The German Shorthaired Pointer is sometimes mistaken as the English Pointer, however there are significant differences. This dog makes a loving companion pet and is a very affectionate breed, great with children, other pets and even with friends of the family. This outstanding and very friendly temperament of the German Shorthaired Pointer really makes it an outstanding family dog, although definitely not for everyone.
Before considering a German Shorthaired Pointer there are several temperaments and traits with the breed it is important to examine from a very honest perspective. Knowing what you are getting into when considering purchasing or rescuing a German Shorthaired Pointer is the best way to ensure that this is the best possible match for you and your family.
The most challenging aspect to most new owners of German Shorthaired Pointers is the amount of exercise that these dogs require. This dog will require at least two solid hours of exercise per day, which can include walks, jogs, going swimming, playing at the dog park or even having a large open space to run, explore and just be a dog. While some of this time can include being outdoors in a secured backyard or run area with another dog, they do need routine exercise as well. For a very active person or family, an individual that jogs or leads an active, outdoor lifestyle this is a perfect match. Owners report that these dogs are almost tireless, always ready to run, and go everywhere with the family. People looking for a small space dog or a dog that is great for apartments may wish to look to another breed, possibly even out of the sporting group. Typically a German Shorthaired Pointer in an apartment will quickly turn to destructive types of behavior including chewing, barking and generally getting into everything.
The shorter coat of the German Shorthaired Pointer is always a variation of liver or white coloration. The coat can be solid liver, which is a brownish red color, or it can be liver with white. The white coloration can sometimes be dominant but the liver has to be in patches, flecks or ticking. Solid white dogs or any other colors than liver and white are not permitted, which is different than many of the other pointers, especially the English Pointer. The coat is very short and sleek and easy to keep up with. Routine grooming is minimal, just a quick brush with a soft bristle brush every few days is all that is needed. The breed is an average shedder year round, so there will be hairs throughout the house, but routine grooming keeps this very minimal. The German Shorthaired Pointer should not be bathed frequently and they are very naturally clean dogs.
As with most of the pointer breeds the German Shorthaired Pointer is a very friendly dog that is typically not dog aggressive and will get along with most other breeds of dogs very well. Some German Shorthaired Pointers may have difficulty in adjusting to cats and other smaller pets in the house, as they are definitely a hunting breed. To overcome this problem raising a German Shorthaired Pointer with cats and other household pets is a must, however the dog may be smart enough to realize that there is a difference between household cats and neighborhood cats.
The German Shorthaired Pointer will adjust to having new people around, however they are often not too extroverted when it comes to non-family members. They tend to be a bit more reserved and aloof, however once they come to know someone they will greet them affectionately and enjoy interacting with the person. They are good watchdogs and will bark, but they don't have the temperament to be a guard dog or a protective dog.
Health conditions in the German Shorthaired Pointer are typically very minimal, especially with well bred dogs from reputable kennels. Some conditions that are found within the breed include canine hip dysplasia, which is not uncommon in almost all larger breeds of dogs, as well as other inherited conditions such as Von Willebrands Disease, similar to hemophilia. Less common are condition such as epilepsy, entropion and gastric torsion. Feeding two or more smaller meals a day and avoiding any type of strenuous exercise for at least one hour after feeding will help in preventing bloat, also known as gastric torsion.
The average lifespan of the German Shorthaired Pointer is 13-15 years with males maturing at about 70 pounds and females slightly less at about 60 pounds. Naturally very athletic, these dogs are not typically prone to weight gain at any time in their life. Some may have minor digestive issues and feeding a very good quality kibble or a natural type of raw foods diet is recommended. The high energy expenditures of these true hunting dogs is extreme, so good food will be very important in overall health.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a hunting dog at heart, and while they may love to be with the family and doing things with the family, they really excel at hunting activities. The German Shorthaired Pointer is considered to be a versatile hunting dog, which means they both point as well as retrieve, and can be used in both field type hunting as well as retrieving in water. These dogs are natural at this and require very little in the way of specific training. A gun dog trainer can help to enhance the natural abilities of the German Shorthaired Pointer, but for many people that want a hunting dog for personal use little specialized training is required.
Unlike some of the hunting dogs, not all German Shorthaired Pointer have what is called a soft mouth. This means that they may have to be taught not to bite down too hard on the object they are carrying. This is different than some hunting dogs that have a natural soft mouth, and do not bite down by instinct rather than training.
The German Shorthaired Pointer, with proper training and socialization, is a great companion dog, exercise partner, obedience dog and hunting dog. There are both show and field lines within the breed, with field lines more geared towards hunting and show lines more commonly associated with conformation and pets.