A true gun dog and a great hunting companion are the two most common descriptors used to summarize the temperament and traits of the German Wirehaired Pointer. Of course not all German Wirehaired Pointers are high prey drive hunting dogs, some are wonderful companion pets and just good old family dogs as well. Typically, however, most lines of German Wirehaired Pointers will have some natural hunting instincts, some which can make the breed a challenge to own.
The temperament of the German Wirehaired Pointer is slightly different than many of the hunting or sporting dogs. Unlike the calm, non-aggressive and somewhat submissive behaviors seen in many of the sporting dogs, the German Wirehaired Pointer tends to be much more dominant in temperament. This doesn't mean that the dogs are naturally aggressive, but it does mean that they will need more socialization from a younger age and on a more routine basis than many of the other dogs within the group. Overall the German Wirehaired Pointer is considered a good watchdog but not an effective guard dog as they will bark but typically not take defending their territory, at least against people, any farther. They will, however, defend their territory against other dogs. Some may have difficulty in adjust to households with cats and any other type of smaller pet. In addition birds in the family may be a bad combination with this breed.
Early and consistent socialization can definitely minimize this trend, as can choosing from show lines rather than from hunting and field lines. Most German Wirehaired Pointers, when raised with cats or dogs and properly socialized, are even tempered dogs that will accept other canines and cats very readily.
Training the German Wirehaired Pointer requires consistency and firmness, but also lots of activities and routines that include physical and mental exercise. The high levels of energy can lead to rather rambunctious puppies, however they will settle a bit in this aspect as they mature. Most German Wirehaired Pointers make terrific housedogs provide they have several hours to run and play outdoors per day. They are not recommended for apartments or homes with only small yards. Bored German Wirehaired Pointers can easily become escape artists as they are great jumpers, climbers and chewers. Some may also be very likely to develop problem barking habits when not provided with enough routine exercise. People that lead active lifestyles will enjoy these dogs as they are always ready to head out for a walk, run or play.
Generally the breed is good with children but does best with slightly older children that can be seen as leaders by the dog. Younger kids may be dominated by the dog and he or she may simply ignore the children if they are trying to command or work with the pet. Involving the children in the obedience training once the puppy or dog has mastered the command is a great way to help the dog understand that the kids are leaders too. Some German Wirehaired Pointers are very child friendly while others are naturally a bit nervous around kids. By raising a puppy with children that are responsible and understand how to interact with dogs a great relationship can and will form between the two.
The German Wirehaired Pointer is a very distinctive looking dog. They have, not surprisingly, a wiry type of coat that is about two inches in length across the entire body. The coat is double, with a thick, woolly undercoat that is completely protected by the wiry outer coat. Naturally water repellent, these dogs are ideal for going through dense forests and brambles as the coat acts like a shield, protecting the skin underneath. They can also be used as water retrievers, making this coat a great option. Since they do enjoy the outdoors and have such a protective coat, the German Wirehaired Pointer can be kept outdoors in most climate conditions provided they have shelter and someplace to get out of the wind, direct sunlight and any rain or snow. However, to be truly happy most German Wirehaired Pointers want to be inside with their families as much as possible.
The coat is typically a color combination known as liver and white. The liver color can be different shades over the dog from a dark red color through to an almost coppery brown color. The liver and white color is often found in patterns of ticking or roaning, but some dogs may be solid liver in color. Typically in the color combinations that are ticked or roaned the head and the legs may be more solid in color with the body and chest having most of the white mixture of hairs.
The head of the German Wirehaired Pointer looks something like the griffon group of dogs with a noticeable beard, whiskers and very pronounced eyebrows. The ears stay very tight against the head and the eyes are typically a medium to dark brown in color and partially hidden by the protruding hair on the muzzle and the forehead. They often seem to have a very quizzical expression on their face.
Weighing about 70 pounds and measuring between 22 and 26 inches at the shoulder, the German Wirehaired Pointer is considered to be a larger type of dog. They are very healthy as a breed with hip dysplasia the most common genetic problem. Eye conditions can occur in some dogs, however buying from a reputable breeder will typically prevent this from being a concern. With their longer, hound like ears the German Wirehaired Pointer may also be prone to ear infections so routine cleaning and examining of the ears is important. Living between 12-14 years of age this breed stays very healthy all through their life provided they are properly fed, exercised and have routine vaccinations, worming and flea treatments.
The German Wirehaired Pointer doesn't require any specialized type of grooming other than the coat does need to be stripped as needed. As with any wirehaired dog the harsh outside coat needs to be plucked by hand to remove the old, dead hairs. This is a simply process that owners can do on their own and just takes a short period of time if done every few months.