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  • Temperament: Friendly, Smart, Willing to Please
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 11 of 194
  • Height: 23-25 inches (male), 21-23 inches (female)
  • Weight: 55-70 pounds (male), 45-60 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
  • Group: Sporting Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

German Shorthaired Pointer standing sideways facing left
German Shorthaired Pointer head facing left
German Shorthaired Pointer lying in three-quarter view
German Shorthaired Pointer coat detail
German Shorthaired Pointer sitting facing forward
German Shorthaired Pointer head and shoulders facing left
German Shorthaired Pointer standing in three-quarter view facing forward
German Shorthaired Pointer lying in three-quarter view, head turned right
German Shorthaired Pointer head and shoulders facing forward
German Shorthaired Pointer coat detail
German Shorthaired Pointer

Find a Puppy: German Shorthaired Pointer

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a versatile hunter, an all-purpose gun dog capable of high performance in field and water. The judgment of Shorthairs in the show ring reflects this basic characteristic. The overall picture which is created in the observer’s eye is that of an aristocratic, well balanced, symmetrical animal with conformation indicating power, endurance and agility and a look of intelligence and animation. The dog is neither unduly small nor conspicuously large. It gives the impression of medium size, but is like the proper hunter, “with a short back, but standing over plenty of ground.” Symmetry and field quality are most essential.

HEAD

The head is clean-cut, is neither too light nor too heavy, and is in proper proportion to the body. The eyes are of medium size, full of intelligence and expression, good-humored and yet radiating energy, neither protruding nor sunken. The eye is almond shaped, not circular. The preferred color is dark brown. Light yellow eyes are not desirable and are a fault. Closely set eyes are to be faulted. China or wall eyes are to be disqualified. The ears are broad and set fairly high, lie flat and never hang away from the head. Their placement is just above eye level. The ears when laid in front without being pulled, should extend to the corner of the mouth. In the case of heavier dogs, the ears are correspondingly longer. Ears too long or fleshy are to be faulted.

BODY

The neck is of proper length to permit the jaws reaching game to be retrieved, sloping downwards on beautifully curving lines. The nape is rather muscular, becoming gradually larger toward the shoulders. Moderate throatiness is permitted. The skin is close and tight. The chestin general gives the impression of depth rather than breadth; for all that, it is in correct proportion to the other parts of the body. The chest reaches down to the elbows, the ribs forming the thorax show a rib spring and are not flat or slabsided; they are not perfectly round or barrel-shaped. The back ribs reach well down. The circumference of the thorax immediately behind the elbows is smaller than that of the thorax about a hand’s breadth behind elbows, so that the upper arm has room for movement.

FOREQUARTERS

The shoulders are sloping, movable, and well covered with muscle. The shoulder blades lie flat and are well laid back nearing a 45 degree angle. The upper arm (the bones between the shoulder and elbow joint) is as long as possible, standing away somewhat from the trunk so that the straight and closely muscled legs, when viewed from the front, appear to be parallel. Elbows which stand away from the body or are too close result in toes turning inwards or outwards and must be faulted. Pasterns are strong, short and nearly vertical with a slight spring. Loose, short-bladed or straight shoulders must be faulted. Knuckling over is to be faulted. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed. The feet are compact, close-knit and round to spoon-shaped. The toes are sufficiently arched and heavily nailed. The pads are strong, hard and thick

COAT

The hair is short and thick and feels tough to the hand; it is somewhat longer on the underside of the tail and the back edges of the haunches. The hair is softer, thinner and shorter on the ears and the head. Any dog with long hair in the body coat is to be severely penalized.

HINDQUARTERS

Thighs are strong and well muscled. Stifles are well bent. Hock joints are well angulated and strong with straight bone structure from hock to pad. Angulation of both stifle and hock joint is such as to achieve the optimal balance of drive and traction. Hocks turn neither in nor out. Cowhocked legs are a serious fault.

