Updated: November 10, 2021

This lean, athletic, intelligent hunting dog entered the top 10 list of most popular breeds in US in 2018, according to AKC. It was developed in Germany in 19th Century as both a land and water gun sports dog and they have webbed feet to help with swimming!

The German shorthaired Pointer is a good-looking, lean working dog bred to be a good family dog as well as a working dog so perhaps their popularity is unsurprising. They have a flat, dense short coat that is typically brown or liver, or brown or liver and white colored, and brindle coat patterns are common. The females are slightly smaller than the males and all dogs hold their handsome heads proudly. The breed displays the typically 'pointing' body shape instinctively as they can freeze and mark where prey may be from a young age.  

They're an intelligent dog that loves to be trained, learns quickly and needs lots of exercise. They love to run and swim, take part in dog agility challenges and other dog sports so they are lots of fun for active families with older children who have bags of energy!

Pet profile

An intelligent, enthusiastic, friendly dog that loves to run, be with its family and to be busy!

  • Medium to large breed, 50cm – 64cm at the shoulder
  • Weight between 20kg and 31kg (55 – 70lbs)
  • 12-14 years lifespan  

Exercise and nutrition

German shorthaired Pointers are energetic dogs that need lots of exercise and love to learn skills. They need to be taken for runs several times a week as well as walked daily. They need socialization when young with people old and young, other dogs, and situations to make them a well-rounded family member. 

They thrive at puppy classes, enjoying the intellectual challenges, meeting other dogs, and can do well at agility classes. They have a strong hunting instinct so can chase small furry animals, so they’re perhaps not the dog for you if you have cats or guinea pigs! They are relatively easy to train, and their hunting instincts mean it is essential or they can get distracted when out and about and disappear in search of prey! They will not suit a quiet inactive household and can become destructive if bored and under-exercised.  

They are active, large dogs that need some feeding, especially while young and energetic. Older, less active dogs can become obese if their food is not tailored to their energy levels, which can cause significant health issues. A healthy weight dog should have a distinctive waist and you should be able to feel the last 2 ribs.

As a large dog they can be prone to developing Bloat. This twisted gut condition is painful and dangerous so avoid feeding just before or straight after strenuous exercise and feed high quality food in smaller more regular meals.      


Common health problems and illnesses 

The breed is tough and usually healthy but poor breeding can result is some hereditary disorders. Buying your puppy from a reputable breeder who screens their breeding dogs for hereditary conditions is the best way of minimizing the chances that your puppy will be affected. 

We cover a few of the more common hereditary conditions German Shorthaired Pointers might suffer from but if your dog seems unwell always consult your veterinarian. Our information is no substitute for a veterinarian’s expertise!
Buying dog insurance when your puppy is young is also a good idea so he’s covered should the worst happen, and he needs expensive veterinarian care, or is found to have a hereditary condition.  

The thyroid produces several hormones necessary for a normal metabolism. Dogs with hypothyroidism don’t produce these hormones at sufficient levels resulting in lethargy, weakness, mental dullness and no enthusiasm for anything, weight gain, excessive hair shedding and a dry or dull coat, skin infections, intolerance to cold. 

The good news is that once diagnosed, there are effective drug treatments. The drugs will have to be given to the dog for the rest of his life, but which can effectively replace the missing hormones and give him a good quality of life. If you think your dog might be suffering please consult your veterinarian.

OCD is an inherited condition where the normal development of strong, dense bone from cartilage growth is interrupted and the dog develops thicker than normal cartilage on joints rather than developing bone. The symptoms are developing lameness which is worse after exercise in one or more limbs, swollen joints, painful limbs and an affected dog may not be able to support their weight on affected limbs. It can result in muscle wasting, too.

Treatment usually involves surgery with pain and inflammation control drugs. After surgery you need to restrict activity and follow a strict exercise plan. They will need to have check ups and feeding a good diet while keeping your dog to an appropriate weight can all help to control the condition and provide an affected dog with a good quality of life. If your dog is suffering from consistent or recurring lameness please consult your vet as soon as you can, as early diagnosis and treatment is key to achieving a good outcome for your dog.

This condition is caused by a lack of a blood clotting factor called von Willebrand factor. A lack of this factor causes a condition like hemophilia in humans where blood fails to clot effectively, and small injuries can result in a serious bleed.  
This means a dog that has this condition can get nose bleeds, blood in urine or feces and bleeding from the gums frequently. This is an inherited condition so if you think your dog has issues with bleeds that won’t stop consult your veterinarian. Treatment usually includes blood transfusions and it will be important to monitor your dog carefully and seek veterinarian help if you can’t stop any bleed. 

Fun facts 

  1. Lots of different breeds went into creating the German Shorthaired Pointer! It was created in mid-19th Century before proper records were kept but it’s thought contributing breeds include the Vizsla, Dalmatian, Weimaraner, Spanish and English Pointers.
  2. They are at home in the water and love to swim! They have water resistant coats and their webbed feet help them cut through water easily. 
  3. They are hunting dogs but are also used as scent hounds working to sniff out explosives or banned substances. The Airforce and TSA have used them!
  4. Their characteristic ‘pointing’ stance is innate; even young puppies that have not been hunting do it. 

German Shorthaired Pointer