All You Need to Know About the Intelligent German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer is an energetic, loveable, and intelligent dog breed.

Also known as Deutscher Kurzhaariger Vorstehhund or the Deutsch Kurzhaar, this hunting dog is versatile in many areas.

A German Shorthaired Pointer laying down
A portrait of a German Shorthaired Pointer smiling

While the German Short-haired Pointing Dog is an awesome pooch, it requires more care than one may think.

Don’t let this deter you from bringing home a Kurzhaar pup. Keep reading to learn more about the GSP.

What is a German Shorthaired Pointer?

The GSP did originate in Germany, originally bred in the 1800s.

This dog breed was initially bred as a hunting dog that could do it all. They hunted small animals, larger animals such as deer, land species, and waterfowl.

When they found what they were looking for, the GSP would point straight ahead with their nose, hence their namesake.

Today, this doggo makes a great family dog and excels at various sporting events such as Agility, Dock Diving, Field Trials, and Obedience.

The GSP is a popular breed and is well-known in various art and literature.

You’ll be sure to find a German Shorthaired Pointer in books such as Banshan and I by Thomas Mann and Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had by Rick Bass about a GSP in Montana.

So, how did the German Shorthaired Pointer come to be? It’s believed this dog breed was bred from the now-extinct German Bird Dog, who was related to the Old Spanish Pointer.

Other various German hounds, Bloodhounds, and hunting breeds such as the English Pointer and Arkwright Pointer are also believed to have a hand in creating the GSP.

There are also two other variants of this breed: the German Wirehaired Pointer and the German Longhaired Pointer.

After being brought over to the United States in 1925, the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the German Shorthaired Pointer and added the breed to the studbook in 1930.

This recognition included this versatile gundog in the Sporting Group.

What does a German Shorthaired Pointer look like?

The general appearance of the GSP pup stands tall and long but with a short back. They have a long muzzle, floppy ears, and are well-balanced on their feet.

This doggo is skinny with tight skin, a muscular nape, with a chest that reaches their elbows, but they’re not barrel-chested.

Two serious GSP sitting on a grassland
Two GSP sitting tall and showing muscular chest – Image source

They have flat shoulder blades with long upper arms that are muscled and parallel with one another. Their feet are compact, webbed, and spoon-shaped with thick, strong pads.

The hindquarters have strong thighs with a tail that’s usually docked.

Size: how big is a German Shorthaired Pointer?

The GSP is considered a medium-sized pup, even though they stand tall.

At a year old, your doggo should weigh about 53 to 67 pounds (24 to 30 kg) already and will be fully grown by two-years-old.

However, males are typically a little bigger than females.

Male German Shorthaired Pointers are most likely to be 23 to 25 inches (58 to 63 cm) tall and weigh 55 to 70 pounds (24 to 31 kg).

Female GSPs, on the other hand, will stand about 21 to 23 inches (53 to 58 cm) and weigh about 45 to 60 pounds (20 to 27 kg).

In addition to size, there are some slight differences between a male and a female. The males tend to be clingy, while females are more independent. However, either gender is a delight to have at home.

Given their size and energy levels, a GSP is not suited for apartment living.

Coat: what type of coat hair do German Shorthaired Pointers have?

German Shorthairs have a short, dense coat that’s thick and sleek. It’s water-resistant, allowing them to swim with ease.

Their coat can come in various coat colors such as black, black and white, black roan, liver, liver and white, liver roan, and white and liver.

A solid liver is the most common color a GSP can be with black coats and black and white coats being rare.

Puppies are born white with liver patches. At five weeks, shades of ticking will appear.

When your pup is eight weeks old, the freckles will darken, and you’ll have a better idea of what color your German Shorthaired Pointer will be.

In addition to different colors, your doggo can have a few coat markings such as patched, ticked, patched and ticked, roaned, and particolor.

Temperament: is a German Shorthaired Pointer a good family dog?

A GSP puppy cuddling a GSP dog, both wearing Christmas sweater
Two GSP dogs cuddling while laying on a fluffy blanket – Image source

The GSP will make an excellent family dog.

They’ll be affectionate and enjoy cuddling with you at the end of the night. This breed will always be there for you and protect you if need be.

German Shorthairs are great with small children, though they may be too rambunctious with toddlers. With early socialization and supervision, they’ll be fine with children.

While they’re not an aggressive breed, they do have a bit of a prey drive due to their hunting tendencies. They can show aggression when feeling protective of their family.

They may be wary of strangers, but they’re friendly overall. GSPs will be friendly with other dogs and, with early socialization, they’ll get along with cats and other small pets.

Of course, they’ll need to be taught not to “hunt” these smaller animals.

German Shorthaired Pointers have a lot of energy and, if left home alone for too long without any activities, they may become destructive. This doggo is prone to separation anxiety.

Luckily, they don’t bark too much.

This is an intelligent dog breed, and they’ll make good watchdogs for your family, as long as they’re socialized early enough to get along with everyone.

In fact, they’re so smart that your GSP will be a quick learner and super easy to train and potty train.

