The German Shorthaired Pointer dog breed is a medium-large sporting dog breed adept at pointing, tracking prey, and retrieving them both on land and from water. Well-trained dogs make good house pets and companions also, provided the owners can cater to the high level of activity required by this breed.
This breed was developed in Germany in the 17th century as a pointer and a hunter from several dog breeds that had favorable characteristics. The Hannover Hound and the Spanish Pointer were the first contributors. The resultant breed was large in size and hound-like, capable of pointing, as well as trailing the prey. They were particularly interested in birds and mammals like foxes.
These dogs were further crossbred with other breeds such as the English Pointer to make them “all-purpose hunters.” The dog got some of its good looks, as well as the ability to hunt nose-up, from this breed. But they remained reluctant to retrieve prey from water, a drawback that the breeders tried to remedy with further crossbreeding. The breed that eventually evolved was known as Deutsch Kurzhaars.
Two Deutsch Kurzhaars named Nero and Treff got particularly noticed at the German Derby in the early 19th century for their distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from other pointers. The German Shorthaired Pointers of today have descended from these dogs.
This breed was introduced into the United States in the early 20th century. The dogs gained popularity within a short while owing to their hunting skills and good looks. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1930.
The German Shorthaired Pointer dog breed measures 23 to 25 inches at the withers and weighs 60 to 70 pounds. It has a dense double coat that offers water resistance, besides protecting the dog from cold. The color is usually a dark brown, or liver, in combination with white. While the head is usually in solid color, the rest of the body may have white and brown speckling all over with a few patches of solid color. They may come in solid black or liver and in roan coats too. The ears are folded, and the tail is usually docked, but not too close to the base.
The German Shorthaired Pointer dog breed is a born hunter. Full of energy and stamina, these dogs happily spend the whole day hunting, if given a chance. They have an independent nature, and are known to escape their yards and go hunting on their own, often returning with a trophy to show for their exploits. However, they can be trained to be obedient to their owners.
The German Shorthaired Pointers are extremely loyal and devoted to their family and become strongly attached to their owners. This makes them good family pets and companion dogs, especially for people with very active lifestyles. These dogs are excellent watchdogs too. However, their hunting instinct makes them intolerant of other pets, particularly the smaller-sized ones. They may not be suitable for households with young children too.
If exercise levels are inadequate, the dog may try to make up by engaging in destructive activities. They get easily frustrated without human company too.
Grooming and exercise
Grooming the German Shorthaired Pointer dog breed is easy; it requires only an occasional light brushing of the coat.
However, being an extremely active breed, these dogs typically need large amounts of exercise and activities on a daily basis. They require mental as well as physical stimulation to stay happy and contented. Along with several walks, it would be ideal if the dog has opportunities for fast running, hunting or swimming.
Free access to a fenced-in yard is essential to keep this dog in good humor. Since they can jump over 4-6 feet high walls, the yard should be secure. Apartment living is not suitable for this breed. Even though these hunting dogs are capable of outdoor life, they do not take kindly to being left alone for long periods, be it in an outdoor kennel or inside the house.
Common health issues of German Shorthaired Pointer dog breed
The German Shorthaired Pointer dog breed is affected by a number of inherited health disorders such as Von Willebrand disease and other common canine complaints. These dogs are prone to epilepsy, hypothyroidism, cardiac problems and hip dysplasia.
A medical emergency known as gastric torsion may occur in these dogs. It can be fatal if immediate intervention is not provided. The breed is susceptible to several eye disorders including entropion and pannus. The incidence of oral and skin cancers is relatively high too. However, the breed has a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, with many healthy dogs living up to 15 years or more.