Giddy With Enthusiasm. It’s The German Shorthaired Pointer

german shorthaired pointer
Harold Meerveld at Flikr

Your Shorthair will tremble with barely contained excitement at every bird, falling leaf and breath of wind

German Shorthaired Pointers Belong To The Sporting Group

Shorthairs Are: Adventurous, Energetic, Eager to Please and Devoted

“Shorthairs think other dogs are the third best thing in the world, next to their people and birds.

Chris Walcowicz – ‘The Perfect Match’

What kind of temperament does the German Shorthair Pointer have?

german shorthaired pointer
Harold Meerveld at Flikr

Personality: The disposition and intelligence of the GSP make them an outstanding family companion. They are gregarious, energetic dogs, admired for their temperament and trainability. The German Shorthair relates well to children, visitors, and other dogs. Typically, the German Shorthair is outgoing and fun-loving and not naturally aggressive. German Shorthairs usually display a tremendous willingness to please whether at home or in the field. However, their love of games makes them very distractable outdoors and for that reason they are best kept in enclosed or safe areas, except when hunting. Obedience training will make the Shorthair a pleasure to own and more reliable when on hunting excursions or other outings.

The German Shorthair is adaptable to most living situations, provided they are  given ample opportunity to exercise and maintained in good physical condition.

Younger dogs retain an enthusiasm which some people may find difficult to live with, particularly when given insufficient time to exercise. Owners must be devoted to investing the necessary time and energy on a daily basis. German Shorthairs of middle age (5-6
years) and older, may be better suited to hectic family lifestyles, particularly when open space is at a premium. Although German Shorthairs are highly adaptable, they are not for everyone.

 It is no wonder then that these are one of America’s top 10 most popular dog breeds.

Is the German Shorthaired pointer an athlete or a couch potato?

german shorthaired pointer
Annie Thorne at Flikr

Definitely an athlete : German Shorthairs are active and exuberant with the dial turned up to 11! Be prepared to go on long daily walks or other outside activities and take part in extensive interaction such as ball games and ongoing training. They thrive on human company so will expect you to be a full part of their daily routine. A large outside yard or run is also recommended for more fun and play at home – cos those walks just weren’t quite enough .




How well does The German Shorthaired Pointer get on with everyone else?

german shorthaired pointer
Williams Partnership at Flikr

Children: Being a people-oriented dog, your shorthair will bond readily to their human family. Like all dogs, German Shorthairs should always be supervised around young children. Shorthairs are naturally exuberant and boisterous and have a propensity for jumping up on people. This could be disastrous when young children or elderly relatives are involved.

Other Animals: Shorthairs like to be with other dogs if they have been raised with them. They are however prey driven, so small fluffy dogs may be considered fair game.

Many German Shorthaired Pointers do not get along well with cats. Behavior can vary from desire to catch and harm the cat to simple, fun chasing. If you own a cat it is best to purchase a young puppy and begin to introduce it to the cat right away. Similarly rabbits, mice guinea pigs etc are all likely to be viewed as prey by your shorthair.

All shorthairs are different, so the prey drive might not be so high with mild mannered dogs, but could be a disaster introducing an adult shorthair which has grown up to hunt into a household with any small animal present. Go carefully.

Strangers: Likely to bark a warning / greeting but are not naturally aggressive toward people.



What are the main health concerns that German Shorthaired Pointer owners should look out for?

german shorthaired pointer
NorCalGSP Rescue at Flikr

Health: By and large, German Shorthairs are quite healthy, but like most breeds, they’re subject to certain health problems. Of course, Not all shorthairs will get any or all of these conditions, but it’s important to consider them if you are thinking about this breed.

Health clearences you will want to see from your puppy’s breeder (for both parents) include: Hip displasia, elbow displasia, hypothyrodism,  von Willebrand’s disease and the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that the eyes are healthy.

German Shorthaired Pointers are at potential risk of suffering from Gastric Torsion or Dog Bloat. This is a serious condition which can be fatal and is caused large dogs eat their food too quickly

Finding a reputable breeder and ensuring adequate pet insurance will of course always bring extra peace of mind regards the well being of your furry friend.


How easy is it to look after and care for your German Shorthaired Pointer?


german shorthaired pointer
Annie Thorne at Flikr

Grooming: German Shorthairs have a short coat which does not require excessive grooming beyond regular brushing.

Shedding:  Very heavy seasonal shed 

Training: German Shorthaired Pointers have tremendous potential to fulfill your highest expectations. They will not, however, do this without considerable effort and training on your part. A well-trained dog is a pleasure to own, whereas an untrained dog is a detriment to you and society.

Although good training is is essential for sensible life with any dog, multiply the need for training with a shorthair by a factor of 10! Proper training with your shorthair to instill mutual respect and close bonding is perhaps more important with this breed than many others. The shorthaired pointer is an odd combination of sensitivity and willfulness. High levels of patience will need to be  displayed on your part in order to ensure a successful outcome.

It’s not that Shorhairs dont want to learn – in fact they are very eager to make you happy, its just that their brains are so scatty and ‘living for the moment’, that  getting them to concentrate on you for long enough to learn anything is challenging.

Shorthairs left alone in enclosed areas will tend to dig and may attempt to jump or climb a fence. Care should always be taken that the environment is safe when the German Shorthair is left outdoors and unattended.

German Shorthairs crave human company and are not suited to being left alone for extended periods of time. They may exhibit a behavior known as separation anxiety, which tends to manifest itself in destructive behavior and excessive barking.



What kind of person gets on best with a Shorthair?

NorCalGSP Rescue at Flikr

Ideal German Shorthaired Pointer owner’s are: experienced and have plenty of energy to hike, run, swim and play ball games. They will understand that this natural hunting dog will need its energies channeled into other pursuits if hunting is not the owners preference. The ideal owner is understanding and tolerant of the shorthairs unbridled enthusiasm with absolutely everything they experience.

Not recommended for:

  • Stay at home or sedentary owners.
  • laidback or timid owners.
  • Families with small children or small animals
  • Being left alone or neglected for extended periods of time.

As always if you like this breed, please do the research  and ensure that you are choosing the right dog for your own lifestyle. For more information, why not visit German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America



German Shorthaired Pointer Breed History

Williams Partnership at Flikr

This versatile hunter combines pointing, retrieving, trailing, and even game-killing abilities. It arose through blending of breeds beginning in the 17th century. Crosses of Spanish Pointers with trailing hounds produced a dog that could trail and point both birds and mammals. In 1883 two German Shorthaired Pointers, Ero and Treff, distinguished themselves against other pointing breeds at the German Derby, and through the success of their descendants, are often credited as the modern Shorthair’s foundation.

The breed was recognized in the late 1800s in Germany. The first Shorthairs came to America in the 1920s, and they gained AKC recognition in 1930. The breed soon gained a reputation as the ideal dog for the hunter who
wanted only one dog. Its handsome looks and obedient nature helped it also become a popular companion.

Breed Characteristics

Very Popular
Life Span
14-16 years
Breed Size
Breed Health
Novice Owners?
Easy To Train?
Children Friendly?
not for young children
Low Maintenance?
Shedding Amount
Apartment Living?
not ideal
Active Lifestyle?
Dog Friendly?
Good Watch Dog?
High Prey Drive?
cat owners beware!
Good Guard Dog?

Similar Breeds

Any Questions ?

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