Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
German wirehaired pointer looking back to camera.

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Sporting Group (American Kennel Club)
  • Height — 22–26 inches
  • Weight — 50-70 pounds
  • Coat length & texture — Medium, wiry double coat
  • Coat color — A combination of liver and white, which may include spots, ticking, or roan patterns
  • Exercise needs — High
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — Moderately vocal
  • Life span — 14-16 years
  • Temperament — Eager, independent, affectionate, and energetic
  • Hypoallergenic — No
  • Origin — Germany

German wirehaired pointer fun facts 

👉 Coming up with a pet name can be fun but tricky. Search no further! According to PetScreening’s 2024 database, the majority of our users name their male German Wirehaired Pointers Duke; Winston is the 2nd most popular male name. Meanwhile, most of our users with female German Wirehaired Pointers love Rebel and Sadie equally.

  • German wirehaired pointer’s (GWP) are a type of griffon, or hunting dogs known for their rough coats. Breeds that were initially crossed to create the German wirehaired pointer include the pudelpointer, stichelhaar, and German rough haired pointer.
  • In Germany, they’re known as drahthaar. Other names include Deutsch drahthaar, Deutscher drahthaariger, and vorstehhund.
  • The GWP coat is tough and water-repellent. They developed these coats when bred to work with hunters in all types of terrain and all seasons.
German wirehaired pointer in snow

German wirehaired pointer temperament and characteristics

German wirehaired pointers are a versatile breed known for their intelligence, loyalty, and trainability. They are highly active dogs that require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy, healthy, and out of trouble. These dogs make excellent companions for active families who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, running, or hunting.

When it comes to temperament, GWPs are generally friendly and affectionate with their owners. They are also good with kids, although they may be too rambunctious for very young children. Due to their high prey drive, they may not be a good fit for homes with cats or other small animals. As with any dog breed, it’s important to supervise interactions between kids and pets to ensure everyone stays safe.

They do best in homes with a securely fenced yard where they can run and play safely. It’s also important to provide these dogs with plenty of mental stimulation through training, puzzle toys, or interactive games to keep them mentally sharp and engaged.

Common German wirehaired pointer health problems 

The GWP is a generally healthy breed, but there are some conditions that they are known to be prone to, such as heart disease, among others.

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia. Among other pointer breeds, the GWP has a relatively high incidence of both elbow and hip dysplasia. But compared to all large breeds, the incidence is considered low.
  • Cataracts and other eye issues. German wirehaired pointers may also suffer from entropion, progressive retinal atrophy , and retinal dysplasia which can lead to blindness.
  • Bloat and gastric dilatation. Breeds with deep chests, like the GWP, are prone to stomach torsion conditions like bloat and gastric dilatation which can happen when a dog eats too fast or too much.
  • Thyroid conditions . Studies have shown GWPs as a breed to be more prone to thyroid problems than some other dogs.
  • Von Willebrand disease . VMD can be a scary disease for dogs on its own, but German wirehaired pointers are prone to a particularly severe type of this blood clotting disorder.

Cost of caring for a German wirehaired pointer

Some of the conditions above will require surgery to make your dog healthy again. Others may require daily medication or a watchful eye to manage symptoms. Owners who opt for pet health insurance or a pet savings account may be able to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. You’ll reap the greatest benefits by signing up early to avoid any penalties for pre-existing conditions.

German wirehaired pointer puppy on trampoline.

History of the German wirehaired pointer

In 19th century Germany, leading breeder Baron Sigismund von Zedlitz und Neukirch wanted to create a rugged and versatile hunting dog that could work in a variety of terrains and weather conditions.

By experimenting with crossing the griffon, pudelpointer, and stichelhaar, the resulting breed was a hardy, dedicated gun dog that could fully respond to a hunter’s needs. Besides the German wirehair, other current breeds of the griffon-type include a range of sizes, from the petite Brussels griffon to the burly wirehaired pointing griffon.

The breed quickly gained popularity among German hunters and became known for its excellent tracking and retrieving abilities. They were also used for pointing game birds and other small quarry, and eventually made their way across the Atlantic to the United States.

Today, the breed is recognized by various kennel clubs around the world and continues to be a popular choice for hunters and families alike.

Caring for your German wirehaired pointer

GWPs are rambunctious and energetic, which can be overwhelming when you first bring them home. You’ll want to schedule your first trip to the vet and make sure your dog is up-to-date on all vaccinations.

With this breed, it’s a good idea to puppy-proof your home and yard. Even a fenced yard may not be enough to stop a German wirehaired pointer if it catches a scent, but services like FidoAlert can give you some peace of mind.


