German Shorthaired Pointer
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Is The German Shorthaired Pointer The Best Gundog?

Looking for a dog that excels in everything hunting? Maybe you are not a hunter. Then how about a great watchdog and loyal family companion. The surprising German Shorthaired Pointer may be just the dog for you.

The German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) was established in Germany during the 1800s. It is a hunting dog capable of doing just about anything a hunting dog can do. The GSP will locate game birds, point to them, retrieves them (both on land and water), and, when off duty, is an affectionate companion when the hunt is over. Its main prey is gamebirds but it also can hunt rabbits, opossum, raccoon, and deer.

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a medium-sized hunting dog that is one of the top ten most popular dog breeds in the United States. This all-in-one dog not only excels in hunting birds, rabbits, raccoons, and other game animals but also doubles as a great watchdog and loyal family pet. It is a high-energy dog so be prepared to get lots of workouts if you decide to own one.

What Do German Shorthaired Pointers Look Like?

The male GSP is 23 to 25 inches tall and weighs from 55 to 70 pounds. The female is smaller at 21 to 23 inches tall and 45 to 60 pounds. Their coats are most often a solid liver, or reddish-brown, or a pattern of liver and white. Some GSPs will have a black or black and white coat.

The coat of the GSP is short but should not be thin. It should be soft to the touch other than around its head and ears. They will need an occasional bath and a brushing every few days to remove loose hair. They do shed.

Liver and White German Shorthaired Pointers
Black and White German Shorthaired Pointer Puppy

Are German Shorthaired Pointers Aggressive?

In addition to being bred as an all-purpose hunting dog, the GSP was also intended to be a family companion. It should get along well with adults and children. Hunting dogs are active creatures and will need an outlet for all their energy. You need some room to let your GSP burn off its boundless energy.

As with all dogs, GSPs should be socialized as early as possible. You should introduce your new puppy to other people and animals within the first 12 weeks of its life. These early weeks are critical for a dog to become a fully socialized family member.

German Shorthaired Pointers do well with children, especially if they are socialized early (they meaning both the dog and the kids). These dogs can live outdoors but prefer to live inside and go outside when necessary. They are above average in dog intelligence, according to Stanley Coren, in his book “The Intelligence of Dogs.”

This breed is very social and does not like being left alone for long periods or confined to kennels. A lonely GSP may become bored and act out. They may become hyperactive or develop destructive tendencies.

This breed is not a suitable pet for inactive owners or for inexperienced dog owners. These dogs form very strong attachments with their owners, but a bored GSP may feel the need to get its own exercise.

 Regular huntingrunningcartingbikejoringskijoringmushingdog scootering, or other vigorous activity is what a GSP needs. The GSPs instinct to hunt may sometimes lead the dog to bring home occasional trophies, such as cats, rats, pigeons, and other assorted animals. The GSP needs to be taught to distinguish between prey and non-prey animals.


Is The German Shorthaired Pointer Healthy?

The GSP is usually a healthy, happy dog but all purebred dogs run the risks of hereditary health issues. Occasionally, GSP may suffer from epilepsy, hip dysplasia, and hermaphroditism.

German Shorthaired Pointers do have some risk of bloat (canine). This is a serious condition and requires immediate medical attention. You can reduce the chances of bloat by not engaging in strenuous activities too soon after meals. Kind of like the old advice about swimming too soon after eating.

Just How Good Is the German Shorthaired Pointer?

CJ wins 2013 “Best in Show”

Owners of the GSP are likely to extoll the abilities of the GSP. This is a hunting dog that can do it all.

Devotees of other hunting dogs may choose to differ, but the GSP does have a list of impressive accomplishements.

In 2014, German Shorthaired Pointers won 1st, 3rd, and 4th place in the Gun Dog Championship — Non-Retrieving. In that same year, GSPs won 2nd and 3rd place in the Gun Dog Championship — Retrieving.

A German Shorthaired Pointer named “CJ” won “Best in Show” in the 2016 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show proving it is more than just a hunting dog.

In his 2001 book, “Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had,” author Rick Bass relates how a German Shorthaired Pointer is one of the best companion dogs in the world.

German Shorthaired Pointers are also good watch dogs. However, after sounding the alarm, they are too friendly to actually attack and intruder.

How Much Do German Shorthaired Pointers Cost?

The least expensive way to get a GSP is probably through a rescue organization. Rescue fees will vary but usually run about 300 dollars (US). Buying from a breeder will cost substantially more and can run from $1,000 to $3,500.

For more information on the breed, visit the AKC website or German Shorthaired Pointer Club Of America website.

Other Dog Breeds to Consider

German Longhaired Pointer
German Longhaired Pointer
German Wirehaired Pointer
English Pointer
English Pointer


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