German Shorthaired Pointer

A brown and white dog laying on a blanket.

The German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) is a versatile hunting breed that was bred in Germany in the late 19th century. They are an all-around hunting dog, capable of working both on land and in water. GSPs are highly intelligent and loyal companions who thrive when given plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation.

GSPs have strong noses, which make them excellent scent hounds, and they are experts at pointing out games. They are swift and powerful on land, yet graceful and athletic when swimming. GSPs are a medium-sized breed with a short coat that is usually liver-and-white.

GSPs have an enthusiastic and playful nature, and can be trained to do a variety of tasks. They are loving and devoted family dogs, although they can be a bit too boisterous for small children.

GSPs need regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. They get bored easily if not given enough attention and activity. Grooming is relatively simple, their coats need only occasional brushing and the occasional bath.

GSPs are a great choice for active families. They love to go on hikes, play fetch, and participate in agility competitions. This breed also loves to swim; they have webbed feet that make them natural swimmers.

The AKC lists the German Shorthaired Pointer as the 10th most popular dog in 2022.

German Shorthaired Pointer Dog Information

  • Average Height: 27-32 inches
  • Average Length: 30-36 inches
  • Average Weight: 45-70 pounds
  • Coat Type: Double coat
  • Coat Appearance: Short and flat with a dense undercoat protected by stiff guard hairs
  • Coat Colors: Liver and white or black and white
  • Grooming Needs: Low
  • Shedding: Might shed year-round
  • Brushing Requirements: Every few days
  • Sensitive to Touch: Yes
  • Excessive Barking: Yes
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: Moderate
  • Good Pet: Yes
  • Safe with Children: Yes
  • Good with Other Dogs: Yes
  • Good with Other Pets: No
  • Suitable for life in an Apartment: Not the best choice
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes
  • Training: Easy to train
  • Exercise Needs: Moderate to high
  • Weight Gain: Yes
  • Health Concerns: Hip dysplasia, eye conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy, cardiomyopathy, hypothyroidism
  • Allergies: Yes
  • Average Life Span: 12 to 14 years

Physical Appearance of German Shorthaired Pointer

A brown and white dog.

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a medium-sized breed with a strong, athletic build. They have a square silhouette and a deep chest that tapers to their waist. Their heads are wedge-shaped and their muzzle is long and lean. They have dark eyes that are almond-shaped and their ears are set high on their head. GSPs have webbed feet that make them excellent swimmers.

Their short coat is usually liver and white or black and white. They can also have flecking or ticking throughout their coat. GSPs have a thick, dense undercoat that is protected by stiff guard hairs.

Temperament of German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer is an intelligent and eager-to-please breed that loves to please their owners. They are loyal and devoted companions that thrive in a home with plenty of positive reinforcement and structure. This breed has a strong work ethic and will perform any task asked of them without hesitation, provided they are properly trained. GSPs need regular exercise in order to stay healthy and happy, and they enjoy participating in activities such as agility competitions.

This breed is not overly territorial and is generally friendly towards strangers. They will bark to alert their owners of an intruder, but will quickly become calm once the situation has been addressed. GSPs can be somewhat aloof around strangers, however, they typically warm up if given enough time and patience.

GSPs are highly sociable and enjoy the company of other animals and humans alike. This breed is very affectionate with their family, often choosing to remain close by their side throughout the day. They can be quite playful and love to participate in activities such as fetch or jogging. GSPs have high energy levels and need a lot of exercise in order to stay healthy and mentally stimulated.

Training a German Shorthaired Pointer

A german shorthaired pointer looking up at the sky.

The German Shorthaired Pointer is an intelligent breed that is relatively easy to train. They respond best to positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, and are eager to please their owners. Early socialization is recommended in order to ensure your GSP grows up comfortable around other animals and strangers.

Training a German Shorthaired Pointer is essential in order to have a well-mannered and obedient canine companion. GSPs are highly intelligent dogs that need consistent positive reinforcement and firm leadership from their family. It’s important to start training as soon as possible, because this breed has the potential to be unruly without it.

When training GSPs it’s important to use positive reinforcement methods such as treats, praise, and playtime. This breed responds best to consistent commands and will soon be able to understand even complex instructions.

