German Shorthaired Pointer

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Is the German Shorthaired Pointer right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): GSP; German Shorthair; DK; Deutscher kurzhaariger; Vorstehhund; Deutsch Kurzhaar; Kurzhaar

The basics:
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a highly regarded, all-purpose gun dog. This high performer requires little training before you're ready to get out there and hunt. If you don't hunt, you need to be a high-energy outdoorsy owner who plans to hike, jog, run, or bike with this energetic breed. A bored, neglected GSP may express its frustration through problem barking or chewing. But if you can keep up with this active breed, you may have found an ideal companion for the active family.

The original GSP was developed in the 1800s by, as you might guess from the name, German hunters who needed a versatile dog with a great nose that would point, track, and retrieve both feathered and furred game from both land and water. Give this dog a job, and it loves working with you. They are smart and friendly, as long as you have the time to channel their active minds.

Appearance / health:
The German Shorthair is lean and well-balanced, with a finely chiseled head. The eyes are almond-shaped and the nose is brown. The muzzle is long, though never pointed and should be the same as the length of the skull. A large nose is preferable and they should have a scissors bite. The ears are broad, set high, and lie close to the head. The skin should be taut. The tail, if docked, is usually docked by 60% (he should be able to sit on his tail); dewclaws are removed; the feet are webbed.

The German Shorthair requires minimal grooming. Simply brush her with a firm bristled brush and bathe when necessary. Always ensure she is dried fully after bathing or hunting to prevent a chill, and with special attention given to ensure her ears are completely dry. A vigorous rub with a chamois cloth or towel with make her coat glisten. The GSP is a moderate to somewhat constant shedder.

Exercise is an absolute necessity for a well balanced German Shorthair, not only for the physical health of the dog, but to avoid developing destructive behaviors as a result of boredom. They need, on a daily basis, a long walk at a brisk pace, to run along side you as you bicycle, or a jog. They require a lot of daily vigorous exercise to keep in shape, physically and mentally, and anyone considering a GSP should be aware of this.

Customarily, the German Shorthair is a healthy breed. Minor concerns are OCD, CHD, VWD, pannus, and gastric torsion. They can also be prone to hip dysplasia, hermaphrodism, epilepsy, entropion (a genetic eyelid disorder), lymphedema, and cancerous lesions. As with any dogs that have floppy ears, the GSP can be prone to ear infections so regular inspection and cleaning of the ears is necessary. A prospective owner can potentially avoid some of these issues by verifying the parents of a puppy being considered are both OFA and CERF certified.

Behavior / temperament:
Energetic, friendly, smart, cheerful, willing to please, protective and loyal. The GSP loves all members of the family equally. He is always up for a walk, a ride, a hunting expedition or a game of fetch. If properly exercised he makes a wonderful family companion. The males of this breed tend to be more outgoing and hunt more aggressively than the females; the females are less dominant. Energy levels will vary depending on whether they were bred for high performance field competition or are from a line bred as a family companion.

The German Shorthair is rated high in learning rate; medium in obedience; high in problem-solving. The GSP is intelligent, love to learn and are easily trainable with patience, consistency and firm leadership beginning in puppyhood. Obedience training is a must for the GSP and crate-training your puppy will be something useful for the rest of his life. Please ensure you do not over-crate your German Shorthair as this can lead to destructive behaviors.

There is a training method referred to as “NILIF,” meaning ‘Nothing In Life is Free,’ in which the dog must work for, and earn, everything – prior to eating, playing, going for walks, going outside or coming inside, the dog should respond properly to a command. It does not have to be an elaborate command; just something to reinforce that they are not the leader of the pack, they are not in charge, and they must earn anything they get. It is widely agreed that the German Shorthairs benefit enormously from this training method as does the rest of the family.

Remember, it is the nature of the GSP to go far distances away from their owner in the hunting and retrieval of game, so your GSP needs this firm training to know he must return to you when called. The German Shorthair is one of the few hunting breeds that can operate in almost all gundog capacities; it is natural in them, thus making them easily trained for the activities of scent hound, water and land retrieval, pointer and retriever. Just exercise patience because it takes time and practice to perfect these natural traits.

The GSP is known to be one of the noisier hunting dogs and they do like to bark. Their puppyhood training should include training of when it is and is not acceptable to bark in order to avoid your GSP from becoming a nuisance barker.


great family dog, perfect retriever, real lover, outstanding nose, great watchdogs, versatile hunters


mischief, escape-artist, highenergy breeds, Food Allergies, Incredibly Active, loud noise fears


Super simple grooming, energetic, long hikes

German Shorthaired Pointer Health Tip

German Shorthaired Pointer

From 161 days ago

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