German Shorthaired Pointer

  • Temperament Bold, Boisterous, Cooperative, Intelligent, Affectionate, Trainable
  • Family Friendly Yes
  • Trainability Somewhat Easy to Train
  • Shedding High
  • Group Sporting
  • Color Liver, Liver & White, Liver Ticked or Patches, White Ticked, Liver Roan
  • Origin Germany (1800s)
  • Height 21-25 inches
  • Weight 45-70 lbs
  • Original Function Hunting
  • Current Function Pointing, Pointing Field Trials
  • Lifespan 12-15 years

Origin of the Breed

German Shorthaired Pointers are strong hunting gun-dogs, designed for their tracking and retrieving instincts. This leads many to believe the breed is derived of combination of Old Spanish Pointers, Foxhounds, English Pointers, German Bird Dogs, and Arkwright Pointers. The German Shorthaired Pointers were developed for the ability to trace fur and feathers, work on land and in water, by tracking, pointing and retrieving. They are also an ancestor of the German Wirehaired Pointed that was bred later. The German Shorthaired Pointer was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930.

Coloring and Size Variations

German Shorthaired Pointers are typically a black, chestnut, chocolate or liver color, mixed with gray and white. They also come with portions of their coat speckled, with grayish patches, or large white portions. Their heads are usually a solid color, with various unique markings.

Behavioral Tendencies

German Shorthaired Pointer were bred to be hunters, suited for tracking game like waterfowl, ground animals, tree-climbers (like raccoons), and larger animals such as deer. However, they are also cooperative family dogs, with exuberance, loyalty and affection for their owners. They adapt easily to children and other dogs, though small species like cats, rabbits or guinea pigs may prove a challenge. German Shorthaired Pointers are skilled watch dogs, with a keen sense of smell and awareness of danger. If these pets are not adequately socialized or exercised, they can grow aloof, fearful, shy or aggressive and destructive. Note that these dogs will indicate if anything is amiss, or if they have cornered an animal, by pointing. Be advised, that since German Shorthaired Pointers desire their master's approval, they also have the tendency to present any "prize" (or kill) they have captured, whether rodent, or bird, etc.

Training Needs

This intelligent breed excels with proper training. Their need to explore, track, hunt and exercise will dictate much of their behavior if they do not have a proper outlet for their energy. The German Shorthaired Pointers work well with consistent structure and firm rules, though harsh discipline is always to be avoided. They have been known to escape easily in the past, and will need to be trained about the boundaries on their property. They enjoy working as part of a team, but need to learn obedience to commands in spite of how much they will want to make the decisions or exert their energy.

Health Complications

German Shorthaired Pointers are generally healthy dogs, but can struggle with hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and hermaphrodism, etc. They are also prone to tumors, as well as a handful of other rare health complications.


German Shorthaired Pointers will require regular rigorous exercise, as they have nearly inexhaustible energy. They will need lengthy, challenging walks or jogs, as well as play time and tasks. If a family or an owner is not comfortable with a consistently athletic lifestyle, this breed may not be the best match.

Living Conditions

Being the active pets they are, German Shorthaired Pointers prefer having extensive grounds to explore, or yards to romp in. They do not comfortably adapt to apartment life, and would be best suited with an energetic or athletic family. If you do keep your German Shorthaired Pointer in your backyard, ensure that bordering fence is higher than 6 ft, or he may be tempted to leap over the limits.


This breed has little to no grooming requirements, as their short hair is easy to maintain and does not easily shed. They tend to be a naturally "clean" breed, grooming themselves; thus an occasional coat wipe-down or bath will be sufficient care, along with regular ear examinations.

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