Are German Shorthair Pointers Smart?
Yes! German Shorthaired Pointers are a really smart breed of dog. In fact they are considered to be one of the most intelligent breeds. They are also loyal and loving towards family members, and will often pick one person as their avorite’.
The mists of time obscure the origins of the German Shorthaired Pointer but it is known that the breed has both Spanish Pointer and Bloodhound genes in its makeup. There may also be traces of a much older breed – the German Bird Dog – and other pointer breeds.
The breed came about because hunters in Germany in the middle of the nineteenth century needed a very particular kind of dog. The land where they were hunting had both open land and forested areas. Some of the forest was very dense.
The prey that was most commonly hunted included rabbit, wild boar, deer, grouse and even wolves. The hunters wanted a dog that had a high level of stamina, large enough to tackle bigger prey and easily trainable. It also needed to have superior tracking abilities, an acute sense of smell, and be able to oint’ at prey.
The hunters began to develop the new breed by using dogs that displayed all these traits. The Spanish Pointer was a good start, especially when the Bloodhound was added to the mix to improve the tracking abilities of the breed. Over the years, other breeds were added to the breeding program.
English Pointers brought their skill set, while dogs with good scenting and pursuit abilities were also added. The German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) was soon distinct enough as a breed that a studbook was established during the 1870s.
Appearance and Size
The GSP is a large dog, weighing in at between 20kg and 32kg on average. They are considered to be of a noble appearance. They are powerful, agile dogs and they look the part. Their faces have a gentle, intelligent look.
The body of these dogs are athletic with deep chests. The back legs are powerful and have well-defined muscles. Tail-docking has been normal practice for this breed since its creation. Nowadays, though, tail-docking is frowned upon and is actually illegal in some countries.
As the name suggested the GSP has a coat of short hair which is quite coarse. The coat can be spotted or solid color ranging from black to black and white, liver and white to solid liver.
The GSP is a fast-moving dog that can swerve and change direction with grace and ease. They are light on their feet and move with an elegance that belies the power behind their acceleration.
We have already seen that the GSP is a highly intelligent dog. They can get bored easily and will sometimes be tempted to make their own amusement. It may not be what you approve of!
The GSP will thrive in a family situation, provided the children are older and the whole family lead an outdoor, adventurous lifestyle. They are really loyal dogs who bond quickly and strongly with their family. Because of this, they do not appreciate being left alone for long periods. They will want to go with their owners everywhere.
Training a GSP is not for someone inexperienced with the breed. Training needs to be carried out by someone who is familiar with GSP’s and has the time to devote to a training program. These are not dogs for quiet, unadventurous families. They want, and need, to be outdoors as companions to their owners.
GSP’s need to be taught basic commands from an early age. Simple commands like it’, tay’, ome’, own’ and orders like ed’ or eave’ will soon be learned. When training do remember that this is a breed that thrives on positive reinforcement. They respond badly if treated harshly or curtly. Being intelligent they know the difference in tones of voice and respond best to firm but gentle instruction.
GSPs remain playful beyond their puppy years. They are great entertainers and like to have attention heaped on them. They thrive on reward and encouragement which is why they are so easy to train. They just want to please and be loved for doing that.
Grooming a German Shorthaired Pointer
Grooming is very important even though the shortness of this breed’s hair means they are easy to groom. Brush them once a week and wipe down their hair with a chamois leather. GSP’s shed hair all the year round so grooming regularly is needed to prevent loose hair building up.
Check on your dog’s ears every time you groom, as they are prone to infections if too much wax gathers there.
German Shorthaired Pointers and children or other pets
GSP’s are large dogs with a boisterous and lively nature. They will respond well to older children, who they often see as playmates, but not so well to very young children and toddlers. They certainly are wary of anyone, especially children, that they do not know or are unfamiliar with.
It would be wise not to leave a GSP alone with very young children, as they might hurt them by playing roughly. Adult supervision is always wise so the situation can be supervised.
GSP’s will respond well to other dogs as long as they were socialized at a young age. The same applies to cats. If your GSP grew up with a pet cat in the home, it will know it and be happy with it. Other cats, however, are likely to be chased away. Small pets like rabbits and hamsters should be kept well away from a GSP. The dog will just see them as prey and want to hunt them. It is better not to put temptation in their path.
GSP’s are large, active, highly intelligent dogs. They need at least 2 hours exercise every day. As much of the exercise time as possible should be off the leash.
If they fail to get sufficient exercise and stimulation GSPs can become bored and adopt destructive behavior patterns. They can suffer from stress and anxiety. Exercise and interesting activities can help overcome this.
If you do have a backyard make sure the fences are secure before you let your GSP out. Again, they are such intelligent dogs that finding a weakness in your fence is easy for them. They can be great escape artists!
German Shorthaired Pointers are intelligent dogs with a loving and loyal nature. They make great companions and pets, as long as you train them well and keep them active and stimulated.