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German Wirehaired Pointer


German Wirehaired Pointer


General Description:

The German Wirehaired Pointer originated in Germany where there was a need for a dog that could multitask: ie. point upland game, work in the water, retrieve/ track/ find wounded and dead game.  These abilities required a dog capable of working independently & of a strong tenacious temperament. It was bred to be able to work boldly with wounded game.  The GWP is a medium sized dog, rough coated with beard & eyebrows.  Tail is generally docked.  They are curious, clever, and learn rapidly.

Can be aloof with strangers.

Require daily exercise or learning activity!  They will find things to do on their own if you do not provide them with constructive activities.



Females: Generally are smaller than Males, but not under 22 inches. Males: Preferred height at the withers is 24-26 inches. Weight is proportional to size from 50-80 lbs.



Colors are generally a combination of brown & white. Usually with some sort of ticking or spotting. The breed may be solid brown with a little bit of white on chest and/or legs. The head/ears are brown with or without a blaze. Black while AKC registerable is not a color allowed to be shown in the conformation ring. A dog with a black nose is always considered to be black. All GWP’s can participate in AKC events such as hunt tests, obedience, agility & rally.


Energy Level:

High energy level, busy, curious, can be very high maintenance as youngsters & teenagers. Not a good breed for a non-active home or one too busy to work with a gwp. Multiple obedience classes are good to take when the dog is a teenager.


Life expectancy:

10+ years.



Many GWP’s are extremely tolerant of their own children, but some perceive them as lesser pack members. They can be both possessive of their children, and jealous- especially of younger children. Consistant and realistic rules for both kids and gwps make for a happy safe home. In general we prefer to adopt to families with small children on a case by case scenario, and ideally with some history on the gwps background. Prior gwp experience is preferred if you have children.


Other animals:

GWPs are seldom good with other dogs of the same sex. It is a rare gwp that does well with cats. Some gwps may be good with a family cat they grew up with. do not recommend this breed for homes with cats. GWP’s have strong hunting instincts which also means high prey drive towards smaller animals.



A GWP can do literally anything you are capable of teaching to them. They enjoy activities that require them to think, and be active. While they like to carry objects; sometimes obsessively, they will need obedience training for reliable retrieving. They make excellent obedience dogs, but do not enjoy repetition simply for the sake of repeating an exercise they already know. They are well suited as good hunting partners, Flyball, Dock Dog, and can become good running partners, but do best with supervision and training before being allowed off leash work.



There can be a wide range in what a gwp’s coat looks like. Heavier coated dogs with longer coats (2-3 inches) will need weekly brushing, and bi-annual stripping of their coats to maintain the GWP appearance. They can be messy and their beards wet to touch when longer coated. GWP’s do not shed a lot. Smooth coated gwps do exist but will not have beards & eyebrows/coat and will look like a German Shorthair. Some GWP’s only have a goatee, short body coat (1/2-1”) and lack eyebrows.



Major health concerns would be thyroid issues, and cancer in the older GWP. Some instances are cropping up of dogs that have had seizures-may be tumor related.


Best with:

Individual or couple with an active lifestyle. Families with time to provide them with the attention and exercise they need. Older kids are best. They must have daily exercise and require home able to provide them with daily interaction and attention.


Not for:

“Stay at home” family. Does not do well living solely in kennel. Wants to participate in family activities. Adoptors considering a gwp must understand the breed likes to hunt regardless of ones personal like or dislike of hunting.



Smart, learns rapidly, appealing unique appearance, devoted to owner. Ideal hunting breed *Note: Many rescues will be unable to hunt due to prior bad experiences (gunshy/harsh and/or unrealistic past expectations). If you are looking for a dog that is specifically to hunt with please contact the national club for someone in your area-rescue gwps are looking for permanent secure homes and hunting ability is NOT criteria for placement.
  • Versatile hunting dog.  With training can make a superior upland game dog and retriever of waterfowl.



Can be protective, dislike strangers, want to hunt: for a “nonhunting “ home this means: cats/small dogs/squirrels/rabbits, pocket pets. Can be too smart, manipulative.
  • They will not stay home without good fencing.  They are not a breed that will sit on a porch and wait for attention. A fence often times is just something to go over…for the odd individual that likes to climb, height is not a criteria for staying within the yard. 
  • Can be a bit of a slob, wet beard.  Messy. If you are tidy and don’t like mud or wet marks on your clothes this is not the ideal breed for you or your family. Need grooming as they will pick up burrs/stickers in the field depending on coat length.
  • May not be able to go to dog parks as they can be unreliable towards other dominant dogs of the same sex, and not behave reliably with small breeds.


Further Information:

German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America.
German Wirehaired Pointer National Rescue
Breed Details

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