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German Shorthaired Pointer Appearance
The elegant build, unique coat pattern, and the German Shorthaired Pointer’s superb hunting skills are all distinct characteristics that truly set this pooch apart from the pack. Their striking coats catch the eye with remarkable combinations of color and patterns. Typically colored in solid liver or a liver and white combination, the GSP’s coat will be patched, ticked or roan. Ticked describes a pattern of small pigmented spots appearing only in the white parts of the coat while roan coats have an even mixture of white and pigmented hairs that won’t turn gray or fade out as the dog ages. Roan coated German Shorthairs often will have solid colored heads and solid saddle patches as well. These powerful beauties have strong legs and streamlined muscles. They carry beautifully chiseled heads complete with pendulant ears and long, solid muzzles. Their almond shaped eyes are most often shades of brown, but some have yellow eyes. While those piercing “bird of prey” eyes are considered a fault in most dog competitions and shows, the color doesn’t indicate or cause any health concerns. Yellow eyed GSPs are just as healthy as their chocolate eyed friends. German Shorthairs often have their long tails docked for aesthetic reasons, but this practice is illegal in many countries. They stand about 21-25 inches tall and will usually weigh between 45-70 lbs. Healthy German Shorthaired Pointers will live to be between 12-14 years old with proper love and care.
German Shorthaired Pointer Grooming
German Shorthaired Pointers have very minimal grooming requirements. Their short, smooth coats won’t shed exceedingly and are quite easily managed with a weekly brushing. An occasional bath will help enhance the GSP’s natural shine and help keep them feeling fresh and clean. A quick rub down with a damp cloth in between baths will reduce the amount of excess dirt and eliminate any smelly odors that can linger in the fur. German Shorthairs also should have their ears cleaned regularly to avoid any potential infections. Their adorably floppy ears unfortunately provide a warm, dark breeding ground for bacteria; gently wiping out the underside of their ears regularly will greatly reduce the chance of infection. German Shorthairs are very active and will usually file their nails down naturally during daily activities. If their nails are starting to make clicking sounds when they walk, utilize doggie nail clippers or file them down to prevent painful ingrown nails or breakage.
German Shorthaired Pointer Temperament
Bred to be a versatile companion, the German Shorthair easily transitions between hunting dog and family friend. They are very high energy and need plenty of daily exercise and engage in lively activities to burn off their pent up energy. Accustomed to long days outside on the hunt vigorously pursuing and fetching prey, these boisterous pups thrive best with families who can keep up with the German Shorthair’s seemingly endless energy. They quickly become attached to their family and are very loving and loyal companions who are protective of their home and family. They tend to bark at strangers and are not immediately welcoming to unknown people. However, these dogs are quite social and enjoy being included during family life and are not suited for extended periods of alone time. They easily become bored when left unattended for long and may seek out messy, destructive things to do to keep themselves occupied. They are skillful escape artists and need to have a secure, fenced in yard to play in if left unsupervised. These powerful pups need at least a 6 foot fence to foil their getaway plans. They love to run, swim, and are an enthusiastic playmate that gets along great with children. Older children make the best playmates for German Shorthairs because these dogs can get pretty rambunctious during play. Always supervise playtime with younger children or when the dog is first meeting a new child to prevent any agitation or misbehavior. While German Shorthairs have a strong prey drive, they can learn to cohabitate with smaller animals if socialized early on in puppyhood.
German Shorthaired Pointer Training
These smart huntsmen enjoy challenging activities and staying busy, making them a great doggie student. Since this breed was specifically meant as a companion for hunters, they had to be intelligent and ambitious enough to keep tracking prey when separated from their hunter. These traits are still evident today and can be expressed occasionally through stubborn behavior and a slight unwillingness to listen. German Shorthairs respond best to kind, positive training methods that are consistent. Harshly scolding a GSP will cause the dog to become mulish and will be even less cooperative. Beginning training early is always recommended to ensure the dog grows up knowing acceptable, established behavior. Early socialization is also very important to help reign in their strong prey drive; untrained hunting dogs will not understand why they can’t attack smaller animals and can wreak havoc in their homes and neighborhoods. German Shorthairs are perfectly capable at getting along with other animals but must be shown acceptable conduct and have positive interactions with smaller animals.
German Shorthaired Pointer History
While the direct ancestors of today’s German Shorthaired Pointer aren’t certain, it is widely believed that they descended from the German Bird dog. This early version of the GSP, who was a product of cross breeding between Spanish Pointers and Bloodhounds, was prevalent in Germany during the 17th century. The resulting dog had the size and stamina of a large hound dog, an acute nose, and an obedient and intelligent nature. While they were mainly bred as a hunting dog, breeders also desired dogs that had an elegant appeal to better incorporate a stylish dog in with the aristocratic life. Pointers from England were utilized to maximize the stylish appearance of the GSP and expand their hunting capabilities to water. German Shorthairs with the most agreeable personalities were continually bred to result in an excellent hunting companion with affectionate and loyal characteristics.
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