Written by Vet

German Wirehaired Pointer: The Ultimate Dog Breed Guide

Ivana Crnec
Written by: Dr. Ivana Crnec
Want to know if German Wirehaired Pointers are great swimmers or not? Read on to discover just how spectacular this breed is and what makes them so unique.
Dog Breed Group:
Sporting Dogs
1 foot, 10 inches to 2 feet, 2 inches tall at the shoulder
60 to 70 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 14 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?

Ranked as 63rdout of 197 dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, the German wirehaired pointer is a sturdy, hard-working and versatile gun dog.

This ultimate dog breed guide will review the breed’s history, personality, lifestyle requirements, health problems, needs, and more.

Check the article to learn why the uniquely-coated German wirehaired pointer works exceptionally well on both land and water and how it deserved its place among the three “European utility breeds”.

Breed Overview

The German wirehaired pointer is an affectionate, enthusiastic and eager dog from the Sporting group (according to AKC Classification) or the Gun Dog group (according to UKC Classification).

The breed’s hallmark is the weather-resistant and virtually water-repellent coat.

The German wirehaired pointer is a true hunter – determined, intelligent, and energetic – he is always ready for a challenge. Because of its unique skillset, this dog is also used for drug detection and as a therapy dog.

Quick Facts

Real name: German Wirehaired Pointer
Other names: Deutsch Drahthaar, Deutscher Drahthaariger, Vorstehhund, Drahthaar
Origin: Germany
Breed type: Sporting Dogs
Weight: 50-70 pounds
Height: 24-26 inches (male), minimum 22 inches (female)
Lifespan: 14 – 16 years
Litter Size: 6 – 10 puppies
Color: Liver-colored with white spots or markings
Coat: Harsh, wiry, straight and flat-lying, double coat with weather-resistant and water-repellent features

The History Of The German Wirehaired Pointer

The German wirehaired pointer was developed in the 1800s in Germany.

Although the breed’s name includes the term “pointer”, this dog was designed to be a versatile hunter, capable of hunting a variety of prey, on different terrains (land and water) and using different hunting techniques – pointing, scenting, and retrieving.

The breed’s ancestry consists of the German shorthair pointer, the Griffon, the Polish Water Dog, and the Pudelpointer.

There are suggestions that bloodhounds and foxhounds were also used at some point in the development.

In the German wirehaired pointer’s development, the main accent was placed on the coat.

The wiry and weather-resistant and water-repellent coat was designed to serve as armor protecting the dog while working in harsh climates and terrains.

The bushy eyebrows, beard, and mustache were supposed to protect the face from brier and thorny brush.

The German wirehaired pointer is one of the three all-weather and all-terrain hunting companions from the “European utility breeds”. The other two breeds are the Italian Spinone and the Hungarian Vizsla.

German Wirehaired Pointer Physical Appearance

The German wirehaired pointer is a medium-sized, well-muscled, and sturdily-built dog with a moderately long head, medium-size, and brown-colored eyes, and rounded and loosely hanging ears.

The chest is deep, the belly tucked-up, and the tail is set-high. The legs are long and muscular with webbed toes.

German Wirehaired Pointer Size

German wirehaired pointer males are 24-26 inches tall (60.9-66 centimeters) and weigh around 45-75 pounds (20.4-34 kilograms).

Females are slightly shorter – they are around 22-24 inches tall (55.8-60.9 centimeters) but their weight is the same 45-75 pounds (20.4-34 kilograms).

German Wirehaired Pointer Coat And Color

The German wirehaired pointer has a harsh, wiry, straight, and flat-lying, double coat with weather-resistant and water-repellent features.

The coat’s length is one and a half to two inches, which is long enough to offer protection yet short enough to accent the body’s outline.

There is symmetrically distributed feathering and pronounced beard, mustaches, and eyebrows. The coat is liver-colored with white spots or markings.

German Wirehaired Pointer Grooming And Maintenance

The German wirehaired pointer has a distinct, double-layered, and wiry-textured coat that needs special maintenance – stripping twice per year. Stripping is the process of removing dead hair.

