Breed Profile: German Shorthaired Pointer

Known as one of the most versatile all-purpose gun dog breeds, we are privileged to see a lot of German Shorthaired Pointers travel in Gunner Kennels. Today, we take a broad look at what makes this sporting dog so special.

german shorthaired pointers
Photo by Overland Empire


A good German short-haired pointer which knows its job is not simply part of the equipment, it is the most important member of the team.”  – Hunter Pointer Retriever, The Continental Gundog

Breed Group: Gundog

Lifespan: 12+ years

Temperament: High Energy, Reliable, Willing To Please

Characteristics: Intelligent, Noble, Balanced, High Drive, Agile, Instinctive, Easy To Train, Enthusiastic, Versatile

Colors: Liver, Liver & White, White, White & Liver, Liver Roan, Black, Black & White, Black Roan

Markings: Patched, Ticked

Origin: Germany

Background: According to the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America, the GSP began as a continental gundog. The prototype for the German Shorthaired Pointer seems to be the German bird dog, and many sources say the genetic foundation for the wonder dog includes pointing breeds from the Mediterranean region of Spain, as well as England, France and Italy (like most breeds, the exact origin is muddy).

By the middle of the 18th century, pointers were being used across Europe largely thanks to the improvement of firearms in relation to bird hunting. Through a crossing of the aforementioned descendants, the Germans developed a breed with incredible scenting power linked to intelligence. By 1879, the breed had developed enough to have a standard set, which eliminated a large number of breeding stock for not exhibiting the appearance of early German pointers. Though the breed continued to evolve, its story was affected by the politics of WWII,  and GSPOA notes that the two 20th-century world wars caused “vast gaps in the breeding stock.” Read the detailed history of the GSP, how the breed was affected by WII, and its entry into the United States here.

Today, the GSP is widely recognized as a quintessential gun dog. The German Shorthaired Pointer breed was first admitted into the AKC Stud Book in 1930, and its first AKC-licensed field trial was held in 1944.   Fun Fact: The GSP is now the 11th most popular breed in the United States, largely due to its versatile traits that are suitable for families.

“The overall picture which is created in the observer’s eye is that of an aristocratic, well balanced, symmetrical animal with conformation indicating power, endurance and agility and a look of intelligence and animation.”
– AKC 

Profile on the breed, as gathered from the AKC, Pheasant’s Forever and the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America websites.

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