If you are looking for the most loyal, kind, affectionate and loving family companion, then look no further than the German Pointer. With their intelligent hazel eyes and large attentive ears, they are the ideal picture of perfect. Although they have their quirks with their stubbornness and cheekiness, they make up for it with their fun-loving nature and gentle temperament. Some highlights:
German Pointers are highly intelligent and, with the correct training, a joy to work with and easily trainable
Adore the outdoors and thrive in a home that loves walks and adventures as much as they do.
They are never happier when they feel they are part of a family, dependable on human company and the bonds they make with family members.
Although from the outside they are graceful, agile and beautiful, they can be cheeky and mischievous. They can be very stubborn, requiring an owner that can be firm yet kind to keep them in check. This is important as they may try to be the dominating figure in the family, ignoring commands and disobeying calls. Some downsides to the German Pointer:
Although German Pointers are very good-natured, they are not the best choice for first-time dog owners, as they need someone with experience to control their naughty tendencies.
They have a lot of energy, needing vigorous daily exercise, and access to an outdoor space of their own like a garden. They do not do well as apartment dogs.
This breed is also slow to mature, only fully growing up and calming down at about 2 years old. Patience and understanding are needed by the owner through this period when they need the most training.
The strong bonds that they form with the family also cause them to have separation anxiety when they are away from their owners for long periods of time.
Although the actual origins of this breed is unclear, it is believed that German Pointers were descendants of the ancient German Bird Dog, whilst also having some of the Spanish Pointer’s genetic traits. They were traditionally used as tracking and hunting dogs alongside breeds such as the Bloodhound, bred for their agility and stalking abilities. In the past, Germany was full of thick forest and open land, homing game such as rabbit, deer, wild boar, wolves and grouse. These Pointers were used to track prey such as this, with their immense sense of smell, high level of stamina and their well-known ‘point’ they would do to alert their owners the presence and direction of an animal they have noticed. When World War II came around, the numbers of this breed fell, as no one wanted a German hunting dog because of their connection to the ‘Fatherland’. However, those that loved the breed hid them, some being sent away to small countries that were not being impacted so heavily by the war, and then began to rebuild the breed with the very limited numbers. Today, German Pointers are one of the most popular hunting dogs around but are also renown for their wonderful companionship with people that love the outdoors.
The male German Pointer usually grows to be around 58-64cm, whilst females are usually smaller at 53-59cm.
This breed is a heavy one, matching their size, with males weighing around 25 – 32kg and females at a lighter 20- 27kg.
The German Pointer has an extremely noble and royal look, with their muscular strength and power being emphasised by their sleek coat. They come in a variety of colours and patterns, including Black, Black and White Spotted or Ticked, Liver and Liver and White Spotted or Ticked. They all have unique patterns which makes them even more enticing for owners to have their own distinctive Pointer.
Although they are not a barking breed and tend not to bark unnecessarily, they make excellent watchdogs, barking at unfamiliar and sudden noises to alert their owner of a presence, or if they want to get their owners attention. However, they tend not to attack the individual with aggression, but more intends to let the owner know of an unusual object.
German Pointers are extremely smart and intelligent, making them a fast learner. The negative side to this is that they often pick up bad habits alongside learning the correct commands. It is important that their training begins early and is consistent and firm throughout their life so they understand the owner’s expectations and requirements. They are happiest when they have a job to do, so keeping training interesting is key for progress. They are also extremely accomplished at canine sports such as agility and obedience, enjoying the attention and bond from their owner.
German Pointers are extremely playful, enjoying a tug of war or a game of fetch even as an adult. They are very good with children of all ages, but can often be boisterous with their playing, leaving the possibility that they may knock over a young child through excitement. Always supervise a dog playing with a child in case anything happens, no matter what the dog’s temperament is.
This breed can be slightly wary of other dogs, especially those that are bigger than itself, if they are not correctly socialised when they are younger, often being standoffish and barking at dogs in a way to assert their dominance. However, if introduced to all types of dogs at a young age, German Pointers can be friendly and playful with all pets. Their prey drive, however, is relatively high, seeing smaller animals as potential objects to chase. Early socialisation here is key, but also simply be aware of what your Pointer is doing and what their intentions are.
