German Shorthaired Pointer Ultimate Guide: Pictures, Characteristics, & Facts

So you’re looking for a canine that excels at hunting both inland and water, as well as being an excellent family companion. Well, guess what? Here’s the perfect dog breed for you – the German Shorthaired Pointer.

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German Shorthaired Pointers were believed to have originated in Germany, hence their name. Although their exact ancestry is unknown, early versions of GSPs (short for their name) were existing since the 17th century. However, the GSPs that we know today are the result of crossing breeds from the mid-to-late 19th century.

Breeders were encouraged to select specimens that would create an athletic, intelligent, and affectionate dog by Prince Albrecht zu Solms-Braunfeld of the Royal House of Hanover.
In 1925, the first known GSP in the U.S was imported by Dr. Charles Thornton of Montana. After five years, the breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. World War II greatly affected the breeding of GSPs. Many breeders hid their treasures, including GSPs.

Today, AKC ranked the GSP 19th among their 155 recognized dog breeds.


The GSP is notable for its short, dense, water-repellent coat. Its stiff guard hairs allow this breed to stay warm during cold weather. This dog’s chiseled head has softer, thinner hair than those on the underside of the tail and the back edges of the rear end. Its color may be solid silver, or a mixture of silver and white that is either patched, ticked, or roaned.

Its dark eyes are the shape of an almond, its nose black and large. Its broad ears are dropped and the tail is usually docked. And like all German pointers, GSPs have webbed feet, allowing them to be an excellent, versatile hunter in both land and water.


Male GSPs stand at 23 to 25 inches at the shoulder and weigh 55 to 70 pounds. Meanwhile, female GSPs are smaller with heights varying from 21 to 23 inches, and weight differing between 45 to 60 pounds.

Life Span

Based on a Danish survey, the GSP has a life span of 9 years. However, the UK survey says that 12 years is this dog’s life expectancy. Further, it is concluded on their survey that 1 in 8 GSPs lived up to more than 15 years, with the longest-lived dog reaching up to 17 years. If only we know how to take care of our canines, there’s a high chance that we can double up their lives.


The GSP’s short, sleek coat does not shed excessively, making this dog’s hair easy to groom and maintain. Weekly brushing with a firm, bristle brush is enough to keep its coat clean and tidy. If not, its hair will be all over the place – fabrics, carpets, couch, on your shirt, etc. Baths are only done when necessary.


The German Shorthaired Pointers were bred to become agile hunters, as well as be an excellent family companion. They are intelligent, powerful, yet loving dogs that are enthusiastic and happy to please their owners.

Although their temperament may differ for every canine, it is important that they are exposed to different people, sights, and environment during their puppyhood in order to stay calm and collected in front of other people and animals.

It is also said that male GSPs are more outgoing and badass hunters compared to females.


GSPs are highly intelligent dogs. They are always curious and are always excited to learn about things. It is important for them to undertake crate training while they’re still young so that they don’t get into trouble whenever you’re not around. Aside from their high intellect, they also have a strong power of scent, which makes them a good companion at sniffing out during a hunt or search.


The GSP can be both a pointer and a retriever. It is one of the few hunting breeds that is excellent at gun dog roles. It is good at chasing birds, as well as waterfowls, rabbits, raccoons, and even deer! The GSP’s strong legs made it move and turn quickly – an important element for a hunting dog.

Also, their athletic nature gives them the natural ability to escape from four to six-foot fences easily. Fulfillment of vigorous activities, such as hunting, running, carting, and mushing can reduce their desire to escape. Don’t be too surprised if one day they come home with dead trophies, such as cats, rats, pigeons, rabbits, and other animals.


This medium to large size dog breed needs a great amount of exercise, about an hour or two. Its energy and stamina can last all day, therefore intensive activities are essential which includes swimming, long hikes, or a Frisbee game. If kept active and healthy, GSPs will make excellent house pets.


GSPs are eager to please their people and are capable to learn new commands quickly, so training them would be easy especially if positive reinforcement techniques are used, such as food rewards and praises. While they aren’t stubborn, they can easily get bored so it is important to keep the training short yet fun and interesting.

If treated with punishment during training, GSPs will become less willing to cooperate with you, thus leading to unsuccessful training.

Aside from basic obedience and command, it is also important for the GSPs to be taught how to distinguish prey and off-limits animals at an early age to avoid trouble in the future.

Good With Family

GSPs may be hunting dogs, but they are equally suited as home companions as well. They get along well with children, and their high energy level makes them the best companion for older children, although they can be too energetic for toddlers and may accidentally injure them.

It is important that your children know how to interact with dogs, regardless of their breed. Any harsh acts, such as ear or tail pulling may provoke to bite even the tamest and most trained dog.

When we talk about its capability to interact with other dogs, they can pretty get along well especially when raised together, although some GSPs can be aggressive towards canines of the same sex. Because of their natural hunting instinct, they may also chase and hunt smaller pets, such as cats and rabbits.

If they find themselves face-to-face with strange animals, GSPs may become hostile especially when their property is invaded.

Apartment Living

Because German Shorthaired Pointers are highly energetic and athletic, they need a home where they can run and play, such as a yard with at least a six-foot fence to keep them from escaping. They are not suited for apartments with limited space. If they lack physical exercise and mental stimulation, you may find GSPs engaged in destructive behaviors, such as excessive barking and chewing.

GSPs must be kept indoors since they love to be with their human family’s company. They will alert their owners with strange noises and people, and may also be aloof towards them.

Separation Anxiety

GSPs people-loving personality makes them dependent on their family’s companion. If left alone for long periods without toys or anything to keep them occupied, they’ll be unhappy and nervous which then leads to separation anxiety.

If you’re a person who’s always away from home, then GSP is not the breed for you.

Health Issues

German Shorthaired Pointers are generally considered tough, healthy dogs, though they may still suffer from genetic disorders that owners should look out for. This includes hypothyroidism, bloat, hip dysplasia, pannus, epilepsy, Von Willebrand’s Disease, Gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV), and skin disorders and cancerous lesions in the mouth, on the skin, and other areas of the body.

For unspayed female GSPs, they may suffer from breast cancer but the chances can be lessened if they are spayed.


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