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German Shorthaired Pointer

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German Shorthaired Pointer
Dog on point
Other names
  • Deutscher Kurzhaariger Vorstehhund
  • Deutsch Kurzhaar
  • Kurzhaar
  • Kurzhaariger Deutscher Vorstehhund
  • German Shorthaired Pointing Dog
Height Males 62–66 cm
Females 58–63 cm
Kennel club standards
Verband für das Deutsche Hundewesen standard
Fédération Cynologique Internationale standard
Dog (domestic dog)

The German Shorthaired Pointer or Deutsch Kurzhaar is a German breed of pointing dog of medium size. It originated in the nineteenth century in what is now Germany.[1] It is an all-purpose gun dog suitable for hunting and retrieving on both land and water.[2] It may also be kept as a companion dog.


Hector IV, a Short-haired German Pointer, illustration from 1884

German hunters spent generations crossing different breeds until the GSP came during the 1800s. They were successful to the point that the GSP is among the top-winning breeds in competitive hunting events.[3] According to the American Kennel Club,[4] it is likely that the GSP is descended from a breed known as the German Bird Dog, which itself is related to the Old Spanish Pointer, introduced to Germany in the 17th century.[citation needed] The breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1930.[4]

In 1878, at the annual dog show of the Verein zur Veredelung der Hunderassen in Frankfurt am Main, it was agreed that breed standards for German dogs would be established at the show to be held in Hannover in 1879; standards for both the Deutsch Kurzhaar and the Deutsch Langhaar were introduced in that year.[5]: 606  The first stud-book for the Kurzhaar was published in 1897.[6]: 84 [7]

The Kurzhaar was definitively accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale in 1954.[8] In 2013 it was in twenty-second place on a list of the most-registered dog breeds world-wide.[9] In the fifteen years from 2007 to 2021, the annual number of new registrations in Germany averaged about 1300, with a low of 1102 and a high of 1842.[10]

In 2016, CJ, a three-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer, won the Best in Show award at the 140th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.[11]


liver & liver and white ticked
A solid liver GSP

The German Shorthaired Pointer is of medium size: dogs stand some 62–66 cm at the withers, bitches some 3 or 4 cm less.[12] The coat is short and flat with a dense undercoat protected by stiff guard hairs, making the coat water resistant and allowing the dog to stay warm in cold weather. That allows the dog to be an agile hunter, with high performance in both field and water. The coat can be a dark brown with some lighter brown colors, referred to as "liver" (incorrectly as "chocolate" or "chestnut"), black, white, liver roan, or liver and white.[2][4]

German Shorthaired Pointers have a short coat that comes in various combinations, generally a mix of liver and white. They have moderately long floppy ears set high on the head. A long, broad, and strong muzzle allows retrieval of heavier game. The dog's profile should be straight or strongly Roman nosed; any dished appearance to the profile is incorrect according to breed standards.[2] Their eyes are generally brown, with darker ones being desirable; yellow or "bird of prey" eyes are a fault. The tail is commonly docked, although that is now prohibited in some countries.[13] In competition, they are penalized if the tail is curved either up or down while the dog is moving.[14] When the GSP is in classic point stance, the tail should be held straight out from the body, forming a line with the pointing head and body. Like all German pointers, GSPs have webbed feet, and are known for going after waterfowl in the water.[citation needed]

liver & white patched (head) and ticked (body)

Most German Shorthaired Pointers are tough, healthy dogs, but the breed can be subject to a number of hereditary disorders. Some of these health disorders include, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis dissecans, pannus, progressive retinal atrophy, epilepsy, skin disorders and cancerous lesions in the mouth, on the skin and other areas of the body.[citation needed]

A genetic form of lupus, termed exfoliative cutaneous lupus erythematosus has also been recognized in this breed.[15]

A 2024 UK study found a life expectancy of 13.4 years for the breed compared to an average of 12.7 for purebreeds and 12 for crossbreeds.[16]


Like the other German pointers (the German Wirehaired Pointer and the less well-known German Longhaired Pointer), the GSP can perform virtually all gun dog roles. It is a pointer and retriever, an upland bird dog, and water dog. The GSP can be used for hunting larger and more dangerous game. It is an excellent swimmer but also works well in rough terrain. It is tenacious, tireless, hardy, and reliable.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Maxwell, C. Bede 1987. "The New German Shorthaired Pointer" Howell Book House Inc. ISBN 0-87605-157-3; p.13
  2. ^ a b c "GSP breed standard". American Kennel Club. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  3. ^ "German Shorthaired Pointer Dog Breed Information". Archived from the original on 10 February 2020. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Get to Know the German Shorthaired Pointer". American Kennel Club. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  5. ^ Hans Räber (1995). Enzyklopädie der Rassenhunde: Ursprung, Geschichte, Zuchtziele, Eignung und Verwendung (volume 2, in German). Stuttgart: Franckh-Kosmos. ISBN 9783440067529.
  6. ^ Gabriele Lehari (2013 [2009]). 400 Hunderassen von A - Z (third edition, in German). Stuttgart (Hohenheim): Eugen Ulmer KG. ISBN 9783800178827.
  7. ^ Deutsch Kurzhaar (in German). Dortmund: Verband für das Deutsche Hundewesen. Archived 8 December 2023.
  8. ^ FCI breeds nomenclature: Deutsch Kurzhaar (119). Thuin, Belgium: Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed June 2024.
  9. ^ [Svenska Kennelklubben] (2013). Registration figures worldwide – from top thirty to endangered breeds. FCI Newsletter 15. Thuin, Belgium: Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Archived 16 December 2022.
  10. ^ Welpenstatistik (in German). Dortmund: Verband für das Deutsche Hundewesen. Archived 21 February 2024.
  11. ^ "2016 Winners", westminsterkennelclub.org, Westminster Kennel Club, archived from the original on 26 February 2020, retrieved 26 February 2020
  12. ^ FCI-Standard N° 119: Deutsch Kurzhaar (German Shorthaired Pointing Dog). Thuin, Belgium: Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed June 2024.
  13. ^ "Docking worldwide". Council of Docked Breeds. Archived from the original on 18 August 2022. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  14. ^ Titus, Patte (30 September 1992). "Breed Education". www.gspca.org. Archived from the original on 11 January 2019. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  15. ^ Wang, Ping; Zangerl, Barbara; Werner, Petra; Mauldin, Elizabeth A.; Casal, Margret L. (April 2011). "Familial cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) in the German shorthaired pointer maps to CFA18, a canine orthologue to human CLE". Immunogenetics. 63 (4): 197–207. doi:10.1007/s00251-010-0499-z. ISSN 0093-7711. PMC 3230530. PMID 21132284.
  16. ^ Kirsten M. McMillan, Jon Bielby, Carys L. Williams, Melissa M. Upjohn, Rachel A. Casey, Robert M. Christley (2024). Longevity of companion dog breeds: those at risk from early death. Scientific Reports. 14 (1): 531. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-50458-w. ISSN 2045-2322. Open access icon

Further reading[edit]

  • Rollston, Dr. Christopher A. "A Brief History of the German Shorthair (Deutsch Kurzhaar)." _Shorthair Journal_ Volume 7 Issue 6 (2006):8-10.