Breed Basics: German Shorthaired Pointer


german shorthaired pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) belongs to a group of dogs known as versatile hunting dogs. They are meant to fill all the roles a hunter requires including locating game, pointing it, retrieving it, tracking it, etc. They should hunt on land and in the water, working both birds and furred game. As pets they are typical sporting dogs – high energy but very trainable, ideal companions for an active family.


The energy level of the GSP can be surprising if you have not lived with a versatile hunter before. They need a chance to stretch their legs and run if not daily then at least a few days a week. Provided that their exercise needs are met outdoors, they should relax and curl up on the couch in the house. They do extremely well with homes with one or more runners, particularly distance runners.


Like most sporting breeds, the German Shorthaired Pointer is very easily trained and are easy to motivate with food and praise. They are naturally geared towards pleasing their owners and are meant to work closely with the hunter. As youngsters their ability to focus is very short and it is important to keep training sessions short and upbeat.


Like most sporting dogs, the German Shorthaired Pointer, is a great family pet and tends to be patient with children. It is important to watch that they don’t accidentally knock toddlers over in their exuberance.


Overall, the GSP is a fairly healthy breed and generally lives between 12-15 years. Health issues known to occur within the breed include subaortic stenosis (SAS, a cardiac condition), hip dysplasia, epilepsy, cataracts, and cone degeneration (an eye disorder that causes dayblindness) but none are extremely common.


While exercise is the need that tends to stand out for most owners, like any large dog, it is important that owner begin training their puppy early on. As an adult, the GSP tends to be between 50-70 lbs. The breed can be headstrong and stubborn and obedience training is a must. Grooming needs are minimal. Brushing with a hound glove once a week will reduce shedding but is not strictly necessary.