German Shorthaired Pointer

PetMD Editorial
Written by:
PetMD Editorial
Published: June 18, 2009

The German Shorthaired Pointer is an all-purpose hunting dog, with great scenting power and intelligence. The breed is proficient with many different types of game and sport. It has an aristocratic bearing. 

Physical Characteristics

The good looking, square-proportioned German Shorthaired Pointer has an athletic build with a short back. This enables the dog to do strenuous work. This breed also has a tough, short coat, which is solid liver or a combination of liver and white in color; the dog's pace, meanwhile, is smooth.

Personality and Temperament

The German Shorthaired Pointer loves to bark. It is considered a well-mannered, obedient pet, although it is sometimes wary of children. An active dog, it requires a great deal of physical and mental exercise; otherwise, it can become restless and show signs of aggression towards smaller, unfamiliar pets.


The German Shorthaired Pointer requires a great deal of physical and mental exercise. However, the ocassional brushing is all it needs to maintain a lustrous coat. It can survive outside in mild weather, though German Shorthaired Pointers perform their best when kept inside the house with access to outdoors.

Dogs of this breed require gentle training and love being by the side of their owner. Swimming and hunting are among the German Shorthaired Pointer's favorite activities.


The German Shorthaired Pointer, which has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, is prone to minor health concerns like gastric torsion, hypothyroidism, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD), von Willebrand's Disease (vWD), entropion, and pannus, and major issues such as lymphedema. Other problems that can be occasionally seen in breed include cardiomyopathy, ectropion, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may recommend regular thyroid, hip, cardiac, and eye exams, and tests to verify vWD.

History and Background

Originally referred to as Deutsch Kurzhaar, the German Shorthaired Pointer is known for its versatile hunting capabilities. In the early 17th century, the Spanish Pointer was crossbred with the Hannover Hound, which produced a dog that was capable of trailing both mammals and birds.

Further breeding with the English Pointer gave rise to controversies among some of the breeders, but eventually the German Shorthaired Pointer was created. The breed first entered the United States in the 1920s, later being recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930. Today the breed is regarded for its ability to easily point, trail, and retrieve its target.

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