german shorthaired pointer standing pointing in water

German Shorthaired Pointer

A Complete Breed Guide for German Shorthaired Pointer Dogs

Last Updated 2 FEBRUARY 2023

This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Jenny Eales, BVSc (Hons)

The German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) is a magnificent, energetic and affectionate breed. Medium to large sized, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a loyal friend for life. This dog is no couch potato! They need lots of daily exercise to keep them happy and healthy.


German Shorthaired Pointer Facts



Best toys for GSPs

Best food for GSPs

Health Concerns

Related Breeds

Further reading

German Shorthaired Pointer Facts

Breed size:

Place of origin:


Medium to Large


Highly intelligent

Breed group:

Energy level:

Weight range:

Gun dogs


20 - 32kg

Life expectancy:

Tendency to bark:

Height range:

12-14 years

Low to medium

53 - 66cm

Drool factor:

Ease of training:

Coat length:




Shedding factor:

Overall grooming needs:




Liver, liver and white, liver and roan, roan, dark brown, black, black and white

How big do German Shorthaired Pointers get?

GSPs are a medium to large breed dog, weighing anywhere from 20-32 kg, and measuring 50-65cm tall at the shoulders. Females are usually smaller than males.

How much does a German Shorthaired Pointer cost?

German Shorthaired Pointer puppies range in price from $1000 to $3500. Older dogs are available from $500.

Do German Shorthaired Pointers shed?

Yes GSPs shed. They are moderate shedders, and a weekly brush will help with this.

Are German Shorthaired Pointers good pets?

German Shorthaired Pointers are great pets, especially for active families! They are an affectionate and loyal companion.

How much exercise do German Shorthaired Pointers need?

GSPs are an extremely energetic, and active breed needing a lot of daily exercise.They need at least an hour of high intensity exercise each day.

How long do German Shorthaired Pointers live?

GSPs can live for 15+ years, with the average life span around 12-14 years of age.

How do I choose a German Shorthaired Pointer breeder?

When looking for a German Shorthaired Pointer, your options are to: a) adopt from a rescue (this is our top recommendation!) b) buy from an or online marketplace or pet store (NOT recommended!), or c) Research a reputable breeder. Never purchase a puppy without inspecting the breeder's premises and asking the 10 Breeder Checklist Questions first. Good breeders socialise their animals, house them humanely, allow you to inspect their premises, and select for healthy traits and good temperaments.

Do German Shorthaired Pointers bark much?

GSPs are low - moderate barkers. They may bark more if they are bored or not exercised enough. They may bark at strangers and strange noises.

German Shorthaired Pointer History

german shorthaired pointer looking into lake

German Shorthaired Pointers were developed in Germany, as the name suggests, in the 1800's. German bird dogs and scent hounds were combined with the aim to create an all purpose dog that could hunt, point and retrieve.

The first GSP was registered with the German Kennel Club in 1872, and the breed was registered by the American Kennel Club in 1930.

The breed came to Australia in the 1950's.

German Shorthaired Pointer Personality

german shorthaired pointer resting on bed

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a very, very energetic breed! If you want a running companion, this is the breed for you.

Extremely intelligent but late to mature, the GSP can cause havoc if it is not properly trained and given plenty of both mental and physical exercise daily. This breed is definitely not a couch potato, preferring to spend hours exercising outdoors.

GSPs are extremely loyal and protective of their owners while also being even tempered. They are very family orientated, gentle, affectionate dogs who make excellent pets.

Best toys for German Shorthaired Pointers

Chuckit Classic Long

Designed to lob your dog's ball further than ever before, tiring out your dog rather than you. Great for those days when your GSP is more energetic than you!


Use this highly entertaining toy to keep your GSP mentally stimulated, and to avoid boredom. Fill it with some of their kibble so they can push, paw at and roll it to dispense kibble from the centre spinning orb, making it a tricky puzzle toy for inquisitive dogs.

KONG Safestix

Ideal for games of fetch indoors and out, KONG Safestix also floats on water, for dogs that love to swim.

Petsafe Ball Launcher

Automatically launches balls for your dog to chase indoors or outdoors.

German Shorthaired Pointer Diet and Nutrition

german shorthaired pointer puppy

German Shorthaired Pointer Puppies

What To Feed A German Shorthaired Pointer Puppy

German Shorthaired Pointer puppies need to eat a premium diet that is nutritionally formulated to meet AAFCO Guidelines until they are 12-18 months of age.

Best Food for German Shorthaired Pointer Puppies

Advance Large Puppy

This super premium dry puppy food is a complete and balanced diet for large breed puppies. It is tailored to improve your puppy's health and wellbeing by promoting strong joints and a healthy immune system in your pet through enriching ingredients. Crafted as a balanced and premium meal for your puppy, Advance Puppy Plus Dog Food is designed to support a healthy heart, skin and coat, and general health and wellbeing.

