German Shorthaired Pointers have been around since the 1800s.
You see them in a lot of dog shows and dog sports.
But do you wonder what’s it like to own one?
Then you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading to discover:
- 5 outdoor activities to do with a GSP.
- 9 pros of owning a German Shorthaired Pointer.
- 5 cons of owning a Germain Shorthaired Pointer.
- 5 quick tips to raise a German Shorthaired Pointer.
- And many, many more…
Table of contents
- 9 pros of owning a German Shorthaired Pointer
- 5 cons of owning a German Shorthaired Pointer
- 5 quick tips to raise a German Shorthaired Pointer
9 pros of owning a German Shorthaired Pointer
#1: Affectionate with family
German Shorthaired Pointers (GSPs) are dogs who like to be with their families all the time.
They’re cuddly and affectionate.
If you want to have a dog who sleeps by your head. Or one who’d go with your family on outdoor adventures.
Then a GSP is the dog for you.
You might also like: Top 25 Most Affectionate Dog Breeds That Love To Cuddle
#2: Good with kids
This is another reason why GSPs are so great.
According to the GSPCA, the breed was actually created to be companion animals. For both adults and children.
With early socialization, they’re great with kids.
Although, they tend to be very energetic. So you might want to avoid letting them mingle with very young children who tend to grab everything.
#3: Gets along well with other dogs
Having GSPs along with other dog breeds, won’t result in fights.
Of course, early socialization and training are key for a well-mannered GSP.
Sometimes, they might be standoffish to other dogs they don’t know.
But once they’re assured the other doesn’t mean any harm, then they’re back to their playful self.
Some dog parents on the Internet have reported their GSPs snuggling up or even licking the other dog’s ears.
They’re cuddly to their hoomans and their doggo friends.
You might also want to know: 15 Ways To Tell That Your Dogs Are Bonded To Each Other
#4: You’ll have an exercise partner
GSPs have boundless energy.
They’re bred to be hunting dogs. So they need lots and lots of exercise.
If you like going on outdoor adventures then, the GSP is for you.
They love doing things with their hoomans.
So you can take them on activities like:
- Mountain climbing.
Another thing you can do with this breed is a dog sport.
According to the AKC, these are:
- Scent work.
- Field events.
- Coursing ability test.
Not only does your dog get physical and mental exercise. You also get to bond with them. And learn all the little quirks that make up your pooch.
#5: They’re friendly
The NorCal GSP Rescue tells us that this breed is very social and very human-friendly.
They may be hesitant to meet new people. And bark at them.
But once they get to know each other, GSPs will do their best to make new friends.
This is a trait that all GSPs should have. Provided that they’re properly socialized at a young age.
Check out: My Dog Is Too Friendly With Strangers: 5 Reasons + 5 Tips
#6: Can watch the house
Hill’s tells us that GSPs are very good watchdogs.
They have a tendency to bark at anything. That moves within what they consider their territory.
So strangers or trespassers to your property, beware!
Your GSP will diligently warn you of anything they see as threats.
Although, GSPs won’t actually stop them. In this, they’re great watchdogs but not so great protection dogs.
But they sure can scare off intruders with their barks.
#7: Has a high adaptability level
GSPs are ready for almost anything.
In fact, they can even multitask while they’re on a job.
As hunting dogs they can:
They’re even used to hunt all manner of prey. Like:
- Game birds.
As a result, they’re very versatile.
This is also shown in the number of dog sports they can do.
The AKC even says that “there’s no dog sport a German Shorthaired Pointer won’t excel at”.
#8: Easy to train
GSPs love to please their owners.
They’re also an intelligent breed who learns very quickly.
This combination makes them easy to train.
But they may have a short attention span.
Some dog parents on the Internet have even cautioned that their prey drive is so high.
They’ll rush off in the middle of a training session to chase after squirrels or birds.
So you might want to leave the off-leash training for later.
#9: They remain young at heart
GSPs are eternal puppies.
This is why they’re not recommended for owners who want couch potato dogs to snuggle with them.
And GSPs aren’t breeds who will “mellow” out after they’re 2 or 3 years of age.
They’re great for owners who love to adventure and play with their dogs.
If you want a GSP, prepare for a pooch who’ll have boundless energy even when they’re senior dogs.
