German Shorthaired Pointer Breed Traits & Facts

Last Updated on September 20, 2023

Quick Summary: The German Shorthaired Pointer (or simply “Pointer”) is a lovely dog breed that is friendly and sweet. They are intelligent and easy to train. This breed is best trained using positive reinforcement training since they are sensitive and will not respond well to harsh or stern training. The Pointer is a generally healthy breed of dog but prone to certain health issues like hip and elbow dysplasia, cone degeneration (eye problem), aortic Stenosis (heart problem), and cancer. They can live anywhere from 10 to 12 years.

The German Shorthaired Pointer used to rank among the least well-known dogs. However, he has been steadily rising in the American Kennel Club popularity contest every year. And recently, he has consistently found himself amongst the top 10 most popular dog breeds. More popular than Huskies, Boxer dogs, and Dachshunds, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a dog breed that has surged in popularity as a family dog across the world in the last decade.

Maybe that is why you are here. You may have seen them in action in your area or decided that this is the perfect breed to bring home your family. Well, we have all the information you need in this breed guide.

We understand that you need to make sure that your puppy is the right breed for you and your family. We also know you will want to be the best fur parent you can be.

Let’s take a closer look at this hunting breed to see if it is the right fit as your next canine friend.

German Shorthaired Pointer

Breed History and Background

This popular breed originates from 17th-century Germany. German hunters wanted a perfect hunter so they bred the dog we love today by combining several dog breeds. This breed was created by combining the German Bird Dog (also known as the German Pointer, English, and Spanish Pointers) with a little Bloodhound.

German Shorthaired Pointers were bred to hunt at night and find all kinds of quarry using their keen sense of smell. They are powerful and sleek, appealing to the eyes, and a loving family member. They first came to the US in 1925, and slowly but surely, they have become extremely popular with hunters and families alike. The German Shorthaired Pointer’s cousin, the German Wirehaired Pointer, looks very similar, just with a shaggier coat. And the German Longhaired Pointer looks more Spaniel-like.

Appearance and Size

Pointers are large to medium-sized dogs. He weighs between 45 and 70 pounds, with male dogs tending to be larger than their female counterparts. They measure between 21 and 25 inches tall, from paw to shoulder. He is well-built and athletic. His muscular, powerful frame is evident in his short coat.

His muzzle and face are square but well-proportioned. According to his breed standard, he has a fleshy, large nose. His eyes are large and almond-shaped. His smile is often light-hearted and intelligent. His ears, which are long , drop below his jawline. His tail is always docked. It sits straight and never curves or bends.

Coat and Colors

This breed has short hair. It is, however, thick and water-repellant. His coat is soft but sleek when you touch it. His coat sheds light throughout the year and is slightly heavier during shedding seasons. He is clean and easy to groom.

He can be found in three main colors: black, liver, and white. He will rarely be all black or all red. He will most likely have a mix of black and white, liver and white, and a little bit of both. Some coats will be described as roan, which is a mixture of white and pigmented hairs that do not ‘gray out.’ Patches of color are also common, with colored heads and speckled bodies being common.

Temperament and Personality Traits

The breed is known for being an all-around dog that has a lot to offer. The most important thing you should know about him is that he is super energetic. He should only be taken on by an active family who can guarantee him between 60 and 90 minutes of intense exercise every day. Although we have a section for his exercise needs, you should not underestimate their active nature.

A breed with lots of energy and curiosity can be expected to have tons of fun. This pup would make a great canine friend. He is a happy, playful dog who will play fetch all day with anyone who gives him attention. He enjoys swimming, playing tug-of-war, and taking part in agility classes. All-weekend hiking? It’s possible! Are you interested in dog athletic competitions? He has it all.

This pup will be happy as long as you are able to tire him out. He is very affectionate with his family. You’d be amazed at how gentle and loving this breed is if you haven’t met him. They are great cuddle buddies.

Pointers are calm and easy-going pets that make them a great choice for families. They are well-mannered, neither too boisterous nor sedentary. They love to relax in their home, knowing you are nearby. They are not happy to be left alone, so it is best for them to live with someone who can be there during the day. If not dealt with early, separation anxiety can become a problem.

He is loyal and eager to please his family. He will make a great obedient companion if he is trained early. This is a great thing and makes him a great choice for dog owners who are just starting out. It is important to understand that he has a strong prey drive and will likely run after squirrels.