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About the German Shorthaired Pointer

Male German Shorthaired Pointers stand between 23 and 25 inches at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 55 to 70 pounds; females run smaller. The coat is solid liver (a reddish brown), or liver and white in distinctive patterns. The dark eyes shine with enthusiasm and friendliness. Built to work long days in the field or at the lake, GSPs are known for power, speed, agility, and endurance. “Noble” and “aristocratic” are words often used to describe the overall look.
GSPs make happy, trainable pets who bond firmly to their family. They are always up for physical activities like running, swimming, organized dog sports—in fact, anything that will burn some of their boundless energy while spending outdoors time with a human buddy.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
German Shorthaired Pointer

Find a Puppy: German Shorthaired Pointer

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find German Shorthaired Pointer Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

Feed a high-quality dog food that is appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and activity level. A pup under 6 months old will need to be fed more than twice a day; once the GSP reaches adulthood, a meal morning and evening should be sufficient. Because the breed is subject to bloat, they should not be fed immediately after running or other vigorous exercise, nor should they be allowed to run or exercise for at least an hour after eating and drinking. The ideal evening mealtime would be after physical activities are through for the day.

GROOMING

The GSPs coat is easy to groom most of the year, requiring only a good once-over with a brush or grooming glove every few days. Although the coat is short, it still sheds—especially at certain times of the year, when more frequent brushing will be needed to remove the loose hairs before they end up all over the house. The hairs can become embedded in fabrics and carpet and hard to get out. An occasional bath (using a gentle shampoo) can help. The ears should be regularly inspected and cleaned, and the nails trimmed short.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Weekly Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Regularly

EXERCISE

The GSP does best with plenty of exercise and things to do, such as running, swimming, and dog sports—in fact, anything that will burn some of their boundless energy while spending time outdoors with a human buddy. Their routine should ideally include ample physical activity twice a day. This might be in the form of brisk, half-hour walks morning and evening or running and playing in a securely fenced area. GSPs are smart and athletic and excel in a wide range of canine activities that exercise mind and body, from field eventsto agilityobedience, and dock diving.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Needs Lots of Activity

TRAINING

Early training is essential for the German Shorthaired Pointer. Socializationand puppy training classes are vital, continuing with practice in basic obedience commands. This is an intelligent breed that learns quickly with consistent training sessions. GSPs need a purpose, and without one they can be destructive if left to their own devices. The breed can be extremely challenging from 6 months to 3 years old. GSPs have a very high energy level and a strong prey drive, and they need an owner with an active lifestyle to guide the dog’s exuberance and intensity into positive outlets.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Eager to Please

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Friendly

HEALTH

Although German Shorthaired Pointers are generally healthy, there are some conditions the breed may be prone to. Among these are hip dysplasia, eye conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy, and certain heart diseases. A responsible breeder will screen their breeding stock for conditions that affect the breed. GSPs can also be affected by bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach suddenly distends and often twists as well. Owners should educate themselves as to what symptoms indicate this is occurring and what to do should it occur.

 

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Cone Degeneration DNA Test

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointer

History

German hunters spent generations crossing various breeds until they perfected this versatile bird dog sometime in the 1800s. They were so successful that, to this day, GSPs are among the top-winning breeds in competitive hunting events.
The German bird-dog tradition dates to at least the 1700s, with master breeders experimenting with tracking hound–pointing dog crosses in the quest for a quick but powerful hunter possessing plenty of nose and versatility. It comes as no surprise to learn that a key player in the early development of this breed of noble bearing was himself a nobleman, Prince Albrecht zu Solms-Braunfels.
The prince and his fellow enthusiasts succeeded beyond their wildest imaginings in creating a do-it-all hunting dog. Here, a breed historian ticks off the GSP’s credentials: “a staunchly pointing bird dog; a keen-nosed night trailer; a proven duck dog; a natural retriever on land or water, with pleasing conformation and markings, and great powers of endurance; and an intelligent family watchdog and companion.”
The GSP has been hunted with success on a variety of quarry: gamebirds, possum, rabbit, raccoon, and even deer. With his webbed feet and sleek but sturdy construction, the GSP burnishes his résumé as one of dogdom’s finest swimmers. Emblematic of the breed’s eager versatility was Marvin, a GSP from North Carolina, who in late 2013 achieved his 75th AKC title.

Did You Know?

