German Shorthaired Pointer – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Before you get a German Shorthaired Pointer, learn more about this breed. Check this guide for more on the breed's history, personality, and even grooming needs. Read on.
Dog Breed Group:
Sporting Dogs
1 foot, 9 inches to 2 feet, 1 inch tall at the shoulder
45 to 70 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a loving, affectionate, and unusual-looking dog.

People are in love with this breed’s coat made of spots of different colors or different shades of color. They stand between 23 and 25 inches and weigh from 55 to 70 pounds. Females are smaller in general.

Their coat is solid liver or a reddish-brown, or white, or liver in various patterns. Eyes are always dark and communicate a willingness to be active and friendly.

The German Shorthaired Pointer is known for his power, speed, endurance, and agility.

Their overall look is often described as noble. This breed is happiest when they have an activity and afterward get to spend time with their humans.

German Shorthaired Pointers are always ready for action and to be active. They thrive in physical activities such as swimming, running, or participating in any dog sport.

This is a breed for more experienced and more active dog owners, who already have an active outdoor life. They are extremely versatile hunting dogs, and as such, they have an abundance of energy, that should be directed the right way.

Training is more than crucial with this breed – with so high energy levels and a strong prey drive, the German Shorthaired Pointer may become destructive.

Once you welcome this dog into your home make sure that you have training well-planned and activities well-organized because this is how you will keep this dog happy and healthy.

Quick Facts

Real name: German Shorthaired Pointer
Other names: Deutscher kurzhaariger, Vorstehhund, Deutsch Kurzhaar, Kurzhaar
Common Nickname: GSP, DK
Origin: Germany
Breed type: Sporting Dogs
Weight: 45 to 70 pounds
Height: 1 foot, 9 inches to 2 feet, 1 inch tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Litter Size: 8 – 12 puppies
Color: Dark brown, liver, black, or black and white with brown markings
Coat: Short coat

German Shorthaired Pointer History

To create German Shorthaired Pointer breeders had to mix different breeds to get traits that they wanted.

When creating a new breed it’s crucial to know what treats are desirable in dogs – it just makes the process faster and easier. Hunters wanted a breed that will be agile, fast, exceptional when it comes to hunting games, a bit sturdy and powerful while looking fit.

This is why breeders decided to bred German bird dogs and Spanish pointers together. Pointers were sturdy enough and they had strong scenting skills.

Dog fanciers believe that the German Shorthaired Pointer descended from an early breed that was named the German Bird Dog. This bird dog was a combination of many different breeds, even older.

Originally from Germany, this powerful dog was bred in the late 1800s. Breeders wanted to create an all-around dog who will love spending time with people and be a full-time companion if needed.

In no time, people loved this breed, especially since they were able to perform various daily tasks. Even today, the German Shorthaired Pointer has great hunting instincts, and they will be the first to chase anything smaller moving.

This is why they should be walked on a leash and never let run free outside the fenced area. The AKC recognized the German Shorthaired Pointer in 1930.

Fast fact: Due to its traits and personality, German Shorthaired Pointer is mixed with Alaskan Husky to create a new breed – Eurohound, one of the faster sled dogs

German Shorthaired Pointer Physical Appearance

German Shorthaired Pointer is a breed bred to work. As such they are packed with endless energy that pushes them to perform their tasks with ease.

Most importantly, the German Shorthaired Pointers are built to perform physically challenging tasks.

This breed has a clean-cut head, deep chest, strong quarters, muscled body, and carried tail. The overall movement is balanced and alert. As for the size, males are bigger than females, just a slightly.

Both sexes have an elegant appearance and gentle expressions. Males are between 23 to 25 inches tall while weighing between 55 to 70 pounds.

Females are 23 to 23 inches tall and usually weigh between 45 to 60 pounds. The skull is broad, ears and broad as well, and the muzzle is long. The coat is short and thick.

When touched the coat should feel tough. In a dog show, any German Shorthaired Pointer will be disqualified if comes with long hair. A smooth gait is essential.

German Shorthaired Pointer Personality

German Shorthaired Pointers are smart and friendly dogs. They are passionate about their every task, and they aren’t afraid to show. Expect a lot of excitement during the day.

Your German Shorthaired Pointer will be excited when going to the walk, during the walk, and even coming back home from the walk. This is a dog who thrives when next to people.

It means that you shouldn’t leave German Shorthaired Pointer alone for long hours. They will suffer when left alone and some may even develop separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety is treatable, but it will take a lot of time, energy, dedication, and even extra expenses for calming toys, and other tools.

Make sure that the entire family is on the same page: this way you will share responsibilities, and your German Shorthaired Pointer won’t ever be left alone. Planning a family trip? Bring your GSP with you. Planning a one-day picnic on the lake?

