German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP for short) was first bred as a versatile bird dog in the late 1800’s in Germany. German hunters had spent many generations perfecting the bird hunting dog by cross breeding various breeds. Also known as the Deutscher Kurzhaariger Vorstehhund, the German Shorthaired Pointer most likely descended from Spanish Pointers.

1 foot, 9 inches
to 2 feet
45 to 70 pounds
life span
12 to 15 years
Sporting Dogs
Adapts Well to Apartment Living
Good For Novice Owners
Sensitivity Level
Tolerates Being Alone
Tolerates Cold Weather
Tolerates Hot Weather
Affectionate with Family
Incredibly Kid Friendly Dogs
Dog Friendly
Friendly Toward Strangers
Amount Of Shedding
Drooling Potential
Easy To Groom
General Health
Potential For Weight Gain
Easy To Train
Potential For Mouthiness
Prey Drive
Tendency To Bark Or Howl
Wanderlust Potential
Energy Level
Exercise Needs
Potential For Playfulness

Brief History

The German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) was first bred as an all-round dog that was capable of trailing at night, pointing, and retrieving on land and in water. Experienced breeders bred tracking Hound Pointing dog breeds so that they could end up with a powerful hunting type of dog breed, that was fast and good with scent work. This proven “duck dog” was created with pleasant conformation and markings, had lots of endurance, and was great with family and friends. The GSP was first introduced to the US in the 1920’s, and became an extremely popular breed. It is a breed that has the best swimmers due to the GSP’s webbed feet.

Physical Description

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a medium-to-large-size dog breed that is sleek and sturdy. This breed is muscular, square or rectangular in shape, and is well-balanced and symmetrical. The intelligent and athletic German Shorthaired Pointer has a square-shaped head with drop ears, and a long muzzle. This enthusiastic and friendly dog breed carries a solid liver colored outer coat or liver and white coat with distinctive markings that can be ticked, patched, or roaned. The double coat is short and smooth. The eyes are almond shaped, amber in color and filled with intelligence and friendliness. Since this breed was bred to work hard, the German Shorthaired Pointer is powerful, speedy, agile and has plenty of endurance. Many have described this breed as “noble” and “aristocratic” in appearance.


The German Shorthaired Pointer is active, intelligent and incredibly friendly. This breed is terrific with children, and easy to train. The German Shorthaired Pointer is a hard working dog breed that enjoys swimming, and an active lifestyle. This breed bonds with their families, and enjoys agility, hiking, positive dog training classes, and organized dog sporting activities. The German Shorthaired Pointer has boundless energy, and needs lots of outdoor time with his pet parent.

Special Needs

The German Shorthaired Pointer does well with plenty of sporting activities. This breed needs a fenced yard, regular exercise, socialization and positive dog training. The German Shorthaired Pointer ideally needs to be exercised twice a day. Running, walking and supervised swimming are recommended for this active breed. Because this breed is so smart they do well in organized canine activities that use both mind and body like field events, agility and dog training.

Possible Health Concerns

German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer is an incredibly active breed that is intense and enthusiastic in everything it does. Care should be taken during exercise to prevent injury. The German Shorthaired Pointer may be susceptible to the following:

  • Hip Dysplasia is an abnormal development of the hip joint in large dog breeds like the German Shorthaired Pointer. It is generally characterized by a loose joint, and then degenerative joint disease. This breed should be fed a high-quality diet that is geared towards their life stage. Puppy GSP’s should only be fed high-quality puppy dog food. Excessive growth, types of exercise, nutritional factors, and hereditary factors all come in to play with hip dysplasia.
  • Bloat: This breed is prone to bloat. Bloat is a life threatening emergency. It is caused by the twisting of the stomach, together with the accumulation of gas, with or without fluid. It is best to never elevate your GSP’s water and food bowls. Stress is also a major factor in causing bloat. Never feed your GSP’s a large meal, followed by exercise. At the first signs of dry vomiting, restlessness and discomfort, contact your emergency veterinarian. Never wait for a few hours. This is a true emergency.
  • Heart Disease encompasses a wide range of conditions. It may be hereditary. Consult with your veterinarian if you suspect that your German Shorthaired Pointer is showing signs of the disease. Symptoms include exercise intolerance, coughing, difficulty breathing, increased breathing rate, abdominal swelling, jaundice and swelling of the legs.


The German Shorthaired Pointer does well with plenty of daily exercise and dog sports. This breed loves to go swimming and hiking. Pet parents need to organize plenty of dog sporting activities for the GSP, as well as plenty of off-leash trips to the dog park or beach.


All GSP puppies under 6 months need to be fed a high-quality puppy food a few times a day. Feed German Shorthaired Pointer puppies, puppy food, and be sure to feed a large breed puppy a large breed puppy diet. When reaching adulthood, feeding a high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s life stage twice daily should suffice. That said, dry commercial dog foods are not the only recommended diet for dogs. Consulting with your veterinarian about the best options in canine nutrition is always best. Age, energy level and individual medical concerns play a large role for German Shorthaired Pointer dogs.


The German Shorthaired Pointer is easy to groom. Daily brushing with a grooming glove or brush is recommended. The GSP’s coat does shed during certain times of the year. Weekly bathing is required with an appropriate canine shampoo, alongside an ear cleaning and nail trimming every few weeks.

Adopting a German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer Puppies

This breed is such an easy going and friendly dog breed that makes adoption super easy. The GSP will adapt to home life with a sporty active new pet parent in no time, as long as he’s given plenty of daily exercise. He does well on a farm, or on property that has a large backyard. The German Shorthaired Pointer should never be confined to apartment living. He has way too much energy. This is a wonderful gentle breed that needs caring pet parents that are dog experienced.

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