Where do they come from?
Early versions of this type of hunting dog, go as far back as the 17th century. The German Shorthaired Pointer, as we see it today is the result of a mid- late nineteenth century mix between Spanish pointers and bloodhounds, which created the GSP’s ancestor - the German bird dog. The German bird dog was created as a multipurpose hunting dog but soon hunters came to desire a dog that not only had the nose of a hound, the trailing and obedience skills of a Spanish pointer but also a dog that was elegant and aesthetically pleasing. This is when the English pointer was introduced to their bloodline.
And what were they bred for?
Unlike some breeds with a single specific job, the German ShortHaired Pointer was expected to be a versatile hunter as well as a well-behaved companion to live with. Hunters needed a dog that had an exceptional tracking ability, could handle prey of all sizes and point them out without causing damage but also a dog that had the stamina to keep up with the chase. Que - the German short haired pointer. A dog that can hunt, point and retrieve both on water and on land. Whilst they make great working dogs and are commonly found in working homes, their soft temperaments and patience also make them great family dogs. So, what are they like as family pets? Well… an absolute mixed bundle of love, hair and excitement.
Do they have good temperaments?
Their temperament is peaceful, friendly and gentle, which is why they are renowned for being great with children - although it’s worth noting that due to their notoriously excitable characters, they are sometimes better suited to families with older children. GSP’s are often referred to as ‘Velcro dogs’ and this nickname has been well earned. Their loyalty to their owners is second to none and once you have formed a bond with your GSP, it is not uncommon for them to suffer with separation anxiety. But separation anxiety or not, you will end up taking your GSP on all your adventures anyway, there is nothing this dog can’t excel at! You know that friend at school, who was annoyingly good at everything? Well that’s the German shorthaired pointer of the dog world.
What are their talents?
Well … as we said above, they are very versatile dogs both in their working environment and sports. You will see the German short haired pointer competing in everything from pointing field trials, to agility, flyball and dock diving. Most GSP owners will find it important to find an outlet for their dogs’ boundless energy, for us that outlet has been canicross. Not only does it allow our GSP to run off his energy, but it also allows us to work together. By having this outlet where we work together, it’s also increased his engagement with training, where looking to us for commands has become second nature.
Are they generally healthy dogs?
The average lifespan of a GSP is 12-14 years and whilst they can be prone to minor health concerns, they are generally healthy dogs. If you should decide to buy a German short haired pointer through a reputable breeder, it is important to be aware of both the mother and fathers hip score as pointers can be prone to canine hip dysplasia. Another health problem that poses a risk to pointers, along with many large breeds is bloat. Bloat is the term used to describe Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus. It is a life-threatening condition that can develop in dogs, where the stomach rapidly fills with gas and/or fluid and then flips upon itself. This cuts off the blood supply to the gut and stops gas escaping. Pointers are often particularly susceptible to bloat due to their narrow, deep chests. To avoid the risk of bloat developing in your GSP, it is advised they eat through a slow feeder and any strenuous exercise is avoided two hours after feeding.
These dogs are great companions and keen workers but be sure before you welcome one into your home that you’re prepared for the dedication they require!
Thank you to Emily for this amazing blog post (Insta: @quinn_daya_thepointerpair)
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