German Shorthaired Pointer

German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer is among the most popular of modern pointing dogs. Highly intelligent and even-tempered, with strong natural hunting and retrieving instincts, the breed was developed in 19th century Germany to serve a variety of sporting interests. Though the specifics of its evolution are obscure, the wide range of its abilities hints at a functional heritage that began much farther back in time.

Dogs resembling the German Shorthaired Pointer, dark in color, powerful but trim and athletic, were featured in German sporting art as early as the 1700s, where such animals were depicted as the hunting companions of German nobility. Barons and commoners alike favored a versatile dog that could competently handle both feather and fur — pointing and retrieving upland birds; fetching ducks and geese from water and wetland; trailing and baying ground quarry, from rabbits and foxes to stags.

While no formal records of its origin exist, it is likely that the Spanish pointer and the German Bird Dog were the basis for the breed, with crosses to Bloodhound and other local hound types producing a dog that could find, trail and point but that lacked endurance and agility. This shortfall was corrected when the Pointer, with its foxhound ancestry, was introduced into the mix in the late 1800s.

Brought to the US in 1925, the Shorthair was at first slow to gain acceptance. As modern breeding minimized early hound traits and emphasized the Shorthair’s dominant hunting, pointing and field and water retrieving instincts, appreciation grew for this multipurpose dog and demand increased. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1930. Clubs were formed, field and bench competitions flourished, and the Shorthair was on track to become a favorite bird dog of American sportsmen. Field-bred Shorthairs are intelligent, athletic dogs with females generally between 45-55 lbs and males between 50-60 lbs. They range in color from solid liver, to white and liver, and liver roan with patches. Black has now been recognized as a German Shorthaired Pointer color.

Originally intended for foot-shooting, as a practical, obedient and methodical bird dog, the scent-driven Shorthair is a great choice for the upland bird hunter. The comprehensive field-working habits, reliable nose and deeply ingrained pointing instinct of a well-trained German Shorthair will provide optimum shooting opportunities, while its irrepressible desire to retrieve will ensure that every downed bird goes into the bag. Those with more of an interest in the pursuit of field trialing, developed bloodlines with increased range, drive and speed to make them highly competitive field trial dogs.

For more information about field trial German Shorthaired Pointers please visit the National German Shorthair Pointer Association

— Barbara Teare, Peter Wilkin