Living Conditions

Pointers are not suitable for apartment living. They love the outdoors and fresh air. They don’t like being cooped up all day in a small apartment. Because they chase squirrels and birds, they need to have access to the yard. The breed is very agile and can climb high, especially if there’s a long run-up. So make sure that your fences are high.

They are calm, well-mannered, and quiet dogs. This makes them an ideal pet for children. You should always supervise children and dogs, but this breed can be trusted to play gently. They will also be able to socialize well with other dogs if well-socialized from the beginning. They are not suitable for living with rodents and birds because of their prey drive.

Training and Socialization

The German Shorthaired Pointer is intelligent and easy to train. He is a great companion for first-time dog owners. However, you will need to work hard to teach him the ropes. You cannot expect him to do it all on his own.

The first step in his training is the socialization process. From an early age, he needs to get along with other dogs and humans. He will be a good-mannered, polite dog if he is allowed to interact with other dogs. You will also need to allow him to experience loud noises and grooming. This builds his confidence.

This breed is best trained using positive reinforcement training. He is a sensitive breed and will not respond well to harsh or stern training. You do not want a fearful hunting companion who is more likely to run than recall.

It’s a wonderful idea to crate-train this dog breed. Crate training is great for dogs who get anxious if left alone. Crate training gives your dog a secure place to call his own. It can keep him safe from trouble if you are unable to be there.

The most difficult training task will be recall. While Pointers almost always return, there is a good chance that they won’t if they have been spooked by a bird or squirrel. You should be sure that he will return if you let him off the leash. The breed’s ability to respond is one reason why they are often chosen for hunting dogs.

Exercise Requirements

These pups are energetic and require a lot of exercise. This is worth repeating: if you aren’t active, these dogs may not be the right breed for you. You must guarantee between 60 and 90 minutes of exercise every day. There are no excuses.

If you cannot commit or frequently skip your exercise, you will both be unhappy. He will only be well-mannered if all his needs are met. He will become anxious and destructive if they aren’t. He is a hunting dog and can happily spend the day in the field. Don’t expect him to be sedentary.

He must be active to feel happy. It won’t be enough to just walk around the block. You need to think about trips to the park, hours spent fetching a ball from the water, and long walks around the block. You could also spend an hour running around the forest or hunting all day. You can also mix your dog’s activity up. A visit to the local dog park is a great way to get your pup moving and improve his socialization skills.

His curious and intelligent mind must be stimulated every day. He needs to be able to interact with his family and play in the yard. Doggy toys are also a great option for him. All dogs are different and prefer different types of toys, but a mixture is ideal to suit whatever mood he is in. Toys such as chew toys, balls, ropes, and treat-dispensing toys for dogs are all great and will keep them happy.

Grooming Requirements

Pointers have sleek, short hair. They have a very easy grooming schedule. He is not a heavy shedder, unlike other dogs. A bristle brush once per week will remove dirt and dead hairs. It will also keep him looking smart. You should still expect some dog hair on your couch and clothes.

His dirt-resistant and weather-resistant coat is extremely clean, and dirt rarely sticks to him. He only needs to be bathed once in three to four months or as often as he requires it. You should not wash him for more than that; otherwise, you will disturb the natural oils that help keep him clean. Doggy shampoos that are gentle and do not contain any harmful ingredients should be used.

His ears are large and will accumulate dirt. It is recommended that you clean his ears at least once per week in order to get rid of the gunk. He will also need weekly dental cleaning to keep periodontal diseases at bay. Doggy toothpaste should always be used, as human toothpaste can be toxic to dogs.

The Pointer’s short coat, exposed legs, and exposed underbelly will regularly scratch his skin when he is exercising. His belly will be scraped if he runs through the leaves and bushes. Make sure you check his cuts after brushing them. Regular wipe-downs with warm water after walks will reduce the chance of infection.

Nutritional Guide

Pointers consume two-three cups of food per day on average. It will depend on his size and energy level. If he is a working dog, however, he may need more. You should reduce the amount of food you give him if he is prone to leaving food behind.