This breed may mature slower, but they will learn fast with plenty of positive reinforcement and consistency.

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a sporting breed and makes a great hunting dog. This particular breed has versatile hunting skills between their build and various training sessions.

This pooch is an excellent swimmer and can go after waterfowl. They can hunt on land or in water, such as rabbits, ducks, birds, raccoons, and deer.

You can easily teach your pup to hunt with some hunting basics, such as letting them follow their nose.

German Shorthaired Pointers are scent hounds. All you need to do is hide treats and their favorite toy in various places, and they will find it.

How to take care of your German Shorthaired Pointer

Believe it or not, the GSP is relatively simple to care for.

They’re indoor pups and can’t tolerate the cold well due to their short coat. They’ll enjoy being outdoors for exercise, though.

Exercising your German Shorthaired Pointer

This doggo has high energy levels and therefore needs a lot of versatility in activity and exercise. Sometimes, your pup might get too energetic, so how do you calm a German Shorthaired Pointer?

Be sure they get enough exercise and attention throughout the day so that they’re tired at the end of the day.

With proper training, they’ll excel off-leash to run around and shake out some of that energy.

The German Shorthaired Pointer will do well with an active family with daily exercise of at least 90 minutes.

A swimming brown merle GSP dog
Meet Muffin, a swimming GSP – Image source

They’ll enjoy daily long walks, going jogging or hiking with you, games of fetch, and swimming. They need mental and physical stimulation, so recreating dog sports such as agility will keep them fit.

Grooming: do German Shorthaired Pointers shed?

Despite the short coat, the GSP dog is not hypoallergenic, and they shed quite a bit.

This breed sheds throughout the year but will have a heavier shedding seasonally called “blowing coat.”

To keep the shedding at bay no matter what time of year, you’ll want to brush your pup weekly with a slicker brush or firm bristle brush.

Ideally, try to brush your pup outside so that their fur doesn’t get into the carpet. The coarse hair may be difficult to get out.

In addition to brushing weekly, you should only bathe your German Shorthaired Pointer puppy as needed. Two or three times a year would suffice or whenever they get into something they’re not supposed to.

This dog breed doesn’t have an odor and will only smell if they have gas or an infection.

You will want to clip their nails regularly, so they don’t grow too long. Additionally, check their floppy ears often and clean them with an ear cleaner to keep infection away.

How much food should my German Shorthaired Pointer have each day?

When your GSP is under six months old, they should eat about three to four meals per day.

A German Shorthaired Pointer standing and waiting for his steak
Meet Ollie, a German Shorthaired Pointer celebrating his birthday – Image source

As they grow older and become an adult, they should have about two to three cups of high-quality dog food per day split into two meals.

Every dog differs in terms of weight and activity levels, so always be sure to consult your vet for your pooch’s dietary needs.

Since this breed is so active and requires a lot of exercises, it’s best to feed your pup dinner when training and activity are done for the day. This will allow them to digest easier.

Some dog food options for your German Shorthaired Pointer maybe Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food or Orijen Original Grain-Free Dry Dog Food.

Make sure you never feed your doggo table scraps of human food or anything toxic to dogs such as chocolate or raisins.

What health problems do German Shorthaired Pointers have?

Unfortunately, this dog breed is prone to many health concerns.

A comfortable GSP laying on the bed
Meet Charli, a GSP curled up in a comfy bed – Image source

It’s possible your GSP could have hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia, which can be checked out by an elbow evaluation or a hip evaluation such as PennHIP.

They may also get heart disease such as cardiomyopathy, and they can get screened at the Orthopedia Foundation for Animals (OFA).

Clearance on hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, a cardiac heart exam, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease, along with a thyroid evaluation and cardiac exam.

Eye conditions such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Entropion, Ectropion, and Cone Degeneration (CD) are also possible.

You can get your dog a Cone Degeneration DNA Test to see if they’re prone to that specific condition.

There’s also an Ophthalmologist Evaluation such as the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) and Optigen Cone Degeneration Test.

Auburn University can clear your pup for thrombopathia.

Your German Shorthaired Pointer may also get Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV), also known as Bloat or Torsion. They could also get a genetic form of Lupus called exfoliative cutaneous lupus erythematosus (ECLE).

Other health issues to note are skin disorders, Epilepsy, Addison’s disease, Lyme disease, Lymphedema, Hermaphroditism, Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD), Pannus, Acral Mutilation Syndrome, and Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis 8 (NCL8).

Finally, this doggo may also get cancer such as canine hemangiosarcoma, cancerous lesions in the mouth, on the skin, and other areas of the body, as well as breast cancer.

The German Shorthaired Pointer will have a lifespan of about 10-12 years, most typically dying from cancer.

However, they can still live long, healthy lives. Some GSP pups have lived about 15 years, with the oldest being 17.

How much do German Shorthaired Pointer puppies cost?

You won’t find a purebred German Shorthaired Pointer in a pet store, but you should be able to find one through a reputable breeder.

