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German Shorthaired Pointer

 Photo of German Shorthaired Pointer
Photo: courtesy of Jon and Sierra Milton

German Shorthaired Pointer Books

Group: Gundog - Breed Standard


The German Shorthaired Pointer is descended from the old Spanish Pointer, which was taken to Germany in the 1600s. From that time until the first studbook was created in 1870, however, it is impossible to identify all of the dogs that went into creating this breed. Most-likely candidates for its ancestors include local German breeds such as other hunting dogs, the Bloodhound, the Foxhound, various French hounds, assorted Scandinavian breeds, the German Bird Dog, and the Italian Pointer. In the late 1800s, breeders added the English Pointer to the lines, rounding out the breed's all-around utility.


Height at Withers: Dogs: minimum 58 cms (23 ins), maximum 64 cms (25 ins). Bitches: minimum 53 cms (21 ins), maximum 59 cms (23 ins).

The breed is lean, athletic, and graceful yet powerful, with strong hindquarters that make it able to move rapidly and turn quickly. It has moderately long flop ears set high on the head. Its muzzle is long, broad, and strong, allowing it to retrieve even heavy furred game. Its profile should be straight or slightly Roman-nosed; any dished appearance to the profile (such as seen in the Pointer) is incorrect. Eyes should be as light as possible; dark eyes are a fault. Its tail is commonly docked, although this is now prohibited in some countries.The German Shorthaired Pointer's coat is short and flat. It is not dense enough to be water-resistant.


Since the German shorthaired pointer was developed to be a dog suited to family life as well as a versatile hunter, the correct temperament is that of an intelligent, bold, and characteristically affectionate dog that is cooperative and easily trained. Shyness, fearfulness, over submissiveness, aloofness, lack of biddability, or aggression (especially toward humans) are all incorrect traits. It is usually very good with children, although care should be taken because the breed can be boisterous especially when young. These dogs love interaction with humans and appreciate active families who will give them an outlet for their energy. Most German Shorthaired Pointers make excellent watchdogs. The breed generally gets along well with other dogs. A strong hunting instinct is correct for the breed, which is not always good with other small pets such as cats or rabbits. The German shorthaired pointer's distinctly independent character and superior intelligence makes this breed best suited to experienced owners who are confident and capable handlers.

Breed Health

The Shorthaired Pointer is generally a healthy breed. Seizures have been a problem in some lines, and a few individuals may suffer from hip dysplasia, genetic eye diseases, or skin cancer. Like all dogs with flop ears, it can be prone to ear infections and its ears require regular checking and cleaning. It has a longer life expectancy than many breeds of this size, commonly living 12 to 14 years, with individual dogs living to 16 to 18 years not uncommon.


The German shorthaired pointer needs plenty of vigorous activity and off-lead exercise. Lack of sufficient exercise and/or proper training can produce a dog that appears hyperactive or that has destructive tendencies. Thus the breed is not a suitable pet for an inactive home or for inexperienced dog owners.


This is an intelligent and highly trainable breed. Like the other versatile breeds, the German shorthaired pointer was developed to be comparatively independent and thoroughly capable of working out of sight of its handler. This independence can lead to the dog appearing to have a mind of its own, and so this breed especially requires training to ensure that it understands that the owner is in charge. See our books on training

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Last link added: 12 Mar, 2008