He needs a balanced diet that provides him with high-quality meat protein, carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Kibble is safe for your pet and provides all the necessary nutrients. Dry kibble will help reduce plaque buildup compared to wet food. We advise feeding him a large breed formula, especially as a puppy. They have a higher level of glucosamine, which is great for an active lifestyle.

This pup is at risk of suffering from a condition known as gastric torsion, also known as bloat. It is usually caused by eating large meals and can be life-threatening. Do not feed him right after or immediately before exercise. Instead, spread out his daily food allowance over several meals throughout the day.

Health Issues and Lifespan

The Pointer is a healthy breed of dog. He enjoys a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Regular veterinary visits and vaccinations are the best ways to keep your dog healthy. You can also keep him healthy by giving him exercise and good nutrition.

Just like all purebred dogs are predisposed to certain health issues greater than others, the Pointer is also prone to some health problems. Below are some of the most common health issues in this breed. It’s a good idea to research these conditions and identify the symptoms.

Eye conditions: This is one of the few breeds that suffer from a condition known as cone degeneration. It is basically day blindness. His vision in bright sunlight is impaired but fine under normal conditions. This condition is passed down from his parents. A DNA test can identify it. 

Cardiac concerns: A condition called aortic Stenosis is a condition that affects dogs. This happens when there is a partial blockage of blood from his heart. It makes his heart work harder. You should be aware of any fainting during exercise.

Hip and elbow dysplasia: These are common in large and medium breeds. This is when the joints don’t form properly, leading to increased grinding. This can lead to more pain over time and affect their mobility.

Cancer: The German Shorthaired pointer breed club discovered that this was a very common problem in the breed. The most commonly reported mammary tumors were lymphosarcoma and mast cell tumors.

German Shorthaired Pointer as a Family Pet

  • These dogs are extremely active.
  • They should be placed with an equally energetic family.
  • He will need to exercise hard for 60 to 90 minutes daily.
  • Expect to spend time playing with your pointer puppy each day.
  • They have a very high prey drive.
  • Pointers chase birds, rodents, and cats.
  • He needs access to a secured yard to be happy.
  • He is a very sweet and gentle dog who is affectionate with his family.
  • Pointers can be anxious and hate to be left alone.
  • They are quite friendly with strangers.
  • Pointers are generally more friendly with their immediate family.
  • They are great with children and other dogs.
  • Other types of household pets may be a problem due to their prey drive.
  • He is an obedient dog who is very easy to train compared to other breeds.

Reputable Breeders and Puppy Costs

The breed is very popular in America, and you don’t need to travel far to find a reputable breeder. Reputable breeders only breed healthy dogs and take good care of their puppies.

The average price of a puppy from a reputable breeder will cost around $1,000 and up. You can expect to pay more if you’re looking for an award-winning hunter and/or a show Pointer. You might pay more for rare Pointers that are all-black or all-liver-colored.

Other costs, such as setting up and maintenance, are important to consider when determining the price of a puppy. Things such as crates, collars, harnesses, and dog toys all add up. Not to mention medical insurance and veterinary expenses.

Puppy farms take advantage of the demand for popular breeds of dogs, such as the Pointer. Puppy mills breed unhealthy dogs and neglect the health needs of their puppies to minimize their expenses and maximize their profits. You will be lured in by lower prices.

Always do your research if you are looking for a high-quality breeder. Talk to other owners to see if they can refer you to a breeder. However, it is important to do your research. You should look for positive reviews and meet the pups in person.

Adopting From Rescue Centers and Shelters

If you’re thinking of rescuing a dog, why not visit your local shelter? Unfortunately, this is one of the most sought-after dog breeds, so you might find it a bit hard to locate one. The good news is that shelter rescues cost less than purchasing a puppy from an owner.

If you’ve tried all of this but haven’t been able to find the right dog or are having trouble finding one, don’t despair! Many rescue groups are focused on a specific breed. Many of them are available online.


The German Shorthaired Pointer is a lovely breed that is friendly and sweet. He is a great dog to have around. He will give you lots of affection and kisses as long as you spend time with him. He’s very adaptable and will fit in seamlessly with your family as long as you meet his needs.

He is friendly with other dogs and people and will quickly make friends. However, he may not be able to get along with the squirrels and your neighbor’s cat.

Although this country gentleman is intelligent, he doesn’t mind getting dirty and being silly with his owners. We are utterly in love with this breed and hope that you will be too.

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