The GSP puppies on a white background
Five German Shorthaired Pointer Puppies playing

When buying a GSP puppy, you should expect to spend about $550 to $1,000 for your furry friend.

Additionally, you’ll most likely spend about $3,700 during the first year.

This includes buying your pooch, vet bills, and all necessary items you need for care, such as grooming supplies, accessories such as a collar, leash, crate, various toys, and more.

After the first year, you may spend about $1,615 per year on your pooch.

If you plan on going hunting with your doggo, duck hunt training, for the actual training sessions and gear may be about $1,200.

German Shorthaired Pointer breeders

There are plenty of reputable German Shorthaired Pointer breeders. When searching for your new furry friend, be sure to do your research on breeders.

A good breeder will want to meet with you in person and let you meet the puppies and their parents. They’ll also have a lot of knowledge about the puppies’ family history and the breed as a whole.

To start, check out the AKC’s Marketplace for GSP breeders or the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America (GSPCA) for a list of breeders.

There is also Standing Stone Kennels (Pretty Prairie, KS) and Dusty W. German Shorthaired Pointers (Palmerton, PA).

German Shorthaired Pointer rescue and for adoption

Alternatively, some doggos don’t yet have a home and are up for adoption.

For a list of rescues, check out the National GSP Rescue.

To narrow down your search, take a look at the Southeast GSP Rescue in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

There’s also the Mid-Atlantic GSP Rescue for Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Delaware.

German Shorthaired Pointers vs. other breeds

There are many other hunting dogs, and some of them are similar, yet different, from the German Shorthaired Pointer.

For example, the English Pointer originated in England and helped develop the GSP, but the Pointer is more of a field dog for birds while the GSP has more versatility.

An English Pointer sitting on a rocky mountain
An English Pointer with an orange neckband sitting proudly – Image source

They both have short coats and are built similarly, but the English Pointer is slightly larger and doesn’t have the water-repellent coat the GSP does.

The Braque Francais is also similar to the GSP. It’s another hunting dog, originating from France. They’re both intelligent and athletic, with the Braque Francais being slightly smaller than the GSP.

A Braque Francais standing on pebbles near water
Meet Ollie, a Braque Francais or French Pointer on a beach – Image source

Finally, there’s the Vizsla, which is a sporting dog from Hungary. This pup is larger than the German Shorthaired Pointer, but they’re both smart, easy to train, and energetic.

A sitting brown Hungarian Vizsla with red collar
A beautiful Hungarian Vizsla looking up

Curious about German Shorthaired Pointer mixes?

The German Shorthaired Pointer can be mixed with a few other dog breeds as well. Any of these pups would be a delight to have in your home.

First, we have the German Shorthaired Lab, which is the Labrador Retriever German Shorthaired Pointer mix.

A German Shorthaired Lab laying on the grass and wearing a blue collar
Meet Alex, a shiny Labrador Retriever German Shorthaired Pointer mix – Image source

This mixed breed is a large dog, but they’re easy to train and get along well with anyone.

They’ll make a great family dog and are great with kids, but they’re prone to getting separation anxiety and can’t tolerate being alone for too long.

They also have high energy and will need a lot of exercise and activity throughout the day.

Next, the German Pointeraner or the German Shorthaired Weimaraner is the Weimaraner and German Shorthaired Pointer mix.

A brown German Shorthaired Weimaraner with a yellow toy
Meet Turtle, a happy Weimaraner and German Shorthaired Pointer mix – Image source

This dog breed is medium to large in size and requires at least 120 minutes of daily exercise. They’re highly energetic and athletic.

However, they’re easy to train, loyal to their owner, and gentle with other animals and small children. They’re not aggressive but may bark to alert you to strangers.

There’s also the Boingle or the Beagle German Shorthaired Pointer mix. This is a large dog that will occasionally bark a lot due to its Beagle parent.

A Boingle laying on the grass
Meet Lucy, a Beagle German Shorthaired Pointer mix under the sun – Image source

This dog breed is super friendly, good with everything, and will make a great family dog. They’re somewhat easy to train and will need a moderate amount of exercise. However, they do tend to get obese.

Finally, there’s the German Shepherd German Shorthaired Pointer mix also known as the German Shepherd Pointer.

A German Shorthaired Pointer smiling with a yellow throw toy
Meet Carly, a beautiful German Shepherd German Shorthaired Pointer mix – Image source

This dog has high energy and will need a lot of exercises such as long walks, jogging, and hiking. They’ll make a great family dog, are friendly, loyal, and a good watchdog. They’re a big shedder, though.

Is the German Shorthaired Pointer right for me?

Three German Shorthaired Pointer siblings sitting on the ground
Meet Goose, Atlanta, and Billie, three German Shorthaired Pointer siblings – Image source

The GSP may be better with a more experienced owner, but since they’re easy to train, they can be good for first-time owners.

If you’re an active family and give them the exercise and attention they need, this may be a pup worth looking into. Just be mindful of the shedding.

Are you bringing home a German Shorthaired Pointer today? Let us know in the comments below!

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