Black German Shorthair Pointers: All You Need To Know

German shorthaired pointers are friendly, energetic dogs who make for great companions and excellent hunting partners. If you’ve ever met one of these dogs, you may have fallen in love with the breed, just as I have.

Whether you’re just curious about the breed or are looking to invite one of these goofy furballs into your home, this guide will provide you with everything you need to know about this unique breed.


German shorthaired pointers were bred to be hunting dogs. They are extremely active and require frequent, heavy exercise. They are not compatible with low-energy households or families with young children. Specific care is needed in order to prevent ill-health and behavioral issues.

This rambunctious breed has stolen my heart and may very well steal yours too! While owning one of these dogs is not for everyone, they make for loyal and loving pets.

Now hang on, before you rush to find the nearest German shorthaired pointer breeder; let’s take a look at everything you need to know prior to choosing to own one of these dogs.

History Of Black German Shorthaired Pointers

It only makes sense that German Shorthaired Pointers originated in Germany. They were established as a breed in the 19th century and were bred to be hunting dogs. 

The breed was created by breeding German bird dogs and Spanish pointers together. Coat variations were only introduced later, and thus, some German shorthaired pointers with black coats were born.

German shorthaired pointers were introduced in the United States in 1925 by Dr. Charles Thornton. He began breeding these dogs, and five years after this, the breed became recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). 

Herr Christian Bode, alongside Dr. Wachter, is credited with the first cross between a GSP and a black Arkwright pointer. German breeders wanted to darken the eye and coat pigments of their Pointers, as it was progressively lightening. 

Black Pointers possess a rare coat pattern that, although recognized by the AKC as part of the breed standard, will lead to immediate disqualification in confirmation events.

These dogs have usually been imported from Germany, where they are recognized and can compete in shows. 

The US is the only place where any coat variation of a black GSP (German shorthaired pointer) will result in disqualification.

Nowadays, the GSP ranks nineteenth among 155 breeds that the American Kennel Club recognizes.

The Appearance Of The Black German Shorthaired Pointer

German shorthaired pointers are a medium to large-sized breed of dog. An adult male GSP will grow to a maximum of 25 inches tall at the shoulder. A healthy weight for an adult male shorthaired pointer is between 55 to 70 pounds. 

Females are considerably smaller than their male counterparts, with their height expectation being between 21 to 23 inches tall at the shoulder. A healthy weight for an adult female GSP is anywhere from 45 to 60 pounds.

Black German shorthaired pointers are uncommon, and many people believe that they should not be recognized as part of the GSP breed.

The only way to introduce the gene for a black coat is by breeding a GSP with a true black dog. Those puppies then need to be bred until they breed true to the breed. 

Breeding to true the breed means that every litter of puppies that come from the same litter will always have the right colors, temperament, and conformation.

A black GSP usually sports an entirely black face, while the rest of their body is ticked and really showcases the distinctive coat pattern that is associated with German pointers.

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The Temperament of the Breed

The temperament of any dog is breed-specific and depends on the environment in which they are raised.

Factors that affect a dog’s temperament include genetics, training and training methods, socialization, and the personality of its owners. 

Black German shorthaired pointers are highly energetic and excitable. 

Are Black German Shorthaired Pointers Compatible with kids?

German shorthaired pointers were bred to hunt, but they were also intended to be great family dogs.

They are characteristically affectionate canines that make excellent companions and are relatively easy to train. 

Caution should be exercised when pairing these dogs with families who have younger children, as young GSPs are incredibly boisterous and energetic.

This is not to say that they are dangerous or aggressive, and proper training paired with regular exercise can significantly increase their compatibility with younger children.

Older dogs of this breed make for excellent companions to young kids, as they have outgrown the overexcited characteristics that can be seen in their younger years.

This breed forms a powerful bond with their owners and are loyal and eager to please those around them. 

German Shorthaired Pointers: Good Guard Dogs? 

As a guard dog, the GSP is reasonably competent. Their loyalties are fierce to their family, and they will bark and alert everyone to the presence of strangers; however, they do not show aggression.

They may also be reserved around visitors and will not welcome them with indiscriminate tail wagging.

Are Black German Shorthaired Pointers Easy To Train?

These animals are highly intelligent, making them easy to train. They are eager to please, so training is supposed to be fun and stimulating for these dogs.

They respond best to positive reinforcement. They will not take well to aggression, force, or intimidation, and the use of these methods for training will prove to be ineffective and may create a fearful and aggressive dog.

Due to their energetic personalities and need for socialization, owners should practice comprehensive training from a young age. This training should include leash training, potty training, and behavioral training.

A regular exercise schedule should be established during training. This will encourage the dog to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate ways of releasing their energy. 

Providing this breed with a proper outlet for their extra energy will increase the effectiveness of training and give the dog the best possible opportunity to succeed.

Common Health Issues Found In Black German Shorthaired Pointers

Like with any dog breed, Black German shorthaired pointers are prone to some health issues. 

The most common complications include:

  • hip dysplasia 
  • heart problems
  • vision impairment

German shorthaired pointers are also prone to gastric dilation volvulus (GDV). GDV can be life-threatening. Owners of this breed should bring up any health concerns with their veterinarians. 

There are ways to prevent the onset of these health complications, and owners should discuss preventative measures with the dog’s vet.

Caring For A Black German Shorthaired Pointer

German shorthaired pointers are intuitive, intelligent, and energetic dogs. Due to their unique personalities, they require specific care in terms of their food, exercise requirements, and grooming.

Choosing Food And Managing Mealtimes

What Should You Feed A German Shorthaired Pointer?

