Petkeen is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn More

German Wirehaired Pointer

Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021

German Wirehaired Pointer

The German Wirehaired Pointer is a medium to large purebred talented in various areas including hunting, tracking, agility, retrieving and pointing. It was developed in Germany to be a great gun dog and today it is still very successful in that role. But it is also kept as a family dog or companion and as long as these are active owners ready and happy for its level of high energy and stamina it can be a great dog to have.

Here is the German Wirehaired Pointer at a Glance
Name German Wirehaired Pointer
Other Names Deutscher Drahthaariger, Vorstehund, German Pointer (Wirehaired) and Drahthaar, German Wire-haired Pointing Dog
Nicknames GWP
Origin Germany
Average size Medium to large
Average weight 45 to 75 pounds
Average height 22 to 26 inches
Life span 12 to 14 years
Coat type Medium, wiry, water-repellent, harsh
Hypoallergenic Yes
Color Black, brown, white and grey
Popularity Somewhat popular – ranked 68th by the AKC
Intelligence Above average
Tolerance to heat Very good – can handle hot weather but not extreme heat
Tolerance to cold Good – can handle cooler temperatures but not very cold or extreme
Shedding Low to moderate – may be some loose hair but not a lot
Drooling Low – not a dog known to slobber
Obesity Average – can overeat if given the opportunity but not prone to it
Grooming/brushing Easy to groom – brush twice a week
Barking Occasional – some barking but it is not constant
Exercise needs Very active – has a lot of energy and needs lots of exercise daily
Trainability Moderately easy – it will be gradual but not terribly hard
Friendliness Good – some can be more social than others
Good first dog Good but best with experienced owners
Good family pet Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with children Good with socialization
Good with other dogs Good with socialization
Good with other pets Good with socialization but can have high prey drive
Good with strangers Moderate – wary around strangers
Good apartment dog Low – needs space and a yard
Handles alone time well Low – needs attention and does not like being left alone for long periods
Health issues Good healthy breed, just a few health issues including hip dysplasia, Von Willebrand’s disease and eye problems
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $270 a year for a good quality dry dog food and treats
Miscellaneous expenses $550 a year for training license, toys, grooming and other miscellaneous items
Average annual expense $1305 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $800
Rescue organizations None reported

The German Wirehaired Pointer’s Beginnings

The German Wirehaired Pointer, or GWP was developed in Germany in the late 19th century around 1880 into the early 20th century. In the mix went the Pudelpointer, Griffon, Deutscher Kurzhaar and Deutscher Stichelhaar. It was bred to be a versatile hunting dog, able to work on any terrain, able to point and retrieve and do so from water or land. Breeders wanted it to be able to work with one person or a small group on foot, to have a lot of stamina and coat that protected them from various elements and terrains but was easy to care for.

Other characteristics breeders were aiming for are to be easy to train, to be good at tracking wounded game, to be bold and fearless, to be a devoted pet and a good watchdog for the home. It differs from the German Shorthaired Pointer not just because of its wiry coat but also in size. It was bred to have a longer and larger body. The head shape is also different and they are not alike in temperament at all. The shorthaired is a little older than the wirehaired. In 1928 the GWP was recognized by the German Kartell for dogs, the equivalent of the kennel club in the US.

New Lease on Life

The German Wirehaired Pointer came to the US in the early 1920s with the hope from US breeders that they would no longer be restricted from selling their dogs as pure breds, as the German breed club had dictated. In 1953 the German Drahthaar Club of America was formed and in 1959 the AKC recognized them. The club then changed their name to the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America. Today it is ranked 68th most popular registered dog.

The Dog You See Today

This is a medium to large dog weighing 45 to 75 pounds and standing 22 to 26 inches tall. It is muscled with a long body, a slender neck, deep chest and a tail set high. In some countries that tail is docked but not where this has been banned such as many places in Europe. The coat is double with a wiry outer coat that is harsh, straight and water-repellent. The under coat is dense when its cold and thinner in the summer. Colors include brown, white, grey, liver and black. Its feet are webbed

It has a broad head, a long muzzle with a dark brown nose. Its eyes are oval shaped, medium sized and brown. Its ears hang close to its head and are rounded. It has longer hair around the beard, eyebrows and whisker areas, bred this way to offer its face some protection.

The Inner German Wirehaired Pointer


The GWP is a very energetic, lively and alert dog. It is intelligent too and will bark to let you know if there is an intruder trying to get in. It has protective instincts and is brave so is likely to act in your defense if needed. It is very loyal and responsive and while it can be owned by new owners because of its energy levels and determined nature a more experienced dog owner might be a good idea. With owners who are too meek or give in to it all the time it can become difficult.

It is a fairly friendly dog though socialization will help that and it does enjoy being a part of family activity and being busy. It is very affectionate with its family and is eager to please. It is wary around strangers and without enough exercise and mental stimulation it can become bored, destructive and willful. While this dog can be steady and a great companion it does not like to be left alone for long periods and needs attention, this is not the dog for you if you are out all day working.

It has a playful nature, can be very determined when it has its mind on something and love to be busy. In some cases the German Wirehaired Pointer is known to bond more closely to one family member though it is still affectionate and happy around the rest of the family. It can be possessive of its toys and food bowls so people should not mess with them!

Living with a German Wirehaired Pointer

What will training look like?

