About the Breed
The versatile, medium-sized German Shorthaired Pointer is an enthusiastic gundog of all trades who thrives on vigorous exercise, positive training, and a lot of love. GSP people call their aristocratic companions the ‘perfect pointer.’ Male German Shorthaired Pointers stand between 23 and 25 inches at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 55 to 70 pounds; females run smaller. The coat is solid liver (a reddish brown), or liver and white in distinctive patterns. The dark eyes shine with enthusiasm and friendliness. Built to work long days in the field or at the lake, GSPs are known for power, speed, agility, and endurance. ‘Noble’ and ‘aristocratic’ are words often used to describe the overall look. GSPs make happy, trainable pets who bond firmly to their family. They are always up for physical activities like running, swimming, organized dog sports’¿in fact, anything that will burn some of their boundless energy while spending outdoors time with a human buddy.
German hunters spent generations crossing various breeds until they perfected this versatile bird dog sometime in the 1800s. They were so successful that, to this day, GSPs are among the top-winning breeds in competitive hunting events.
The German bird-dog tradition dates to at least the 1700s, with master breeders experimenting with tracking hound–pointing dog crosses in the quest for a quick but powerful hunter possessing plenty of nose and versatility. It comes as no surprise to learn that a key player in the early development of this breed of noble bearing was himself a nobleman, Prince Albrecht zu Solms-Braunfels.
The prince and his fellow enthusiasts succeeded beyond their wildest imaginings in creating a do-it-all hunting dog. Here, a breed historian ticks off the GSP’s credentials: “a staunchly pointing bird dog; a keen-nosed night trailer; a proven duck dog; a natural retriever on land or water, with pleasing conformation and markings, and great powers of endurance; and an intelligent family watchdog and companion.”
The GSP has been hunted with success on a variety of quarry: gamebirds, possum, rabbit, raccoon, and even deer. With his webbed feet and sleek but sturdy construction, the GSP burnishes his résumé as one of dogdom’s finest swimmers. Emblematic of the breed’s eager versatility was Marvin, a GSP from North Carolina, who in late 2013 achieved his 75th AKC title.