- Breed group — Sporting group (American Kennel Club)
- Height — 20-26 inches
- Weight — 40-75 pounds
- Coat length & texture — Coarse, short, and slightly water-resistant
- Coat color — Liver, liver and white, liver and white patched, liver and white ticked, liver and roan. Puppies within the breed group will generally adhere to a base coat color of white with colored patches, which can fade to ticking as they age
- Exercise needs — High
- Intelligence — High
- Barking — When needed
- Life span — 12 -14 years
- Temperament — Obedient, energetic, smart, playful, and family-friendly
- Hypoallergenic — No
- Origin — Germany
German shorthaired pointer fun facts
- Much like cats, German shorthaired pointers (GSPs) love to fit wherever they can—whether it’s in your latest delivery box or a favorite shelf.
- German shorthaired pointers got their name from their “pointy” stance, seemingly aimed in the direction of their latest prey, toy, or interest.
- GSPs were bred to hunt, and are naturally skilled at the sport. Historically, they have shown that they can take down a range of game, including rabbits and deer.
German shorthaired pointer temperament and characteristics
German shorthaired pointers love to romp and play. They are extremely smart and love to go above and beyond when it comes to pleasing their pet parents! GSPs are generally people-pups and do well in homes with other animals (such as cats), children, or dogs—making them a near-seamless addition to many families.
When they encounter strangers or visitors at the dog park or on a walk, you might find them to be more formal and reserved. While they are not considered to be aggressive breed types, they can get quiet and stoic when in “defense mode,” focusing on protecting their owners. You may find that they bark or vocalize to let you know of the newcomer, offering them a welcoming sniff to assess the current situation.
Common German shorthaired pointer health problems
While German shorthaired pointers are generally considered to be healthy, they can be predisposed to certain genetic health problems. Being aware of this ahead of time can help you take preventative steps, giving your German shorthaired pointer puppy the best life possible.
- Hip dysplasia. This hip condition occurs when there is instability between the femur (a.k.a. the thigh bone) and the hip joint, which can cause inflammation and pain around the area and any nearby ligaments. Your vet may choose to recommend surgery, prescriptions, or supplements for hip dysplasia symptoms.
- Metabolic disorder(s). Metabolic disorders is a general term that describes when a pet’s nutrients are not enough for their needs. This term can include storage disorders (which can be dangerous) or more common diagnoses like low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or low calcium (hypocalcemia).
- Lupus. This chronic condition can affect both humans and dogs, causing symptoms like fever, tiredness, and stiffness. A type of skin lupus is among the most commonly found in pups, which can cause scabbing and crusting, as well as discomfort. It’s known as discoid lupus erythematosus, or DLE.
- Idiopathic epilepsy. This condition describes seizures that can happen with no known cause. Your vet may try to address symptoms with medication and monitoring.
Cost of caring for German shorthaired pointer
German shorthaired pointers can be less expensive than other dog breeds, coming in at approximately $2,500-$3,000 in first-year costs. This number calculates the purchase price, registration fees, and vet visit bills commonly associated with puppyhood, as well as their toys, food, and personal items like a bed. After the first year, we estimate you’ll pay between $1,000-$1,200 in food, toy, and vet fees.
When it comes to financial support for your pet, it’s always good to plan ahead. Pet-specific health insurance can be a great way to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. You may even enjoy extra benefits if you choose to sign up early on. If you’re looking for something more flexible, you might consider using an alternative—like a pet savings account—to make sure your pup’s needs are met.
History of the German shorthaired pointer
This German-bred pup has been documented as a friendly household hunter since the 17th century, finally getting formal recognition by the American Kennel Club in 1930. Prior to its formalized name, the breed was also known as the “bird dog” due to its powerful hunting skills and sharp tracking abilities.
After it got its claim to fame in Germany as a kind-hearted hunting dog, they began to spread across Europe. Early documentation shows German shorthaired pointer imports to the United Kingdom and England around 1920, quickly immigrating to the United States just a few years later. Today, they are well-known and loved in thousands of households around the world, and continue to be a family-favorite breed.
Caring for your German shorthaired pointer
Caring for a new puppy of any breed can be overwhelming. After all, you want to give your furry friend the best possible start. First, you’ll need to make your first trip to the vet and schedule your dog’s vaccinations. This important step sets the stage for a happy and healthy life for your pal. We also recommend taking this time to puppy-proof your home and prepare early for teething. We promise it’s worth it!
Once you’re settled in, we also recommend signing up for FidoAlert. This helpful pet service provides a free Fido ID and tag so you’re prepared just in case your pet wriggles out of your care.