It is usually performed with a stripping knife. The German wirehaired pointer sheds lightly but continuously all-year-round.

The German wirehaired pointer needs weekly brushing while the beard and mustaches need daily combing.

The dirt comes easily when brushing or combing. Bathing is recommended twice a year unless he rolls into something smelly or decides to take a bath in a muddy pond.

Just like any other dog, the German wirehaired pointer needs daily teeth brushing, weekly ear cleaning with a dog-friendly ear cleanser, and monthly trimming of the toenails to avoid painful cracks and splints.

German Wirehaired Pointer Temperament And Personality

The German wirehaired pointer is a smart, energetic dog that loves having a job to do. Bred to be hard-working and tenacious, this dog is true to its origins.

Although it can get used to living in apartments and spending its time playing with its human family, the German wirehaired pointer is most content while hunting on the field.

The German wirehaired pointer is good with children. It is tolerant and playful but because of its size and exuberant personality, it can accidentally knock them out. Therefore, all interactions with children should be supervised.

If left alone, especially for a long time or repetitively, the German wirehaired pointer is prone to separation anxiety and destructive behavior associated with the anxiety.

The German wirehaired pointer has an extremely strong prey drive and rarely gets along with other dogs and smaller pets. Even if properly socialized, refraining from chasing is challenging for this skilled hunter.

Finally, the German wirehaired pointer is particularly protective of its human family, its territory, and its belongings. It is also prone to barking and makes an ideal watch and guard dog.

Training The German Wirehaired Pointer

The German wirehaired pointer is intelligent and eager to please which makes the training process rather straightforward.

However, it should be noted that the German wirehaired pointer has a stubborn streak which becomes quite apparent if the dog is inadequately approached.

The German wirehaired pointer requires a confident and experienced handler.

With proper training and the breed’s tenacity and intelligence focused on positive behaviors, the German wirehaired pointer easily excels in a wide variety of canine sports.

The key to raising a well-behaved German wirehaired pointer is early and extensive socialization combined with puppy training classes.

The breed’s strongly accented prey drive must be managed to start from an early age, especially if the dog needs to live with another dog or smaller pet.

Exercise Requirements & Energy Levels Of The German Wirehaired Pointer

When it comes to the German wirehaired pointer, regular walks are only warm-ups. This dog was bred to work on the field from dusk till dawn and literally has go-all-day stamina.

The German wirehaired pointer needs several hours of vigorous physical activity per day.

Capable of running well over five males, the German wirehaired pointer makes an exceptional running partner. He is also prepared for day-long hikes.

Just keep in mind to have it leashed while running or hiking because if an animal triggers its hunting instincts he is likely to engage in a chase.

German wirehaired pointers are the true athletes of the canine world – they are excellent in many sports activities, including dock diving, fly ball, field trials, agility, waterfowl, and upland hunting.

Common German Wirehaired Pointer Health Issues

With an average lifespan ranging between 14 and 16 years, the German wirehaired pointer is a long-lived dog breed, especially considering its size. However, like any other breed, it is predisposed to several important health conditions.

Generally speaking, the German wirehaired pointer is prone to orthopedic issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia, gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) or bloat, neurologic issues that manifest with seizures, heart problems, an underactive thyroid gland or hypothyroidism.

According to the National Breed Club, the German wirehaired pointer should be subdued to the following tests:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam

Diet And Nutrition Needs For The German Wirehaired Pointer

German wirehaired pointers should be fed a high-quality diet rich in proteins and healthy fats. If using a commercially available formula, it is advisable to get one designed specifically for active dogs.

German wirehaired pointers thrive on homemade meals and raw diets. If feeding homemade or raw consult with your vet or a canine nutritionist since achieving complete and nutritionally balanced meals can be tricky.

As a deep-chested breed, the German wirehaired pointer is at high risk of developing GDV. GDV develops if the dog starts exercising immediately after having a meal.

The risk is also bigger if the meal was substantial. To decrease the risk of GDV, German wirehaired pointers should be fed twice per day and allowed to rest for an hour or two after each meal.

