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  • Temperament: Affectionate, Eager, Enthusiastic
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 63 of 196
  • Height: 24-26 inches (male), minimum 22 inches (female)
  • Weight: 50-70 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 14-16 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 Wirehaired Pointer standing in a green grassy field.
©Courtney Bastian
German Wirehaired Pointer standing in three-quarter view facing left
©American Kennel Club
German Wirehaired Pointer laying down outdoors.
PavelRodimov/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images
German Wirehaired Pointer retrieving a duck in a field.
lvaloueva/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images
German Wirehaired Pointer laying down in three-quarter view.
©American Kennel Club
German Wirehaired Pointer standing in a field.
©Courtney Bastian
German Wirehaired Pointer in a field.
JMichl/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images
German Wirehaired Pointer hunting in a field
Steve Oehlenschlager/Shutterstock
German Wirehaired Pointer sitting outdoors.
PavelRodimov/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images
German Wirehaired Pointer at the AKC National Championship.
Photo by HOTdog
German Wirehaired Pointer puppy sitting.
ryttersfoto/Getty Images Plus

Find a Puppy: German Wirehaired 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.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The German Wirehaired Pointer is a well muscled, medium sized dog of distinctive appearance. Balanced in size and sturdily built, the breed’s most distinguishing characteristics are its weather resistant, wire-like coat and its facial furnishings. Typically Pointer in character and style, the German Wirehaired Pointer is an intelligent, energetic and determined hunter.

HEAD

The head is moderately long. Eyes are brown, medium in size, oval in contour, bright and clear and overhung with medium length eyebrows. Yellow eyes are not desirable. The ears are rounded but not too broad and hang close to the head. The skull broad and the occipital bone not too prominent. The stop is medium. The muzzle is fairly long with nasal bone straight, broad and parallel to the top of the skull. The nose is dark brown with nostrils wide open. A spotted or flesh colored nose is to be penalized. The lips are a trifle pendulous but close to the jaw and bearded. The jaws are strong with a full complement of evenly set and properly intermeshing teeth. The incisors meet in a true scissors bite.

BODY

The neck is of medium length, slightly arched and devoid of dewlap. The entire back line showing a perceptible slope down from withers to croup. The skin throughout is notably tight to the body. The chest is deep and capacious with ribs well sprung. The tuck-up apparent. The back is short, straight and strong. Loins are taut and slender. Hips are broad with the croup nicely rounded. The tail is set high, carried at or above the horizontal when the dog is alert. The tail is docked to approximately two-fifths of its original length.

FOREQUARTERS

The shoulders are well laid back. The forelegs are straight with elbows close. Leg bones are flat rather than round, and strong, but not so heavy or coarse as to militate against the dog’s natural agility. Dewclaws are generally removed. Round in outline the feet are webbed, high arched with toes close, pads thick and hard, and nails strong and quite heavy.

COAT

The functional wiry coat is the breed’s most distinctive feature. A dog must have a correct coat to be of correct type. The coat is weather resistant and, to some extent, water-repellent. The undercoat is dense enough in winter to insulate against the cold but is so thin in summer as to be almost invisible. The distinctive outer coat is straight, harsh, wiry and flat lying, and is from one to two inches in length. The outer coat is long enough to protect against the punishment of rough cover, but not so long as to hide the outline of the dog. On the lower legs the coat is shorter and between the toes it is of softer texture. On the skull the coat is naturally short and close fitting. Over the shoulders and around the tail it is very dense and heavy. The tail is nicely coated, particularly on the underside, but devoid of feather. Eyebrows are of strong, straight hair. Beard and whiskers are medium length.

HINDQUARTERS

The angles of the hindquarters balances that of the forequarters. A straight line drawn vertically from the buttock (ischium) to the ground should land just in front of the rear foot. The thighs are strong and muscular. The hind legs are parallel when viewed from the rear. The hocks (metatarsus) are short, straight and parallel turning neither in nor out. Dewclaws are generally removed. Feet as in forequarters.

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German Wirehaired Pointer illustration.

About the German Wirehaired Pointer

Standing as high as 26 inches at the shoulder, German Wirehaired Pointers are a bit taller and heavier than their close relative, the German Shorthaired Pointer. The Wirehair is balanced, well muscled, resilient, agile, and generally built to beat the bushes all day long without tiring. The harsh wire coat protects against thorny underbrush and foul weather, and the shaggy beard and eyebrows complete an intelligent, worldly expression.

