The German Shorthaired Pointer is a friendly, smart and energetic dog breed.
They’re a medium-sized dog that relish the chance to exercise, can excel where positive training is concerned and develop a deep bond with the family.
German Shorthaired Pointer
Breed name: German Shorthaired Pointer
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Height: 21 to 25 inches
Weight: 45 to 60 lbs
German Shorthaired Pointers, usually abbreviated to GSP, were ranked the ninth most popular dog breed in the United States in 2021 by the American Kennel Club.
GSPs were traditionally used by German hunters as gun dogs and they still have a reputation for being among the top-winning breeds in competitive hunting events.
Dubbed a German bird dog, the breed can trace their early history back to the 1700s but in the 21st century they’ve re-established themselves as beloved family pets.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at Germain Shorthaired Pointer pros and cons, examining some of the advantages and disadvantages of the breed.
We’ll speak to a number of GSP owners to get their firsthand experience of owning a member of the breed, with some of our contributors including Gilbert and Rayf (@gilly.walter.rayf_pointers), Charley and Murphy (@murphyxcharley) and Chelsea and Abbie (@abbieandgunner).
With the introduction over, let’s take a deep dive into all things German Shorthaired Pointer!
Germain Shorthaired Pointers are extremely loyal dogs that will develop a deep bond with their owners and fellow family members. Often dubbed the “perfect pointers”, they’ll be “ride or die” dogs who will be loving, obedient and patient with their pet parents.
Chelsea revealed that she had her heart set on a GSP like Abbie (@abbieandgunner) after meeting a really obedient German Shorthaired Pointer as a girl.
Growing up, I had a neighbor who owned a German Shorthaired Pointer. She was the smartest, sweetest, most obedient dog I had ever met! I asked my neighbor tons of questions about her and grew to love the breed. I knew that I wanted a German Shorthaired Pointer when I grew up. It took me awhile, but I made that dream come true!
Great family pets
The German Shorthaired Pointer breed gets a five-star rating on the AKC’s website in the categories listed as “affectionate with family” and “good with children”. If you’re thinking about adding a GSP to a family environment, they should do well seeing as they’ve got a reputation for being extremely patient dogs.
Beth explained that her GSPs (@gilly.walter.rayf_pointers) love the smaller members of her family.
They love their humans! Both Gilly and Rayf love my 9 year old daughter.
Chelsea shared that Abbie (@abbieandgunner) is incredibly patient with her nieces and nephews.
I could not have asked for a better pet for my family. Abbie is insanely good with our 1 and 2 year olds. She is THE most patient dog I’ve ever known.
Low maintenance coat
Dog owners who don’t have the time to brush their dog’s coat or don’t want the hassle of grooming their canine companion multiple times a week will be intrigued to learn that the GSP have a relatively low maintenance coat. The AKC write on their website that the GSPs coat is easy to groom most of the year, requiring a good brush once or twice a week. They’ll usually blow out their coat twice a year.
Charley and Murphy (@murphyxcharley) have coats that don’t require too much attention.
GSPs are great and don’t require a lot of grooming of the fur. A quick brush after their baths and during shedding season is all they need. We do like to keep up with regular nail trimmings, ear cleanings and teeth brushing.
Beth revealed that her family like to refer to GSPs’ (@gilly.walter.rayf_pointers) hair as “glitter”.
They do shed hair, not in excessive amounts but yes, we call it glitter because it gets everywhere. They don’t require much grooming, their hair is short and smooth.
If you’re looking for an intelligent watchdog, the German Shorthaired Pointer could be the right dog for you! They’ve got a reputation for being adept watchdogs thanks to their alert nature. As a naturally keen worker with a personality that is eager to please their owners, they’ll raise the alarm with their trademark bark/howl if they sense something is amiss.
Beth highlighted this trait in a humorous way!
They are great at protecting their territory, beware mr postman, you won’t go undetected!
GSPs are athletic and agile dogs that are proud members of the AKC’s Sporting Group. They’re talents include running, swimming and dog sports. These versatile canines can excel at most physical challenges – and this will help to tire these canines out.
The AKC write on their website: “GSPs are smart and athletic and excel in a wide range of canine activities that exercise mind and body, from field eventsto agility, obedience, and dock diving”.
Beth explained that brain and scent games designed for dogs can help to tire out their German Shorthaired Pointers (@gilly.walter.rayf_pointers).
Using their nose to find hidden treats etc is a brilliant way of stimulating their brains. They say 15 minute scent work is the equivalent to an hour walk! If they are stimulated well they will be calmer in general.
Require lots of exercise
Continuing the exercise theme, GSPs require a lot of exercise so dog owners need to be prepared to provide their canine companion with ample time to stretch their legs and get the gears going in their brains or else deal with the consequences. The Kennel Club in the UK suggest two hours of daily exercise for a GSP!
Beth ensures her GSPs (@gilly.walter.rayf_pointers) get this two hours of recommended exercise.
My boys usually get two hourly walks a day, mostly off lead so they have a good run.
Separation anxiety is a chronic canine condition that can affect any dog, irrespective of breed or mix. Some GSPs suffer with separation anxiety but it’s not a condition that affect every single member of the breed. However, we believe it’s worth including so prospective owners can do research and learn about separation anxiety before bringing home a GSP or any dog.
Beth revealed that her GSPs haven’t struggled with separation anxiety.
As puppies they didn’t like to be left alone but with time, routine and consistency, they get braver and realise that you’re in fact going to return home to them.
German Shorthaired Pointers can be a little boisterous and rambunctious, which considering their size, can make them a handful for inexperienced dog owners. Their boundless energy can be a positive if channeled in the right way, but they can also prove quite the handful.
Charley and Murphy’s mum (@murphyxcharley) advised prospective owners to get pet insurance!
Pointers are very lively and can be very accident prone. With all dogs, come vet bills, but be prepared for some rambunctious personalities and definitely worth considering pet insurance.
High prey drive
As we’ve already touched upon in pros and cons feature, German Shorthaired Pointers have a reputation for being top-class gundogs. The AKC website explains that these dogs have been built to work long days in the field or at the lake. With a powerful nose and a desire to trail, the GSP is a natural retriever. As a result, they can have something of a high prey drive, especially where birds are concerned. This is one good reason to work on recall from a young age!
These wonderful dogs can be independent thinkers and strong-willed without patient and positive training sessions. Of course, some GSPs are extremely obedient and will follow their owner’s lead. However, there’s plenty of testimonials online from GSP parents who struggle with their independent thinkers.
Beth hasn’t struggled with this particular issue where her GSPs are concerned but offered some advice for prospective owners.
They’re very intelligent. Consistency is very important. Be firm and remember who is in charge, else you may get walked over.