German Wirehaired Pointer

April 17, 2021

This multi-purpose dog is a hunter, pointer, and retriever! Interested in learning more about the German Wirehaired Pointer? We’ve got all the details in this guide.

German wirehaired pointer

Height: 22-26 inches
Weight: 23-32 kilos
Lifespan: 14-16 years
Pedigree? (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club.

Positives and Negatives

Below are the pros and cons related to the German Wirehaired Pointer:

Pros:

  • Intelligent and easy to train
  • Low shedders, easy grooming maintenance
  • Excellent watchdogs
  • Child friendly

Cons:

  • May be aggressive to dogs of the same gender
  • Shouldn’t live in an apartment, needs outdoors space
  • Strong prey drive
  • High level of exercise needs

Overview

The Germans needed a versatile, all-round hunting dog, that could overcome a variety of issues other breeds faced. Hungary has the Vizsla, Italy has the Italian Spinone, leading Germany to produce the German Wirehaired Pointer.

Whilst there were other breeds created for this purpose, the GWP dog stood out the best due to its weather-resistant coat. Soon after their creation in the 19th century, hunters across Germany were trying to get their hands on the Wirehaired Pointer puppies available.

These dogs are intelligent, easy to train and have a weather-resistant coat. They can easily adapt from working dog to family companion making them ideal choices for many. However, this dog is used to staying by its owner’s side and could develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.

German wirehaired pointer standing on grass

German Wirehaired Pointers have a high prey drive. Their scent is strong and they won’t hesitate to start a chase. This breed has high exercise needs and will need a couple of hours exercise each day. Only active owners should consider this pooch.

Puppies are always a great choice as they’re impressionable, but can also be expensive. Interested in a German Wirehaired Pointer rescue?  Then check out this link and see if you can offer a GWP their new forever home!

History

The German Wirehaired Pointer was created in the 1800s to hunt amongst harsh terrains and weather. These gun dogs were trained to hunt, point, and retrieve in their native Germany. In German, their name is Deutsch Drathaar. Their cousins are the German Shorthaired Pointers.

Pointing dogs, with a wired coat, were highly sought after during the 1800s. Many countries produced their own versions of a versatile working dog and the GWP was Germany’s. During their development, a wiry coat was a must! It enables them to work in harsh conditions on both land and water.

In the late 1800s, the German Wirehaired Pointer was finally established as their own breed, as opposed to just a gundog. The Pudelpointer, German Shorthaired Pointer, the German Broken-coated pointer, and others were also separately established.

The breed was introduced recently to the UK and was registered to the Kennel Club in the 1970s. The AKC recognized the breed slightly earlier in 1959. Whilst they aren’t too popular in Britain, they are prized for their hard-working mentality in Germany. They’ve also become popular family pets and companions in their native land.

Related: All you need to know about the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is here in this guide.

Personality

German Wirehaired Pointer Temperament:

Active, loyal, well-mannered, and friendly, the GWP makes an excellent working dog and family companion. Their love for the outdoors means these dogs won’t suit an apartment lifestyle. Rural areas are the best places for these dogs to excel.

These pooches are deeply affectionate and hold a strong bond with their owners and families. An active lifestyle is a must for any prospective owners interested in the breed. GWP puppies may stray on an exploration, but as they get older, they won’t want to leave their owner’s side. Separation anxiety is a possibility if they’re left alone for too long.

Are German Wirehaired Pointers Good With Strangers?

The GWP is often aloof and reserved with strangers. They’re watchdogs and will always be on the alert to any newcomer approaching their territory. If they haven’t been socialized well, they may become unfriendly towards strangers but not aggressive.

German wirehaired pointer standing on grass

Are German Wirehaired Pointers Good With Children?

Yes, this breed is an excellent companion for children. Their playful, energetic personality matches perfectly with a child. They also love the extra attention received. This breed can live with smaller children if raised together but suit older kids best.

Are German Wirehaired Pointers Ok With Other Dogs?

This canine can get live well with other dogs. They may, however, become aggressive towards dogs they don’t know, especially those of the same sex. To avoid this behavior, socialization needs to begin as early as possible. Despite their hunting background, the GWP is able to live around cats.

