Type: Sporting dog / Hunting dogs
Weight: Male – 24-31kg
Female – 20-27kg
Height: Male – 23-25in / 58-63cm
Female – 21-23in / 53-58cm
Appearance: German shorthaired pointers are medium-sized dogs developed for hunting. Their coat is water-resistant with an undercoat of flat and dense hairs and an outer coat of longer stiff hairs. The breed comes in dark brown, black, dark brown and white, and black and white. They have dark eyes and large floppy ears. The tail was usually docked in the countries where this was allowed.
Temperament: The German pointer isn’t only a good hunter but a great family pet as well. They are intelligent and energetic, highly active dogs. They’re best suited to owners who also like to live an active lifestyle and want to include their canine companion in all parts of their lives.
Skills: Pointers are quick learners and need a high level of activity. Good options for you and your pointer might be running, hunting, bokejoring, dog scootering or winter sports like skijoring and mushing. Don’t be surprised if your dog brings you dead rodents or pigeons, this is down to his natural hunting instinct.
Behaviour Toward Other Animals and Kids: German pointers are people-oriented but might not be the ideal dog breed in a family with small children. They do better with older active children. Pointers can be aggressive towards small animals, their instinct to hunt is still very active. Inappropriate behaviour can generally be avoided with the right training in the early life of the animal.
Common Health Problems: German shorthaired pointers are healthy animals in general but some of the following health issues may occur – hip dysplasia, entropion, epilepsy, lymphedema, genetic eye disease, Von Willebrand disease, some skin disorders and cancer.
Lifespan: Average 12-14 years.
Canine Development Schedule:
# 0 – 7 weeks
From birth to the age of seven weeks, a young pup needs food, a warm and secure environment, and plenty of sleep. At this early stage of development, young puppies need their mother for discipline and their littermates to interact with and learn together. This is the time when the pup finds his place in the pack and learns to function within the order of the pack. This is also the stage of cognitive development when the pup becomes aware of his environment and should be socialised for short periods of time with adults and children.
# 8 – 12 weeks
At this age, the puppy’s brain is fully developed and he needs to be exposed to the outside world and socialised with new people. This is usually the time when breeders remove the pup from his mother and dog pack so that he can be introduced to his new human pack. This is a stage of development when fear periods are most likely to occur, so the puppy needs security and comfort. Stress, fright, and pain have to be prevented at all times.
# 13 – 16 weeks
This is the time when the pup-to-adolescent dog transition takes place. The flight instinct is prominent. The German Shorthaired Pointer should be socialised with as many new people and situations as possible. Formal obedience and positive reinforcement training should begin. Punishment and over-disciplining should be avoided as they can cause permanent damage.
# 4 – 8 months
This is another period of fear (mostly between 7 and 8 months, which usually passes quickly) and owners have to be cautious of stress or fright. By this age, the German Shorthaired Pointer should have mastered basic commands such as “Sit”, “Come”, “Stay”.
When introducing a pup to his new home environment, he should be presented with his own clearly defined feeding, sleeping, and playing areas, preferably in a room where the entire family gathers, so that he will quickly get used to their presence and voices. If simply let loose in the entire house, the pup might feel overwhelmed by the new space. He needs security and comfort and should be given his own space, such as an alcove, a fenced corner, or a fiberglass dog crate. He needs to be able to observe his new human pack from his safe place and feel reassured by getting used to their presence, voices, and smell. The crate or area have to be large enough for the dog to be able to stand, lie down, and turn around, but not too large so that he can relieve in one spot and still have enough dry space. Dogs are clean animals and if the German Shorthaired Pointer has an accident inside his crate, the unpleasant experience of having to sit in a soaked place will discourage him from using the space as a bathroom in the future. Owners should provide clean bedding, toys, and a water bowl after the puppy has been properly housebroken.
The puppy needs to relieve himself before he goes to bed, after he wakes up, after feeding and play times. Whenever he displays signs he needs to eliminate, such as circling or sniffing the floor, he has to be taken to a designated relieving area outside and praised when he uses it accordingly. Owners can introduce a word or phrase as a command for going to the bathroom which can later be used as a question when the dog has developed enough muscle control and needs fewer trips to the relieving area.
Canine behaviourists and dog trainers have pointed out that training young puppies has the highest rates of success in shaping confident well-adjusted dogs, but training dogs between 6 months and 6 years can also be successful with the appropriate patience and dedication, considering the slower rate of learning ability and the more time an adult dog needs to develop his full potential. Puppies aged 10 – 16 weeks demonstrate the fastest rate of learning new commands and respond best to training, as at that age the canine body doesn’t produce hormones. Without hormones, the dog is able to stay focused on and follow closely his owners, without being distracted by other dogs, people, or places. With the production of hormones, the dog’s innate curiosity grows, along with his urge to investigate his surroundings, and he is more likely to ignore commands and wander away.