German shorthaired pointers are larger dogs which means that they are usually the most comfortable in roomy environments. Homes with plenty of space to run and play are great for these dogs, helping them to hit their rigorous daily exercise needs. They can also thrive in settings with less space, so long as owners make it a priority to get their pup outside and expend that energy.
Getting your GSP to hit the track is more than just a weekend activity. It’s a daily need! With their rich history of domination in field events and as skilled hunters, they have lots of pent up energy that they’re ready to burn—and they’re always ready to hit the trail or the dog park.
In addition to their high-intensity exercise needs, hunting breeds like the German shorthaired pointer love getting as much attention as they can. Don’t miss an opportunity to give your GSP a little extra love!
The coat on this heavy type of pointer is known to be short, coarse, and doubled, resulting in some pretty heavy shedding and buildup if grooming needs aren’t prioritized. Semi-frequent baths (approximately every other month) can keep your pup’s coat clean and properly moisturized, helping you to avoid dry skin issues. Too many baths can cause wear and tear on your pet’s skin, resulting in a dull, dry coat and significant loss of your pet’s natural nourishing fur oils. We do want to note, however, that you can bathe them more frequently if they run into dirt or grime during playtime. Cleanliness is important!
While bathing is less frequent with GSPs than with other dogs, they can benefit from regular weekly brushings to keep shedding and buildup at bay. You might want to go the extra mile to make this a special activity between you and your pointer, giving them extra treats and affection to get them through the session. Consistency is key to making this a simple, easy habit. Lastly,
Diet and nutrition
Diet is essential to the health and wellness of your short hair pointer, and should be overseen by a vet to help them to get the most out of every meal. Many owners find that high-quality dog food is sufficient for their GSP’s needs, helping them to meet their daily protein and healthy fat requirements.
On average, your German shorthaired pointer will eat between 2-4 cups of food per day. However, this amount may change based on the stage of development your dog is in, as well as any underlying medical conditions. For example: Elderly dogs and puppies may not eat as much as fully grown GSPs who enjoy exercise. If you run into any portioning questions or concerns, we always recommend reaching out to your local vet. They can offer you personalized insights to help you meet your furry friend’s nutritional needs.
Training your German shorthaired pointer
Your German shorthaired pointer is an intelligent dog that generally does best with an informed, strategic training approach. Understanding your pup’s unique personality is one of the best ways to get the most out of any training sesh.
These special dogs are always eager to please, ready to over deliver in the hands and mentorship of any skilled trainer. They can benefit from training at any stage, but generally do best when introduced to learning in puppyhood. This allows them to get fundamental socialization skills and etiquette down pat, setting them up for better experiences with other pets and people later on.
Once you’ve gotten familiar with how and who your GSP is, you can dig a little deeper and experiment with strategies to help them through their training. Treats, clicker training, and positive reinforcement are all fantastic ways to build a connection with your dog while catering to their intelligence and prowess.
Breeds similar to the German shorthaired pointer
Not quite sure that a German shorthaired pointer is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:
- English pointers. This type of pointer is slightly larger than a GSP, but has just as much love and athleticism to share. They are great around small children and other pets.
- Weimaraners. These dogs are extra friendly and love being around people and other pet pals—but they have slightly more energy compared to GSPs. They are very smart and love to create new connections with their parents.
- English setters. The English setter breed is generally more cuddly and connected than GSPs, showing a greater degree of emotional dependency. They’re a great choice for extra-attentive owners!
Frequently asked questions
Do German shorthaired pointers bark a lot?
German shorthaired pointers aren’t an excessively noisy breed. However, they can and will vocalize to keep you in the loop with any perceived threats. They can also bark if they’re bored, attempting to communicate, or if they encounter other dogs.
Do GSPs have anxiety?
Certain breeds can be more predisposed to mental health conditions, such as anxiety. While German shorthaired pointers fall into this group, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all GSPs have anxiety. Attachment, attention, and proper training can help your dog to have a higher quality of life if they are living with an anxiety-related condition or range of symptoms.
Do German shorthaired pointers have a favorite person?
These special dogs have plenty of love to give and don’t necessarily have a favorite person. They are loyal to all household members and any friends that happen to stop by.
Why are GSPs clingy?
Many pet parents may feel as if their GSP is clingy. This can occur due to the breed’s high intelligence and emotional capacity, as they like to stay engaged wherever and whenever possible with their owners.
Is a German shorthaired pointer a good family dog?
The German shorthaired pointer is a great family-friendly breed option, as they are eager to please and very sweet-tempered. For the best possible experience, we do recommend socialization and training if you’re considering bringing a GSP around children or smaller family members.