German Shorthaired Pointer

Canis lupus

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff

German Shorthaired Pointers are used by the Air Force, TSA, and other organizations to sniff out explosives.


German Shorthaired Pointer Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

German Shorthaired Pointer Conservation Status

German Shorthaired Pointer Locations

German Shorthaired Pointer Locations

German Shorthaired Pointer Facts

Fun Fact
German Shorthaired Pointers are used by the Air Force, TSA, and other organizations to sniff out explosives.
Most Distinctive Feature
Unique markings on body
Litter Size
8-12 puppies

German Shorthaired Pointer Physical Characteristics

  • Brown
  • Black
  • White
  • Dark Brown
  • Chocolate
Skin Type
12-14 years
45-60 lbs
21-25 inches

German Shorthaired Pointer as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$800 to $1,500
Dog group
Male weight
45-60 lbs
Female weight
45-60 lbs

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German Shorthaired Pointers are used by the Air Force, TSA, and other organizations to sniff out explosives.

German Shorthaired Pointers are the result of German Breeders perfecting a bird dog. It took breeders multiple generations to mix different dog breeds to create the German Shorthaired Pointer. This breed is known for being a quick and powerful hunting dog that can assist in the retrieving of game from both land and water. German Shorthaired Pointers are excellent swimmers with their muscular bodies and webbed feet.

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A German Shorthaired Pointer has a very distinct look. Their coat is either solid liver in color or a combination of both liver and white colors. This breed is very intelligent and playful. They can make a great family dog and can be a good playmate for children, especially older children. German Shorthaired Pointers, however, do require regular companionship and don’t do well when left alone, so they are best for families where someone is home most of the time. Is adopting a German Shorthaired Pointer from a local rescue or purchasing one from a breeder right for you? Learn more about this breed in the sections that follow!

Owning A German Shorthaired Pointer: 3 Pros And Cons

Excellent family dog: German Shorthaired Pointers can make a great companion and playmate for older children.High exercise needs: German Shorthaired Pointers have a high need for exercise. If their needs aren’t met, this breed may become destructive.
Gorgeous coat: German Shorthaired Pointers have a distinctive and attractive coat with liver and/or white colors.Not a good breed for apartments: German Shorthaired Pointers don’t do well living in apartment buildings due to their higher exercise needs.
Easy to Groom: German Shorthaired Pointers are very easy to groom and typically only require weekly brushing. They are not known for excessive shedding.May suffer from separation anxiety: German Shorthaired Pointers don’t like being left alone and can become anxious and destructive if alone for too long.
Brown German Shorthaired Pointer
German Shorthaired Pointers can make a great companion and playmate for older children.


History Of The Breed

There are many speculations as to how the German shorthaired pointer actually came to be a breed but most experts conclude that it was initially started when an old Spanish pointer and the more traditional pointers, which included the French Pointing dog (the Braque Francais Pyrenean) and the German pointer, were crossed. German hunters continued to crossbreed in the hopes that they would eliminate undesirable traits of the parent breeds. By 1860, when they had yet to get the desired result, they crossed this hybrid yet again, with the English pointer to eventually get the new German shorthaired pointer.

Size And Weight

German Shorthaired Pointers are a medium to large dog breed. Males typically stand between 23 and 25 inches tall and weigh between 55 and 70 pounds. Females are a bit smaller and are between 21 and 23 inches tall and weigh between 45 and 60 pounds. Four-month-old male German Shorthaired Pointer Puppies weigh at least 28 pounds, while females of the same age weigh at least 22.5 pounds. By the time the puppies are six months old, males will weigh between 40 and 50 pounds and females will weigh between 32 and 43 pounds. German Shorthaired Pointers are fully grown between 1.5 and 2 years of age.

Height (Male):23 inches to 25 inches
Height (Female):21 inches to 23 inches
Weight (Male):55 pounds to 70 pounds
Weight (Female):45 pounds to 60 pounds

Common Health Issues

Types of Pointer Dogs

While these multitasking dogs are overall a healthy breed, there are still some health conditions they may develop.

Health and Entertainment for your German Shorthaired Pointer

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Overall, German Shorthaired Pointers are a healthy breed. Still, there are some health conditions that some may develop, and being aware of these conditions can help you offer the best possible care to your pup.

One potential health concern for a German Shorthaired Pointer is hip dysplasia. This is an inherited condition where the dog’s hips don’t develop properly, and the bones rub against one another. It can be quite painful and may require surgery.

Cancer is another condition to be on the lookout for with German Shorthaired Pointers. Mast cell tumors, mammary tumors, and lymphosarcoma are among the most common cancer types for this breed.