Whether training a pup or a mature adult German Shorthaired Pointer, it is best that he is enrolled in obedience classes. Training sessions conducted by owners at home should be kept short, exciting, and varied. Commands should be given in an upright position, not when sitting, lying or with hands on knees. Dogs are extremely sensitive to human emotions, especially anger and if the owner is in a bad mood, anxious or upset, the German Shorthaired Pointer will associate his training with his owner’s negative frame of mind. This will make the dog anxious and unresponsive and jeopardise the success of the entire training. Sessions have to be positive, fun, and always end on a high note.
The German Shorthaired Pointer was a purposefully developed breed to combine pointing, retrieving, and trailing abilities, and be a family companion as well. Documents indicate that breeding a multi-purpose hunting dog began as early as the 17th century when the Spanish Pointer was crossbred with the Hannover Hound, which produced a dog that was capable of trailing both mammals and birds. The German Shorthaired Pointer we know today was developed in the 19th century when breeders selected biddable specimen of the German Bird Dog (the result of crosses between Spanish Pointers and Bloodhounds) and crossed them with English Pointers to produce a hunting dog with obedient nature and powerful scenting ability. Although outcrossing to pointers contributed to a more stylish look of the breed, it also entailed dislike of water and an aversion to attacking quarry. These unwanted pointer characteristics were eliminated by further breeding and the German Shorthaired Pointer was shaped into an all-around hunting dog that could do equally well on land and in water. The breed displayed high intelligence and qualities of a loyal companion dog in addition to being proficient with many different types of game and sport, including trailing, retrieving, and pointing.
Originally known as Deutsch kurzhaars, the breed was recognised in Germany in the late 1800s. German Shorthaired Pointers were recognised by the AKC in 1930 – only five years after the first dog was imported to the USA by Dr Charles Thornton, the first breeder of German Shorthaired Pointer s in the US.
During WWII many breeders exported their German Shorthaired Pointers to Yugoslavia and had to work with a very limited gene pool during post-war years as Yugoslavia remained behind the Iron curtain and they had no access the finest German Shorthaired Pointers. In the USA, the breed was getting popular as the ideal all-purpose dog for the hunter, a handsome dog and a loyal companion. It reached its peak in 1968 when three of the top four finishers at the AKC National Field Trial Championship already had their conformation championships.
The German Shorthaired Pointer’s diet has to be well-balanced, considering his age, activity level, and any individual dietary requirements. German Shorthaired Pointers are an active breed and need a diet with a high protein/fat ratio. Puppies and growing adolescent dogs typically need three meals a day of specially designed for their needs food. Adult dogs can be fed twice a day – a morning and evening meal. A German Shorthaired Pointer can eat 2 to 5 cups a day of dry food, depending on his activity level. Their diet should include poultry, lamb, fish, and wheat. Any foods containing beef by-products, corn, soy and beet should be avoided. The diet can be supplemented with the vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, D and E, as well as niacinamide, folic acid, biotin.
When looking for a German Shorthaired Pointer puppy, potential owners should keep in mind the inbreeding coefficient (COI) – the breed average is 5.3%, as well as the BVA/KC Hip Scheme for hip dysplasia history – German Shorthaired Pointer breed average score is 9.3, which means parents’ should be lower. There is also an BVA/KC Eye scheme which test for Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) (loss of night vision progressing slowly to total blindness) and cone degeneration (CD). Unofficial (breed club) schemes pose that female dogs shouldn’t produce litters under two years of age and that they produce no more than 4 litters in their lifetime.
German Shorthaired Pointers require very little grooming. To keep their coat in good condition, regular brushing with a rubber horse brush or a grooming glove is necessary. Bathing can help during blow periods. Owners should use only mild shampoos and conditioners, especially formulated for dogs, and be careful to keep soap or water out of the ears and eyes when washing the head. A good quality diet with essential fatty acids can also help keep the coat shiny and reduce shedding.
Bred to be the ultimate hunting dog, German Shorthaired Pointers need a lot of exercise – if they aren’t enrolled in a training programme, they should have a minimum of two hours a day of vigorous jogs and off-leash activities. German Shorthaired Pointers need a morning and evening run and/or play in a secured fenced area or at least a brisk walk or better – a jog. Swimming and different activities in the dog park, such as ball and Frisbee games are also a good way for the German Shorthaired Pointer to expend some energy.