The German Shorthaired Pointer was first admitted into the AKC Stud Book in March 1930.
German Shorthaired Pointers are versatile hunters and all-purpose gun dogs.
Germans in the late 19th and early 20th century selectively bred the GSP for biddability, with steps taken later to improve stance, style, and nose, or order to produce the quintessential field dog.
The first AKC Licensed Specialty Show for the German Shorthaired Pointer was held in Chicago on March 29-30, 1941 at the International Kennel Club Show.
The main source of basic foundation stock for the German Shorthaired Pointer seems to have been the German Bird Dog.
The first AKC-licensed Field Trial for the breed was held by the German Shorthaired Pointer parent club in Anoka, MN, on May 21, 1944.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a versatile hunter, an all-purpose gun dog capable of high performance in field and water. The judgment of Shorthairs in the show ring reflects this basic characteristic. The overall picture which is created in the observer’s eye is that of an aristocratic, well balanced, symmetrical animal with conformation indicating power, endurance and agility and a look of intelligence and animation. The dog is neither unduly small nor conspicuously large. It gives the impression of medium size, but is like the proper hunter, “with a short back, but standing over plenty of ground.” Symmetry and field quality are most essential.

HEAD

The head is clean-cut, is neither too light nor too heavy, and is in proper proportion to the body. The eyes are of medium size, full of intelligence and expression, good-humored and yet radiating energy, neither protruding nor sunken. The eye is almond shaped, not circular. The preferred color is dark brown. Light yellow eyes are not desirable and are a fault. Closely set eyes are to be faulted. China or wall eyes are to be disqualified. The ears are broad and set fairly high, lie flat and never hang away from the head. Their placement is just above eye level. The ears when laid in front without being pulled, should extend to the corner of the mouth. In the case of heavier dogs, the ears are correspondingly longer. Ears too long or fleshy are to be faulted.

BODY

The neck is of proper length to permit the jaws reaching game to be retrieved, sloping downwards on beautifully curving lines. The nape is rather muscular, becoming gradually larger toward the shoulders. Moderate throatiness is permitted. The skin is close and tight. The chestin general gives the impression of depth rather than breadth; for all that, it is in correct proportion to the other parts of the body. The chest reaches down to the elbows, the ribs forming the thorax show a rib spring and are not flat or slabsided; they are not perfectly round or barrel-shaped. The back ribs reach well down. The circumference of the thorax immediately behind the elbows is smaller than that of the thorax about a hand’s breadth behind elbows, so that the upper arm has room for movement.

FOREQUARTERS

The shoulders are sloping, movable, and well covered with muscle. The shoulder blades lie flat and are well laid back nearing a 45 degree angle. The upper arm (the bones between the shoulder and elbow joint) is as long as possible, standing away somewhat from the trunk so that the straight and closely muscled legs, when viewed from the front, appear to be parallel. Elbows which stand away from the body or are too close result in toes turning inwards or outwards and must be faulted. Pasterns are strong, short and nearly vertical with a slight spring. Loose, short-bladed or straight shoulders must be faulted. Knuckling over is to be faulted. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed. The feet are compact, close-knit and round to spoon-shaped. The toes are sufficiently arched and heavily nailed. The pads are strong, hard and thick

COAT

The hair is short and thick and feels tough to the hand; it is somewhat longer on the underside of the tail and the back edges of the haunches. The hair is softer, thinner and shorter on the ears and the head. Any dog with long hair in the body coat is to be severely penalized.

HINDQUARTERS

Thighs are strong and well muscled. Stifles are well bent. Hock joints are well angulated and strong with straight bone structure from hock to pad. Angulation of both stifle and hock joint is such as to achieve the optimal balance of drive and traction. Hocks turn neither in nor out. Cowhocked legs are a serious fault.

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Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Black Check Mark For Standard Color 007
Black & White Check Mark For Standard Color 019
Black Roan Check Mark For Standard Color 497
Liver Check Mark For Standard Color 123
Liver & White Check Mark For Standard Color 125
Liver Roan Check Mark For Standard Color 126
White & Liver Check Mark For Standard Color 212

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Patched Check Mark For Standard Mark 045
Patched & Ticked Check Mark For Standard Mark 068
Ticked Check Mark For Standard Mark 013

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