I have had a couple of German Shorthaired Pointers (GSP) in my time. One was the most hyper dog I ever owned and the other was quit calm as German Shorthaired Pointers go.
German Shorthaired Pointers are great dogs that are a fairly new breed; they were developed in the 1800s. All the German Shorthaired Pointers I’ve owned and worked with have been very trainable. My fist Pointer was one of my best trained dogs. This breed is usually quite active and benefits from a good deal of exercise. As with all active or hyper dogs you may have a bit of a challenge with impulse control. However, with consistency and a little extra work this breed can become very reliable.
If I had a choice I would prefer getting a pet quality GSP from show lines as opposed to hunting lines. Being shown in dog shows is equivalent to undergoing a very mild temperament evaluation and tends to favor calmer dogs. Not that all show dogs are calm, but in general show dogs are bred to be calmer than hunting dogs.
The GSP is bred to hunt in one of two ways. The first is where hunting is done on horseback and these dogs tend to range farther afield. The second type of dog is bred for hunters on foot and they tend to stay in closer to the handler.
German Shorthaired Pointers are versatile game dogs and can be used to hunt game other than birds. They also tend to be fairly good watchdogs. My first GSP was good at letting us know when someone was approaching the house, although she was extremely friendly. My second pointer, the really calm one, was not such a good watch dog, but she was a wonderful dog overall. Both of these dogs came from the pound. The second dog was a rescue I trained and rehomed, she was a great pet, even for a first time dog owner. My first GSP was a handful and required quite a bit of training. I had my first GSP when I was in high school, so I had a lot of time to train her. She was a great dog, it just took a bit more work to get her under control.
It is believed German Shorthaired Pointers were created by breeding a descendant of Spanish Pointers with German hounds mixed with a dash of English Pointer. I plan on talking a little about German hounds in the next video post.
As with many breeds it’s desirable to have a GSP with dark eyes. I think there is a good reason that light eyes in the GSP are considered a fault. The most common coat color for German Shorthaired Pointers is liver and white or all liver. In this video you will see a dog with a black and white coat while not sanctioned by the American Kennel Club it is one of the colors found in the GSP.
Even though German Shorthaired Pointers do have short coats they shed a lot. I found my old dog’s hair in furniture and other places over 10 years after she passed away.
In this video the people from German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue talk about the breed’s traits and what kind of home they will best fit into. They also talk a little about some medical problems you may encounter with the breed.
I need to mention one trait that can lead to medical complication and that’s the German Shorthaired Pointers susceptibility to gastric torsion. Being a deep-chested and active breed can be a deadly combination. Dogs with these two traits are more susceptible to gastric torsion. Gastric torsion is where the stomach flips over and without immediate medical attention the dog will die. Instead of feeding one large meal a day I usually feed deep-chested dogs smaller amounts of food several times a day. Feeding smaller amounts of food helps avoid gastric torsion.
German Pointers are probably my favorite of the pointing breeds. However, out of all pointers I think Vizslas are probably the best choice for the average family.
If you need help teaching your pointer basic dog obedience and/or impulse control, for those overactive moments in life, please give me a call so I can get the necessary information to help make your dog the best that it can be.
Wishing you the best in dogs and the best in life,
Southern California Dog training