Exercise

This active and energetic breed will need around 2 hours of exercise each day. They can easily keep up with hikes,  long walks, and make excellent jogging partners.

The Wire-haired Pointer has an incredible sense of smell and a high prey drive. They should always be leashed unless in an enclosed space. When walking in rural spaces, the GWP must be recall trained before being allowed to roam freely. These dogs love swimming and have webbed feet to help them perform better in the water!

German wirehaired pointer on the swamp

Mental stimulation must be factored into the Wirehaired German Pointers exercise. Dog sports are a good way to do this and the breed excels in tracking, hunting, rally, obedience, and agility. Interactives games, hide and seek and other activities that make the GWP think are all good ways to keep this pooch mentally stimulated.

German Wirehaired Pointer puppies should receive an hour and a half worth of exercise each day. This can extend as they get older. It is important a puppy doesn’t overexert themselves as it could damage their growing joints.

Related: Discover more about the Neopolitan Mastiff next.

Health

Check out the breed-related health conditions of the German Wirehaired Pointer:

  • Hip Dysplasia- Poor development of the hip joint will cause lameness, pain, swelling and inflammation in the affected limb.
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus- The stomach twists trapping food contents and gases inside. This can be fatal and immediate veterinary attention will be required.
  • Atopy- Also known as Atopic Dermatitis, is a life-long skin condition causing itchiness. Rather than a cure owners will have to look into ways to control this.
  • Von Willebrands Disease- An inherited bleeding disorder common in both dogs and humans. The red blood cells used for blood clotting lack protein, this will cause excessive bleeding.
  • Entropion- The eyelid rolls inwards causing the eyelash to scratch the cornea. It will cause pain, ulcers, and possibly a change in pigmentation which could affect vision.
  • Cardiomyopathy- A serious, possibly fatal condition that over time will enlarge the heart chambers which could cause a leak.
  • Cherry Eye- The tear gland, also referred to as the third eyelid, becomes red and swollen.
  • Lymphedema- An obstruction in the lymphatic system will cause a build-up of lymph fluid in the body’s tissues. This will cause swelling in the affected areas.

Intelligence & Training

This breed is extremely intelligent. With an experienced gun dog owner, training is rather simple. As always sessions should start from as early as possible, ideally around 10-12 weeks.

This hard-working pooch will need mental stimulation and exercise alongside their training. If these needs aren’t met, training won’t be worthwhile.

If the sessions are long and monotonous the GWP will most certainly become bored. Sessions should last 10-15 minutes with something different happening each day. Obedience training is the most important. These dogs aren’t extremely dominant by nature, so establishing leadership won’t be too much of a challenge.

A natural people pleaser, the German Wire-haired Pointer is completely satisfied with rewards of affection, but food treats can also be included. This gun dog would benefit from puppy classes where they can grow and learn around other canines.

Consistency really is important. If you let a GWP get away with bad behaviors, these will quickly become habits. It is hard to unlearn learnt behavior so boundaries should be strict and always enforced. Stay positive, calm, and always exercise this dog before trying to get them to concentrate.

Related: Is the Flat-Coated Retriever a low-maintenance breed? Find out the answer in our guide.

Grooming

German Wirehaired Pointers have a dense, wiry coat that is sometimes confused with the Terriers! They hardly shed but will need some extra attention in the Spring and Autumn months. Their harsh coat protects them from the weather and will shed dirt.

Pin brushes, slicker brushes, bristle brushes, a comb, and a stripping knife will be needed for their coat. Brushing is required at least once a week. In Winter this pooches undercoat is thick, in Summer it almost completely disappears!

German wirehaired pointer sitting on grass

The GWP has long facial hair which could become messy. To prevent bacteria, cleanse this after meal times, or whenever debris becomes noticeable. This dog should be bathed every 4-6 weeks as wire coated breeds will need to be washed more frequently. Brush them first before their bath.

Nails need to be trimmed every 4-8 weeks. Overgrown nails can cause pain and discomfort. Ears should be checked and cleaned weekly to prevent ear infections. Teeth will need to be brushed 3-4 times a week. Grooming is a great way to bond with a dog and should be introduced as early as possible.

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