“The need for running in the great outdoors is a must!” says one veteran owner. “This breed will not be happy to be on the couch all day.” German Wirehaired Pointers are bright and eager, but their independent, inquisitive nature might frustrate novice owners. A good fit for those looking for a loving companion who enjoys sports and togetherness.

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. Established in 1959, the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America is the official AKC Parent Club for the Wirehair.
German Wirehaired Pointer puppy sitting.
ryttersfoto/Getty Images Plus

Find a Puppy: German Wirehaired 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.

Care

NUTRITION

The German Wirehaired Pointer should be fed a high-quality dog foodappropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and activity level. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet or the dog’s breeder if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should always be available.

GROOMING

The German Wirehaired Pointer’s harsh, wiry coat requires minimal maintenance. A weekly grooming with a comb and soft slicker brush will help to remove dirt and loose hair and keep the dog looking his best. The earsshould be regularly inspected and cleaned if needed with soft gauze and an ear-cleaning solution—the dog’s veterinarian can recommend a good brand to use. The nails should be trimmed often, as overly long nails can cause the dog discomfort and problems walking and running.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Weekly Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Regularly

EXERCISE

German Wirehaired Pointers are high-energy sporting dogs who enjoy outdoor activities with human partners and make great companions on long walks or hikes. Regular daily exercise such as long walks and play sessions with their owner will help keep them healthy and happy. The breed also exercises mind and body by participating in hunting, obediencetrackingagilityrally, and other activities that can be enjoyed by dog and owner.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Needs Lots of Activity

TRAINING

German Wirehaired Pointers are very intelligent, responsive, and eager to please, so they are generally easy to train. Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended and help to ensure that the dog grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion. The breed is smart, talented, versatile, and athletic and excels in a wide range of canine sports and activities. German Wirehairs crave human companionship, and undesirable behaviors can result if they are regularly left alone for long periods of time.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Eager to Please

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Reserved with Strangers

HEALTH

While German Wirehaired Pointers are generally healthy dogs, there are several health and genetic screening considerations specific to the breed. Responsible breeders test their stock for conditions the breed can be prone to and communicate with other dedicated breeders regularly, working together for breed health and preservation of the breed’s qualities. A German Wirehair’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, healthy life.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Thyroid Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

German Wirehaired Pointer head portrait outdoors in winter.
glenkar/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images
A vintage photograph of a man showing his German Wirehaired Pointer.
A vintage head portrait of a German Wirehaired Pointer.
A vintage photograph of a woman hunting with her German Wirehaired Pointers.
A vintage photograph of a German Wirehaired Pointer standing in the grass nursing her puppies.

History

British sportsmen bred specialized hunting dogs for various types of birds and different kinds of terrain, to work on either land or lake, and with disparate hunting techniques—hence the profusion of British setters, spaniels, and retrievers. The hunters of Continental Europe took a different approach: They created bird dogs capable of doing it all. Italy’s Spinone, Hungary’s Vizsla, and Germany’s GWP are examples of these famously versatile hunting companions, sometimes called the “European utility breeds.”

The name German Wirehaired Pointer is the English translation of the German breed name, Deutsch-Drahthaar. The breeding of wire-coated pointing dogs was something of a mania among German sportsmen of the early 1800s. During the second half of the century, dog people in Britain and on the Continent became passionate about classifying dogs by breed rather than merely type. Thus, such harsh-coated gundogs as the GWP, Pudelpointer, and German Broken-coated Pointer, among others, were officially established as separate breeds.

From the breed’s very beginning, fanciers have considered the GWP’s coat to be of the utmost importance. Understandable, considering breeders conceived the GWP as an all-terrain, all-weather hunter, proficient in tall grass, deep woods, or water. The wiry coat serves as a waterproof suit of armor, and the shaggy brows and beard protect the eyes and face from the lacerations of thorny brush and brier.

North American sportsmen began importing GWPs in the 1920s, and the AKC admitted the breed to its studbook in 1959.

Did You Know?

