The German Shorthaired Pointer or GSP as it is popularly called is a large hunting breed developed in Germany in the 19th century. Some of its prominent physical features include a well-balanced body, clean-cut head, medium-sized almond-shaped eyes with an intelligent expression, broad, high set ears, sufficiently long muzzle, and a firm high set tail. Following the tradition of most German Pointers, this breed also possesses webbed feet that helps it to efficiently move around in the water and chase waterfowl.
|Other names||Vorstehhund, Deutscher kurzhaariger, Deutsch Kurzhaar, Kurzhaar|
|Coat||Short, thick, smooth, while the undercoat is dense|
|Color||Black, liver, black roan, black and white, liver and white, liver roan, white and liver|
|Group||Hunting, Sporting, Pointer|
|Lifespan||10 to 12 years|
|Height||Male: 23-25 inches Female: 21 -23 inches|
|Weight||Male: 55-70 PoundsFemale: 45-60 pounds|
|Litter size||7 to 12 puppies|
|Behavioral traits||Intelligent, friendly, confident, affectionate, willing, smart, enthusiastic|
|Good with children||Yes|
|Barking tendency||Moderately low|
|Climate compatibility||Adapts well to a mild climate|
|Competitive Registration Qualification/Information||AKC, CKC, ANKC, UKC, NZKC, FCI, KC (UK)|
Though there is not much clarity regarding the actual origination of this breed, there are speculations of the GSP to have stemmed from the German Bird Dog, which in turn shares its lineage with the Old Spanish Pointer, a 17thcentury German breed.
Other breeds like Arkwright Pointer, German Pointer, several German hounds as well as varieties of tracking dogs were also instrumental in its development, which indeed enhanced its versatility to the fullest.
Because of its hunting capability, this breed was a top favorite of the royals, with Prince Albrecht zu Solms Braunfels being instrumental in its development. The prince, along with his hunting companions took utmost initiatives in imbibing the GSP with qualities that helped it become an all-purpose hunting dog.
It has hunted a host of quarries including game birds, rabbits, possum, deer and raccoon with utmost success. Besides attaining AKC’s recognition in 1930, it gained popularity all over the world.
In spite of being a hunting dog, the GSP is a perfect family pet, winning over everyone with its loyal, friendly, smart, enthusiastic, intelligent and affectionate nature. They are good with kids of the family though supervision is needed during its interaction with the little one’s as these dogs are noted for their boisterous nature. Most of them are known to be wary or shy on encountering strangers but are not aggressive. Once acquainted with the latter many are known to greet them with warmth. They get along well with other dogs, but keeping in mind their hunting lineage, they could get after furry animals like rabbits and cats. They tend to get bored easily, thus leaving them alone for prolonged periods could affect their personality adversely.
They are athletic dogs and keeping their tradition of hunting in mind, these dogs have high exercise needs to channelize their energy in a positive manner. If not exercised in a proper manner the German Shorthaired Pointer may turn hyperactive and extremely destructive. Their physical workouts may include brisk walks in the morning and evening for half an hour alongside running as well as playing in a properly fenced area. Being athletic they can easily escape from 4ft x 6ft enclosures. Hence, involving them in carting, running, skijoring and mushing could lessen their instinct to escape. They would also do well in field events, dock diving, obedience and agility.
They are not excessive shedders barring the shedding season, and owing to their short, smooth coat, they have minimum grooming needs. Brushing them once a week using a brush with firm bristles. Rubbing its coat using a chamois or towel would help maintaining the shine. Bathe it only when it gets dirty and wipe it well if it has got drenched after a hunting spree in order to avoid chills. Cleaning its eyes and ears, brushing its teeth and trimming its nails are the other hygiene needs which should be implemented.
Some of the common health problems faced by the German Shorthaired Pointer include hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy, skin disorders, epilepsy, pannus, and osteochindrosis dissecans. Being a deep-chested dog, they could be highly prone to bloating that may be life threatening needing instant veterinarian attention.
They are smart and intelligent with escaping abilities, hence the GSP is not a good option for novice owners. They need firm and tactful training to curb their disciplinarian issues.
Socialization: The GSP puppies require to be socialized on a regular basis in order to help them understand the good and the bad. Acquainting them with a host of experiences and people of varied physical features would help the GSP identify a threat and react accordingly.
Obedience: Training them on commands like “No”, “Stop” and “Stay” would be helpful in overcoming their unwanted behaviors like aggression, chasing instincts and occasional bouts of hyperactivity.
Leash training: This is a mandate since the GSP is a strong chaser.
An active, adult GSP requires 1504 calories on a regular basis, while a German Shorthaired Pointer involved in hunting needs about 3340 calories regularly. Their diet should contain fat and protein in proper percentages which can be obtained from good quality dry dog food and also a nutritious homemade diet. Give them food in measured amounts as overfeeding might result in bloating.
It has been used in literature and art to a great extent, and authors like Thomas Mann and Robert B Parker has widely used the GSP as a part of the theme.