These furry balls of energy are always on the move. Naturally, this will affect their dietary requirements. GSPs should be fed dry dog food that has a high fat/protein ratio. They require more of these nutrients than other breeds due to their active lifestyles. 

Their food should also be chosen according to their age: either senior, adult, or puppy. This is because the food is formulated differently depending on the age of the dog. 

How Often Should You Feed Your German Shorthaired Pointer?

Your GSP should be fed twice a day. The amount of food and frequency of feeding depends on the activity level of each dog. A fully grown shorthaired pointer should get between 2 and 5 cups of food per day, divided up throughout the day. 

You should pay special attention to how much you feed your German shorthaired pointer, as this breed is prone to bloat. Overfeeding can cause your dog to bloat, which causes the stomach to expand. This can place pressure on their internal organs and can be life-threatening. 

Pointers who aren’t working dogs and have lower activity levels will require less food than active dogs, as they expend less energy during the day.

How Often Should You Replace Their Water?

A German shorthair pointer puppy should drink roughly 1/8 of a cup of water per pound of body weight daily.  Adult dogs of this breed will lap up around one ounce of water per pound of bodyweight every day.

As soon as their water dish is running low, it is best to clean the bowl and fill it. At the very least, their water dish should be rinsed and replenished once a day, even if your pup isn’t emptying the bowl every day.

Grooming a German Shorthaired Pointer

Taking your GSP to a professional groomer is necessary from time to time. However, some general hygiene practices should be implemented frequently and can be done at home. This will save money and time, as some tasks need to be performed daily or weekly.

Going to a professional each time would lead to astronomical grooming bills!

Cleaning Your Pointer’s Ears

Ensure that you clean your dog’s ears at least once a week. You can do this by squeezing a few drops of dog ear cleaner into the ear canals. Use a cotton ball to wipe away any discharge and excess cleanser. 

This breed’s floppy ears limit airflow to the ear canal, making them more susceptible to ear infections, as opposed to dogs with pointy ears.

Keep Up With Your Dog’s Dental Hygiene 

You should prioritize your dog’s oral hygiene. It is recommended to brush your GSP’s teeth weekly to prevent decay and cavities. You can use a dog toothbrush and specially formulated dog toothpaste. 

The best kind of dog toothpaste to use for your GSP is pet-safe enzymatic toothpaste. This toothpaste contains enzymes that aid in reducing bacteria, which in turn reduces the buildup of tartar and improves bad breath. 

Treats that promote dental health can also help to keep your companion’s teeth squeaky clean.

Trimming A German Shorthaired Pointer’s Nails

Long nails are a hazard to your furry one’s safety. They may get their nails caught on something and tear the nail off completely. For this reason, you should make sure that your German shorthaired pointer always has neat, trimmed nails. 

If you have the know-how and are confident that you won’t harm your dog, you may trim their nails at home.

Caution should be exercised if you trim your dog’s nails without the help of a professional, as you may cut the quick of the dog’s nails and cause them to bleed. 

If you have no experience with cutting a dog’s nails, it is always best to allow a veterinarian or groomer to trim your dog’s nails. Trimming their nails once a month will keep your pup safe and happy.

Bathing and Brushing a GSP

Bathe your pup only when it is necessary. Washing them too much can strip their skin and coat of essential oils and cause the skin to dry out. If your dog happens to enjoy rolling around in pools of mud, allow the mud to dry and then use a bristle brush to brush the dirt out of their coat. 

When you bathe your Pointer, you should use a gentle dog shampoo and lukewarm water. When a new shampoo is used for the first time, it is vital to check that your dog’s skin responds well to it. 

If there are any signs of irritation, discomfort, or allergic reactions, discontinue use immediately. 

German shorthaired pointers shed loose hair faster than the leaves fall in autumn. To minimize shedding, you should brush your dog’s coat weekly. You can use a grooming glove, or a firm bristled brush to get rid of the loose hair.

Exercising A German Shorthaired Pointer

As previously mentioned, German shorthaired pointers are extremely active dogs. Naturally, this means that their demand for exercise and active play is high.

They are also prey-driven dogs, and involving this in their exercise routines allows them to use their natural hunting instincts and effectively release pent-up energy.

Make time for at least half an hour of exercise every morning and evening. If you have access to a secure, fenced area, allow your pup to run freely. If this is not possible, it is recommended to walk your GSP at least twice a day. 

Training your furry companion to use their sense of smell, taste, and sight during play and exercise will allow them to tap into their natural hunting instincts.

If you plan to use your German shorthaired pointer for hunting, train them to track and trail game in a safe and controlled environment before allowing them to hunt freely. 

Your dog must be able to distinguish between prey and other pets. 

For this reason, you should pay special attention to the socialization of this breed. During walks, allow your dog to sniff and greet other dogs. 

You should regularly encourage them to play with other dogs as well as humans, which will aid in desensitization to unfamiliar people, places, sounds, or animals.


Black German shorthaired pointers are prey-driven dogs who are always on the move. They need proper training and regular exercise in order to prevent their high levels of energy from resulting in destructive or undesirable behaviors.

Their level of activity makes them the ideal breed for people who lead active lifestyles, though they will mature and calm down at around two years of age.

This breed is highly receptive to training that uses positive reinforcement, and with patience and persistence, can be trained to do almost anything.

Overall, these loving pups can make for an excellent pet for anyone who has the time and dedication to providing them with the proper care. Their gentle eyes and speckled bodies have worked their way into my heart, and they are easily one of my favorite dog breeds. 

Now that you know precisely how lively and intelligent black German shorthaired pointers are and have all the information you need about how to care for this breed, I’m sure you’re eager to introduce them as part of the family.


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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