Breed Group: Sporting
Height: 21 to 25 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 45 to 70 pounds
Life Span: 12 to 14 years
The German Shorthair is a multipurpose hunting dog who doubles as a great family companion. An active family, that is. He is highly energetic and highly intelligent. His alert and protective nature makes him an excellent watchdog.
Did You Know the German Shorthaired Pointer Needs Daily Sessions of Heart-Pumping Exercise?
The German Shorthair is a versatile hunting dog who can not only point birds, but also hunt rabbits and raccoons, trail deer, and retrieve on land or from water.
If you’ve ever admired the versatility, athleticism and stamina of a decathlete, you’ll admire the German Shorthaired Pointer. Whether you can live with such an energetic, strong and challenging companion is another matter entirely. This hunting dog was bred to do it all, including being an attentive, family-loving companion and a watchdog for the property. Few breeds are more versatile — and more demanding of their owners’ energy and attention.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is a wonderful choice for very active families. If you’re the kind of person who’s always in the outdoors and wants your dog with you, there are few better companions for the longest hike or run you can dream up. Their size and natural protectiveness will help keep you safe on a dawn training run. Your children will be loved and attended to by your Pointer, and while this dog will likely alarm bark if someone’s at the door or on your property, they’re usually not aggressive with people or strange dogs once they know you’ve got it covered.
Underestimate the need to keep this dog exercised in body and mind, however, and you and the dog will both be very unhappy. Left to his own devices, a bored German Shorthaired Pointer who doesn’t get the exercise he needs will take matters into his own paws: digging up the yard, climbing fences to explore the neighborhood, barking at everything that moves and chasing small wildlife and pets with the zeal of the determined hunting dog that he is.
These dogs need daily sessions of heart-pumping exercise, the more the better. They also need training to control that energy in the off-leash full-out runs they require. They’re a natural for high-drive canine competitions, as well as – no surprise here – hunting anything they’re legally allowed to go after. These dogs are up for anything, and have lively minds and trainable natures.
As befitting a dog of such versatility, the German Shorthaired Pointer can have a mind of his own. That means training and socializing from an early age is essential to keep your companion under control. Big, strong and enthusiastic, this breed needs to be taught how to behave around the children he loves, or you’ll be picking the kids up off their fannies. They may also need to be trained not to “hunt” the family cat or other small pets.
The German Shorthaired Pointer packs a lot of lean muscle into a powerful 40 to 70 pounds or more. Their distinctive “ticked” or spotted coat usually comes in shades of brown and white, although some other patterns and colors do occur. The tail is usually cropped to a few inches in length, and the ears are large and flop down.
The grooming needs are minimal; a fast weekly brushing, occasional bathing and regular nail trimming and ear cleaning are all that he needs.
Other Quick Facts About the German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthair is a high-energy dog who requires at least an hour of exercise daily. Take him for a couple of half-hour walks, hikes or runs or teach him to run alongside your bicycle. He’ll also enjoy playing fetch or training for a dog sport. He can do just about any of them.
The German Shorthair has a water-repellent coat with short, thick hair that feels coarse to the touch. The coat color can be solid liver, liver and white ticked, liver and white patched, liver roan (a deep reddish-brown base lightened with white hairs), or any combination of those colors and patterns.
Unless he is raised with them and closely supervised, the German Shorthair may not be best suited to homes with pet cats or birds.