Royal Canin Maxi Puppy

This premium large breed puppy food is formulated with highly digestible proteins and fibres to support optimal digestive health and improve stool quality. It has an optimal energy content to support your large breed puppy through their long growth period, as well as balanced levels of calcium and phosphorus to promote healthy bone and joint development. With the addition of antioxidants and prebiotics, Royal Canin Maxi Puppy also helps to support your puppy's natural immune defences.

Hills Science Diet Large Puppy

This high quality dry puppy food contains ideal levels of energy, calcium and phosphorus to minimise the risk of developmental bone and joint problems. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA which helps ensure optimal brain and eye development and added l-carnitine to promote healthy muscle development. Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed is enriched with a clinically proven antioxidant and vitamin blend to help your puppy build a strong immune system.

Eukanuba Puppy Large Breed

Eukanuba Puppy Large Breed is a complete and fully balanced dry diet for large breed puppies. This formula is easily digested and contains precisely balanced levels of calcium, phosphorus and energy to promote controlled bone growth for a reduced risk of developmental orthopaedic disorders. Eukanuba Puppy Large Breed contains optimal levels of omega fatty acids to support skin and coat health, as well as beet pulp and prebiotic fibres for healthy digestion.

Best Food for Adult German Shorthaired Pointers

Although there are no specific feeding requirements for a German Shorthaired Pointer, their diet needs to be age-appropriate and meet all of their daily nutritional and energy demands. Most large breed adult food from premium brands including Hills Science Diet, Royal Canin, and Advance are suitable. These scientifically-formulated diets also contain balanced levels of protein, fat and carbohydrate plus vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for health and wellbeing.

Hills Science Diet Large Breed

This high quality kibble helps to maintain your dog's ideal weight using high quality lean proteins to build muscle and l-carnitine, which encourages fat metabolism and maintains lean muscle mass. Enriched with the building blocks of healthy joints and cartilage, glucosamine and chondroitin, Hills Science Diet Canine Adult Large Breed works to protect your large breed dogs joints to improve mobility. This formula also contains a clinically proven antioxidant blend including vitamins C and E to support a healthy immune system.

Advance Large Adult Dry Food

This super premium, Australian made, dry dog food is complete and balanced to support the health and wellbeing of your large or giant breed adult dog, it includes green lipped mussel powder to help support healthy joints and a unique blend of nutrients including taurine, arginine and vitamin E to promote improved cardiac function. Advance Adult Dog contains controlled levels of minerals and is highly digestible to help reduce the risk of lower urinary tract disease, it is also specifically designed to help reduce dental tartar formation for better oral health.

Eukanuba Adult Large Breed

Eukanuba Large Breed is a complete and fully balanced dry diet for adult large breed dogs. Containing premium animal based protein, with chicken as the main ingredient this diet is delicious, nutritiously dense and highly digestible. Eukanuba Dog Adult Large Breed is designed to support joint health with natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin plus reduced fat levels to help maintain a healthy weight.

Royal Canin Maxi Adult

This premium dry dog food is made from high quality, highly digestible ingredients to support healthy digestion and deliver balanced nutrition that keeps your adult large breed dog in peak condition. Royal Canin Maxi Adult is enriched with targeted nutrients to help maintain healthy bones and joints, as well as omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to support healthy skin and a shiny coat. This formula combines a unique kibble texture and exclusive flavours making it deliciously appealing to even the fussiest of large breed dogs.

German Shorthaired Pointer Health Problems

While German Shorthaired Pointers are a relatively healthy breed, they can be prone to certain conditions:

Hip dysplasia

A condition where the conformation (physical structure) of the hip joint is abnormal. A healthy hip joint operates as a smooth 'ball and socket' type joint, whereas hips affected by dysplasia typically have a flattening of the 'socket' component of the joint, resulting in a shallow joint where the 'ball' or head of the femur is not held securely. This leads to instability of the joint which may cause pain in the young dog (juvenile hip dysplasia) and ultimately causes development of osteoarthritis.


Also known as degenerative joint disease, or simply, arthritis. Painful inflammation of one or many joints, that can occur secondary to a number of factors, including joint trauma or infection, however most frequently it occurs in German Shorthaired Pointers and other large breeds due to congenital joint defects such as hip and elbow dysplasia. Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition and is usually managed through a combination of diet, joint supplements, physiotherapy and prescribed anti inflammatory and pain relief medication. Addressing any known underlying causes (such as hip or elbow dysplasia), along with weight management is also important for best results.