This breed is moderately easy to train so it will not take lots of extra effort and frustration but things will be gradual not super fast. It does go easier though with owners who have experience or ones who use professional help or have done their homework on how to best train these dogs. You need to clearly establish yourself as the boss and remain the boss at all times. Be firm and be consistent. Do not set a rule that you let it break now and then. A rule is to be followed. It is also important the rest of the household are involved so that your dog will also obey them when needed. Be positive, use encouragement, praise and even treats. Stay patient and calm and keep things interesting for it. Be prepared for the fact they get distracted easily and will try to get their own way!

Early socialization is key with any dog. Your GWP will be happier when it is ready for and can deal with different people, places, animals, dogs and situations. You will be a happier owner being able to trust in how your dog handles itself no matter where you are or who is around.

How active is the German Wirehaired Pointer?

As the GWP is a very active breed it is not suited to apartment living as it needs space and it needs a large yard or even some land to play and run around in outside. With active dogs like this it is essential it gets plenty of daily exercise as well as some mental stimulation too. This means it should only be owner by owners who can commit to that kind of exercise each day, ones who love to be active themselves. Without lots of activity it will be destructive, restless and high strung. It will need a couple of long brisk walks or it could also join you for jogs, hikes, cycling, swimming or so on. It would also like to go to dog parks where it can socialize, run off leash and play with you. Of course it will also still enjoy and be great at hunting.

Caring for the German Wirehaired Pointer

Grooming needs

The German Wirehaired Pointer can shed but tends to be a low amount so may be a dog for allergy sufferers though that should be tested before you buy. It also means there should be less hair around the home and on clothing. Its coat needs to be brushed a couple of times a week just to remove any debris, move the oils around and keep is softer and in better condition. This kind of coat also needs regular stripping so that will mean visiting a groomer. Only give it a bath when it really needs one so that you do not dry out its skin and make sure you only use a dog shampoo for the same reason.

Its nails should be trimmed when they get too long if they are not worn down naturally with its activities. This is something that should be done by someone with knowledge like a groomer as its nails have blood vessels and nerves in the lower section, and cutting through them will hurt the dog and cause a lot of bleeding. Check its ears for infection and wipe clean once a week. Also brush its teeth at least two to three times a week.

Feeding Time

The GWP should be fed somewhere around 2 1/2 to 3 cups of a good quality dry dog food a day, split into two meals at least. How much exactly can vary though depending on its metabolism, size, health, activity level and age. Also be aware that having a beard means it is not a tidy eater or drinker and it often drips across the floor after a drink.

How is the German Wirehaired Pointer with children and other animals?

The GWP is not naturally good with children but with socialization can be good, and it will be more affectionate and accepting if it has been raised with them. Always supervise it around younger children and around visiting children. Make sure too the children are taught how to safely touch it and play with it and that messing around with its things is a big no. Also keep in mind that is puppies the GWP likes to do some rough play which may be too much for some children.

With other pets and other dogs socialization is also key. It can be friendly to other pets if it has been raised with them but its hunting instincts means strange small animals are more likely to be viewed as prey to chase. With other dogs it can be aggressive with strange dogs of the same sex but if raised with other dogs in the home can be fine.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

Their life span is about 12 to 14 years and in general it is a good healthy breed. There can be a few issues it is prone to though and those include hip dysplasia, eye problems, cancer, Von Willebrand’s disease and ear infections.

Biting Statistics

When looking at reports of dogs causing bodily harm in attacks against people in Canada and the US over the last 34 years, there is not any mention of the GWP. However it can have issues with strange dogs and any dog can snap and become aggressive in certain situations or when under certain pressure. This is why it is so important to get a dog that honestly suits your activity and experience level. If you cannot commit to giving it the attention, stimulation, activity, training and socialization that it needs then this is not the breed for you.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A GWP puppy will cost around $800 though that can vary depending on where you are. This is assuming you want a puppy for a pet and you use a good breeder. If you want something of show standards and you are looking for top breeders those prices go up a significant amount into the several thousands. Another option is to give a dog a new chance at a forever home and look into local shelters and rescues. Price will be lower, around $50 to $300 plus you get the benefit of having certain medical concerns taken care of. It is more likely to be an asult dog though rather than a puppy. Please avoid using backyard breeders, pet shops or personal ads as there are risks with the healthy of the dog and there are a lot of places like that who have very poor breeding practices and mistreat their animals.

When you have chosen the puppy you will need to take care of a few needs. At home it will need a crate, food bowls, collar and leash and such. These costs will be around $180. It will also have some medical needs that have to be taken care of straight away like having a vet examine it, have blood tests done, be dewormed, vaccinated, spayed or enutered and micro chipped. These costs come to about $300.

Annual costs are another factor to cosnider when you want to get a dog. Having a GWP means paying about $270 a year in a good quality dry dog food and dog treats. Paying about $485 a year for basic medical care and pet insurance. Paying about $550 a year for grooming, license, toys, basic training and other miscellaneous items. This makes the annual cost of $1305 a starting figure for owning a GWP.


Looking for a German Wirehaired Pointer Puppy Name? Let select one from our list!

The German Wirehaired Pointer is a very active and energetic dog and as long as its needs for stimulation, activity and attention are taken care of, along with training and socialization it is a steady, dependable and very loyal companion to have. It can be rowdy though and destructive if these things are not taken care of.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

Did you know: an average of 18 dog foods are recalled every year?

Get FREE Dog Food Recall Alerts by email whenever there's a recall.