The German Shorthaired Pointer

The following are some facts and opinions, of the very popular German Shorthair Pointer.

I myself have now been involved with this “versatile” breed for over 40 years.

The first registered GSP was registered in the German club book back as far as 1872.

This breed was created with quite a combination of talented sporting dogs including Spanish Pointer, German Bloodhound, and some English & Black Pointer. The original Shorthair could be lacking talent in some areas, which has been resolved through the years. We are talking about nose & tracking ability, a satisfying amount of point, running with a high head, ability in the water, retrieving instincts, or just run and ambitious field search. Breeding enthusiasts have worked on different combinations through the years, to enhance certain abilities their dogs were lacking. In my opinion…it has worked. I have experimented with other breeds, but I myself, inherited a passion for these GSP’s a long time ago. I feel they are one of the best combinations of talent, and personality, in the sporting dog world. As we know, no two puppies are the same…but by working hard on

combining desirable genetics, …a satisfying average can be obtained. I find most people look for a family companion as a priority, and maybe combine that with some weekend hunting or competing.

The Germans used the “German Shorthair” for aiding in the hunting and recovery of large game, as well as game birds, and other small game. As time went on, different testing, and/or competing , led us to doing more and more water work venues. The German Shorthaired Pointer is very capable! “Versatile” breeds have become very popular, and we see a lot of them. The versatiles do it all…hunting, pointing, retrieving, swimming, & tracking. Another attraction to the German Shorthaired Pointer ….is their ability to measure up to the standard, and do well on the show bench. Again, some breeding programs cater to show genetics ,more than others. A male can measure 23 to 25” in height, and weigh 55 to 70 pounds. A female 21 to 23”, and 45 to 55 pounds typically. The German Shorthair is a (docked tail breed), and tails are usually cropped to 1/3 rd of their length at 3 days of age. “Yours Truly..” tends to leave them a little longer, and I call it field length. The coat of a German Shorthair is tight and usually dense…making them neat and clean with minimal shedding . We admire a slightly longer, dense coat ,for making the dog more resilient to briars, and brush in the field. A dense coat also keeps them warmer in later Fall, or Winter. When one pays attention, GSP puppies are very easy to housebreak. We suggest using a crate to teach ,and control. We do not recommend spaying, or neutering until a pup is mature (1 ½ to 2 yrs.) Research shows it could cause developmental issues.

There is no end to what you can teach, and do with the Germain Shorthaired Pointer. “Agility” competitions are also popular, and choosing a GSP with more high performance field bloodlines, make them great candidates for the sport. Field trial competitions both walking, and on horseback…are very common. Testing in the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association..(NAVHDA), is also very popular, and an excellent organization that helps you, and your dog. They train for (testing) at different levels, not competing. Each test venue, resembles situations that occur in the field while hunting. It insures your dog to be capable of recovering the game you try to harvest. Also …it creates a team effort between you and your dog…very rewarding. The attentiveness of most German Shorthaired Pointers, also makes them attractive. They tend to work with you, and have a temperament that you enjoy working with (cooperative). There are always exceptions to the rule, but in general a very easy dog to train.

Health wise… I believe they were rated in the top 5 for breeds with the least medical issues. We have experienced there life span to exceed 15 or 16 years…most commonly 14. Their build tends to be muscular, and they are active. We typically OFA x ray, or Penn Hip test ,any dogs used for breeding. This insures you are doing your best to avoid hip dysplasia in puppies, (and it can be a genetic trait.) Other things to watch for in dogs used for breeding… would be a good bite, tight feet, and straight legs.

We can’t be fussy enough about the “confirmation” of breeding dogs…but is not easy to get it all perfect.! (is there such a thing as a perfect dog?) At any rate…if one is conscientious about a breeding program, it is hard to go wrong with the German Shorthair. Brood females tend to do a great job delivering, and taking good care of their pups. The German Shorthaired Pointer requires no special diet as a rule…and feeding a high quality, dry food ,twice a day ,works. I’m not sure what else I can say about this wonderful breed…but obviously they prove themselves, time and time again.

Best of luck and thank you for looking.
Steve Hopko, Quail Ridge Kennels