The German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointers have established themselves as one of the go-to breeds for hunting all over the world. They are particularly known for their ability to hunt upland gamebirds, they are used for waterfowl retrieving, as scent hounds and even big game hunting in certain countries. The reason for this can be summed up in one word—versatility.

A Brief History of the GSP

Genetic sources for this wonder dog come from a complex breed history that began over 500 years ago. Although the exact origin of the German Shorthaired Pointer is unclear, it is likely that the breed descended from the German Bird Dog and the Old Spanish Pointer which were prevalent in Germany in the 15th century. It is also likely that various German hounds and tracking dogs are part of the breed’s lineage. Lastly, the English Pointer contributed much to the development of the breed. In the mid-19th century breeders in Germany set out to deliberately create a gun dog so versatile that it would hunt all species of upland gamebirds and waterfowl as well as all kinds of small game. In addition, this all-around canine would also scent track big game such as wild boar and wounded deer and find and dispatch predators like fox and badgers when necessary. The results of the breed’s history resulted in a dog with extremely high natural prey drive combined with incredible pointing and retrieving skills. With the exception of scent hounds, The GSP has arguably the best nose of any dog breed. The German Shorthaired Pointer learns very quickly and is able to begin hunting early in their lives. They make both good house and kennel dogs, and are known to be highly trainable. The overall look of a GSP is that of a well balanced, symmetrical animal with a build indicating power, endurance and agility. When in peak field condition, the breed is hard and lean and move gracefully and are among the most athletic breeds in the world.

Breed Standards

The breed varies in size and color but there are certain standards that are expected in well-bred specimens. Males stand between 23 and 25 inches at the shoulder and weigh 55 to 70 pounds; females are smaller in height and weight. Typically, the tail is be docked, leaving 40 percent of its length. The coat of a GSP can range from solid liver, a combination of liver and white or a roan or a ticked combination of liver and white.

Born to Hunt

Most hunting dog breeds require a fair amount professional training and exposure to plenty of live birds before they display consistent hunting skills in the field. However, German shorthaired pointers, seem to be able to hunt right out of the box. GSP puppies as young as 12 weeks show their natural instincts to follow scent trails, point and retrieve. An average bird hunter with a well-bred German Shorthaired Pointer pup can produce a competent and productive gun dog, with a minimal amount of training.

Care and Exercise

Their heritage as high performance hunting machines means they have a high activity level and need appropriate outlets for their energy, including daily exercise. Their intelligence can become destructive if they’re bored so it’s important to find activities and toys that will keep your GSP’s brain active to prevent him from making his own fun. If you don’t hunt with your GSP, be sure to give him other ways to tire himself out, such as going for a run or playing in a fenced area.