Unfortunately, German Pointers have a very high level of separation anxiety, struggling to be left alone for periods of time, both long and short. They tend to howl and bark, getting increasingly more stressed when they don’t have human company or contact or when they don’t have sufficient mental stimulation. It is a good idea to leave your dog with a toy or game, such as a Kong filled with treats so that they can be kept busy whilst you are gone. Interestingly, if there is another dog or friendly animal with them that they know, they do not get so worried so it is a good idea to leave your pets together if there is more than one that you own.
German Pointers adore water, traditionally able to retrieve and hunt game on both land and in water. However, this is not the case for all Pointers. Some may be tentative if they are not used to going into water, or who don’t enjoy baths. Again, early socialisation is important in order for them to get used to it and therefore find it an exciting opportunity. Swimming is very good for their joints and strength as well, which this breed requires.
This breed tends to live up to around 12 – 14 years with the correct care.
A German Pointer requires an extremely large amount of exercise in order to stay stimulated and not bored, which can often cause them to be destructive. It is recommended that they get at least an hour and half, if not 2 hours of vigorous exercise per day, including long walks, runs and following bicycle rides. Apart from this, they should also have playing time which will help get rid of any other excess energy that they still have after their walks. It is important that German Pointers get the correct amount of exercise per day as they can be prone to obesity, and therefore need an owner who will correctly adhere to these requirements.
Although this breed is relatively healthy throughout their lives, they can be prone to some issues that can cause problems:
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Von Willebrand’s Disease
Bloating, or Gastric Torsion.
German Pointers are relatively large dogs and also thrive when they have their own space. Even though they adore being part of the family, it is important that they have somewhere that they know is their space. Having an open crate or bed area is very important for this breed. However, they adore cuddling on the sofa with their family, never wanting to feel left out.
It is important to check with your vet what their recommendations are for your German Pointer, as it is dependent on their age, exercise level, health and gender. High-quality dry food is recommended for this breed, especially as they are prone to bloating and have a sensitive stomach.
This breed needs minimal grooming and does not shed very much throughout the year. However, around Spring they tend to lose a bit of fur due to the transition from the cold winter to the warm summer, but even still there is not a lot of visible shedding that sticks to furniture and clothes. The short-haired variety has very minimal grooming needs, only really needing a bath every month to get rid of mud and dirt ingrained under their coats. However, the long-haired variety requires more rigorous grooming, as their coats can be easily tangled when hunting and chasing game. They need a brush every 1-2 days to maintain their softness. This variation also tends to shed slightly more than the short-haired and is more visible due to the longer harsher fur.
As a rough guide in pricing: Cost to buy: roughly £700 - £1,000 for a well-bred German Pointer puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £70 - £100 per month
You can read our general buying guide here (/advice-on-buying-a-puppy/), with the most important thing being going to view your German Pointer Puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder. More specifically, here is some German Pointer puppy buying advice:
German Pointers can go through a stage where they try to become the dominant one in the relationship with the family, trying the boundaries and testing the limits of their owners. A calm and patient approach should be taken, ensuring that you don’t get too angry at them so much as to scare them, but be sure to consistently lay down the rules so that they grow to know what they are allowed to do and what they will be told off for. This period is a crucial learning curve for them and owners must be diligent and calm with their training, as progress will steadily be seen.
Due to the Pointer’s popularity, there are many online scams. To be aware of them, always look at the price that the puppy is listed at, which is usually lower if it is an illegitimate advert, and the description, which could be copied from another site or very short and vague. Always be sure to visit the puppy yourself before you pay any money to the breeder, allowing you to check the puppy is real and also check the breeder is legal. Puppies should always come with sufficient paperwork that is linked to their ancestry as well as the vaccinations that they have already had so far.
Traditionally, German Pointers have always had their tails docked. However, in 2007, a new law was passed that banned the docking of tails for commercial use, only allowing legitimate clames for working breeds to be docked. It is important that the puppies are only docked with agreement from all owners and also from an authorised vet.