The German Shorthaired Pointer is often described as perhaps the most versatile hunting dog. The breed has a keen sense of smell, high intelligence, good temperament, stamina and trainability, which make it a staunch pointer and natural retriever on land and from water. Its origins come from the old Spanish Pointer, english Foxhound and local German tracking hounds. Sportsmen in the United States began importing the GSP in the 1920's. The American Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1930.

The GSP is an athlete and needs consistent exercise to keep it in condition and to burn off excess energy. The natural and appropriate exuberance of a young Shorthair can make it difficult to live with if it does not get enough exercise. The dog should get a minimum of 30 minutes twice a day in a fenced in area, large field away from traffic or by walking/jogging with its owner. Keep in mind that dogs will not exercise themselves to the point of being tired; that is your job! The other thing to remember is that if you have a young dog, you will want to be careful how much jogging you do with him. Too much jogging too soon can cause problems with bones and joints if the growth plates are not closed. This is similar to not riding race horses until they are two years old. Your GSP should (as all dogs should) be trained at an early age in basic obedience and to come when called. With proper socialization, training, and care, Shorthairs make fine family companions and should relate well to all family members, visitors and other pets.

While GSP's are most known for their hunting ability, they also excel in obedience, agility, tracking, search and rescue, therapy/service dogs, and as bomb/drug sniffing dogs. The Shorthair is friendly, intelligent, and willing to please. The first impression is that of keen enthusiasm for work without indication of nervous or flighty character. With proper care, an average life span is 12 - 16 years.

Official Standard (Excerpts)

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 should reflect this basic characteristic. The overall picture of a GSP 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, with a short back and "stand over plenty of ground." In the show ring, a dog in hard and lean field condition is not to be penalized; however, overly fat or poorly muscled dogs are to be penalized. A dog well-balanced to all points is preferable to one with outstanding good qualities and defects. Grace of outline, clean-cut head, sloping shoulders, deep chest, powerful back, strong quarters, good bone composition, adequate muscle, well carried tail and taut coat give a look of nobility and indicate a heritage of purposefully-conducted breeding. Further evidence of this heritage is movement which is balanced, alertly coordinated and without wasted movement.

Size (measured at the withers) Males: 23-25 inches, weight 55 to 70 pounds. Females: 21-23 inches, weight 45 to 60 pounds. Head: Eyes are almond shaped not circular; ideal color is dark brown; yellow eyes are a fault. Ears too long or too fleshy are faulted. Muzzle is sufficiently long enough to carry game; a pointed muzzle is not desirable. Nose is brown; the larger the better. Body: Chest, in general, gives the impression of depth rather than breadth - it reaches down to the elbows. Ribs are well sprung - not slab sided or round (barrel shaped). Back is short, strong, and straight with a slight rise from the root of the tail to the withers. A steep croup is a fault. Tail is set high and firm, and must be docked leaving approximately 40% of its length. Shoulders are sloping, movable and well covered with muscle. Shoulder blades lie flat and are well laid back, nearing a 45-degree angle. Feet are compact, close-knit and round to spoon-shaped (not splayed or hare-footed). Toes are sufficiently arched and heavily nailed. Pads are strong, hard and thick. Coat is short and thick and feels tough to the hand. The color may be of solid liver or a combination of liver and white. A dog with areas of black, red, orange, lemon or tan, or a dog that is solid white is disqualified.

A smooth lithe gait is essential. As the gait increases from the walk to a faster speed, the legs converge under the body. The tendency to single track is desirable. The forelegs reach well ahead as if to pull in the ground without a hackney gait. The hindquarters drive the back legs smoothly and with great power. To view the complete standard, go to

The German Shorthaired Pointer

Excerpted in part from the AKC Complete Dog Book

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