German Shorthaired Pointer Dog Breed

Liver and White German Shorthaired Pointer Puppy Running
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  • Other names:
  • Deutsch Kurzhaar
  • Deutscher Kurzhaariger
  • German Short-haired Pointing Dog
  • Kurzhaar
  • View all 4...
Overview

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a sportsman's dream dog. They are versatile enough to track, point, retrieve game from water and even finish a wounded mark if necessary. They are energetic, intelligent, bold and obedient. GSP are wonderful companions for active owners and families and love to exercise. With proper training they can do well with other dogs but not always with non canine pets. Low maintenance in the grooming department, they require plenty of attention and a ton of exercise. If you believe you have what it takes to keep up with this powerful, athletic gundog then you will be rewarded with an affectionate, amiable, eager to please companion with unforgettable looks!

German Shorthaired Pointer Breed Details

Breed Specs
TypeLifespanHeightWeight
Purebred12-14 yrs.22-24 in.45-75 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a sporting dog through-and-through. They were recognized in their home country, Germany, in the late 1800s and quickly became popular with sportsmen in other countries around the globe; even the AKC recognized them as early as 1930. The acclaim comes from the quality of being so versatile: they track, they retrieve, they kill, and (of course) they point and they do all of this while being excellent companions. We recommend this breed for sportsmen, athletes and generally fit, active owners and families. Rural life certainly suits this breed better because they love open spaces to roam but a large fenced yard will do; they are not sedentary apartment dogs and they will not behave if locked up in doors most of the day. Here are some German Shorthaired Pointer facts to show you some benefits and problems associated with the breed:

  • Pros
  • One of the top versatile hunting companions
  • Great family dog, playful and energetic
  • Friendly with friendly people
  • Can be moderately watchful and protective
  • Does ok with other dogs
  • Easily trained, obedient, eager to please
  • Low grooming maintenance
  • Excellent exercise buddy
  • Handsome appearance
  • Affectionate with his/her household
  • Cons
  • Boisterous behavior necessitates supervision with young children
  • Not a guard dog
  • Can develop behavior problems if bored, lonely or not exercised enough
  • Retains high prey drive towards small, non canine pets like cats
  • Will chase critters outdoors if not in an enclosed area or leashed
  • Exercise needs very high, hours of daily outdoor time a MUST
  • Not an apartment dog
  • Fenced yard or large rural property ideal

German Shorthaired Pointer Breed Description

You may have seen a GSP before and never even realized it but you probably noticed it was a handsome dog with a liver and white ticked coat, well proportioned, athletic body and a well-controlled demeanor. This versatile gundog is in the AKC sporting group and, due to their skill and companionable personalities, it's no surprise they are very popular-- well within the top 20 breeds (as of 2017). Keep reading for a breakdown of information about the German Shorthaired Pointer's intelligence, activity level and more.

Intelligence- This breed is not only intelligent but also usually obedient and eager to please-- which many owners understand are completely different qualities from smarts alone. In the field they need little training to pick up on their duties and become excellent hunting companions. What they will need early and firm training in is not to chase and attack other small, non canine pets.

Kids, Strangers, Other Pets- GSP dogs are great with kids but should be supervised around small children due to their boisterous, playful tactics. These dogs are not aggressive and should be fine around strangers unless a dangerous situation presents itself-- then they are rumored to be somewhat protective. Finally, they are usually friendly with other dogs--or at least indifferent-- but they may chase and attack small pets if not trained early (and even then they may still).

Exercise- This will require the most effort out of all your duties as an owner to the GSP. If not hunting companions, they need hours of daily outdoor exercise and will be a pain in the butt if they don't get it! Luckily, they are pretty adaptable to anything you'd like to do from hiking and running to biking or frisbee; German Shorthaired Pointers even love swimming!

