Choosing a German Wirehaired Pointer

Choosing a German Wirehaired Pointer

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The German wirehaired pointer, also known as the drahthaar, is a relatively recently developed breed from Germany. The breed is an excellent gun dog and can be a faithful and loving family companion.

History and Origin

The German wirehaired pointer was developed in the early 1900s in Germany as an excellent gun dog. The breed originated from crossing the German pointer with other breeds. There is some debate on which other breeds were included but many feel that the wirehaired griffon, foxhound, bloodhound and poodle were used in the breed's development. The breed was first seen in the United States in the 1920s and was accepted to the American Kennel Club in 1959 as a member of the working group.

Appearance and Size

The German wirehaired pointer is a medium sized distinctive looking pointer. The nose is long and wide and the ears are rounded, hanging close to the head. The tail is set high and docked.

His wirehaired coat makes him easy to recognize. The coat is weather resistant with a dense undercoat in winter, which is shed for the summer. The outer coat is harsh, wiry and straight and about one to two inches in length. The beard is medium length and the eyebrows are strong. The hair coat is liver and white.

The adult wirehaired pointer stands around 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weighs about 60 to 70 pounds.


The German wirehaired pointer is a loyal and affectionate dog that can be a little standoffish toward strangers. He is always eager to please his family but can be stubborn and willful. The breed has a tendency to roam so should be kept on a leash unless in a fenced yard.

Home and Family Relations

The German wirehaired pointer does best in a very active family with older children and a big fenced yard. This dog is extremely energetic and needs daily exercise. He would make a wonderful jogging companion and enjoys swimming.


As with other pointers, the German wirehaired pointer is a natural retriever. They are intelligent but their exuberance can sometimes make them difficult to train in basic obedience. This pointer is a good gun dog and loves to hunt any game. The breed can track, point and retrieve.

Special Concerns

The coat of this pointer needs to be brushed about twice a week. Periodically, stripping of the coat may be needed. This dog is very energetic and needs plenty of exercise. A bored restless German wirehaired pointer can be destructive.

Common Diseases and Disorders

In general, the German shorthaired pointer is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the following diseases or disorders have been reported:

  • Gastric torsion, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.
  • Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
  • Hot spots are areas of itchy moist skin that becomes infected.
  • Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland does not function adequately. Without enough thyroid hormone, illness can occur.
  • Otitis externa is an infection of the ears.
  • Lick granuloma is considered a behavioral disorder and can occur in response to a variety of stressors. A skin lesion is created from licking.
  • Interdigital dermatitis, also known as pododermatitis, is an inflammation of the paws involving the feet and nails.
  • Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a metabolic disorder characterized by excessive, extreme urination, and accompanied by thirst.
  • Oropharyngeal tumors – are tumors that may occur in the mouth and pharynx.

    In addition, although these occur infrequently, the following disorders have also been reported:

  • Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.
  • Von Willebrand's disease is a disorder that results in the inability to clot blood. Affected animals will bleed extensively following trauma or surgery.
  • Mast cell tumors are malignant tumors than can occur in the skin or within the body.
  • Nasal tumors – may occur in some dogs.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a disease that causes nerve cells at the back of the eye to degenerate. The condition usually begins in older pets and can lead to blindness.
  • Due to exposure pointers have an increased incidence to infectious diseases including: Histoplasmosis, Coccidiomycosis and Blastomycosis
  • Polyartritis is a condition in which the immune system is stimulated to cause an inappropriate inflammatory response in one or usually multiple joints
  • Ruptured cranial cruciate ligament is a problem that results from tearing of the cruciate ligament in the knee, causing lameness that may be severe .
  • Entropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes inward rolling. Lashes on the edge of the eyelid irritate the surface of the eyeball and may lead to more serious problems.
  • Melanoma is a specific type of cancer that is often malignant.
  • Aortic stenosis is a disease caused by stenosis of the aortic valve that may cause symptoms such as weakness, collapse and sudden death.

    Life Span

    The average life span of the German shorthaired pointer is 12 to 14 years.

    We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.

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