The German Wirehaired Pointer was recognized by the AKC in 1959 and is its 113th breed.
The coat of the German Wirehaired Pointer is weather-resistant and, to a large extent, water-repellent. It is straight, harsh, wiry, and quite flat-lying. One and a half to two inches in length, it is long enough to shield the body from rough cover, yet not so long as to hide the outline.
Most of the early wirehaired pointers represented a combination of Griffon, Stichelhaar, Pudelpointer, and German Shorthair. The Griffon and the Stichelhaar were composed of Pointer, Foxhound, Pudelpointer, and a Polish Water dog.
In addition to successfully competing in every performance event you could think of, the Wirehair has also served in therapy and drug detection, amongst other jobs.
The German Wirehaired Pointer works equally well in land and water, due in part to its unique coat.
The German Wirehaired Pointer was imported into the United States in the 1920s and admitted into AKC's stud book in 1959.
The German Wirehaired Pointer was first bred as a result of increased popularity in hunting in order to accommodate demand for new breeds.
The Wirehair's coat, the breed's most distinctive feature, is dense enough in the water to protect against harsh cold, but sheds in the summer to the point of veritable invisibility.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The German Wirehaired Pointer is a well muscled, medium sized dog of distinctive appearance. Balanced in size and sturdily built, the breed’s most distinguishing characteristics are its weather resistant, wire-like coat and its facial furnishings. Typically Pointer in character and style, the German Wirehaired Pointer is an intelligent, energetic and determined hunter.

HEAD

The head is moderately long. Eyes are brown, medium in size, oval in contour, bright and clear and overhung with medium length eyebrows. Yellow eyes are not desirable. The ears are rounded but not too broad and hang close to the head. The skull broad and the occipital bone not too prominent. The stop is medium. The muzzle is fairly long with nasal bone straight, broad and parallel to the top of the skull. The nose is dark brown with nostrils wide open. A spotted or flesh colored nose is to be penalized. The lips are a trifle pendulous but close to the jaw and bearded. The jaws are strong with a full complement of evenly set and properly intermeshing teeth. The incisors meet in a true scissors bite.

BODY

The neck is of medium length, slightly arched and devoid of dewlap. The entire back line showing a perceptible slope down from withers to croup. The skin throughout is notably tight to the body. The chest is deep and capacious with ribs well sprung. The tuck-up apparent. The back is short, straight and strong. Loins are taut and slender. Hips are broad with the croup nicely rounded. The tail is set high, carried at or above the horizontal when the dog is alert. The tail is docked to approximately two-fifths of its original length.

FOREQUARTERS

The shoulders are well laid back. The forelegs are straight with elbows close. Leg bones are flat rather than round, and strong, but not so heavy or coarse as to militate against the dog’s natural agility. Dewclaws are generally removed. Round in outline the feet are webbed, high arched with toes close, pads thick and hard, and nails strong and quite heavy.

COAT

The functional wiry coat is the breed’s most distinctive feature. A dog must have a correct coat to be of correct type. The coat is weather resistant and, to some extent, water-repellent. The undercoat is dense enough in winter to insulate against the cold but is so thin in summer as to be almost invisible. The distinctive outer coat is straight, harsh, wiry and flat lying, and is from one to two inches in length. The outer coat is long enough to protect against the punishment of rough cover, but not so long as to hide the outline of the dog. On the lower legs the coat is shorter and between the toes it is of softer texture. On the skull the coat is naturally short and close fitting. Over the shoulders and around the tail it is very dense and heavy. The tail is nicely coated, particularly on the underside, but devoid of feather. Eyebrows are of strong, straight hair. Beard and whiskers are medium length.

HINDQUARTERS

The angles of the hindquarters balances that of the forequarters. A straight line drawn vertically from the buttock (ischium) to the ground should land just in front of the rear foot. The thighs are strong and muscular. The hind legs are parallel when viewed from the rear. The hocks (metatarsus) are short, straight and parallel turning neither in nor out. Dewclaws are generally removed. Feet as in forequarters.

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German Wirehaired Pointer illustration.

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Liver Check Mark For Standard Color 123
Liver & White Check Mark For Standard Color 125
Black & White 019

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Roan Check Mark For Standard Mark 036
Roan & Ticked Check Mark For Standard Mark 109
Spotted Check Mark For Standard Mark 021
Ticked Check Mark For Standard Mark 013
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