German Shorthaired Pointer: A Friendly, Athletic & Vigilant Companion

german shorthair pointer in a stream pointing

The German shorthaired pointer, or GSP, is a friendly and athletic companion originally bred for hunting small game like quail and pheasants. Today, they’re known for being excellent family pets, perfect for bringing along when swimming or hiking. GSPs love open spaces that they can explore and hunt around in for long periods of time. True to its name, the GSP is also a vigilant watchdog that is quick to alert you to any potential intruders or disturbances.

Do GSPs Bark a Lot?

Yes, the German shorthaired pointer is known to bark a moderate amount. However, keep in mind that the GSP is a hunting dog that has higher energy levels than relaxed breeds (we’re talking to you, basset hound). This means that without a large open space to explore or an interesting activity, the GSP will bark far more than normal. The GSP will not be able to sit around inside all day. However, after an adequate amount of exercise, you can expect the GSP to be happy spending the rest of the day resting and recuperating.

Although GSPs are prone to barking when not given proper exercise, there are other behavioral sources of excessive barking out there. For example, if your GSP is aggressively barking at the sign of any strangers, it may not know how to differentiate between a friendly stranger and an intruder. You can check out our article on this topic to learn more about training your GSP on telling the difference. While you should never leave your dog alone for long periods of time, if your GSP is barking a lot even when you’re gone for a bit and over-excited when you get back, it may be suffering from separation anxiety.

Facts About German Short Haired Pointers

The history of the German shorthaired pointer goes all the way back to the 1600s and 1700s, sharing many lineage traces with the Spanish pointer. The breed was famously developed by German Prince Albrecht zu Solms Braunfels, who used the GSP to hunt game on land and water. The GSP was officially recognized by the AKC in 1930 and became popular as a friendly, yet intelligent hunting dog.

  • Size: GSP females stand 21-23 inches tall and weigh between 45 and 60 pounds, while males stand 23-25 inches tall and weigh between 55 and 70 pounds.
  • How long do German shorthaired pointers live: GSP’s lifespan is about 10 to 12 years.
  • German shorthaired pointer colors and coat: The GSP has a short, thick coat that comes in many colors like black, liver, black and white, liver and white, and liver roan.
  • AKC group: Sporting

Are German Shorthaireds Easy to Train?

While socialization and early obedience training is a must for any puppy, you’ll find the GSP very eager to please and seeking a new job or activity. However, take note that the GSP may be difficult to control in its younger years, as it has very high energy levels with a strong prey drive. This means the GSP will be bored easily, and may find trouble if not properly exercised.

German shorthaired pointer training works well with the BarxBuddy device, which is designed to stop unwanted behavior, so you can teach dogs desired behaviors. This breed does well with the train, treat, repeat method of positive reinforcement dog training.

Do GSPs make good pets?

The GSP is a high energy, yet friendly breed that’s known for being an excellent family pet. The GSP is compatible with all but the youngest of children, who should always be supervised around any animal. However, the GSP’s high energy level can often be a great match for kids who enjoy the outdoors. German shorthaired pointers are not necessarily aggressive, but because of their strong prey drive, they may not be suitable companions for homes with cats and other small animals.

Is the German shorthaired pointer a good watch dog or guard dog?

The pointer breed has a natural inclination to alert its owner to potential threats or dangers, so the GSP can make a sufficient watchdog. Note that the GSP does not make a very good protector, as they tend to see any person as a potential friend.

Do German Shorthaired Pointers Need Grooming?

Having shorter hair, the GSPs coat is very easy to groom most of the time. You should plan on brushing them down with a grooming glove or other implement every few days, but you won’t notice too much shedding. During seasonal changes, you may notice the GSP’s grooming needs increase. An occasional bath can also be good to avoid too much loose hair from getting stuck in places around the house.

GSPs also require regular nail trimming, which can be accomplished with a nail grinder or guillotine-style nail scissor. Note that if your GSP has darker nails, you may find a nail grinder to be preferable as you won’t cut the quick.

German Shorthaired Pointer Mixes

The GSP is often mixed with other popular breeds to produce a friendly, energetic companion unlike any other. Here’s a list of some of the more popular GSP mixes:

Resource Links for More GSP Info


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