As a larger breed, German Shorthaired Pointers may also suffer from gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV). Commonly referred to as bloat, this is a condition where the stomach of a dog becomes distended and then twists. The condition makes it impossible for a dog to get rid of the excess air in its stomach. The exact cause for bloat is not known, but it is often seen after a dog engages in strenuous exercise following a large meal. This condition is life-threatening, and you should seek immediate attention if you think your dog is suffering from it.

To review, some of the more common health issues that German Shorthaired Pointers may face include:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Cancer
  • Gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV/bloat)

Temperament And Behavior

German Shorthaired Pointerr- Isolated

German Shorthaired Pointer is known for its intelligence and friendly personality.


The German Shorthaired Pointer has a wonderful temperament. This breed is known for its intelligent and friendly personality. German Shorthaired Pointers also display very bold and confident traits. Due to their personality, German Shorthaired Pointers can make a good family dog. However, since they are more active and larger in size, they typically do best in homes with older children.

German Shorthaired Pointers love attention and spending time with their family. They do not do well when they are left alone, however. If left alone too long, a German Shorthaired Pointer may develop separation anxiety and engage in destructive behaviors.

How To Take Care Of A German Shorthaired Pointer

Keeping the temperament, nutritional needs, exercise requirements, health concerns, lifespan, and other relevant information in mind when preparing to care for a new German Shorthaired Pointer will help ensure you offer the best possible care to your pup.

The Best Dog Food ForGerman Shorthaired Pointers

Always choose a high-quality dog food formulated for active breeds for your German Shorthaired Pointer. Most dogs will need to eat between 2 and 3 cups of food each day. The exact amount that your dog will require will vary based on different factors such as high age, activity level, weight, metabolism, and health concerns. Speak with your dog’s veterinarian if you are unsure how much food he should be fed each day. The total daily recommended amount of food should be split into two meals each day for an adult German Shorthaired Pointer.

The nutritional needs of a puppy are different from those of an adult dog. Puppies have smaller stomachs than adults, and because of this need to eat between three and four times each day. You’ll need to feed puppies smaller meals to make sure their nutritional needs are being met. Check with your veterinarian if you are unsure how much food your puppy should eat each day or how many times it should eat.

Though this is a hardy breed, it’s still wise for owners to select a dog food that looks out for the health problems they’re most likely to develop. Also, any dog prone to GDV, a.k.a bloat, needs close monitoring of meals to make sure they don’t eat too fast, or too close before or after exercise.

At A-Z Animals, we think the best dog food for German Shorthaired Pointers is Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Meals Grain-Free Recipe Dog Food.

There’s some evidence that kibble and grains can make bloat more likely in some dogs, but this raw freeze-dried dog food consists of 85% meat & organs and 15% non-GMO fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. It’s less processed for easier digestion and full nutrient absorption. Plus, it packs a heavy protein punch from real meat that also contributes nutrients like calcium, taurine, and more that German Shorthaired Pointers need for full-body health.

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Best Freeze-Dried Beef Recipe
Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Meals Grain Free Recipe Dog Food
  • This recipe features animal-based protein and vitamin-rich fruits and veggies to give your best bud’s bowl a total upgrade.
  • Compared to traditional processed kibble, this raw recipe was freeze-dried to allow for better digestion and nutrient absorption.
  • Designed to be a complete and balanced meal for your furry friend.
  • The paw-sitively delicious ingredients aim to support strong muscles and bones as well as improve coat and skin health.
  • Made in the USA with no artificial colors, preservatives, grain, corn, wheat, soy or legumes.

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Maintenance And Grooming

A German Shorthaired Pointer’s coat is either solid liver or comprised of both liver and white colors. Their coat is very short, yet thick, and it is very easy to groom. German Shorthaired Pointers are not known for shedding a lot, and typically only need to be brushed about once a week.

In addition to brushing your dog’s coat, don’t forget to also take care of his or her teeth, ears, and nails. Teeth should be brushed at least every other day, nails should be trimmed to keep them from getting too long, and ears should be kept clean and checked for any signs of infection.


Overall, German Shorthaired Pointers are very easy to train. They do well with positive training methods, such as those that use food or praise. This breed is not overly stubborn but may become stubborn and less likely to cooperate if harsh training methods are used. German Shorthaired Pointers are eager to please, and as long as you keep each training session interesting and relatively short, you should have no trouble training this breed.

In addition to training your German Shorthaired Pointer, socializing them from an early age is also important. This will help make sure your new pup learns expectations for different places and how they should act around different people or other pets.


German Shorthaired Pointers require a significant amount of daily exercise. They will do best when adopted by an active family who will be able to make sure the dog gets at least one or two hours of activity every day. This activity may be in the form of long walks or hikes, runs, play sessions, or even swimming.


Close-up black and white german shorthaired pointer puppy

These puppies will need to be socialized from a young age to ensure they develop a positive temperament.


Before bringing home a German Shorthaired puppy, make sure you are ready to commit to the exercise needs of this breed. You should also make sure your home is puppy-proof and free of any items that may potentially endanger a puppy.

