Is a German Shorthaired Pointer Right for You?
A common breed for hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and families alike is the German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP). This breed currently ranks as 11th most popular per AKC registrations; but, is a German Shorthaired Pointer right for you?
German Shorthaired Pointers are energetic, obedient, and friendly dogs. They are smart and willing to learn. Due to their original use as an all-purpose gun dog intended for both water fowl and larger game, their energy levels are high. When not properly exercised (i.e. long hikes or vigorous runs), GSPs can become hyperactive and destructive.
Size, Coloring, and Upkeep
One reason GSPs are popular is because of their unique coloring. This breed is commonly “ticked,” meaning it has a white mottled appearance against liver or black fur. Their short hair means heat management is poor, so a jacket is recommended in cold weather.
Eyes should be dark brown, although lighter “bird of prey” eyes are possible (but less desirable). German Shorthaired Pointers are medium-to-large size dogs and commonly weigh 55 – 70 lbs. They are light, lean dogs, with the correct appearance being a visible rib and tucked up waist.
German Shorthaired Pointers are great with other pets, particularly dogs. However, due to their strong prey drive they may not be suitable companions to smaller animals, such as rabbits or cats.
This breed is quick to learn and eager to please. GSPs are also highly food motivated, making training fairly quick and easy. They respond best to positive reinforcement training, and can become withdrawn if forceful methods are used. German Shorthaired Pointers are rarely stubborn dogs, which is partly why they are such popular dogs for hunting.
Like other working breeds, GSPs have appetites that are proportional to their activity levels. When not exercised properly, this breed can easily become overweight. They are also prone to skin allergies, so it is important to feed a high quality diet that is free from fillers and preservatives.
As previously stated, GSPs require a great deal of exercise. They make excellent running partners and are also suited to outdoor activities such as hiking and swimming. Due to their independent nature, any GSP that is not properly exercised will used excess energy to amuse itself, likely to the detriment of your possessions.
German Shorthaired Pointers are best suited to larger houses with fenced in yards. Besides being larger dogs with little respect for personal space, their sometimes rambunctious behavior can lead to overturned chairs or furniture. Additionally, GSPs are companion animals that are happy to serve as overgrown lap dogs.
GSPs are generally very healthy. Like all purebreds, they can suffer from hip dysplasia, eye disorders, skin problems, and epilepsy. German Shorthaired Pointers develop mouth cancer at a greater rate than other breeds. Like all deep-chested dogs, the risk of gastric torsion (aka bloat) is also high. GSP owners should follow veterinary recommendations of feeding multiple small meals per day and limiting food and water immediately following exercise. The average lifespan of this breed is 12 years.
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