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Everything You Need to Know About the German Shorthaired Pointer

Written by Anna Hollisey


Adorable shorthaired pointer chilling on picnic bench

The German Shorthaired Pointer is the kind of dog that makes people stop and stare. The breed combines regal elegance with sporting excellence and undying loyalty. If you want to welcome one into your life, here’s all you need to know!

Origins of the German Shorthaired Pointer

The GSP is the result of a mission to produce the perfect all-round hunting (gun) dog. It has three key skills: finding, flushing out, and retrieving prey. The modern version of this breed is good at working with birds, rabbits, foxes, racoons and deer – with a sleek, athletic shape that suits them for trekking through woodland, marsh, and river. 

Its early origins lie in Europe, where we can trace the German Pointer’s ancestry back to Spanish Pointers and German Hannover Hounds, which had been blended to produce a ‘German Bird Dog’. Breeders probably introduced English Pointers (and some other mystery ingredients) to the mix in their decades-long quest for perfection. 

Once it was established in Europe, the German Shorthaired Pointer travelled to the UK and US in the 1920s. It was known as an ‘everyuse’ dog, adopted by families and military people for companionship as well as guardianship. 

It’s clearly a winning combination. Since being registered in 1930, the German Shorthaired Pointer has accumulated prizes in shows and hunting events all over the world.

The German Shorthaired Pointer’s Character

First and foremost, the GSP is a working dog. They are devoted to their handlers and make excellent watchdogs. They’re also very committed during training, and smart enough to pick up new tasks very quickly.

However – as many thousands of people have already discovered – for an active household, the German Shorthaired Pointer is also an exceptional domestic companion. When properly exercised, the breed is happy and affectionate, very good with children, and adaptable to life changes. They tend to be sociable dogs who will easily make friends at the dog park!

Practical Essentials to Consider 

The GSP is large in stature, with an active mind and body. These beautiful gun-dogs need lots of stimulation – physical and mental – on a regular basis, and will suit an owner who is both active and present. 

Shedding: The fine, short hair of the German Shorthaired Pointer is sleek and easy to groom. You can do it with a glove or a fine-bristled brush. Grooming will help to make shedding less severe – because they do shed on a twice-yearly basis.

Exercise: When you bring home a GSP, you must be prepared for a significant amount of daily exercise. They’ll need 1-2 hours of walking every day and they’re likely to hurtle around during that time, covering miles on foot. Playing with a ball or taking them swimming can help to tire them out. It’s a good idea to split their daily exercise between two sessions. Note: As a puppy, your GSP’s activity should be gradually increased, starting with short walks for their first few months/learn/dog-lifestyle/everything-you-need-to-know-about-walking-a-puppy.

Training: Many people find that their GSP needs extra mental stimulation, and the best way to provide that is by giving them a ‘job’/learn/dog-training/what-jobs-can-i-give-my-dog. You could enrol them in a class or develop their intellect by stepping up the training programme. GSPs are smart and learn fast

Size: The German Shorthaired Pointer has the stature of a masterpiece – measuring 21-25” from ground to shoulders. They weigh 45-70 lb (it’s allll muscle), and their appetites are not small either!

Life Expectancy: The GSP has a life expectancy of 10-12 years

Further Reading

When you’re researching the best breed for your home, we have loads of content to help. If you want a great family dog, check out our Top 10 Dogs For Children/learn/dog-lifestyle/top-10-dog-breeds-for-children and Top Dogs for Country Living/learn/dog-lifestyle/top-10-dog-breeds-for-country-living. To get your dog training off to a good start, learn about the Top 5 Training Techniques/learn/dog-training/5-top-dog-training-methods and find out whether you should walk your puppy off-leash or run with them/learn/dog-lifestyle/everything-you-need-to-know-about-walking-a-puppy. German Shorthaired Pointers can be bored without stimulation – read our top tips for preventing doggy boredom/learn/dog-training/8-tips-to-stop-your-dog-getting-bored