The German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) is one of the most versatile dog breeds, originating from the 19th century. If a dog could survive on love and energy, it would be a GSP. With their boundless energy, the GSP thrives when given a job. GSPs love playing on land and water and have become wonderful companion dogs.
GSP’s are great family dogs, but they can be problematic given their energy levels. Without proper exercise, a GSP can be hard on your furniture and may unknowingly knock over a child n their excitement.
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GSPs – Is my family a good fit for a GSP?
So, you’re looking for a new puppy? Congratulations. Bringing a new member of your family home is an exciting time. It’s a long-term commitment that you should be commended for.
Here’s the thing. As much as we’d love to place one of our puppies in every home, we know that would be unethical.
Because while we love the breed, we have to acknowledge that not every family is the perfect fit. In fact, at our boarding kennel, we’ve found that too many people don’t take the time to do what you’re doing right now; researching the right breeds.
But then while some breeders will try to sell you on the benefits of adding a GSP to your home, I want to do the opposite. I know, why would a breeder try to dissuade you from getting one of their dogs?
Because GSP’s aren’t for everyone. But then, how do you know? What should you be asking yourself? Here are 6 things to consider to know a GSP is for you.
There are very few dog breeds with more energy than a GSP. In fact, it can often feel like their energy is boundless.
This is good for someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, running through the woods or working in the fields, but if you can’t make that commitment, then your new bundle of joy may find her own way to expend that energy.
Not a few stuffies, pillows, and couches have fallen to the destructive force of a bored German shorthaired pointer.
Bred for hunting, the GSP thrives outdoors. Being so driven, they can have a difficult time adapting to smaller spaces, both indoors and outdoors.
Those living in an apartment will need access to large yards.
Additionally, because they are inherently driven to be outside with their family, GSP’s find it difficult to be alone and you will need to keep them both engaged and exercised as well as trained to deal with separation. It should be noted that GSP’s can tolerate hot weather well and cold weather marginally with a coat.
GSP’s offer their love openly. They are very friendly with family and friends.
That love can often be expressed by jumping onto people or leaning against them in various places like the kitchen table or your couch.
Those GSP’s who were bred more for companionship can be very friendly with strangers as well though hunters can be a little more aloof. The same could be said about meeting other dogs. GSP’s are tentative with other dogs at first, but will soon learn to play nicely.
Health and grooming
As with many of their quirks, GSP’s stay very healthy if you exercise them consistently. At optimum exercise times, you will also have to keep their protein and fat intake relatively high. You have to keep this mindful if you reduce their exercise as they can gain weight later in life as they slow down.
Though short-haired, GSPs still shed, relatively high in fact. You will want to brush them down weekly to make sure you don’t collect hair on your furniture and clothing. That said, they have very simple grooming needs. You can bathe them quickly and they need their nails done every other week or so.
What do we mean by this?
By performing certain health tests on the parents, we can feel confident in the health of the puppies that we produce. To achieve proper registration, testing should be performed after the age of two.
So, what diseases are GSP’s prone to getting, and more importantly, what can we do to reduce that risk?
Hips and elbows
Canine Hip Dysplasia generally develops from abnormal hip joints. With an abnormally formed hip, the cartilage will break down and eventually cause pain with movement. The prospect of hip dysplasia in GSPs means over time they could find difficulty walking and even standing up. While similar, elbows dysplasia causes issues with the dog’s gait and a decrease in range of motion. By screening the parents, we can guarantee that any issues are genetic in nature.
When it comes to breeding, a heart defect has two consequences. Not only is there a risk of genetically passing an issue to the next generation, but a severe enough heart defect could result in significant complications with the pregnancy itself. When testing for cardiac issues, a cardiologist listens to your dog’s heart for heart murmurs. Often, especially for GSPs, there are light murmurs that are natural and insignificant. If a murmur exists but sounds slight, then an Electro Cardio Gram (ECG) is used to confirm the significance.
It isn’t enough to just say we have these tests performed though. A reputable Breeder has to be transparent and show those results to you. While some tests can be performed earlier, hips and elbows must be done after two years to ensure sufficient time for structural issues to present. That means we’ve already invested time and effort into showing and proving a dog before they’re tested. And if they fail? Then we give them unconditional love in our home. Of course, our foundation animals came from reputable breeders who share our conviction so we could see their parents were tested in the same way.
So, let’s get to it. Do you want to see how our animals did? It’s all on the OFA website. For us, the easiest way is to add a link beside each dog so you can read it. Clicking on the litter will give you the full information on the sire as well.
GSP’s are very smart, but because most are highly motivated, either by food, praise, or toys, they can be easy to train if you are consistent with your protocol. You will want to work with them 3 or 4 times a day.
Things you want to train for:
- Recall and heeling for when they wander off-leash or run off after a squirrel, given their high prey drive.
- Crate use and self-regulation so you can trust them to be alone for moderate lengths of time.
To sit, given their propensity to jump up on you or your children in excitement.
Because GSP’s are so versatile, you can train them for several trick or working positions, including Hunter pointers, hunter retrievers, racing (FastCat), search and rescue, and trail running.