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Sporting Dogs - The German Wire-Haired Pointer

By Edited Jul 7, 2016 1 2

Do you like to run? Do you need a companion?

What about a German wire haired pointer?

The German Wire-haired Pointer is renowned as a hardy, tenacious hunter. His most distinguishing characteristic is his coarse, wiry and weather-resistant coat, and the distinctive beard and facial hair. The German wire haired pointer is popular with hunters in America and throughout Europe.

The undercoat is very thin in summer but much denser in winter providing great insulation against the cold. The hard outer coat, although only one to two inches in length, lies flat and straight. It protects his body and legs from rough vegetation. His face is protected by a beard, hairy eyebrows and whiskers. The coat is shorter on the lower legs and over the skull but heavy over the shoulders and around the tail. The tail is not feathered. The outer coat is virtually waterproof.

German wire-haired pointer(53931)

Wire haired pointers are average shedders. Twice weekly brushing is recommended with a bristle brush. Some stripping and hand plucking may be necessary and coats are often thinned during the hot season. Bathe only when necessary. Check the feet particularly after working, and the ears.

Wire haired pointers are solid liver or liver and white in some form, whether spotted, roaned or with ticking. The head and ears are liver. The face sometimes sports a white blaze.

On the European continent around 1850, hunting had a huge surge in popularity. An all purpose dog was needed that could hunt, point and retrieve equally well on land or in the water. Various crosses were tried with Germany eventually producing its own Deutsch-Drahthaar (German Wirehair); a tough, brave dog with all the traits required. Thus the German wirehaired pointer evolved from elaborate crossings of foxhound, poodle-pointer mixes and bloodhound in an attempt to produce a gundog with an all-round ability in the field, able to track, point and retrieve any kind of game in any terrain.

Although popular well before, it was not until 1928 that the German wirehaired pointer was admitted into the German Kartell. It was imported into the USA in the 1920s and the German Drahthaar Club of America was formed in 1953. In 1959 it was registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) with the name changing to German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America.

German wire-haired pointer

The German wirehaired pointer needs consistent handling and should be socialised at a young age. A versatile hunter, they are tireless and agile, and may become troublesome if not keep sufficiently exercised and occupied. They are often slow to housebreak. They make good jogging companions and would suit a very active family. They enjoy working, are eager to learn and are much too energetic to be kept cooped up indoors as they would become restless and unhappy. If left alone too much, they may become destructive. Most get along with other pets although they are apt to instinctively pursue furry things that run from them!!

They make good watchdogs but are inclined to be highly strung and can become jealous. Some are aloof with strangers and some are obstinate and wilful. Households with small children or elderly people may not suit them as they are often too boisterous and play too roughly for safety. Consistent training is absolutely essential with these pointers.

They are muscular, balanced dogs ranging from 24 to 26 inches at the withers with bitches being slightly smaller. They weigh around 60 pounds. The body is very slightly longer than it is high. The head is moderately long with rounded ears hanging close to the head. The lips are bearded and slightly pendulous with strong jaws. Oval eyes should be of medium size, overhung with moderate eyebrows. Eyes and nose are brown and the nostrils wide. For showing, yellow eyes and spotted or flesh coloured noses are all penalized as is a short or excessively long coat or a woolly coat. Any black in the coat is frowned upon.

The topline slopes from withers to croup with a deep chest and well-sprung ribs. The back is short and strong with an obvious tucking up. The tail is docked to two-fifths its original length and should be carried at or above the horizontal.

Forelegs are straight and strong without being heavy. All four feet are highly arched and webbed which aids in swimming. The feet have thick, hard pads and strong nails. Hind legs are parallel when viewed from the rear with muscular thighs. The movement should have good reach in front and real driving power in the hindquarters, producing ground-covering action.

These dogs live about 12-14 years and are generally healthy. Hip dysplasia may occur in some families along with genetic eye diseases, skin cancers and ear infections. If buying a puppy ask to see the papers of the parents to ascertain if they have been certified as free of genetic problems.

The American Kennel Club lists the German wirehaired pointer as a sporting dogs along with other pointers, setters, spaniels and retrievers. If you are extremely active and love the outdoors, a German wirehaired pointer will be very happy to share all your activities and there is no doubt he will return that love, being a faithful, affectionate companion.



Jul 10, 2012 7:14am
Thanks for a really well informed article.

You have described the German Wire-Haired Pointer down to a tee. They can be a bit too much as a family pet as you suggest.

I'm currently doing some gundog classes with my Lab and some of the other German hunters have GWPs. When trained they are great dogs but can be very strong and have a great urge to work.

My one complaint is that a wet GWP smell horrendous when curled up next to the fire after a good days work
Jul 10, 2012 5:31pm
Hi Atthed. Thanks very much for the comment. I didn't think I should mention the smell!
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