5 cons of owning a German Shorthaired Pointer
#1: Not apartment dogs
As I’ve said before in this article, GSPs require a LOT of exercise.
They’re a high-energy breed. And their daily routine must include exercise sessions twice a day.
The AKC says that these can be brisk walks. Or running and playing in a fenced area.
They’re not breeds who’ll feel comfortable with no space to run around.
“What happens when GSPs don’t get enough exercise?”
This is a hunting breed. And they tend to investigate their home. Especially if they’re bored.
Or they don’t have enough exercise.
GSPs will redirect their excess energy destructive behaviors such as:
- Scratching furniture.
- Raiding garbage cans.
- Chewing household items.
A bored GSP is dangerous for your home.
#2: May demand attention
German Shorthaired pointers are clingy.
They’re part of the poster for “Velcro dogs”.
It’s because they like being with their hoomans so much.
They can’t bear to be apart from them.
This isn’t a home-alone breed that you can leave when you go to work.
It’s why GSPs need families who will take them on family outings and other activities.
Because there’s nothing else they’d like to do. Aside from chasing game birds.
#3: Strong prey drive
As hunting dogs, GSPs have a love for anything they see as prey.
- Game birds.
They’re even quite famous for their “pointing pose”.
It’s what they do when they scent or see prey.
They stand stiffly and point their noses in the direction of the animal.
This is the reason why they get along with other dogs. But not with other animal species.
They need a strong socialization foundation. So that they can mingle with other pets like cats.
Want to know how to do that?
Keep reading till the end!
#4: Prone to some health issues
Generally, GSPs are healthy dogs.
But this breed does have a predisposition to some health issues.
It doesn’t mean that your pooch will have them.
But it’s important to have regular tests with your vet to see if your dog has developed these.
The SAH describes this as a genetic condition. Where the joints don’t develop well.
The cartilage that connects the joints gets affected. And doesn’t cushion the joint properly.
The painful rubbing of the two bones often results in arthritis.
This study tells us how much hip dysplasia appears in dogs in the US and Canada.
In 921,046 medical records, hip dysplasia appears in 15.56% of them. Most of it appears in working dog breeds.
PetMD tells us that these are the signs to look out for:
- Bunny hopping.
- Abnormal sitting positions.
- Trouble with sitting/standing.
- Trouble with everyday movements.
- Cracking and popping sound from joints.
“How do vets treat hip dysplasia?”
ACVS informs us that there are 4 surgical procedures to treat hip dysplasia.
First is JPS or Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis. It’s best done on puppies 10 – 18 weeks old.
It’s a surgery that closes a growth plate on the bottom of their pelvis.
As a result, the bone grows to cover the ball of the joint. This prevents their hips from collapsing.
The second procedure’s called Double or Triple Pelvic Osteotomy.
This involves cutting the pelvic bone in 2 or 3 places. And rotating the pieces so the ball of the joint has better coverage. This way there’s no hip collapse.
Third, your dog can have a Total Hip Replacement. The procedure replaces the hips with metal and plastic implants.
The surgical vet then attaches it with these methods:
- Metal pegs.
- Bone cement.
- Bone ingrowth (press fit).
The fourth procedure is femoral head ostectomy. This involves removing the ball of the joint.
It minimizes the pain produced by the abnormal hip joint. It also prevents the wear and tear of the cartilage.
Warning: Vets recommend spaying or neutering dogs with hip dysplasia. Because they can pass the condition to their children
This study tells us that aside from GSPs, hip dysplasia is common in other large breed dogs like:
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
- American Staffordshire Terrier.
GSPs are prone to eye problems that can lead to blindness.
Here are 3 that are most common in this breed:
According to VCA, cataracts happen when the eye lenses become cloudy or opaque.
The most common causes are:
- Eye injuries.
- Sugar diabetes.
- Spontaneous appearance.
If your GSP shows signs of cloudy lenses. Take them to the vet immediately.
It’s fortunate that they can remove cataracts and restore your dog’s vision.
Before breeding your GSP, let them take eye screening tests. So that you know there’s no threat of their puppies having cataracts.
This is a condition where the eyelid grows inwards.
These are particularly painful and will cause affected dogs to scratch their eyes.
But PetMD says that dogs can inherit this from their parents. Or develop it later in life.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a condition that will correct itself with a few eye drops.
Your pooch will need to have a surgical correction. Without it, there’s a risk of eye infections and scarring.
