The German Wirehaired Pointer is curious, clever, learns rapidly, and requires a home where daily exercise and activity is the norm.
The German Wirehaired Pointer originated in Germany where there was a need for a dog that could multitask: point at upland game, work in the water, retrieve, track, and locate wounded and dead game. These abilities required a dog capable of working independently, with a strong, tenacious temperament that wouldn’t shy away from wounded game.
This breed is intelligent and will learn rapidly. A German Wirehaired Pointer requires daily exercise and/or learning activity—if not given enough mental and physical stimulation, they will find things to do on their own that are usually not constructive. GWPs are dedicated to their family, but can be aloof with strangers.
- Individuals or couples with an active lifestyle, or families with enough time to provide this breed with the attention and exercise they need.
- Older children.
- The “stay at home” family.
- Families with cats or other small animals / pets.
- Living in a kennel; this dog needs to participate in family activities.
- People who are put off by hunting: this breed lives to hunt.
- Smart, learns rapidly.
- Unique, appealing appearance.
- Devoted to its owner.
- Versatile and ideal hunting dog; with training, this breed can make a superior upland game dog and retriever of waterfowl. However, GWPs are often turned into rescue because of hunting issues related to past negative experiences, including gun shyness, harsh treatment, and/or unrealistic past expectations. If you are looking for a dog specifically to hunt with, please contact the national club for someone in your area. Our rescued GWPs are looking for permanent, secure homes where hunting ability is NOT a criteria for placement.
- Can be protective.
- May dislike strangers.
- May have an obsessive desire to hunt, which for a “non-hunting “ home could result in hunting cats, small dogs, squirrels, rabbits, and pocket pets.
- Can be too smart, to the point of being manipulative.
- GWPs will not stay home unless you have very good fencing. 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.
- GWPs are not laid-back: they will not sit around and wait for attention.
- Can be a bit of a messy slob, with a frequently wet beard. 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 their rough coat will pick up burrs and stickers in the field, depending on coat length.
- May not be able to go to dog parks as they can be unreliable with other dominant dogs of the same sex, and/or small breeds.
The preferred height for males is 24-26 inches at the withers. Weight is proportional to size, and ranges from 50-80 pounds. Females are generally are smaller than males, but not under 22 inches.
Colors are generally a combination of brown and white, usually with some sort of ticking or spotting. The breed may also be solid brown with a little bit of white on chest and/or legs. The head and ears are typically brown, with or without a blaze. While AKC register-able, a black GWP is not allowed to be shown in the conformation ring; and a dog with a black nose is always considered to be black. Regardless of color, all GWPs can participate in AKC events such as hunt tests, obedience, agility and rally.
High energy level: busy, curious, can be very high maintenance as youngsters and teenagers. Not a good breed for a non-active home or one too busy to work with a GWP. Multiple obedience classes are recommended when the dog is a teenager.
Many GWPs are extremely tolerant of their own children, but some perceive them as lesser pack members, which can cause undesirable behaviors. 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 when we have some history on the GWPs background. Prior GWP experience is preferred if you have children.
GWPs are seldom good with other dogs of the same sex. It is likewise a rare GWP that does well with cats. Some GWPs may be good with a family cat they grew up with, but overall, we do not recommend this breed for homes with cats. GWPs 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 GWP’s coat. 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. Longer coated GWPs can be messy and their beards wet to touch. GWPs do not shed a lot. Smooth coated GWPs do exist, but they do not have beards long eyebrows/coat, and thus will look like a German Shorthair. Some GWPs only have a goatee, short body coat (1/2 to 1”) and lack eyebrows.
Major health concerns include thyroid issues, and cancer in the older GWP. Some instances of seizures are cropping up that may be tumor-related.