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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > German Shorthaired Pointer Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

German Shorthaired Pointer Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

German shorthaired dog on the grass

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a stunningly sharp canine with a terrific sense of judgment. They tend to love physical activity, whether it be time spent hiking, hunting, or swimming—but they also just love being around their human families.

Breed Overview


23–25 inches


50–75 pounds


10–12 years


Liver, liver & white, liver roan

Suitable for:

Active families, homes with land, working duties


Loyal, intelligent, friendly, adventurous

These dogs make top-rated picks for families who are always on the go outdoors. German Pointers are trainable, social, and good-natured. Let’s see a brief look into what it’s like to own one of these lean, lovely hunting dogs.

German Shorthaired Pointer Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.


German Shorthaired Pointer Puppies

German Shorthaired Pointer puppies are pretty expensive. Your selected breeder should have a long history of healthy litters with favorable temperaments.

All purebred puppies may come with their first round of health checks, potential puppy deposits, and puppy contracts. Once you bring your puppy home, they will need to see your vet for a check-up and additional vaccines.

You should also factor in costs associated with owning a puppy, like supplies, puppy chow, and vetting.

Temperament & Intelligence of the German Shorthaired Pointers

Brown German Shorthaired Pointer hunting
Image Credit: Vitalii Mamchuk, Shutterstock

GSPs are incredibly brilliant dogs with lots of personality. They are always on the go, checking out new sights and sounds all over. You will enjoy an energetic puppy that transforms into a well-mannered, alert adult.

This breed responds very well to basic commands, but they can learn much more than the average dog. In addition, they have a higher than ordinary willingness to please, so they do what makes their owners happy.

GSPs can make terrific playmates, partners in crime, and working dogs. They have the gentleness to be a family dog with the agility and skill to be a tracker. However, they might not be as suitable in homes with small kids because of their overall size and activity levels.

Like other pointer breeds, these dogs can smell prey a mile away. So when they have their eye set on the target, they freeze their bodies, pointing the tail directly out, curving their front paw in, and slightly lowering their head.

This is a direct marker of the breed, and it’s something that will never change. These dogs might need to be on a leash at all times. If they are outside, you might have to have them in a kennel or securely fenced-in yard.

If a GSP spots a target, you can bet they will bolt if they have the opportunity. But you can work this in your favor by playing lots of interactive games that involve chasing.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

These dogs make wonderful family additions, as long as you can give them the right environment. These dogs don’t work well in small living spaces because they need lots of room to stretch their legs. They do best in larger homes with adequate yard space.

GSPs will have a ton of fun running around in the backyard with the kids. They will equally tucker each other out after long games of fetch and tag. But since the breed is peppy and energetic, they may work best with children ages 6 and older.

These dogs don’t make ideal companions for anyone with limited mobility. Since they require so much physical stimulation, they may become bored or destructive if they don’t get enough exercise.

german shorthaired pointer dog in the field
Image By: Westwood, Shutterstock

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

German Shorthaired Pointers can get along very well with other pets, especially with early socialization. They are very friendly and laid back, so they won’t be overbearing or aggressive toward existing pets. This breed is generally very accepting and playful with canine friends.

Since they are a hunting breed, cats can be a hit or miss. Most dogs do okay when they are raised with cats—but that doesn’t mean they don’t love to torture them sometimes. Just be mindful of any interactions they have and feel the situation out.

This dog should never be trusted around very small pets, like rodents and other cage animals.


Things to Know When Owning a German Shorthaired Pointers:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

GSPs are high-energy dogs that need to maintain healthy muscle tone. They benefit most from high-protein, nutrient-rich dry kibble dog foods. If your dog is somewhat picky, you might try to spice things up by offering wet food toppers.

Homemade and raw diets are growing in popularity, so these are definitely options, too. However, you need to run any ingredients by your vet to make sure all nutrition is included.

German shorthaired dog on the lawn
Image By: MVolodymyr, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

The German Shorthaired Pointer is an outdoorsy type, enjoying anything to get the earth between its toes. Therefore, they need plenty of sights to see and space to roam. They need exercise from puppy to seniorhood.

Mental and physical stimulation are significant to this breed, so you should make sure to provide appropriate tasks and activities. On average, the GSP needs about 60 or more minutes of exercise per day.

To alleviate the most pent-up energy, you should break up exercise into two parts daily.

Training 🎾

Your GSP will likely excel at intense training since they have such a keen intelligence. These dogs are built with precise responses, reacting on command with no hesitation.

These pointers are a hunting breed, but they can also complete other tasks in service and agility. Basic commands will come easily to them—and they will naturally gravitate to well-praised behaviors.

Because of their innate nature to chase and hunt, they do very well with professional obedience training. This way, you can tailor the dog’s behavior to match its intended task.

For instance, if you want a companion dog, you’ll want your GSP to be calm, mannerly, and obedient. If you’re looking for a gun dog, they can channel their natural impulses towards a learned skill.

Image By: Burry van den Brink, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

German Shorthaired Pointers are large, lean dogs with an athletic build. They have coarse coats that carry the classic “hunting dog” patterns.

Grooming the GSP will be pretty straightforward, with no special maintenance required. Although because of their high inclination to shed, you want to brush your canine daily.

Bathtime should come around every 4–6 weeks. These dogs are pretty hardy and not usually prone to skin allergies, so no particular shampoo is off the list. But it would be best if you tried to stay as natural as possible.

You can follow up baths with ear cleaning, nail trimming, and teeth brushing.

Health and Conditions 🏥

When you bring home your GSP puppy, taking them to your vet should be among the first things on your to-do list. Your vet can finish up any vaccines, check them over, and develop a care plan with you. You can go over any questions you might have.

After their first year of life, you can visit the vet bi-annually—unless specific health issues make the trips more frequent. GSPs are generally very healthy dogs, but they can have certain health conditions—many of which affect lots of dogs across all breeds.

Minor Conditions
  • Osteochondritis dissecans
  • Pannus
Serious Conditions
  • Bloat
  • Lymphedema
  • Von Willebrand’s disease

Minor Conditions

Serious Conditions

Male vs Female

When it comes to physical differences, males grow larger than females. For example, male GSPs weigh approximately 70 pounds, while females get up to 60 pounds—so there is at least a 10-pound difference.

Males tend to be thicker with broader heads and pronounced jowls. Females tend to be leaner and lighter on their feet. Their skulls are sleek and narrow.

Males and females will have their own distinct personalities, regardless of gender. However, the boys tend to mature more slowly than their female counterparts. Although, both genders keep their puppylike nature throughout their lifetimes.

divider-dog paw

3 Little-Known Facts About the German Shorthaired Pointer

1. German Shorthaired Pointers make excellent swimmers.

GSPs are made for the water. They have webbed feet to help them navigate through ponds, lakes, and creeks. Your pup will have lots of fun participating in summer activities.

2. German Shorthaired Pointers shed a lot.

Even though these dogs have relatively short coats, they shed a lot—and their wiry hairs can stick into fabric pretty well. So, be prepared to stock up on lint rollers and handheld vacuums.

3. German Shorthaired Pointers always keep their sense of adventure.

GSPs stay puppy-like all their life. They love getting into all sorts of shenanigans and won’t lose their sense of fun.


Final Thoughts

If the German Shorthaired Pointer sounds like it would be perfect for your family, it’s time to find a reputable breeder. Remember, these dogs do require a lot of exercise, and they love outdoor adventures.

As long as you accommodate their needs, you will have extraordinary companionship with one another. Remember to find a reputable breeder—or you can always give a shelter GSP a second chance at a forever home.

Featured Image Credit: EvaHeaven2018, Shutterstock

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