Obedience Training Classes

Obedience training classes are a great way to help your dog learn some basic instructions. Obedience training isn’t just for your dog, it also helps owners learn to teach and control their new dog. These classes can teach you as an owner the best ways to teach your puppy. The amount of time you spend trying to stop your German Shorthaired Pointer barking at strangers can be a lot less if you know the best way to teach them. Because German Shorthaired Pointers love barking at strangers, with or without obedience training you will likely spend a good deal of time teaching them to be quiet.

Early Socialization Training

Early socialization training can help your German Shorthaired Pointer become more comfortable around people and other animals. This should be done as early as possible, ideally before they’re six months old. Socialization can involve introducing your dog to different people, animals, environments, and noises in a positive way. It’s important that the environment is one that the pup finds comfortable and safe, so they can learn to associate these new experiences with positive feelings. Socialization should be done gradually and in a controlled way to ensure that the pup is not overwhelmed. With early socialization, your German Shorthaired Pointer will be better adjusted and more comfortable around people and other animals.

A german shorthaired pointer laying on the grass with a tennis ball in his mouth.

Kennel Training

Kennel training works very well with German Shorthaired Pointers. If done right they will see the kennel as their safe space, and a place that they can relax and sleep. Most dogs enjoy small spaces and will find a sense of security while inside it. Getting them comfortable in a kennel early on will save you a lot of headaches. You know that they can’t get into trouble while you’re sleeping or at work if they’re in their kennel. It’s also a great place for them to dry off after they come into the house when it’s wet outside.

Clicker Training

German Shorthaired Pointers have a history of being stubborn, especially as puppies. They need to be trained to understand what is good behavior and what is not OK. Clicker training will help them understand what is good behavior. Clicker training has you make a noise with the clicker when the desired action is done. In addition to the click you’ll give them a treat, at least while you train them. Every time your dog hears the click they’ll know they did a good job and you are happy.

If your dog misbehaves, try not to punish them because it can discourage them. Instead, remember the clicker training and divert their attention to something else. You might have to do this several times to help your dog understand that they are not supposed to do the undesired activities.

Their Compatibility with Children

German Shorthaired Pointers (GSPs) are generally very compatible with children. They are patient and loyal, making them great family pets. They tend to have endless energy so they love to run and play with kids. Thanks to their intelligence, GSPs can be taught how to behave properly around children. As with any pet, it’s important to supervise them when around children, especially young ones, to ensure they are not getting too rough or overwhelming.

A brown and white dog standing in the snow.

Best Climate for a German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointers are active, high-energy dogs and do best when they are able to exercise and roam freely. Because of this, the ideal climate for a GSP is one that is not too hot or cold. They thrive in temperate climates where temperatures remain mild year-round. This allows them to get plenty of fresh air and exercise without being exposed to extreme weather conditions.

The Attention a German Shorthaired Pointer Needs

German Shorthaired Pointers are social, loving, and affectionate dogs that need plenty of attention from their owners. They thrive when they get to spend quality time with their family and can become lonely if left alone for too long. GSPs love to learn new things and should be given plenty of mental stimulation to keep them occupied. They especially need a lot of exercise to burn off all the energy that they have. Regular walks, playtime, and trips to the dog park are all great ways to bond with your pup and keep them mentally and physically healthy.

Health Issues

German Shorthaired Pointers are a relatively healthy breed, but like all dogs they can be prone to certain health issues. Some of the most common conditions that affect GSPs include hip dysplasia, eye issues, and hypothyroidism. Regular vet visits are essential for keeping an eye on your pup’s health and to catch any possible problems early on. It’s also important to feed your GSP a high-quality diet and give them plenty of exercise to help keep them fit and healthy. Keeping them fit will help prevent a number of unwanted health problems as your dog gets older.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary problem that can make walking, getting up or laying down difficult and painful. When a dog has hip dysplasia, their hip socket fails to fully cover the ball portion of their thigh bone. The looseness between the hip and leg bone leads to partial or complete dislocation of their hip joint and can cause pain and stiffness. In most cases, medication and exercise restrictions are advised by the vet. Over time the condition could become severe enough that your vet might recommend surgery to correct it.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a degenerative eye disorder that affects the retina of dogs. It’s an inherited condition, meaning it’s passed down from parent to offspring.