Tips For Raising A Healthy German Wirehaired Pointer

Being a responsible German wirehaired pointer is a parent is a full-time job. Raising a happy and healthy German wirehaired pointer requires time, patience, and experience.

However, its loyalty, devotion, and protectiveness make the journey definitely worthy.

When parenting a German wirehaired pointer, consider the following factors:

  • The German wirehaired pointer needs vigorous physical exercises
  • While young and when not properly physically challenged, the German wirehaired pointer is rowdy and exuberant
  • The German wirehaired pointer is a strong-willed and independent dog that needs an experienced and confident handler
  • The German wirehaired pointer is prone to aggressiveness towards other dogs and cats
  • The German wirehaired pointer is prone to excessive barking and can wreak havoc on your eardrums
  • If kept indoors, the German wirehaired pointer is prone to developing separation anxiety if left alone for longer
  • If kept outdoors, his area must be well-secured and dog-proofed because if the German wirehaired pointer escapes, all neighborhood pets become prey.

The Cost Of Parenting A German Wirehaired Pointer

Purebred German wirehaired pointers usually cost between $600 and $1000 with an average price of $800.

A German wirehaired pointer puppy with exceptional parental lineage may cost over $1500.

Adopting through rescue organizations or from a shelter is much more budget-friendly – it costs between $100 and $300.

This is just the initial purchase cost.

Once the pup is home, there will be additional expenses for food and supplies (treats, bowls, toys, harness and leash, beds), professional grooming and grooming tools, training classes, daycares, insurance policies, and last but not least – vet bills.

In general, the first year is the most expensive – the expenses are around $4000. After that, the expenses decrease and the annual cost is estimated to be $1700. That would be around $140 per month.

The average lifetime cost of owning a German wirehaired pointer is $28000.

Four Fun Facts About German Wirehaired Pointers

1. The Breed’s Name Is Misleading

Although the breed’s name includes the term pointer, the German wirehaired pointer is in fact a versatile hunter that does much more than pointing. The German wirehaired pointer hunts, scents, points, and retrieves.

2. The German Name For The German Wirehaired Pointer Is Drahthaar

The original name of the breed was Deutsch-Drahthaar.

However, it’s English translation – German wirehaired pointer was easier to pronounce and understand and eventually became more popular. Today the breed is shortly referred to as GWP.

3. Clan Dog Or One Person Dog

If raised in one member household, the German wirehaired pointer becomes a one-person dog. However, if raised in a larger family, it bonds with the entire clan but still picks one human as his favorite.

4. The German Wirehaired Pointer Is Popular

Today, the most popular dog in Germany is the German wirehaired pointer. Although there are several breeds native to Germany, this versatile pointer is the nation’s number one.

The German wirehaired pointer arrived in America in the 1920s and received its AKC recognition in 1959. However, its popularity in the USA remains modest.

German Wirehaired Pointer FAQs

Do German Wirehaired Pointers Make Good Pets?

Yes, although bred to be work-oriented, German wirehaired pointers thrive on human love and affection.

They are loyal, friendly, and protective of family members. They can get along with children but their exuberant personality makes them a bit clumsy around.

Do German Wirehaired Pointers Swim?

Yes, German wirehaired pointers not only love to swim but are also designed and equipped to be excellent swimmers.

The wiry and water-repellent coat and webbed toes are part of their swimming gear.

Are German Wirehaired Pointers Hypoallergenic?

No, sadly the German Pointer is not a hypoallergenic dog. Although he sheds lightly, he sheds continuously, all-year-round.

People with dog allergies find the light and continuous shedding troubling.

Are German Wirehaired Pointers Aggressive?

German wirehaired pointers are good-natured and gentle dogs. They are reserved with strangers but never aggressive. However, if mistreated and improperly socialized every dog has the potential to become aggressive with people.

While not aggressive with people, the German wirehaired pointer can be aggressive with other dogs and smaller pets. Better stated, he has a strong prey drive and prey drive is a modified form of aggression.

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