German Shorthaired Pointer Breed History

The German Shorthaired Pointer's history is fairly straightforward-- hunters wanted ONE companionable, versatile hunting dog that could not only track and point but also retrieve and finish game, if necessary. Although the modern version of GSP took shape during the 1800s, there were many other stages of development for this breed starting as early as the 17th Century. The early forerunners are thought to be either the German Bird Dog or Spanish Pointer and the Hanover hound. Later, crosses with English Pointers were common but decreased the breed's versatility due; it no longer excelled at water retrieving or attacking game.

In the early 1800's the German Shorthaired Pointer finally began to take on it's definitive shape. At the time the breed was referred to as the "Deutsche Khurzaar" and was already competing in the German Derby. They excelled in every aspect the original GSP was meant to excel and their puppies became the first modern specimens of today's German Shorthaired Pointer. By the end of the 1800's they were recognized in Germany and by 1930 they were AKC recognized. The breed's reputation still precedes itself today and GSPs remain very popular among hunters, athletic and outdoorsy owners.

German Shorthaired Pointer Appearance

The first thing you may notice about the GSP is that it is truly a clean cut dog. The breed is well proportioned with simply an athletic and capable air-- you know this dog can get work done. Their head is neither small nor large, once again perfectly proportioned, but does have a broad, long muzzle to allow it to retrieve game. The eyes are dark brown with a keen expression; according to AKC guidelines, light eyes are to be penalized-- neither bird of prey nor blue eyes should a German Shorthaired Pointer have. The ears are broad, long and hang close to the face.

The German Shorthaired Pointer's coat is short, and tough due to it's water resistant qualities. Most often, the breed is seen in with a Liver or Liver and White coat with ticking, although there are a handful of other acceptable colors. Although the German Shorthaired's tail is often victim to the docking practice, the natural tail is actually quite long and, when active, is carried almost straight in a 45 degree angle or even straight up! Another interesting fact, German Short Haired Pointers have webbed feet! This greatly helps them to retrieve waterfowl for the hunter.

German Shorthaired Pointer Coloring

There are a handful of options for German Shorthaired Pointer coat colors. They may be solid or marked.

  • Black
  • Black and White
  • Black Roan
  • Liver
  • Liver and White
  • Liver Roan
  • White
  • White and Liver


These dogs also have acceptable markings-- ticking, patched, or both. To clarify, liver is a dark brown color and roan refers to such heavy mottling as to only see specks of white here and there. Black German Shorthaired Pointers seem to be the most sought after, followed by the black and white. Liver and roan or liver with ticking is probably the coat type most will associate the breed with. Note, there are no acceptable coat colors (if you're following a breed standard) termed "brown" or "chocolate" and these are just misnomers for the correct term "liver".

German Shorthaired Pointer Size

A fully grown German Shorthaired Pointer's size falls nicely within the large category; they appear well built, strong and athletic. The height and weight of a German Shorthaired Pointer will vary slightly between males and females. Females should be around 22 inches, measured from the shoulder and weigh 45-60 pounds. Males weigh in at 55-70 pounds, typically, and stand about 24 inches shoulder height.

Average Adult Height

22-24 in
*Height is measured in inches from the front paws to the top of the shoulder while the dog is standing on all four legs.

Average Adult Weight

45-75 lbs

German Shorthaired Pointer Variations

There are no other breeds of German Shorthaired Pointers, meaning there are no Toy or Miniature German Shorthaired Pointers. Not to say there aren't breeders that have or are attempting to do so, just that these dogs are not considered purebred GSP or able to be a registered member of the breed.

Always get proof of health when purchasing a puppy; this includes: seeing the parents, receiving a health guarantee and receiving copies of health certifications of the parents plus any done for the puppy. Note, those advertising they have Miniature German Shorthaired Pointer puppies for sale are likely doing one of two things:

First, they could be breeding unhealthy small German Shorthaired Pointers together to produce small puppies, however, this method often results in a lot more health problems for your pet and more cost to you in the long run.