This affects a GSP’s eyelash. And it happens when the eyelash grows inward.
It’ll scratch and affect the cornea. And cause eye ulcers, even eye infections.
Especially without treatment.
EyeVet tells us that permanent removal is the only way to get rid of the offending lashes.
Plucking it can cause the hair to grow thicker. And irritate your dog’s eyes even more.
Vet ophthalmologists use these procedures:
- Surgical excision of distichia.
- Roll eyelids outwards (Hotz-Celsus).
Certain heart diseases
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is one of the most common heart diseases in GSPs.
This is a condition where the heart has difficulty pumping blood. Because of weakened heart muscles.
It’s the second most common heart disease in dogs.
This study states that GSPs have a gene called DMD. This is the reason why this breed has a high risk for DCM.
For GSPs, vets recommend annual heart health checks.
Which will include:
They’ll look for heart murmurs or irregular heartbeats when your dog has checkups.
This allows your vet to catch the disease early. And give your pooch a greater chance of recovery.
This is a serious but preventable condition.
But VMCCNY tells us that there’s an estimate of 60,000 bloat cases per year in the US.
It happens when a dogs stomach fills with too much:
And as a result, it twists.
Without treatment, the stomach becomes so full. And as it twists, it puts pressure on the surrounding organs.
This can cause problems when the blood supply doesn’t reach other parts of the body.
Here are the signs to look out for:
- Dry heaving.
- Swollen/painful abdomen.
Warning: Don’t treat your dog’s bloat at home. They need professional help. It’s not a condition that will undo itself.
#5: Can be too much for very young children
GSPs are dogs with lots of energy. And drive to run around.
They’re affectionate to their family.
But their energy can be too much for children under the age of 7.
GSPs might end up hurting them.
So if your kids are at that age it might be best to keep their interactions to a minimum, behind doggy doors. Or at a distance.
With that said, it’s a general rule not to leave your dogs and your kids unattended.
Their playtime must always have parent supervision.
5 quick tips to raise a German Shorthaired Pointer
So you’ve got yourself a GSP? Well, you’re in for the ride of your life.
Seriously. These dogs have a long lifespan of 12 -14 years and a lot of energy.
So strap in. And read these tips for an easier time with raising your pup.
#1: Don’t feed right after exercise
GSPs are prone to bloat.
Feeding or drinking water right after an activity can contribute to this.
So wait about 10 minutes for your dog to settle down.
This short amount of time is what lies between you and a trip to the hospital.
#2: Train early
This breed has a lot of energy.
Which is why it’s important to have them start obedience training early.
This gives them time to socialize with other dogs.
And it also cements the dog-human bond between the two of you.
As they grow older, you can progress to trick training or agility training.
Remember that GSPs are ready for almost anything.
They love to please their hooman. And they can learn quickly.
Take advantage of that. And have your dog do as much as they can with you.
Watch this video for the tips on the first things to teach your puppy:
#3: Keep training sessions short
Yes, GSPs do well with training. But they have short attention spans.
So remember this:
- Keep your training sessions short.
- Try to nail obedience and recall first.
- Make sure your dog’s attention is on you.
You’ll have to do this before taking your dog on an off-leash hiking trip.
If your dog doesn’t have it down, keep them on a leash for your outings.
This can come in very handy when your GSP will see their prey. And make a mad dash for it.
You might also want to know: Top 20 Most Stubborn Dog Breeds That Are Difficult To Train
#4: Have regular health checkups
I talked about the health conditions that GSPs can have.
One sure way to prevent or avoid them is through regular checkups.
It’s recommended that this breed gets tested for:
- Hip dysplasia.
- Congenital heart disease.
- Eye health (every year/6 years, every 2 years after).
If you’re getting a puppy, they also need these tests before they go to you.
In this way, you can catch health issues before they get worse in your GSP.
#5: Socialize while still a puppy
Yes, GSPs love their family. They’re also human-friendly.
But without enough socialization, they become wary of other animals and other people.
To avoid this take your puppy out while they’re still young.
Let them meet:
- Other dogs.
- Other animals.
- People you know.
This helps them adjust better to new people.
It allows you to be at peace when you leave them at doggy daycare. Or schedule a playdate with their doggy friends.
This also prevents them from seeing other species as prey. Especially if you also have them in your house.