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Getting to Know the German Shorthaired Pointer

By Lynn Taylor, Team Dogs Unlimited

A versatile hunter and all-purpose dog, the German shorthaired pointer (GSP) possesses keen scenting power and high intelligence. The breed is proficient in many different types of recognized sports, but primarily bred for upland bird hunting, pointing and retrieving.

They’re a medium-sized breed, can be solid liver or black, liver and white, or black and white in color. The height of the breed, measured at the withers, is 23 to 25 inches for males and 21 to 23 inches for females. The weight is 55 to 70 pounds for males and 45 to 60 pounds for females.  Their short coat sheds, but grooming is minimal.

The GSP loves interaction with humans and thrives as part of an active family who will give them an outlet for their energy. The GSP is usually very good with children, although care should be taken because the breed can be boisterous especially when young. They’re an even-tempered, intelligent and loyal family watchdog that has enthusiasm for their work. An athlete, they can adapt to their living situation, but require consistent exercise. The German shorthaired pointer needs plenty of vigorous activity. This need for exercise (preferably off lead) coupled with the breed's natural instinct to hunt, means that training is an absolute necessity.

The GSP is a distinctly independent character with superior intelligence, which means that any unused energy will result in the dog amusing itself, most likely in an undesirable manner. Most German shorthaired pointers make excellent watchdogs. The breed generally gets along well with other dogs. Because of their strong hunting instinct which is expected for the breed, it is not always good with other small pets such as cats or rabbits. With training, however, the GSP family dog should be able to discern what is prey and what is not, and they can live quite amicably with other family pets.

German shorthaired pointers are a very clean breed. The short coat needs very little grooming, just occasional brushing. There is typically only one coat shed in the year. They should be bathed only when needed. Like all dogs with flop ears, the GSP can be prone to ear infections, and their ears require regular checking and cleaning. The GSP has a longer life expectancy than many breeds of this size, commonly living 12 to 14 years, with individual dogs often living 16 to 18 years.

As the GSP is a medium to large active breed, the dogs can require considerable food. Older or less active GSPs can also become obese if fed more than suitable for the individual's activity levels. A healthy weight should permit the last two ribs to be felt under the coat and the dog should have a distinct waist or "tuck-up."

The picture above is of my three GSP’s – Riot, Champ and Hunter (left to right). I absolutely love the breed and would highly recommend it for any active family. Mine are true competitive athletes which compete in a variety of organized sports including Hunt Trials, Dock Jumping, Conformation, Weight Pulling, and Lure Coursing, and are all “Powered by CANIDAE Grain Free Salmon.”

I have definitely noticed an improvement in all of my dogs since the switch to CANIDAE. This premium quality food provides them with enough energy to compete all day. Even with their high level of performance, I’m finally able to keep the proper weight on them – and their coats are healthy and shiny too. Thanks CANIDAE!
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