German Shorthaired Pointer Care

The German Shorthaired Pointer, or GSP for short, is a medium-sized breed with excellent hunting skills. These dogs also make fantastic pets for the right families. Overall, German Shorthaired Pointers need a moderate amount of care, which includes a great deal of exercise and a good bit of simple love and attention. Below you'll find plenty of info on caring for a GSP: puppy development, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and more. For answers to all your questions about German Shorthaired Pointer care and maintenance, keep reading!

German Shorthaired Pointer Exercise Needs

German Shorthaired Pointer exercise--and lots of it--must be a part of these dogs' everyday lives. With centuries spent as all-purpose hunting dogs, GSPs are used to spending hours running through the fields or woods, so a lack of exercise will cause major behavioral problems in dogs of this breed. And since they're sensitive and personable, they'll do best in activities in which their human owners also participate.

Just how much exercise does a German Shorthaired Pointer need? In short, a great deal. Though the amount may depend on an individual GSP's age and overall activity level, the typical adult GSP will need an hour a day of exercise at the very least; many owners say they exercise their GSPs for two hours or more each day, and the dogs are still raring to go at bedtime! In any case, 90 minutes daily is a good target--but these dogs will both need and enjoy as much exercise as you can possibly give them. And you can begin exercising a GSP puppy at three months old by taking it on short (10- to 15-minute) walks, then increase the walks' duration as the puppy grows.

There are some precautions that need to be taken, though, when exercising your GSP. First, puppies younger than nine months old shouldn't participate in activities that include a lot of jumping and running, as doing so can injure their still-developing bones and joints. While these dogs don't necessarily require a leash when in public, they'll still need close supervision; GSPs have exceptionally high prey drives, so they may instinctively chase interesting-looking critters--and they'll be very difficult to catch. As previously stated, it's also important that you, the owner, exercise with your GSP. Since these dogs were developed to serve their handlers on hunts, they'll benefit more--and participate more fully--when a human is engaged in the activity along with them.

Safeguards aside, GSPs must be exercised a good bit every single day. Breed members become extremely agitated and restless if under-exercised, and will turn disobedient and destructive; the issue is worse if they're left alone. So giving your GSP daily activity is healthy for both you and the dog. Here are some exercise ideas for your German Shorthaired Pointer and you:

  • Walking/Jogging: Two 30-minute walks (or 20-minute jogs) is a good target
  • Fetch: Your GSP will chase a ball or stick for hours
  • Swimming: These dogs love the water
  • Canine Sports: GSPs excel in obedience and agility trials, flyball, and other competitions
  • Hiking: Excellent bonding activity; romping through the woods is this breed's specialty

When indoors, it's a good idea to give your GSP access to one or more balls or chew-toys that will allow the dog to release any pent-up energy. It's also recommended that you establish a consistent daily exercise schedule for your GSP, such as walks/jogs after breakfast and dinner and a play period in the morning or afternoon (or both, if possible).

German Shorthaired Pointer Maintenance

Care for these dogs in terms of shedding and drooling is pretty easy overall. German Shorthaired Pointer shedding is fairly light, and drooling isn't much of an issue.

GSPs have short, sleek coats that are double-layered--so the undercoat sheds a bit year-round, and more heavily during the spring and fall shedding seasons. Even so, the amount of shed hairs is small compared to many double-coated breeds. Owners say they brush weekly with a bristle brush or grooming mitt for most of the year (and more frequently during shedding season) to minimize the shedding. Occasional vacuuming and lint roller use should help even more.

These dogs may drool a bit in anticipation of food or when they get especially hot and pant, but not much otherwise. If your GSP is drooling excessively, it may be a sign of a medical issue, in which case a veterinarian's care is needed.

German Shorthaired Pointer Diet

Since this is an extremely active and athletic breed, the German Shorthaired Pointer diet needs to consist of foods that contain large amounts of animal proteins and carbohydrates--nutrients that provide these dogs with much-needed energy. German Shorthaired Pointer dog food should also have some omega fatty acids that keep their waterproof coats healthy. All this means that GSPs will thrive much better on a diet of premium dry food; these high-quality foods may be more expensive and difficult to obtain, but they have the vital proteins, carbs, and other nutrients that cheap generic foods, which contain mostly empty "filler" ingredients, simply don't.

One advantage of these premium foods is that your GSP won't need to eat as much of it to fulfill its daily dietary needs. On average, the typical adult GSP--and the amount may vary depending on the dog's age, size, and activity level--will need about 2½ cups of premium dry food per day, divided into two meals. GSP puppies will need a bit less: again depending on its age, a GSP pup will need about 1½ cups per day, divided into three meals (not two) until the age of six months. Owners should feed their young GSPs puppy food until they're about nine months old, then transition to adult food by mixing the two types over a period of several days. It's also recommended that owners establish a consistent feeding schedule for their GSPs so the dogs get used to eating at the same time every day. For more info, see this German Shorthaired Pointer puppy feeding guide:

German Shorthaired Pointer Feeding Chart
Dog AgeDog WeightFood TypeAmountFrequency2 Months10 lbsDry (Puppy Formula)0.3 cups3x/day3 Months17 lbsDry0.4 cups3x/day6 Months30 lbsDry0.5 cups3x/day9 Months40 lbsDry* (Puppy/Adult)1 cup2x/day12 Months50 lbsDry (Adult Formula)1.25 cups2x/day14 Months+55 lbsDry1.25 cups2x/day

*--Around this time, transition your GSP from puppy to adult food by first mixing in a little adult food with the puppy food. Over the course of a week, in each meal add more adult food to the mix until the dog is eating adult food entirely.

It's best to try and stick to the above-listed portions; while the amounts may seem a bit small, they're ample enough for your GSP. Any dog that overeats can become obese--and while this breed doesn't have a high potential for weight gain, a fat German Shorthaired Pointer will have joint, breathing, and digestive issues, not to mention a shortened lifespan. You can control your GSP's weight in several ways: by having consistent feeding and exercise schedules; by not feeding the dog table scraps; and by not "free-feeding," which is leaving food in the GSP's bowl all the time so it can eat anytime it wants. It's highly recommended that you put the dog's bowl down only at mealtimes, then pick it up 15-20 minutes after the dog begins eating.

If you're worried your GSP is overweight, give the dog this simple Ribs Test: run a hand along its side, and if you can't feel any ribs, it's diet time. Reduce the dog's daily food consumption by one-fourth, and add an extra walk, jog, or play period to its daily exercise schedule.

Living Environment

Despite being high-energy dogs, GSPs prefer living indoors with their human families. These dogs are sensitive and form deep bonds with their owners, so they'll need as much human company as they can get. A German Shorthaired Pointer in an apartment, though, is not the ideal situation, as they're simply too active for living in such a confined space. The ideal environment for a GSP is a spacious home with a large fenced yard.

In regards to climate: dogs of this breed are fine in warmer weather, but they don't handle the cold very well; they're not a great match for people who live in colder regions.

German Shorthaired Pointer Grooming

Read the grooming requirements for German Shorthaired Pointers including coat care and other maintenance.

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About this Article

Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:January 30, 2018