German Shorthaired Pointer
Does your family enjoy camping, hunting, hiking, and any other outdoor sport? Looking for a breed that gets along well with pretty much everything? The German Shorthaired Pointer is your dog!
The German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) is a wonderful addition to a family that is active and wants to include their dog! Mainly known for their superior skills as a hunting partner, the GSP is also well known for being a loyal companion. A very versatile dog, the German Shorthaired Pointer is not for the quiet and laid back personality.
German Shorthaired Pointer Country of Origin
Their name says it all. Developed from other spaniels, pointers, and scenthounds in the 19th century, the Germans wanted an all around hunting, companion, pointer, retriever, in land and water, with both feather and fur. This breed has it all.
They made their way to the United States in the early 1800's, and were first recognized in 1930 by the AKC.
Hunt or Run....Let's Go!
The German Shorthaired Pointer is the epitome of hunting dogs. They are every hunters dream dog, and their desire to hunt is very strong. This breed doesn't know "slow," and will do best in a family home that gives them the opportunity to do what they were bred for. They have one gear, and it is in constant overdrive. If you are not a hunter, but desire this well rounded hunting dog, there are other ways to meet their needs.
Running, agility, track and field, field trials, dock diving, and fetching a frisbee are just some of the things a GSP will enjoy. Although the GSP will enjoy long walks, this alone is not enough to help keep their high energy level in check. This is not a breed that will be happy to lie around the house all day. They have a strong desire to work, and will require a family that can provide healthy physical and mental stimulation.
Doggy Daycare will be a must for this breed if you work long hours. Do not expect a GSP to be calm after being home alone all day. The German Shorthaired Pointer makes for an excellent running or hiking partner too. They are always happy to carry a backpack during the hike, serving a purpose for their family. If your family enjoys the outdoor life, including camping, the GSP will be thrilled to join you in these ventures!
Water Dog Through and Through
On top of being a dog that loves any type of activity, being in the water should be added to the list! The GSP will have no problems playing in the pool, lake, or nearby stream. Joining children in the water, they will happily retrieve toys thrown in.
Providing your GSP with a daily water activity will keep them very happy.
Think Therapy Dog
The GSP can make a great therapy dog as long as early socialization and obedience training are introduced. Teaching the German Shorthaired Pointer to have good manners, not jump on children, and be confident will help them achieve the ranks of therapy dog.
German Shorthaired Pointers typically get along well with other dogs, cats, children, and strangers. Without the proper socialization skills, a GSP can be reserved around strangers, so it is imperative that they are socialized at a young age to help keep their positive temperament in check.
Bark, Bark, Bark!!
German Shorthaired Pointers are known to enjoy hearing their own voice. Although they aren't considered a "yappy" dog by any means, they have no problem alerting you of visitors. They also will exert themselves by using their bark to demand attention, or to get something from you.
Teaching your GSP that excessive barking is not warranted within their environment will help keep these vocal dogs under control. Start early with training if you do not want an overly loud German Shorthaired Pointer.
Intelligent = Easy to Train
This is a very intelligent breed, and will learn quickly if the training is done in a positive, controlled, consistent, and calm demeanor. The GSP has to learn who is boss, however they don't do well with harsh physical training methods.
This breed will be happy to learn many different commands, and other tricks. Opening a fridge and retrieving a cold beverage is definitely a trick that can be taught to the GSP. Obedience training helps pet-parents to bond quickly, by helping to build trust and confidence in their dog. Consider taking obedience classes with your GSP.
Grooming is Minimal
Their grooming needs are easy-breezy, only requiring a daily brush with a firm bristle to keep their short, smooth coat shiny and healthy. The GSP sheds, so a family that is prone to dog allergies should reconsider this breed.
Bathing once a month is all that is needed. If your German Shorthaired Pointer comes into the home wet from play, do a quick dry off using a chamois, and you will keep their skin and coat healthy and shiny.
Health Concerns are Few
Overall this is a very healthy breed. A few can suffer from hip dysplasia, genetic eye diseases, epilepsy, and skin disorders. Unspayed females are susceptible to breast cancer. Caution should be taken when feeding the GSP as they are prone to bloat, due to their large chest.
Sadly, tail docking is still performed on the German Shorthaired Pointer, an unnecessary and painful procedure done when they are puppies. Thankfully many countries have outlawed this barbaric method performed on young fur babies.
Average life span of the German Shorthaired Pointer is 12 - 15 years.
As you begin looking for a German Shorthaired Pointer, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe