Are German Shorthair Pointers Good Family Dogs?


People want to know if a German Shorthair Pointer is going to be a good family dog? After all, any pup will absolutely become a member of the family. Let’s sort this out!

Are GSP’s Good Family Dogs?

Yes! German Shorthairs are excellent family dogs, however, there are some considerations to take in regarding if a GSP is a good fit for your specific family. From yard size, activity levels, ages of kids, etc, let’s talk about how a GSP can be a great fit for your family.

The decision to get a new dog is a really big one. There are so many things to consider. There are factors like temperament, size, activity levels, aggressiveness, shedding, smell, and in most cases above all, people want to ensure this new pup will be a good fit for the family.

One of the first questions I get asked about a GSP is, will they fit into my family? It’s a valid question and not unexpected. After all, you’re making a decision to bring into your home a member of the canine species. You want to be assured that you’re not bringing an animal into your house that’s going to damage it or cause problems.

From snuggling on the couch, unloading your groceries, greet your guests all the way to your afternoon walks, a new dog is going to be by your side every step of the way. Factoring how this new pup will fit into your life is a huge consideration to take. 

German Shorthair Pointer Breed Background

Before we determine if a GSP is a good family dog, we need to understand their background.  The German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) is a breed of dog that originated in Germany. Their use here in the United States started in the late 1890s, and their popularity has steadily grown since then. Some of the reasons this breed is so popular include their hunting abilities and personality. This article will include some information about where the GSP initially came from and how they were typically used to hunt.

The German Shorthair Pointer has a long and proud history when it comes to hunting. Today, the German Shorthair is one of the most popular dogs in the United States. More than 107,000 puppies have been registered with the German Shorthair Pointer Club of America since 1972. This indicates that the dog breed has a pretty good chance of being around well into the future.

German Shorthair Pointer Activity and Energy Levels

German Shorthaired Pointers are a hunting breed of dog, and they are bred to hunt. In addition to having a prey drive that is hard to match, they have an incredible amount of energy and stamina. Proper exercise is critical for these dogs so that they don’t develop behavioral problems. 

The German shorthair pointer is an incredibly high energy dog. It’s important to remember that dogs cannot read our minds, and they need structure from us. Even though their herding instincts are strong, the GSP is happiest when he has a job to do, especially when you’re the one who trained him. Getting outside with your dog on a regular basis is essential for the GSP.

I want to talk a little bit about exercise, and what it can do for your dog. You all know I love german shorthair pointers, but, if you don’t have the means to deal with their high drive, you may find yourselves with a bored pup. A bored GSP equals something getting destroyed. I hate to say it, but it’s the truth. 

While they can be rambunctious and destructive when they’re bored, there ways that we can use this nature to our advantage. They are smart dogs and can be taught quite easily how to understand their commands, how to fetch things, and they can run around for hours on end until you tell them to stop.

Here are some basic tips to deal with the energy of a GSP:

  1. Regular Walks: This doesn’t need to be a marathon walk or even a structured walk. If you have a large yard, sit on the porch and toss the tennis ball until your shoulder gives (because it will give before your GSP gets tired).
  2. Dog Park: The ol’ dog park. Depending on where you live, this could be a wonderful or terrible option. On the good side, there are tons of other dogs to run around and play in a healthy manner. However, with dog parks, you could have some bad apples. Some dogs are aggressive, some are not up on shots/vaccines, and if there is a fight or injury, good luck figuring out payments and responsibility. 
  3. Doggie Day-Care: With the above in mind, reputable doggie daycare is awesome! They will ensure they control aggressive breed (or not have them at all), plus the vaccinations are checked before entry. The downside? It can get expensive. However, your GSP will love you forever if they can go play with their friends all day while you are at work!
  4. Durable/Safe Chew Toys: Durable (and safe) chew toys are awesome for a GSP. It helps them focus their mental and physical energy when you are tied up. For some great ones, see below in the accessory section. 
  5. Training Time: A good training session will always tire out your GSP pup. They LOVE to learn from you and make you happy. Spending an hour a day training can be a wonderful way to tire out your GSP!

German Shorthair Pointer Temperament and Environment

It’s hard to articulate the German Shorthair Pointer temperament or temperament traits of your pet GSP. Your dog could be described as friendly, aloof, territorial, and sensitive, but it’s hard to define exactly what this means. For a better understanding of German Shorthair Pointers, let’s look at the German Shorthair Pointer Temperament.

The natural temperament of the GSP is to be sweet, loyal, and a people pleaser. They love to cuddle and be by your side at all times. There isn’t much to worry about with temperament, as the GSP breed is not known for being aggressive. My GSP, Hank won’t even get aggressive with other dogs, he will literally just stay by my side and watch the others play.

