German Shorthaired Pointer

AKC Sporting Group


Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo Copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

In the nineteenth century, German hunters required a dog with a good nose who would point within a reasonable distance for a man hunting on foot. The dog needed to retrieve both fur and feather, from water or land, and also be a fine tracker. The German breeding programs incorporated the Old Spanish Pointer, Hounds of St. Hubert, the Foxhound, other hounds, and eventually, the English Pointer. Today’s German Shorthaired Pointer is the successful result of the German hunters’ efforts. The breed was established by the late 1800s and came to America in the 1920s. The German Shorthair is a versatile hunter, an all-purpose gun dog capable of high performance in both field and water. He is a fine natural retriever and an excellent companion for a hunter on foot, and he requires little training. The German Shorthaired Pointer is an ideal dog for the weekend hunter who also wishes to own a bright, agreeable family companion and watchdog. Due to the breed’s natural biddability, German Shorthairs are campaigned successfully in the show ring, obedience and tracking trials, field trials, and hunting tests.


The German Shorthaired Pointer is a clean-cut, lean, well-balanced hunting dog with an elegantly chiseled head. The body is square or slightly longer than tall, with a short, strong back. The tuck-up is defined. The muzzle is long, but never pointed. The length of the muzzle should be the same as the length of the skull. Unlike the Pointer, the occipital bone is not very conspicuous, nor is there a pronounced stop. The almond-shaped eyes and nose are brown. The eyes have an intelligent, good-humored expression. A large brown nose is preferred, and the larger the better. The broad ears are set high and lie close to the head. The teeth should form a scissors bite. The short, dense, sleek coat should be solid liver or liver and white, patched, ticked, or roan. The only permitted colors are liver and white. The skin should be tight. The tail is customarily docked by 60% (the dog should be able to sit on his tail), and the dewclaws removed. The feet are round and webbed. The German Shorthaired Pointer is a little smaller than the standard Pointer.

Key Facts

  • Height: 23 to 25 in. (male); 21 to 23 in. (female)
  • Size: Large
  • Weight: 55 to 70 lbs. (male); 45 to 60 lbs. (female)
  • Availability:  Widely available
  • Talents: Hunting, tracking, retrieving, pointing, competitive obedience, agility, and watchdog


Beware of hip dysplasia; buy only from stock with OFA, PennHIP, or another national hip dysplasia clearance. Needs daily active exercise to be truly happy. Best with an athletic family. A minimum 6-foot-high fence is a necessity. Bored Shorthairs can become escape artists.


Very energetic, smart, and willing to please. Cheerful and friendly. Likes children. Loyal and protective. Loves all family members equally, especially if they are carrying the leash, car keys, gun, or Frisbee™! Very people oriented and not happy if isolated from the family. If exercised sufficiently once or twice a day, the German Shorthair makes a very agreeable family companion. If left to his own devices for long periods, without exercise or companionship, he can become destructive and nervous. Males tend to be more outgoing and are more aggressive hunters than females. Females tend to be less dominant. Energy levels vary somewhat, as litters bred for high-performance field competition may require more activity than the average Shorthair. If raised with other dogs and cats from puppyhood, the German Shorthair does quite well; however, he is a hunting dog by nature.


  • Children: Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness: Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability: Slightly difficult to train
  • Independence: Moderately dependent on people
  • Dominance: Moderate
  • Other Pets: Good with other pets if raised with them from puppyhood
  • Combativeness: Can be a bit dog-aggressive
  • Noise: Likes to bark
  • Indoors: Very active indoors
  • Owner: Not recommended for novice owners


  • Grooming: Regular grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat: Short coat
  • Shedding: Average shedder
  • Docking: The tail is customarily docked
  • Exercise: Vigorous daily exercise needed
  • Jogging: An excellent jogging companion
  • Apartments: Not recommended for apartments
  • Outdoor Space: Best with a large yard
  • Climate: Does well in most climates
  • Longevity: Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years)

Useful Links

AKC® German Shorthaired Pointer Breed Standard

German Shorthaired Pointer Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer Gifts