English Pointer vs German Shorthaired Pointer: 3 Considerations To Make

So, you want a versatile hunting dog and great family companion, however, you can’t decide between a German Shorthaired Pointer and an English Pointer?

Well, there are some big considerations to weigh, let’s help you out with that.

I love pointers as a breed, both English Pointers, and German Shorthaired Pointers.

They’re smart, brave, fit, and all-in-all loving. As a family pet or a personal companion, pointers are in a league of their own and are truly worthy pups to call a best friend.

However, do either of the two breeds stand out over the other? Is there much that separates them at all besides their apparent country of origin?

Well, I figured if I’m asking this question, then other people most likely are too!

So I went and looked for the answer for you, and let’s see what you make of what I found! Maybe it’ll help you make the final decision if you’re stuck between the two!


Let’s start by comparing the overall size of the two breeds. German shorthaired pointer males generally come in at 58 to 64 cm when fully grown, and the females are slightly smaller, only reaching about 58cm at full maturity.

Males also weigh between 25kg to 32kg depending on their diet and daily activity, and females weigh between 20kg and 27kg. GSPs find themselves somewhere between medium and large in size.

Then you’ve got English Pointers. They are larger than German Shorthaired Pointers at full maturity (though there is a bit more range among English Pointer adults).

I found that males can be anywhere between 56cm to 70cm tall, though most sways towards the taller side, and females are between 53 to 66cm.

Also, males can reach 34kg at full growth, and females 30kg, so they’re definitely the larger of the two breeds.


Overall, both breeds tend to be good picks if you’re looking for a gentle dog that’s easy to train.

However, their temperaments can vary based on the one you get. GSPs are known to be the easier of the two to train, as they are much more eager to please their owner and more impressionable.

They’re incredibly energetic like most hunting dogs, but they do well when taught a bit of self-control and can easily be kept in line.

However, English Pointers have a slightly different temperament that makes training them effectively a little harder.

It’s not unlikely for English Pointers to get a bit complacent and lazy rather than listening to their owner’s commands.

They still care deeply for you and try to please you, but sometimes their instincts to chase prey and hunt override their nurturing side, and they become very stubborn due to it.

It’s also worth noting here that both dogs require many exercises to feel comfortable in your home. If you leave them to sit around all day, both Pointers are going to get incredibly bored.

They’ll have a lot of pent-up energy with no real way to release it, so you could start to notice some seriously problematic behavior if you’re not careful.

It’s simple to remedy, though. You have to make sure you have an active lifestyle to care for Pointer dogs.

They require a lot of exercise and attention, so if you work 9 to 5 jobs all day, chances are you’re not living the right life to give them the care they need!


If you are a hunter yourself, you may find Pointers to be even more useful to you than you realized. Both breeds have a built-in pointer technique (basically using their body to direct you to where they’ve found the prey).

When they show you where to go, you tend to follow, but it’s their tracking techniques that differ.

GSPs will often stay close to your side throughout the hunt. They only leave after you’ve already hunted the game and it needs to be retrieved.

They make quick work of the retrieval process, too, and will be back to you in no time! English Pointers are a lot more independent, though, preferring to work as far from you as they can.

I don’t think they find you a hindrance, but who knows (I can’t find any evidence to suggest otherwise, but they really are lovely dogs).

Family Compatibility

Okay, so now we get to the important part for most dog owners. When I’m looking for the right breed for me, it needs to work well with my family.

It’s no dog finding a dog that I absolutely adore if I’m going to bring them home to young children only for there to be a massive standoff between dog and child.

If I’m going to commit to a new dog, I will make sure that they’re right for my family.

You’ll be pleased to know that GSPs are perfect for any family setting. They are some of the most caring dogs you’ll ever come across, and their ex-hunting instincts make them eager to please all of their owners (both adults and children).

They’re very courageous outside, too, naturally trying to protect children when they feel there might be a threat. You can’t go wrong with a GSP.

Though, a lot can be said for the family nature of English Pointers, too. They’re just as eager to protect their family and make sure that they do their best to listen to your commands.

Sure, they’re a little more scatty overall and can sometimes seem uninterested in what you have to say, but overall, they make for a good family pet.

If I had to choose between the two, though, GSPs win outright for me due to their more dependable nature.


Hopefully, that’s helped you figure out a little bit more about the differences between the two Pointers.

Both are incredibly popular breeds across the world, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to find them relatively easy to train and treat well.

When making the final decision, it mostly comes down to what you want out of your dog.

I’d say if you prefer the typical dog-like attitude of complete owner dependence, then the German Shorthaired Pointer is more for you.

However, if you like your dogs to have a little more independence and attitude about them, then the English Pointer is going to be the one for you! It’s all personal preference at the end of the day.


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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