German Shorthaired Pointer: Puppy Training, Health Care, and Breed Information

Graceful, distinctive, loyal and smart, the German Shorthaired Pointer makes both a fabulous family dog, and a very effective hunting partner. They enjoy a long life with small likelihood of health problems, and are extremely trainable.

Jump to: Breed History, Appearance, Temperament, Health Issues, or Training a German Shorthaired Pointer.

Breed History – German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer was bred as an all-purpose hunting dog, with skills at pointing, fetching prey, running speed and ability at swimming.

It’s believed that the refining process of making the German Shorthaired Pointer breed stable, included a long list of hunting and pointing dogs from throughout Europe and Scandinavia, but the first official breeding manual was written in the late 1800s.

Appearance – German Shorthaired Pointer

The beautiful coat of a German Shorthaired Pointer was excellent both for speed in running and swimming, and for weatherproofing the dog during outdoor work. The several coat color varieties were also well-suited for their roles as hunters. A salt-and-pepper appearance is somewhat common, as are mixes of black, liver, and spotted variations.

The medium-sized German Shorthaired Pointer will grow to be right around two feet tall, give or take some inches, and will weigh anywhere between 55 and 70 pounds, with the females being slightly smaller. A healthy German Shorthaired Pointer will be muscular and athletic, with an aerodynamic shape and strong hindquarters for running and agility.

The German Shorthaired Pointer’s head features a long snout, and broad ears that are set high on the head, which droop down the sides of the face when relaxed.

One last, and fascinating trait: the German Shorthaired Pointer has webbed feet. Like I said – this dog was made for fantastic hunting skills.


Social Temperament – German Shorthaired Pointer

It’s hard to find a dog breed with a more agreeable, adaptable mind-set than the German Shorthaired Pointer. This is a breed that’s great with children.

Keep in mind, however, that this is also a breed of dog that needs a lot of exercise every day. Allowing their energies to be pent-up can make the German Shorthaired Pointer very unhappy and is likely to result in bouts of destructive behavior. They’re easily trained for playing flyball and other forms of agility sports, and they’re bred to fetch things. They love to be outdoors, so frequent walks in the wild is a great way to keep a German Shorthaired Pointer happy.

Another thing to remember with German Shorthaired Pointers is that they are, and will always be, hunting dogs. Make sure your fence cannot be scaled or dug-under. Follow my advice on preventing fence-jumping and digging, and make sure you train your German Shorthaired Pointer on the “come” command.

Unique Health Problems – German Shorthaired Pointer

The life-span of a German Shorthaired Pointer is a nice, long 12 to 14 years. In other respects, too, they are a healthy and resilient breed of dog. Still, there are a few things you should know about German Shorthaired Pointer health care:

  • Hip Dysplasia is a joint deformation common to many breeds of dogs, which can get worse over the years, leading to arthritis.
  • Various eye diseases are also common to many breeds, including German Shorthaired Pointers.
  • The shape and internal workings of a German Shorthaired Pointer’s snout can lead to various breathing problems.
  • For some reason, German Shorthaired Pointers of both genders can experience grandiose enlarging of the nipples. This isn’t a health concern unless cancerous , which is often signaled when they start to bleed or discharge.
  • The big-eared German Shorthaired Pointer should have its ears cleaned regularly to avoid infections.
  • Make sure to to give your German Shorthaired Pointer the best possible dog food – hunting dogs need a quality diet, regardless of lifestyle.
  • Make sure to talk to your breeder about these issues; some of the risk can be bred-out with careful medical screening prior to mating, and a good breeder will be prepared to prove they’ve done this screening.

A German Shorthaired Pointer needs less bathing, grooming and brushing than most dogs.

Training – German Shorthaired Pointer


The German Shorthaired Pointer is one of the easiest breeds of dog you could ever want to train. They crave expectations and work, and are more than happy to please.

You’ll have no trouble whatsoever teaching your German Shorthaired Pointer the basics of obedience, so launch straight into it very early on with the basics like “sit,” “down,” and “go to your spot.” Don’t be surprised if your German Shorthaired Pointer flies through this training and you’re quickly running out of commands to teach. Just make sure you’re doing your training the effective, humane way with rewards for the right behavior, and never issuing harsh punishments.

Make sure you deeply instill the “come” command into your German Shorthaired Pointer during training. It’s fine to let this breed wander off without a leash once they’re fully trained, but you’ll need control over them, and the “come” command gives you that control.

Also, the German Shorthaired Pointer is strong and bold enough to need thorough leash training , to avoid pulling, which can lead to throat injury.

Go back to training a dog or puppy, or read about other popular dog breeds.

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