Best Joint Supplements for GSPs

Arthritis supplements commonly contain omega fatty acids along with glucosamine and chondroitin. The omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA have been demonstrated to have anti inflammatory properties and glucosamine and chondroitin are the building blocks of normal healthy cartilage. Green lipped mussel powder is a potent source of both omega 3 fatty acids, along with glucosamine and chondroitin, making it a great supplement choice for dogs with arthritis.

4Cyte Joint Supplement

4cyte Canine is an oral joint support supplement containing Epiitalis, a unique plant oil extract, combined with marine concentrates including green lipped mussel, shark cartilage and abalone. Used together, these ingredients work synergistically to target the chemicals responsible for causing inflammation and impairing joint function.


Glyde Mobility Chews for Dogs are nutritional supplements proven to improve joint health and reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. These tasty chews are made with New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel, Glucosamine, and Chondroitin, to help relieve the painful signs of arthritis.

Sashas Blend Flexibites

Sashas Blend contains green lipped mussel, abalone and marine cartilage which are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids and glycosaminoglycans (including chondroitin sulphate). These active ingredients have been proven to slow the process of cartilage breakdown in the joint, as well as reducing pain and inflammation.

Paw Blackmores Osteoadvanced

PAW Blackmores OsteoAdvanced is designed to support and help dogs who may need additional aid to avoid or ease arthritic or joint inflammation. Formulated with Green lipped mussel, Curcumin, and Boswellia, this chew offers anti-inflammatory properties that can ease arthritic symptoms.

Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV)

GDV is a life-threatening condition whereby the stomach stretches many times its normal size and in many cases twists and rotates, cutting off its own blood supply. The spleen is usually an innocent bystander that gets pulled into the rotation, also compromising its blood supply. This condition is common in deep-chested breeds like the German Shorthaired Pointer. The main signs to look out for are sudden onset of abdominal distension, distress, anxiety, pain (such as panting, guarding the belly), drooling and multiple unproductive attempts to vomit. What should you do in this situation? Transport them to a veterinary hospital or emergency clinic immediately where urgent treatment and surgery is required. Do not attempt to give anything by mouth.

In breeds with a high risk of bloat, a preventative surgery called a prophylactic gastropexy can be performed at the same time as desexing. The surgery involves securing the stomach to the inside of the abdomen to prevent it rotating. For more information about bloat and preventative surgery, we recommend speaking with your regular veterinarian.


Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is under active and does not perform its normal functions. The thyroid gland regulates the body's metabolic rate. If the thyroid is underactive, the metabolism slows down, and symptoms include weight gain, lethargy, cold intolerance, dull fur, balding, and dark pigmentation on the skin. The dog might also be more prone to skin and ear infections. Hypothyroidism can't be cured but it can be managed easily with medication.

Von Willebrand's Disease (vWD)

VWD is a genetic disorder of the blood that prevents the blood from clotting. It occurs when there is not enough Von Willebrand factor, a plasma protein that is essential for blood clotting. In dogs with vWD, severe bleeding can occur even from a minor scrape, and symptoms to watch for include bleeding from the nose or mouth. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease. All you can do is control the bleeding and try to reduce the number of bleeding events. However, DNA tests are available to help detect this disease early in life, and you should ask your breeder if they test for this disease.

Otitis (ear infection)

Due to their long, floppy ears, GSPs are prone to otitis. Otitis is an inflammation in the ear canal due to infection (from bacteria or yeast), a foreign body, parasites or even allergies. The ears should be checked and cleaned regularly to help prevent this.


This is a condition where the eyelids roll inwards and rub on the cornea of the eye causing irritation and pain. Entropion is usually detected in puppies and young dogs and often requires surgical correction.

Related Breeds

The German Shorthaired Pointer belongs to the gundog group. This group is made up of breeds that were developed to help hunters find and retrieve game. Included in this group are pointers, retrievers, setters, spaniels and water dogs.

english springer spaniel sitting on grass

English Springer Spaniel

A medium sized sporting dog, full of stamina and energy.

german wirehaired pointer lying down

German Wirehaired Pointer

An energetic, sturdy gundog that is both slightly taller and heavier than the GSP.

hungarian vizsla sitting up


Sometimes called the Hungarian Pointer, the Vizsla was created to be a pointer and retriever, and is a natural hunter.

gordon setter

Gordon Setter

A bird dog, the Gorden Setter is a medium to large athletic sporting dog from Scotland.

Further Reading

For more information have a look at these recommended articles:

Premium pet food: Is it worth it?

Camping with dogs

Boredom busters for dogs

First aid tips for pets

Which Flea and Worming Product Does YOUR Dog Need?