Make sure that you bring your GSP with you. This breed is a great swimmer, and any water-related activity should complement his energy.

So far it should be clear that German Shorthaired Pointer is a great family dog, as long as he is treated as an equal family member. That being said, this is a house dog, not a yard or kennel dog.

He will equally share his love with every family member and everyone will be his person. Make sure that you respect that.

German Shorthaired Pointer With Children And Other Pets

As a family dog, is a German Shorthaired Pointer suitable for playing with children? Or playing with other pets? If they are raised with children they will adore them. Children should know how to react around dogs and when not to disturb them.

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a breed of high energy and strong herding instincts – in reality, this means that they will chase anything smaller around them that moves.

This is why they are maybe a better fit for more adult children. No matter how well children and dogs get along they should always be supervised.

Safe interaction is what will keep any accidents to a minimum.

Educate your children on how to behave around dogs and what is allowed. At the same time, teach them what is forbidden no matter what and why following the rules is important.

As for the other animals, the German Shorthaired Pointer should get along with other dogs nicely. They may be slightly aggressive toward members of the same sex.

Again: these are hunting dogs, which means that they may try to hunt small furry animals such as cats or rabbits. If raised with them from puppyhood, they may have enough patience toward unfamiliar animals who appear near their territory.

The German Shorthaired Pointer is listed as one of the best tracking dogs of modern time.

They are always among the most popular dogs to assist during hunting season and they are one of the strongest canine workers.

German Shorthaired Pointer Training

The German Shorthaired Pointer isn’t a breed for first time dog owners. Make sure that you always do research on the specific breed before you decide on the breed.

This way you will get to know the dog’s needs better and decide if you have the time and energy for the specific dog. That being said, the German Shorthaired Pointer should be in homes with experienced dog owners.

Perfectly, they should be around people who know how to train and live with dogs of higher energy levels.

As an experienced dog owner, you must know that training starts as soon as you bring your German Shorthaired Pointer home. Have enough toys on hand, think about indoor games in advance, and have a plan.

Make training sessions consistent, fun, interactive, and packed with treats. Burning this dog’s energy level is a must unless you want to witness destructive behavior.

The German Shorthaired Pointer has a strong prey drive, which is they should get enough activity. If training this dog is still too much for you, think about puppy classes.

This can be a great way to speed up the training and bond with your Fido even more. Training classes may be a bit pricey at the beginning but will pay off in the long run.

German Shorthaired Pointer Exercise

The German Shorthaired Pointer will need plenty of exercise.

Luckily, any activity will do with this breed: from jogging, and over hiking to regular swimming, your German Shorthaired Pointer will benefit from any activity.

Regular walks that are used for toilet moments should be seen separately from exercise time. Exercise stands for additional physical activity that helps your GSP stay fit and active. Plus, regular exercise keeps the dog’s joints healthy and strong.

These dogs are smart and athletic, which makes them a great candidate for dog sports such as agility.

Since they are huge water lovers and really great swimmers, they usually excel in dock diving. Two daily sessions of ample physical activity are highly recommended.

German Shorthaired Pointer Grooming

German Shorthairs have a short and thick coat that should be brushed with proper brushing tools. In fact, you will need a firm bristle brush to keep their coat clean, healthy, and shiny.

Their coat is easy to groom, and a 15-minutes long session per week should be enough to keep his coat in top shape. The rest is basic care:

  • Trim or grind nails monthly
  • Check ears and eyes weekly
  • Check gums monthly and if recommended brush his teeth – make sure that you use a toothpaste specially designed for dogs
  • Bathe only when needed with shampoos designed for dogs

Learn how to clean a dog’s ears and when, If you need extra help with this, talk with your veterinarian.

German Shorthaired Pointer Health

The most secure way to get a healthy German Shorthair Pointer is to work with responsible breeders only.

This is the best way to know exactly the health condition of your puppy. Responsible breeders will present you with medical documentation on the breed, inform you on possible health issues in the future, and will give you tips on how to care for your German Shorthair like a professional.

Some of the conditions that may appear in this breed:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Cancer
  • Lymphedema
  • Entropion
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease
  • Bloat

Bloat is a big concern when it comes to owning this breed. Bloat occurs when the stomach fills with air, and as such, this condition is serious, and can even lead to death.

To avoid bloat in your GSP, any exercise and activity should be avoided for an hour of eating and drinking. The best time to serve your GSP a meal is at night after all activity is completed.

Is German Shorthaired Pointer For You?

If you are a first time dog owner, this breed isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you have experience as a dog owner, this is a breed to consider.

These dogs are smart, active, and eager to please. They also need a lot of exercise, so make sure that you can address this need. Keeping a dog healthy and happy goes beyond cuddles and petting, it’s mostly about care.

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