Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.
Intro / Overview
(All dogs are individuals, which means any single dog from any breed can be any number of ways, both good and not so good. Keep that in mind as we discuss breed generalities!)
From their speckled coats to their floppy ears, serious faces and friendly demeanors, it’s no wonder the German Shorthaired Pointer is a popular dog breed. Here’s a guide to this breed, so you can get to know the German Shorthaired Pointer’s personality, physical traits, intelligence and how you can find one of these pups to take home.
Also Known As...
GSP. Deutscher kurzhaariger Vorstehhund. Deutsch Kurzhaar. Kurzhaar. DK. "It's that dog that can point - with his tail!"
German Shorthaired Pointers, as they look today, date back to the 1800s, when German hunters dedicated themselves to creating this breed of bird hunters. Their ancestors, other bird hunters, date back to the 1700s, when breeders were looking to develop tracking dogs that were both powerful and could move quickly to track down prey. This eventually led to the creation of the German Shorthaired Pointer as we recognize them today.
Female German Shorthaired Pointers stand 21-23 inches tall at the shoulder, while males stand 23-25 inches tall.
Female German Shorthaired Pointers weigh in at 45-60lbs, while males weigh in at 55-70lbs.
German Shorthaired Pointers are known for more than just for their hunting capabilities. They’re also known for being smart and eager to please their owners. They’re friendly dogs that love exercise, have plenty of enthusiasm and love a good run. German Shorthaired Pointers may appear regal and contemplative (look at those eyes!) but they love playtime just as much as other, less serious-looking dogs.
Intelligence / Trainability
German Shorthaired Pointers are intelligent and show great curiosity. It’s part of the reason they make such great trackers and hunters. That’s good news for a dog owner who wants a quick-witted dog who will take to training easily. It also means that training and exercise are mandatory, as these dogs can get bored, which can then lead to destructive tendencies around the house, especially when they’re on their own.
German Shorthaired Pointers need training as well as ways to engage their brains - you may be able to teach your dog to complete more complex tricks, and should provide them with toys that provide some intellectual challenges.
Best Training Techniques For Germain Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointers love to be loved, and enjoy positive training techniques. Use positive reinforcement, touch and plenty of treats to train these dogs.
German Shorthaired Pointers thrive in an environment where they can get some exercise on their own in addition to daily walks. A house or apartment with a yard is ideal. While they can handle a mild climate, they shouldn’t be left outside for long periods of time during periods with more extreme temperature fluctuations. When you’re overly cold or uncomfortably hot, your GSP probably will be, too.
Good For Families And Kids?
German Shorthaired Pointers are fairly good with children, but will probably need some training to learn to refrain from getting too energetic and playful with little ones. They’re trainable and overall make for good family pets, as they’re playful, loving and loyal.
German Shorthaired Pointers live an average of 13-15 years.
German Shorthaired Pointers are prone to thyroid problems, elbow dysplasia during aging, cataracts and epilepsy.
These are high energy dogs. Your German Shorthaired Pointer will need plenty of exercise, from time in the yard to vigorous walks and plenty of playtime. Schedule regular walks each day and get hold of lots of fetch toys to keep your dog from becoming bored and destructive inside, especially before they’ve been fully trained or when they’re puppies.
Friendly With (Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)
German Shorthaired Pointers were bred to track and hunt, so they're not always great around small pets, which they may see as prey. They can be trained not to chase around the family cat, but it’s something to keep in mind if you have small pets.
They’re good with strangers, although like any dog, GSPs have to be trained to behave on walks or not jump on new friends. This varies from dog to dog, but their energy levels can make them enthusiastic around strangers, which can be both a good and bad thing. Again, proper training should be helpful in this regard, especially if you have a GSP who displays guarding instincts around their families.
Coat & Grooming
GSPs have a short, thick coat that’s fairly soft on their head and ears. On their often speckled bodies, however, they have coats that are a bit more tough and thick. Similar to many short-haired dogs, German Shorthaired Pointers shed, so they need regular brushings. A rubber brush works well on their coats.
Toys Germain Shorthaired Pointer Would Like Best
German Shorthaired Pointers are high-energy dogs, which means they love all sorts of dog toys. If you have a GSP, get yourself a good Fetch Toy like "The Best Balls Ever" to keep your dog entertained. These dogs were originally bred to hunt down prey, which means they love to chase down a ball or other fetch toy. You’ll wear out your arm before you’ll wear out your GSP, especially when they’re young.
Don’t forget these dogs have smarts, too. Give your German Shorthaired Pointer a challenge with Puzzle Toys to keep them entertained. These toys challenge a dog to use their wits and searching skills at once as they sniff out treats and use their smarts to figure out a thinking game.
For a more extensive list, check out the following post: What Are The Best Toys For German Shorthaired Pointers?
Recommended Diet Or Supplements
Feeding your German Shorthaired Pointer (or any dog) the freshest whole food diet you can afford (trying to eliminate fillers, grains, or inflammatory proteins such as chicken), can go a long way to decrease health issues and increase longevity.
GSPs have a tendency to develop elbow dysplasia, especially later in life. If you’d like to help your older GSP get some relief or prevent joint issues, you may want to consider adding supplements to their diet.
Here's a great option for hip and join problems. This supplement is veterinarian-formulated, made with all natural ingredients (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid), and comes in the form of 150 soft chews. Basically, it looks and tastes just like delicious treats, and it could really help your GSP with their hip and joint issues. ($32.99.)
BARK’s Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with pet anxiety and pain relief. Full Spectrum Hemp Oil will help ease your pal’s movements and get them up and playing again. ($17.99-22.99.)
Running around all day can be exhausting for your GSP. A comfy dog bed is a top choice for your canine companion, especially ones with hip dysplasia. The right support can help ease your pup’s tired joints and help them relax from a hard day of playing.
This dog bed is great for supporting your pup’s tired body. A high quality combination of ergonomic memory foam and gel foam helps ease body aches, joint pain, hip dysplasia and arthritis. This bed offers the best therapeutic support for your hardworking pal. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues To Find The German Shorthaired Pointer Of Your Dreams:
Are you ready to find the German Shorthaired Pointer of your dreams? Here are a few organizations you can check out to find a rescue and bring a GSP into your life.
- CAGSPRescue is focused on bringing together German Shorthaired Pointers with loving owners. They’re located in California and run by volunteers. The organization takes purebred German Shorthaired Pointers from any situation, including abandoned and abused dogs, evaluates them for temperament, training and ability to be around children and pets. They then provide training, vaccination, spay and neutering and microchipping, so when you’ve been approved for adoption, they’ll be ready to come to their forever home in tip top shape.
- Southeast German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue is dedicated to rehoming GSPs in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. They focus on housing GSPs in need, offering adoption and fostering services, coordinating between animals in need and potential owners. You can scroll through available dogs on their website, volunteer or donate to help dogs in need.
- GSP Rescue New England operates in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and parts of Northeast New York. They are focused on taking GSPs from foster home and bringing them to permanent homes with responsible owners in New England. They offer adoption services directly that you can access on their site.
- Adoptable GSPs on Petfinder.
Notable Instagram German Shorthaired Pointers
Do you need to see more German Shorthaired Pointers? They’re regal, great hunters, speckled and have floppy ears. Why wouldn’t you want to see more? Here are a few of our favorite Instagram accounts that feature GSPs in all their glory.
***Looking for a gift to blow your GSP's mind? Spoil them with BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <-- This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! :)
Featured image via Ellie_TheGSP/Instagram