German Wirehaired Pointer

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Get all the facts about the German Wirehaired Pointer from their personality traits to their history in our complete guide.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
14 to 16 years
Size:

Medium

Maintenance Level:

Medium

Shed Level:

Very Low

Temperament:
Lust For LifeLovingActive
Coat Color:
Liver And White

Best For

German Wirehaired Pointers are best for active households and experienced pet parents who like to spend a lot of time outside. City dwellers take note: These hunting dogs love their space and need it to burn off chart-topping amounts of energy. They're not going to be content to hunt the duckies in your tub.

German Wirehaired Pointer Traits

What makes the German Wirehaired Pointer a German Wirehaired Pointer? Let's find out how they stack up.

German Wirehaired Pointer Temperament

Think of the German Wirehaired Pointer as your family’s camp counselor: They’re here for you whenever you need them and are always willing to listen. But hey, why don’t we have this conversation outside? While we hike. Or perhaps while stalking through a field. Or better yet, let’s talk while we find some ducks to chase. (OK, your camp counselor probably never suggested that.)

The point(er) is, German Wirehaired Pointers love nothing more than to be with their pet parent, especially if you love the Great Outdoors as much as they do. Loyal and loving, they make great family dogs, as long as kids big or little understand and respect the pup’s boundaries. They’re eager to please, and when they’re not engaged in the Very Serious Act of Being Outside Doing All The Things, these pups have a sweet side to their personality that charms everyone they meet.

These friendly pups generally get along well with other dogs and cats if they are raised with them. Other small animals would be well advised to steer clear of German Wirehaired Pointers, because Pointers gotta Point, and they’ll point right at and retrieve any squirrel, rabbit, duck or other creature in the wild—or your backyard.

German Wirehaired Pointers have that classic working dog trait—if they have a job to do (hunting, tracking, sorting laundry), they are On. It. In addition to the jobs they do at home, these pups also have careers in the professional world. With their strong nose skills, they make excellent drug detection dogs and have even found success as therapy dogs, bonding closely to their person. Without a job, they may figure out something else to do to pass the time, and you may not like what they choose. They are highly intelligent and need to keep their brains as active as their bodies.

How to Care for a German Wirehaired Pointer

A German Wirehaired Pointer is loving and loyal but definitely not lazy. While pretty low-maintenance when it comes to their grooming needs, this hunting breed makes up for it with their massive amounts of energy that requires daily, vigorous exercise to burn off. They’re active and intelligent, so keeping their bodies and their brains engaged is essential to their—and your—happiness!

German Wirehaired Pointer Health

The German Wirehaired Pointer breed has a lifespan of 14 to 16 years, but they can be prone to some health problems. Knowing about them in advance can help keep your pup healthy for longer.

  • Bloat: Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV), also known as gastric torsion and commonly known as bloat, is a condition where a dog’s stomach will twist on itself and fill with gas, which cuts off blood supply to the stomach. GDV can be fatal, but preventative surgery to suture the stomach in place can greatly reduce the risk. You can help prevent bloat by feeding your pup smaller meals more frequently throughout the day with a slow feeding bowl.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: This is an inherited condition when the bones of the elbow joint don’t fit properly. It can cause pain and difficulty walking and often leads to arthritis. X-rays are needed to confirm the diagnosis, and surgery is usually the best form of treatment.
  • Hip Dysplasia: When the ball and socket of a dog’s hip doesn’t develop and align properly, the bones will grind against each other, limiting your dog’s ability to run, jump, climb stairs and more. Keeping them at a healthy weight and restricting physical exercise can help, but if the case is severe, your dog may need surgery.
  • Von Willebrand Disease: This is a bleeding disorder caused by a protein deficiency (von Willebrand factor) that help platelets stick together and form clots. While most dogs with the disease never show symptoms, some dogs may get a spontaneous nose bleed or have prolonged bleeding after injury or surgery. Drug treatment is available to treat certain cases.
  • Aortic Stenosis: Aortic stenosis is an inherited heart condition wherein your pup has a partial blood flow obstruction, making their heart work harder to pump blood. This is most often caught during a routine wellness exam as a heart murmur. No treatment is required for mild cases, but more severe cases may require long-term medication.
  • Hypothyroidism: This is a deficiency of thyroid hormone. Signs of this condition can include dry skin and coat, hair loss, susceptibility to other skin diseases, weight gain, fearfulness, aggression or other behavioral changes. Your vet can conduct a blood screening test annually to screen for it. Treatment is replacement hormones given in the form of a pill.

German Wirehaired Pointer History

A close relative of the German Shorthaired Pointer, the German Wirehaired Pointer’s origin story starts in, you guessed it, Germany, where they were bred to be versatile hunting dogs. Other dogs in the German Wirehaired Pointer’s genealogy are believed to include the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon and Polish water dogs.

At first, these dogs were bred simply to keep up with the demand for hunting dogs, but eventually, it transformed into needing a bird dog who could do it all—run through brush, swim through water, stalk through tall grass and more. And because of that, the German Wirehaired Pointer needed a standout feature. Enter their low-maintenance, wiry coat that protects them against the brush and the elements.

The breed crossed the pond to the United States in the 1920s, and the American Kennel Club recognized the German Wirehaired Pointer in 1959 as its 113th breed.

Thinking about adding a German Wirehaired Pointer to your family? You can find reputable breeders on the American Kennel Club’s website, where the average German Wirehaired Pointer costs between $800 and $1,200. For that price, you’ll likely get a dog who’s been screened for health and temperament issues and may come with pedigree papers. You can also reach out to German Wirehaired Pointer rescue organizations or keep an eye out for the breed at your local animal shelter to adopt a pup.

FAQs

Do German Wirehaired Pointers shed?

Yes, German Wirehaired Pointers shed lightly year-round, so they’re not a great choice for allergy sufferers.

Are German Wirehaired Pointers good family dogs?

Yes, German Wirehaired Pointers are good family dogs—and incredibly loyal. They do well with children, as long as the kiddos are taught to respect the pup’s boundaries.

Are German Wirehaired Pointers aggressive?

The German Wirehaired Pointer breed is not aggressive with people. However, they can be aggressive toward other animals if they’re not properly trained or socialized. If they see the neighborhood cat or other small animal go by, their hunting instinct may kick in for them to give chase.

How big do German Wirehaired Pointers get?

German Wirehaired Pointers don’t get very big; they’re medium-sized dogs. They typically weigh between 50 to 70 pounds and are no taller than 26 inches at the shoulder.

How long do German Wirehaired Pointers live?

German Wirehaired Pointers live between 14 to 16 years, which means plenty of time to make memories with your pup.

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Top Takeaways

German Wirehaired Pointers are devoted dogs who love two things: the freedom of the outdoors and you. If you’re an active pet parent looking for a sidekick to take on your many adventures, the German Wirehaired Pointer is ready and waiting to make those memories with you.

Expert input provided by veterinarian Ted Vlahos, DVM, of Burnham Park Animal Hospital, and certified dog trainer Gayle Cosentino, CGC, CCGC, owner of It’s a ‘Paws’-Itive Thing dog training.

Photo credit for “How do I look?” New York Times

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Tips from German Wirehaired Pointer Parents

  1. Very good analysis. Riley is my 3rd GWP and is the sweetest dog. He has a special cat in his life named Sammie and they are attached at the hip. The AKC has been encouraging the growth of dog sports and we do lure coursing wich is alot of fun and dock diving, plus I know he will like barn hunt. GWPs are good at obedience and agility too.