The all-purpose German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) is such a versatile hunting dog that some call him the jack-of-all-trades. This aristocratic member of the Sporting Group is equally skilled at hunting, pointing, and retrieving. Here are seven interesting facts about this powerful and agile breed:
1. The German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) was developed in the late 1800s in Germany. Breeders were trying to create a dog that would perform many different hunting-related tasks, based on instinct rather than training. They wanted a dog that could hunt prey of any size, both furred and feathered; point out game to the hunter; retrieve the game that had been shot; and track wounded game. And all of this needed to be carried out in dense cover in the field or forest and in the water. As if that wasn’t enough, they also wanted a dog that would be an excellent family companion. They achieved their goal in the German Shorthaired Pointer.
2. The GSP’s coat is short and thick. Although it’s relatively soft on the ears and head, the rest of the coat feels tough to the touch. The breed standard states that coat color can be solid liver or a combination of liver and white. These dogs shed, and regular brushing with a grooming glove or rubber horse brush can help keep stray hairs under control.
Photo courtesy of Sandra Maks, AKC Breeder of Merit
3. These are smart dogs that want to please their people. You can help keep your GSP’s mind stimulated with short and simple training sessions from the time he is a puppy. Be aware, because they are so intelligent and curious, they can become destructive if they’re bored. Find activities and toys that will keep your GSP’s brain active to prevent him from making his own fun.
4. GSPs need to be physically active, too. Their hunting heritage means they have a high activity level and need appropriate outlets for their energy, including daily exercise. If you don’t hunt with your GSP, be sure to give him other ways to tire himself out, such as going for a run or playing in a fenced area.
5. This breed is relatively slow to mature. It’s not until they reach two years of age that most GSPs are mentally adult. It’s important to be prepared for at least one year of a strong and muscular fully-grown dog with the brain of a teenager.
6. Remember that GSPs were bred as a hunter's helper and also as a family member. These friendly dogs need lots of time and interaction with their human family to reach their full potential. Overall, this breed is good with kids. They seem to respond innately with care and protection toward small children and are tolerant of their unpredictable behavior. However, as with all dogs, it’s important to socialize them with children and supervise their interactions.
7. The German Shorthaired Pointer has a keen eagerness to work. These athletic dogs were bred for versatility, which means the whole world of dog sports is open to them. Their personality, intelligence, and physical attributes help them excel at many activities, such as dock diving, agility, field trials, hunt tests, and even search and rescue. Finding a way to fit your GSP into your pastimes will give him the chance to spend time with you and work for you, leading to a joyful and well-adjusted companion.