One area of concern regarding temperament would be with a GSP that was either a Rescue or Adopted from another source. I say this not because rescues are bad THEY ARE GREAT. However, if the GSP came from an abusive home or maybe was homeless or neglected, it may be acting in a “survival/defense” mode until it realizes you are here to help and love. Once they learn that you are the good guy/gal, the GSP is loyal to the end.

If your thinking about a rescue, its a wonderful idea, check out our complete National German Shorthair Pointer Rescue Agency Directory FOR ALL STATES!

German Shorthair Pointer Yard Size and Exercise

Yard size and exercise can be one of the most common questions a new GSP owner will ask. The goal is to give you enough information to understand what is right for your GSP. This should help you make better decisions on yard size, housetraining, and daily exercise. A big part of this will come from your past experiences and personality and knowledge on owning a dog.

GSP’s are active dogs. They need daily physical and mental challenges just like our children. Without these, it leads to boredom and eventually destructive behavior. 

So when choosing the right yard size for your puppy, you need to ask yourself two questions. How busy is your day? How much time will you be able to spend with that puppy throughout the day? Be honest with yourself about these questions because it WILL become an issue if you are not prepared.

German Shorthair Pointer Yard Size Guide: 

  1. BEST: A large fenced yard where your GSP can run and play as needed preferably with a sibling as they are companion-dependent breeds.
  2. BETTER: Any size yard with regular walks and/or doggie daycare.
  3. NOT GREAT: An apartment. I’m not judging, I spent 6 months in an apartment with my GSP while moving for work. Now, this can be done, but you will absolutely need to 3xdaily walks and/or doggie daycare as otherwise, they will likely get bored and not have the exercise needed for mental and physical health.

Overall, as the breed loves to work, exercise, and please. Above that? They love to be curious and have fun! Thats a great combo!…..Unless you never exercise them. If you don’t exercise them, that curiosity and fun drive place them in a position where they figure something out on their own, and that might be them wanting to see what’s INSIDE your mattress. You have been warned!

Are German Shorthair Pointers Good With Kids?

This is a question many people ask themselves when deciding to add a new dog to their home. The quick answer is yes, however, like all things, there is an asterisk here, let’s talk about how to make sure your GSP is going to be good with your kids. 

While overall your GSP is going to be the BEST FRIEND of your kids, when it comes to smaller children, there are some things to do to make sure its a smooth relationship. Because a GSP is a fast-moving, powerful, high drive pup, that means when they are playing your GSP might run full speed through the house when they are excited. 

A 70-lb fur missile rounding a hallway corner with a 3-year-old toddler coming from the other side could spell a nasty collision. Or, your loving GSP pawing at you for a pet is fine, but what about pawing your toddler for a per? Could be a scratch on the face or an eye injury. On a simpler level, your GSP might just be happy to see the kids come home from school and may try to jump on the kids to greet them. Things happen. Training and Explaining to the family will do wonders. 

Educate your kids, talk to them about the breed! Explain the size, speed, and other concerns you may have. Explaining to your kids is the best way to work through this, if they understand, they can deal with most issues. 

Really, this isn’t much of an issue, just something to be aware of. GSP’s will likely be your kid’s best buddy without hardly any issues, however, it’s best to be prepared! Want the scoop on GSP’s and Cuddling? Check out this article about GSP Cuddling!

German Shorthair Pointer Accessories You WILL WANT

**A purchase through our links may earn us a small commission though Amazon. We appreciate it!

Once they get a toy, they are driven to use it, and if you get a cheap toy, it will be gone and most likely swallowed before you know it. Due to this, we have gone to the moon and back finding the best toys for a GSP that last, and so far, these are the ones that work best:

  1. BullyMake: A series of Chew Toys for Power Chewers. These are tough toys for tough chewers!
  2. Tough Dog: A brand thats marketed as “Indestructible Durable Dog Toys” and they live up to their name!
  3. VANFINE Dog Squeaky Toys: Marketed as “Almost Indestructible” Tough Durable Dog Toys, we have found these to stand the test of time!
  4. Snoozer Luxury Cove Cave Dog Bed is the BEST for GSP’s. Because they love to snuggle so much, having a dog bed that they can snuggle into works great for a GSP. They love being covered up and feeling cozy in their bed!

Bottom Line

Overall, your GSP is going to be a wonderful addition to your family. In my humbly biased mind, you cant get a better family dog. However, it’s important to remember all the factors discussed above like home size, energy levels, small kids, and your dog’s upbringing. All of these factors can have a positive or negative influence on how your GSP does with your family and kids. I hope this was helpful and I hope your new GSP is BEST DOGGO!

meastt09

An Owner and a huge fan of GSP's! I have owned my GSP for 7 years now and learned so many things along the way to share with you all about German Shorthaired Pointers!

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