The German Shorthaired Pointer is streamlined yet powerful with strong hindquarters that make it able to move rapidly and turn quickly. They usually reach a height of about one foot, nine inches to two feet at the shoulders. Male German Shorthaired Pointers will usually weigh between 45 and 70 pounds, while a female German Shorthaired Pointer can weigh up to 52 pounds. They have dark, oval shaped eyes, generally brown, with darker eyes being desirable; yellow or “bird of prey” eyes are a fault. Their ears are set high on the head and are flat. Its muzzle is long, broad, and strong, allowing it to retrieve even heavy game. The gun dog’s profile should be straight or strongly Roman nosed; any dished appearance to the profile is incorrect. The tail is commonly docked, although this is now prohibited in some countries. The correct location for docking the GSP is after the caudal vertebrae start to curl, leaving enough tail to let the dog communicate through tail wagging and movement. The docked tail should not be too long or too short but should balance the appearance of the head and body. The German Shorthaired Pointers tail is carried at a jaunty angle, not curled under. When the GSP is in classic point stance, the tail should be held straight out from the body forming a line with the pointing head and body. Like all German pointers, the German Shorthairs have webbed feet.
Coat And Color
The German Shorthaired Pointer’s coat is short and flat with a dense undercoat protected by stiff guard hairs making the coat water resistant and allowing the GSP to stay warm in cold weather. The hair on their head is softer and shorter than the rest of the body. Their coat is easy to groom and maintain and this particular bird dog breed is not known to shed excessively. The color can be a dark brown, correctly referred to in English as “liver” (incorrectly as “chocolate” or “chestnut”), black (although any area of black is cause for disqualification in American Kennel Club sanctioned shows), or either liver and white or black and white. Commonly the head is a solid or nearly solid color and the body is speckled or “ticked” with liver and white, sometimes with large patches of solid color called “saddles”. Roan coats are also common, with or without patching. Solid liver and solid black coats also occur, often with a small blaze of ticking or white on the chest. While the German standard permits a slight sandy coloring (“Gelber Brand”) at the extremities, this coloring is rare, and a hunting dog displaying any yellow coloring is disqualified in AKC and CKC shows. The coloring of the GSP provides camouflage in the winter seasons. When standing next to dead trees and in broken snow, the white and dark brown coat makes the German Shorthaired Pointer difficult to see.
Since the German shorthaired pointer was developed to be a hunting dog suited to family life as well as a versatile hunter, the correct temperament is that of an intelligent, bold, and characteristically affectionate dog that is cooperative and easily trained. They rank 17th in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of gun dogs, being excellent working dogs. Shyness, fearfulness, over submissiveness, aloofness, lack of biddability, or aggression (especially toward humans) are all incorrect traits. The GSP is usually very good with children, although care should be taken because the GPS breed can be boisterous especially when young. These hunting dogs love interaction with humans and are suitable pets for active families who will give them an outlet for their energy. Most German Shorthaired Pointers make excellent watchdogs. The breed generally gets along well with other dogs. A strong hunting instinct is correct for the GSP breed, which is not always good for other small pets such as cats or rabbits. With training, however, the family dog should be able to discern what is prey and what is not, and they can live quite amicably with other family pets.
The German shorthaired Pointer needs plenty of vigorous activity. This need for exercise (preferably off lead) coupled with the breed’s natural instinct to hunt, means that training is an absolute necessity. The German Shorthaired Pointer distinctly independent character and superior intelligence mean that any unused energy will likely result in the GPS amusing itself, most probably in an undesirable manner.
Failure by the owner to give this active and intelligent hunting dog sufficient exercise and/or proper training can produce a German shorthaired pointer that appears hyperactive or that has destructive tendencies. Thus the GSP breed is not a suitable pet for an inactive home or for inexperienced dog owners.Although these gun dogs form very strong attachments with their owners, a bored German Shorthaired Pointer that receives insufficient exercise may feel compelled to exercise himself. These dogs are athletic and can escape from four foot and sometimes six foot enclosures with little difficulty. Regular hunting, running, carting, bikejoring, skijoring, mushing, dog scootering or other vigorous activity can alleviate this desire to escape. The natural instinct to hunt may result in the dog hunting alone and sometimes bringing home occasional dead trophies, such as cats, rats, pigeons and other urban animals. In addition to exercise, especially formal hunting, the German Shorthaired Pointer needs to be taught to distinguish legitimate prey and off limits animals.
Like the other German Pointers (the German Wire-haired Pointer and the less well known German Longhaired Pointer), the GSP can perform virtually all gun dog roles. It is a pointer and retriever, an upland bird dog and water dog. The German Shorthaired Pointer can be used for hunting larger and more dangerous game, and in addition has a scent hound’s talented nose. It is an excellent swimmer but also works well in rough terrain. It is tenacious, tireless, hardy, and reliable. In short, it is a superb all-around field dog that remains popular with hunters of many nationalities.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is intelligent and bred for a certain amount of independence (e. g., when a dog is working out of sight or sound of its handler in the field). Along with its superb hunting ability and companionable personality, the intelligence and the obedience of the GSP make it one of the more popular large breed hunting dogs.