PRA is caused by a mutation in the gene responsible for producing the photoreceptor cells in the retina. These cells are responsible for converting light into electrical signals that are sent to the brain and interpreted as vision. As PRA progresses, these photoreceptor cells die off, leading to blindness.

Symptoms of Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Symptoms of PRA can vary depending on the breed and type of PRA, but generally include:

  • Night blindness
  • Decreased vision in dim light
  • Dilated pupils
  • Eye Cloudiness
  • Head tilt

As the disease progresses, these symptoms could worsen and eventually lead to total blindness.


Hypothyroidism is a common health condition in dogs that causes weight gain, behavioral changes, skin and coat problems. The condition occurs when a dog’s thyroid gland isn’t creating enough thyroid hormones to regulate their body’s metabolism. 

The thyroid gland is located in their neck, close to the windpipe. The gland is responsible for regulating the metabolism. When the thyroid becomes underactive their metabolism slows down and hypothyroidism occurs.

Hypothyroidism is caused by two diseases. One is lymphocytic thyroiditis, an immune-mediated disease where the dog’s immune system mistakes the thyroid as foreign and starts attacking it. We don’t know why this happens but lymphocytic thyroiditis is the most common reason for hypothyroidism in dogs. 

The other disease that causes hypothyroidism is idiopathic thyroid gland atrophy where their fat tissue replaces the normal thyroid tissue. The cause of this disease is also unknown.

95% of hypothyroidism is caused by these two diseases, and the other 5% by rare diseases like thyroid gland cancer. Whatever the cause, the symptoms and treatments of hypothyroidism are usually the same.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a serious heart condition that can affect any dog breed. It’s identified by an enlarged heart and weakened contractions, leading to decreased blood flow throughout the body.

DCM is caused by a variety of factors including genetics, nutrition deficiencies, and certain medications. It’s important to note that some breeds are more prone to developing DCM than others. These include Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Boxers, and Irish Wolfhounds.

A brown dog with a branch in its mouth.

It’s important for pet owners to be aware of the signs and symptoms of DCM in order to get prompt treatment if their dog is affected. Early diagnosis and treatment can help improve the dog’s prognosis and quality of life.

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

Bathing, coat care, and cleaning are important for keeping your German Shorthaired Pointer looking and feeling their best. GSPs have a short, double-layered coat that can be easily maintained with regular brushing and occasional bathing. Their coats should be brushed weekly to remove any loose fur and dirt. You should only bathe your GSP when necessary, because over-bat hing can strip their coat of its natural oils. 

Be sure to keep their ears, eyes, and nails clean and trimmed on a regular basis.

Feeding A German Shorthaired Pointer

GSPs are highly active dogs and need a diet that gives them the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. You should aim to feed your pup a high-quality dog food that has been specifically designed for their age, size, and activity level.

It’s important to provide them with a healthy, balanced diet in order to ensure that they are getting the nutrition and energy they need. GSPs need a diet high in protein and other nutritionally dense ingredients such as fruits and vegetables. Be sure to avoid processed foods that contain fillers or artificial additives.

A close up of a bowl of dog food.

They also do best when given multiple small meals throughout the day, rather than one large meal. Feeding your GSP a high-quality kibble is a good option, but you can also give them occasional treats.

Related Questions:

Do German Shorthaired Pointers Like Cats?

GSPs are, by nature, often not very friendly with cats and other small furry or feathery pets. They can be trained to leave them alone and share home space, but their hunting instinct could interfere at times. When raised with such creatures, GSPs often do well.

Can GSP Be Left Alone?

The German Shorthaired Pointer wants to be indoors with you and your family, but is a poor choice as an apartment dweller because of their exceedingly high energy levels. Left alone for long periods and they can turn to destructive chewing and neurotic barking.

What Are The Weaknesses Of German Shorthaired Pointers?

Typically healthy and long-lived, the German Pointer is susceptible to certain health afflictions, of both serious and lesser degrees. Prone to hip dysplasia, a common problem across breeds, as well as eye degeneration and diseases, and arthritis.