Breed of the Week - German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer is an all around hunting dog. Originally called the Deutsch Kurzhaar, or just Kurzhaar, this breed was developed to hunt both “fur and feather” on land and in water.

As a pointing bird dog, the German Shorthaired Pointer hunts quail, pheasant and grouse. His natural retrieving ability, water repellent coat and webbed feet make him a duck dog extraordinaire. His amazing ability to trail a scent means he can also be used to hunt raccoons and rabbits.

While the GSP’s history is unclear, and at times arguable, it is agreed that its ancestors were a combination of Pointers, such as the Spanish Pointer, and scent hounds; each breeder adding or removing traits by inter breeding to produce dogs which met their individual needs. The result was that many GSP’s not only did not resemble the breed as we know it today, but did not always resemble each other. The German Shorthaired Pointer was likely bred by the “common man” for hunting to put food on the table, rather than for sport.

The GSP was recognized in Germany in the late 1800’s, at which time the Klub Kurzhaar was formed, although it wasn’t until the early 1900’s that cohesiveness in breeding began. Sometime after WWI the breed began to take on the appearance of the GSP as we know it today.

Because the German Shorthaired Pointer was developed as a hunting dog, he is naturally a high energy dog, as endurance is required to fulfill the needs of chasing prey. However, if he is not involved in a training program or exercised regularly, he will become bored. Bored dogs of any breed can become destructive. Barking, inappropriate chewing and/or digging can all be the result of a frustrated dog.

Daily walks or jogs with your GSP will fulfill his daily exercise requirements if a securely fenced in area is not available for long games of fetch or Frisbee. If you are able to provide a safe area for swimming, your GSP will love you for it. The GSP thrives on mental, as well as physical, activities and interactive treat dispensers and “search” games should be part of their play time.

The GSP is eager to please and will prove a willing student as long as the lessons are kept short. Frequent, short, positive training sessions work best with the GSP. Even though a young GSP may appear to be physically mature, his brain will develop slowly and may not fully mature until around 2 years of age.

Grooming the German Shorthaired Pointer is as easy as caring for any shorthaired dog. Occasional bathing with a mild shampoo, regular nail clipping and dental care are some basics, along with occasional brushing with a rubber curry to remove dead hair. GSP’s shed seasonally and may require more frequent brushing during that time.

If a dog is in the field care must be taken to rinse the eyes with saline to remove debris. Because the ear folds over, it becomes a warm, moist environment for yeast and bacteria and should be cleaned regularly with a mild ear cleaner.

This versatile hunting dog also excels at competition in field trials, hunting tests and retrieving tests as well as agility and obedience. This talented hunting dog also makes a loving, if sometimes overly enthusiastic, family dog. He is best kept as a member of the household rather than be relegated to an outside kennel for extended periods of time. Crate training early will save you, and your dog, much anxiety and unhappiness.

If you are considering adding a German Shorthaired Pointer to your home, whether as a family or hunting companion, it is imperative that you find a responsible breeder who is familiar with the breed. Breeding stock should be tested and be free of common health issues such as hip dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) or Cone Degeneration. A breeder should also be aware of any thyroid conditions, Von Willebrands Disease or lymphedema in the sire, dam or previous litters.

For more information on the German Shorthaired Pointer visit the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America website.

Looking for gifts, jewelry and apparel featuring the German Shorthaired Pointer? Shop by Breed at for the GSP and 221 other breeds!

Until August 31, 2010, get 10% off of German Shorthaired Pointer Collar and Lead sets by Dog Ink. These dog collar and lead sets are sized to fit a German Shorthaird Pointer and are available in Red or Blue. To take advantage of this special discount CLICK HERE.

written by Jamie Pyatt