This isn’t a breed that will be content to sleep on the couch all day. German wirehaired pointers need ample daily exercise to keep them healthy and out of trouble. These dogs were originally bred for hunting, so they have a strong drive to run and explore their surroundings. So it’s important for owners to provide them with ample opportunities for physical activity.

A German wirehaired pointer should ideally get at least 60-90 minutes of exercise each day. This can include activities like running, hiking, swimming, or playing fetch in a securely fenced yard. They also enjoy mental stimulation through training exercises or puzzle toys.

It’s important to note that these dogs do best when they have access to an outdoor space where they can move freely and burn off energy. If you live in an apartment or don’t have a secure yard, make sure you’re able to provide your dog with enough exercise through daily walks or trips to a nearby park.

German wirehaired pointer exercising outside.


German wirehaired pointers have a wiry, weather-resistant outer coat with a dense undercoat that helps insulate them from the elements and repel water. Weekly brushing will help keep their fur free of mats and tangles. A metal comb may be a useful tool for this task. It’s also important to trim their nails regularly and clean their ears to prevent infections.

These dogs do shed, but not excessively. Some dogs with wiry coats can benefit from a technique called hand stripping to help remove dead hair. When grooming, don’t forget to pay a little extra attention to the GWP’s hallmark beard.

Diet and nutrition

Like other active breeds, the German wirehaired pointer needs a balanced, nutritional, age-appropriate dog food to maintain proper body weight and overall health. Look for a food with meat or fish as the first ingredient to help maintain their lean muscle mass, healthy skin, and shiny coat.

It’s important to feed your GWP a high-quality dog food that can support their active lifestyle. Consult your veterinarian to determine the best feeding plan for your individual dog. They can also advise on safe, appropriate supplements for bone and joint growth and maintenance.

Training your German wirehaired pointer

German wirehaired pointers are intelligent and highly trainable dogs that excel in a variety of activities, including hunting, agility, obedience, dog sports, field trials, and more. Here are some training methods to consider:

  • Positive reinforcement. German wirehaired pointers respond well to positive reinforcement training methods, which involve rewarding good behavior with treats or praise. This can include clicker training or marker training.
  • Consistency and repetition. These are key when training any dog breed. Use the same commands and rewards consistently to help your dog understand what you expect from them.
  • Socialization. Early socialization is important for helping GWPs become well-adjusted adults. Expose your puppy to new people, animals, and environments in a positive way.
  • Structured exercise. These dogs have high energy levels and need plenty of exercise every day. If you’re not an active hunter or hiker, structured exercise like walks or runs can also provide opportunities for training.

With patience, consistency, and plenty of positive reinforcement, these dogs can excel in a variety of activities and make loyal companions for families who enjoy an active lifestyle.

German wirehaired pointer training in the grass

Breeds similar to the German wirehaired pointer

Finding the right puppy is important when considering adding a furry best friend to your family. Not quite sure that a German wirehaired pointer is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds.

  • Cavapoo. High on energy and love, but surprisingly low on exercise needs, the Cavapoo is an easy addition to any home. Cavapoos are a mix between a Cavalier King Charles spaniel and a poodle, meaning minimal shedding can be expected.
  • Shar-Pei. Similar in height, weight, and intelligence to the GWP, the Shar-Pei is a great family companion. Like the GWP’s signature beard, a Shar-Pei’s wrinkled coat makes them a standout among other breeds.
  • Belgian Malinois. If the exercise and training requirements of the German wirehaired pointer don’t scare you off, you might be the perfect owner for their shepherd neighbor. The Belgian Malinois is confident and protective and has a long history of service with the police and military.

Frequently asked questions

Are German wirehaired pointers calm?

This high-energy breed is generally calm and obedient, but their high prey drive can get them into trouble. GWPs should be supervised around small children and when meeting strangers.

Are German wirehaired pointers affectionate?

GWPs love to work. They are dogs with a clear purpose. But at the end of the day, they enjoy lounging around with their humans, getting pets, and amusing young children with their bushy beards.

What is the difference between a German shorthaired pointer and a German wirehaired pointer?

The most notable difference between a GSP and a GWP is right in their names: their fur. The two coat types differ both in appearance and the ability to protect the dog while hunting. The GWP is better suited for colder temperatures, and especially colder water.

Are German wirehaired pointers great family dogs?

German wirehaired pointers make a great addition to an active family, especially when trained and socialized from an early age. They’re affectionate, loyal, and protective of their humans.