The German Shorthaired Pointer was developed in Germany in the late 1800′s to be an all-purpose dog. It was the original intent of the breeders to develop a breed of dog with inbred instinct for multiple tasks, thus requiring little time to “force train”. The GSP was bred to point, retrieve, trail wounded game, hunt both large and small game, furred and feathered and to work in low or heavy cover as well as water. The dog was also intended to be a family companion good with both adults and children.The breed is considered medium in size with the males slightly larger than the females. One should be able to determine the sex of the dog based on general appearance, i.e. males should look masculine and females should look feminine. A fairly healthy breed but the first time buyer should always inquire about health clearances of the sire and dam when looking for a puppy. Breeders should have no problem discussing or answering any health issues being asked. The following are considered as a minimum to ask about: OFA or PennHip – hip dysplasia; Cardiac-echocardiogram for congenital cardiac; CERF – current eye clearance of PRA done each year until age 6 every two years afterward; CD – DNA test for carrier status for cone degeneration (may be cleared by both Parents DNA test indicating “normal” a non-carrier.) Read more about health clearances.
It is important to remember this is primarily a hunting dog, bred for a purpose, and as such will have a high level of activity and/or energy that needs to be channeled. Just like people not all are created equal and while some will learn a task quickly others may take more time and patience. GSPs tend to be eager to please and willing to learn at relatively young ages if the training sessions are not forced and kept short and simple. Even though some may appear physically mature by the time they are six months old their brain may not be engaged until they reach two years of age. Thus you may have an adult size dog with a “teenage” brain.
The coat of a GSP is short but not thin and when one runs their hand across a dog the hair should not feel soft to the touch with exception of the hair found on the head and ears. The GSP head is shaped differently than that found on a Lab or Pointer and its ear is slightly larger and longer, not pointed at the end but slightly rounded. To prevent field injuries the tail is docked, not short like a Boxer or Doberman but should be at least 6 to 8 inches long with some a bit longer and with dewclaws removed. Often confused by some as a Dalmatian because some of the coat patterns of the GSP are bright white with small markings referred to as “ticking” or with Labs because of the solid liver or black versions. Yet if compared side by side it would be readily apparent that none of them look alike.
If interested in a GSP is it important to find a breeder you feel comfortable asking questions or to talk with about health issues, training or anything that might come to mind.