If you’re a hunter looking for an ideal hunting partner, stop looking.
If you’re a hiker looking for an ideal hiking partner, stop looking.
If you’re part of a rescue organization looking for an ideal search and rescue dog, stop looking.
If you’re a dog trainer looking for an ideal breed to train for agility competitions, stop looking.
While many breeds can specialize in one of the areas we listed about, it’s very rare to find a dog that can excel in all of them – and more. The German Wirehaired Pointer is just that kind of breed.
Here are 12 things to know about this remarkable breed if you’re considering making one part of your family.
- Their brows, beards, and whiskers make this breed stand out.
- They were specially bred to hunt everything.
- They didn’t make it to North America until the 1920s.
- German Wirehaired Pointers are solid medium-sized dogs with a long life expectancy.
- You’ll need to watch this breed around cats and kids.
- Their coats are remarkable.
- With great coat power, comes responsible coat care.
- German Wirehaired Pointers are definitely a high energy breed.
- They are very intelligent.
- Puppies are reasonably priced.
- They are generally very healthy dogs, but there are a few tests a breeder should do.
- GWPs make excellent companions.
Their brows, beards, and whiskers make this breed stand out.
Their facial hair (called “furnishings”) are not just unique and fun to look at. As with everything else about this dog, they serve a unique purpose. The longer hair around the eyes, nose, and mouth are designed to protect the dog’s face from any thorns and sticks that it might come in contact with when it’s hunting prey in thick brush or woods.
German Wirehaired Pointers have distinctive facial hair that makes them instantly recognizable, but also serves to protect their faces from harsh brush and woods when they’re hunting.
They were specially bred to hunt everything.
British hunters are responsible for creating this breed. They had a problem in the early 1800s, which was that they owned many different types of dogs to do different types of hunting in different types of weather. They decided that the better way to go was to create one breed that could hunt any animal in any kind of weather. They cross-bred several different breeds of dogs together, and eventually created the versatile, all-in-one breed that is the German Wirehaired Pointer.
They didn’t make it to North America until the 1920s.
Although GWPs were quickly taking Europe by storm in the mid- to late-1800s, they didn’t make their way over to North America until the 1920s when hunters in that part of the world finally caught on to these incredible, all-weather, all-creature hunting dogs. They weren’t formally admitted into the American Kennel Club until 1959.
German Wirehaired Pointers are solid medium-sized dogs with a long life expectancy.
Unlike larger dogs whose life expectancy tends to be much shorter, this breed usually lives 14-16 years. At an average of 50-70 pounds, it’s still in the medium size range. Females should be a minimum of 22 inches tall and males should be between 24-26 inches tall. They rank number 64 on the list of 193 AKC-registered breeds and are part of the Sporting Group.
This GWP is average size and weight for a female of the breed. You can also see her docked tail, which is common in the breed. It’s done for the safety of the dog so that the tail doesn’t get caught up in brush or snarled in thorns while hunting. While the practice of docking tails in the U.S. is discouraged by the American Veterinary Medical Association, it is still legal.
You’ll need to watch this breed around cats and kids.
For all the good traits of the GWP, we will caution you that they need to be watched carefully around cats, kids, and any other small pets you might have (hamsters, chickens, gerbils, etc.). Because this dog has such a high prey drive, it might just decide that your smaller animals or even your children are things to be caught and brought back to you.
If you adopted your dog as a puppy and raised it around cats or smaller animals, you might be okay as the dog can be trained to leave those animals alone. However, you still need to keep the strong prey drive in mind if you do have smaller animals and you’re looking to adopt a GWP. The prey drive will always be there, even if it’s tamed.
Their coats are remarkable.
One of the most appealing traits of the German Wirehaired Pointer is its incredible coat. This is a dog that was bred to be a hunter, and its coat was designed to be a coat that would protect the dog against any kind of weather and in any kind of terrain. It’s perfect if you’re hunting in the woods, the high grass, the low brush, or on the water. The coat is water-repellent and the perfect length – long enough to protect and cover the dog in colder weather, and short enough that it doesn’t often get tangled or caught up in bushes.
In this close-up, you can see the liver and white coat color that is standard for the breed. The top coat of fur is wiry and repels water, and is no more than two inches long.
With great coat power, comes responsible coat care.
This amazing coat needs proper care to ensure it does its job for the dog. Owners should be prepared to brush the coat with a wire brush to get any dirt or knots out of the fur. After you run the dog, you should do a thorough check to make sure that nothing gets caught in the coat even if you don’t brush it that day. This coat protects the dog throughout the winter months but sheds a lot during the summer months when less protection is necessary, so owners need to be ready for lots of hair around the house. Here are some additional coat care tips from the breed’s national rescue website.
German Wirehaired Pointers are definitely a high energy breed.
There is no beating around the bush with this breed. If you adopt one, be prepared to spend time working with the dog and training it, getting the excess energy out in extended play sessions or on long walks. Having a large, fenced-in yard is also a bonus for this breed so you can turn your dog loose and let it run to its heart’s content. Because they have so much energy and require a lot of exercise, this is not a great breed for people living in apartments or smaller spaces with little to no yards.
This German Wirehaired Pointer has a very large fenced-in yard where she can run, leap, play, and practice fetching things all day long. Here she is in mid-leap as she runs off some of her energy.
They are very intelligent.
German Wirehaired Pointers are known for their intelligence. They have been trained as search and rescue, drug detection and therapy dogs. They also excel at agility trials and other activities that call for them to be able to follow directions and complete a task quickly and efficiently.
This German Wirehaired Pointer has been trained to hunt with her owner. Here she shows off her retrieval skills, tracks the object that her owner threw, and brings it right back to him.
Puppies are reasonably priced.
Compared to breeds like Pomeranians or Toy Poodles, which can cost $2,500 or more for a purebred puppy, German Wirehaired Pointer puppies are reasonably priced. The breeders listed on the AKC puppyfinder are selling puppies for as low as $850, although the average seems to be closer to $1,000. Considering what a remarkable dog this is, that’s quite a bargain.
They are generally very healthy dogs, but there are a few tests a breeder should do.
Responsible breeders for this dog should perform the following screenings to ensure a dog’s health before it is allowed to have puppies: hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, eye exam, thyroiditis, congenital heart disease, and von Willebrand’s disease (optional.) You should make sure your breeder has screened for those issues in the parents of any puppy you want to purchase.
When considering what care your dog will need at home, German Wirehaired Pointers are like most other dogs. They should have their teeth cleaned regularly, their ears checked and cleaned often, and receive a thorough tick check any time they’re done hunting.
GWPs make excellent companions.
If you are looking for a great hiking, running, or walking partner, this might be your perfect breed. As we mentioned, they do need training to make sure they’re obedient on a leash and stay beside you when you’re exercising them. However, once that training is complete and the dog is fully grown (pushing a puppy to exercise too much can do damage to its growing joints), this is a dog that loves its people and will love to get out and be your partner for whatever trail you choose.
This breed requires attention, training, exercise, and commitment. But if you’re willing to put your energy into caring for a German Wirehaired Pointer from an early age, it will reward you with years of companionship and loyalty.