German Shorthaired Pointer puppies will need early socialization to help ensure they develop a positive temperament. Look for opportunities to bring your new puppy to different places and expose them to different people and other pets. You can also consider signing him or her up for a puppy obedience class.

German Shorthaired Pointers And Children

German Shorthaired Pointers can make a wonderful family dog. They are playful and affectionate and love being active with their family. However, they typically do best in homes with older children. Because of their high energy level, boisterous personality, and larger size, a German Shorthaired Pointer may inadvertently injure a small child.

Dogs Similar To German Shorthaired Pointers

English Pointers, Flat-Coated Retrievers, and English Setters are three breeds that are similar to the German Shorthaired Pointer.

  • English Pointer: English Pointers and German Shorthaired Pointers are both hunting dogs that are relatively similar in size (average male weight of 55 pounds for an English Pointer vs. 62.5 pounds for a German Shorthaired Pointer. Both breeds are also playful, affectionate, and easy to train. However, English Pointers are a more specialized hunter for catching birds, while German Shorthaired Pointers can be used for different hunting purposes. Read more here.
  • Flat-Coated Retriever: Flat-Coated Retrievers are another hunting dog who are also excellent swimmers like German Shorthaired Pointers. Both breeds are also easy to groom, intelligent, and affectionate. Flat-Coated Retrievers can make a better watchdog than German Shorthaired Pointers. Read more here.
  • English Setter: English Setters and German Shorthaired Pointers are both hunting dogs with an average male weight of around 65 pounds. Both breeds are very affectionate, easy to train, and intelligent. The coat of an English Setter is feathered, compared to the denser coat of a German Shorthaired Pointer. Because of this, English Setters are a bit more difficult to groom. Read more here.

Famous German Shorthaired Pointers

German Shorthaired Pointers are a popular dog breed. Some are even ‘famous’ and owned by celebrities! These famous pups include:

  • Samson was Bradley Cooper’s German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Julie is Ben Stein’s German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Clark Gable once had a German Shorthaired Pointer

Check out some of the popular German Shorthaired Pointer names below if you’re looking for the right name for your canine companion:

  • Bentley
  • Lucky
  • Lincoln
  • Diesel
  • Sterling
  • Bella
  • Serena
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Lady

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

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About the Author

Melissa Bauernfeind was born in NYC and got her degree in Journalism from Boston University. She lived in San Diego for 10 years and is now back in NYC. She loves adventure and traveling the world with her husband but always misses her favorite little man, "P", half Chihuahua/half Jack Russell, all trouble. She got dive-certified so she could dive with the Great White Sharks someday and is hoping to swim with the Orcas as well.

German Shorthaired Pointer FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much does a German Shorthaired Pointer cost to own?

The cost of purchasing a German Shorthaired Pointer from a breeder can vary. In general, though, most breeders charge between $800 and $1,000. However, some German Shorthaired Pointers that have already been trained for hunting or those bred for shows could cost as much as $4,000. You may also be able to find a German Shorthaired Pointer available for adoption through a local rescue organization. The cost to adopt should be significantly less than purchasing through a breeder and will likely be a few hundred dollars.

As you assess whether you can afford to purchase a German Shorthaired Pointer from a breeder or adopt one from a rescue, keep in mind that your costs won’t end with purchasing the puppy. You will also need to cover expenses for the dog’s entire life. Given that the average lifespan of a German Shorthaired Pointer is 12 to 15 years and each year could cost $500 to $1,000 (with the first year being more expensive), that is a lot to commit to. Just make sure you’re prepared to offer the dog the excellent care it needs throughout its life.

How long does German Shorthaired Pointer live?

The average lifespan of a German Shorthaired pointer is 12 to 15 years.

Is a German Shorthaired Pointer a good family dog?

Yes, German Shorthaired Pointers are a good family dog. They are friendly, playful, and affectionate and love spending time with their loved ones.

Are German Shorthaired Pointers aggressive?

No, most German Shorthaired Pointers are not aggressive. Overall, this is a very friendly breed. However, if provoked, a German Shorthaired Pointer could potentially become aggressive towards another dog, and some chase cats and other small animals.

Do German Shorthaired Pointers like to cuddle?

Yes, German Shorthaired Pointers are friendly and affectionate dogs who enjoy cuddling with their loved ones.

Do German Shorthaired Pointers shed a lot?

No, German Shorthaired Pointers have a short and thick coat and are not known for shedding a lot.

What's the difference between a German shorthaired pointer and a Vizsla?

The Vizsla comes in fewer colors than the German shorthaired pointer, and the pointer lives a slightly shorter lifespan on average compared to the Vizsla. In addition, the Vizsla is a much older dog breed compared to the German shorthaired pointer.

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