Roadtest: German Shorthaired Pointer

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Roadtest: German Shorthaired Pointer

Breed: German Shorthaired Pointer
Temperament: Active and agile
Cost: $500 – $600
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Recommended for: Active people
Dumpage rate: Low
Popularity: Declining, ranked 31 out of 174 breeds
Maintenance: Low


German Shorthaired Pointers (often shortened to ‘GSP’ by dog enthusiasts) were developed in Germany as a multi-purpose gun dog, to replace the need for both a pointer and a retriever. The term ‘to point’ refers to the stance a dog takes when it finds game and then strikes a rigid pose to indicate to its handler that there is game ahead.

Today the breed is popular as a pet and companion. It is included on the Burke’s Backyard Recommended List for families with older children.


The GSP is a medium sized dog, with a rather noble, square outline. It has a short smooth coat in three colours:

solid liver
liver with white markings
liver with black and white markings
Adult males are 58.4 to 63.5cm (23-25″) tall while adult females stand 53.3 to 58.4cm (21-23″) tall. They weigh around 20 to 31kg (40-68lb). The breed has dropped ears. Traditionally the tail has been docked tail.


The GSP is an even-tempered and protective watch dog without being aggressive. They are tolerant of other dogs and will adapt quickly to children. The animal is affectionate towards its human family. The breed is intelligent but late to mature. For these reasons breeders recommend that dogs be trained, and GSPs do enjoy the mental exercise of learning new things and of being stimulated.

Health and lifespan

GSPs live for 10 to 12 years. The selective breeding for a good working dog has meant an overall soundness of the breed. There is a very low incidence of hip dysplasia in this breed. There have been some reports of everted third eyelids, hermaphroditism, mouth cancers and a tendency towards obesity. Always check the pedigree and family history of your puppy.


GSPs are hearty eaters. Breeders recommend a diet of dry food, fresh meat and brisket bones. A more active dog will require more to eat, but on average, it costs $15 a week to feed a GSP.


The breed has no whelping problems, and litters range from seven to 10 pups.


A low maintenance breed, dogs require only a wipe over with a hand mitt once a week to remove loose hairs, and a bath when warranted. Ears should be checked and wiped clean at least once a week.

Housepet potential, space and exercise

GSPs are equally at home indoors or outdoors. They do shed some hair, but not as much as longer-haired breeds. They are active, and need plenty of exercise and a reasonable sized yard, and are not suited to units. A GSP needs a minimum of one hour’s walk each day on a leash. They excel at agility training and field trials, and of course, at pointing. Pointing involves a dog examining a field, finding game and then striking a rigid pose to indicate to its handler that there is game ahead.

Ideal owner

The GSP is an active dog and requires a similarly-minded human family, especially one with energetic older children who can include the dog in their games.


A GSP will cost between $500 and $600.

Further information

Canberra Kennel Association
PO Box 815
Dickson, 2602
Phone: (02) 6241 4404

Lynn and Carolyn Butler
Phone: (02) 9679 1330

North Australian Canine Association
PO Box 375321
Winnellie, 0821
Phone: (08) 8984 3570

German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Qld
Olga Gillies
Phone: (07) 3807 4822
Fax: (07) 3807 4421

South Australian Canine Association
PO Box 844
Prospect East, 5082
Phone: (08) 8349 4797

German Shorthaired Pointer Club of SA
Sec: Jenni Drew
Phone: (08) 8295 1484

Tasmanian Canine Association
PO Box 116
Glenorchy, 7010
Phone: (03) 6272 9443

Victorian German Shorthaired Pointer
Vicki Thomas,
386 Pound Road
Narre Warren, 3805
Phone: (03) 9704 6877

The Canine Association of WA
PO Box 301
Gosnells, 6110
Phone: (09) 455 1188