Second, to achieve a very small size, breeders may be crossing short haired German Pointers with a totally different breed. Yes, the other breed(s) may have many similarities with the GSP but you certainly aren't getting a purebred.

German Shorthaired Pointer Temperament

The temperament of the German Shorthaired Pointer is bold but, first and foremost, a natural hunter who loves to be in the field all day. She also makes an equally wonderful companion that will bond closely with you and want to be in your presence often. Her personality is keen, energetic, obedient and relying on instinct (more than training) in the field and when off duty they are playful, eager to please, and affectionate. They make excellent additions to physically active households and are great with children. If socialized early they should get along with other dogs but, many times, make trouble in a household with small, non canine pets like cats. They are reasonably friendly with strangers and make ok watch dogs.

Another enticing German Shorthaired Pointer characteristic is that these dogs are easily trained and eager to please. They are obedient in the field and in the home and take little training to be an instinctively good hunting companion. The German Shorthaired Pointer's behavior can take a turn to whiny and destructive if they are not exercise enough or if they are left along frequently. Whining, fence jumping and destructive tendencies are not fun to deal with. Make no mistake, these dogs need a few hours daily outdoor time. They will happily accompany you on any exercise routine you have.

German Shorthaired Pointer and Children

Kids and German Shorthaired Pointers are a match made in heaven. The breed was designed for companionship in addition to his work duties and makes an excellent family dog for those that are active. Traits that make them good family pets include: playfulness, obedience, friendliness, affectionate and enthusiastic in all pursuits. Although they are good with kids, they should be supervised around small children due to their highly energetic behavior when they are younger.

German Shorthaired Pointer and Other Pets

Although most owners agree their GSP is good with other pets, there are a few factors you need to consider. This breed was developed as an all-in-one hunting dog and may not naturally seek out the company of other dogs as much as they desire your company. With early socialization, however, most owners report they get along quite well with other dogs, although females are known to be a little testier in dog to dog interactions. On the other hand, this breed retains a high prey drive and even with early socialization and excellent training may have a hard time coexisting with small, non canine pets. Having German Shorthaired Pointers and cats together in the same household is not a good idea unless the GSP is brought up with the cat from puppyhood. Even still, he/she will likely chase neighborhood cats and critters if loose.

German Shorthaired Pointer Photos

Below are images and pictures of the German Shorthaired dog breed.

Liver Roan German Shorthaired Pointer
Liver and White German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointer
White and Liver German Shorthaired Pointer
Liver and White German Shorthaired Pointer
Liver and White German Shorthaired Pointer Puppy Running
Liver and White German Shorthaired Pointer in Grass

Living Requirements

Owning a German Shorthaired Pointer is not a decision that should be taken lightly considering they need a high amount of daily exercise and outdoor time as well as plenty of time with you. The ideal home for a member of this breed is with a hunter or very physically active owner/family. Spending plenty of time with them will help mitigate separation anxiety and bored behaviors such as whining, excessive barking and escaping fences. Be warned, this breed retains a high instinct to chase small animals so any neighborhood cats and critters are fair game.

If you don't have a large rural property for this breed to roam, we recommend a large fenced yard and either regular hunting expeditions (or if you are not a hunter) plenty of leashed exercise. Although we don't recommend this boisterous dog for apartment dwellers, small homes will do provided they have a nice yard. Unfortunately, German Shorthaired Pointers are not hypoallergenic and their short coat sheds a normal amount-- although many experts argue no dog is truly hypoallergenic.

German Shorthaired Pointer Health

The German Shorthaired Pointer is pretty healthy, overall, but can still play host to genetic and environmental health defects below:

  • Hip Dyspasia
  • Bloat
  • Osteochondritis Dessicans- disease of the joints
  • Eye Disease- Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Pannus
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lymphedema- swelling due to a blockage in the lymphatic system
  • Epilepsy
  • Cancer

Remember, not every GSP will have all or even one of these conditions. This breed usually has a lifespan of about 12-14 years.

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