constant mental stimulation.


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