The first impression of the German Wirehaired Pointer or GWP is that it is a well-built, sturdy gun dog with an elite and elegant appearance. What adds to their intelligent expression is their shaggy beard and bushy eyebrows. One of their USPs is their weather-resistant coat. It’s a boon for them as it helps them retrieve with ease in all terrain, be it land or water.
Coming to the popularity meter, these agile, athletic dogs with appealing personality is famous enough. They ranked 59 out of the 199 breeds in the American Kennel Club’s popular breeds of 2022.
|German Wirehaired Pointer Dog Breed Information:|
|Dog Breed Group:||Gundogs, Pointers|
|Temperament:||Even-tempered, affectionate, lively, determined, loyal|
|Alternate names and nicknames:||GWP, Deutsch Drahthaar, Deutscher Drahthaariger Vorstehhund, Drahthaar|
|Health and Grooming:|
|Amount Of Shedding:|
History of the German Wirehaired Pointer
The origin of the German Wirehaired Pointer dates back to the late 19th century, 1880, to be more specific. As its name suggests, it has its roots in Germany. Baron Sigismund von Zedlitz und Neukirch, a German breeder, was instrumental in creating this breed. He aimed to develop a dog with versatile hunting capabilities. He wanted the new breed to be comfortable working with a single owner or a group of people.
He even desired that the dog be capable of hunting in diverse terrain, from mountainous belts to forests, farms to small towns, tall grasses to watery landscapes. The German breeders also wanted the breed in question to have a protective coat shielding when they worked in adverse weather conditions- like extreme cold. The other criterion was that the dogs should be easy to maintain.
Furthermore, they wanted a dog to easily track and locate the wounded game. They wanted him to have expertise in dealing with the game on land and water. Last but not least, they wanted the working dog to be a loyal companion and guard their home and property. The outcome of all this was extensive breeding. It led to the development of the German Wirehaired Pointer.
Though the lineage of the GWP differs from one source to the other, the probable breeds responsible for its development include the Pudlepointer, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, the German Shorthaired Pointer, and the Stichelhaar.
They rose to popularity in their country of origin in no time. They were imported to America in the 1920s, all thanks to the efforts of North American sportspeople. The breed attained the American Kennel Club’s recognition in 1959. The GWPC (German Wirehaired Pointer Club) was developed in 1959 and was AKC’s official parent club for the breed.
More About the German Wirehaired Pointer
The first thing that draws one to this breed is its fascinating coat, which gives it an enticing look.
Make this breed a part of your family only if you have ample time. Remember, the German Wirehaired Pointer isn’t good at staying by itself for prolonged periods. It may trigger separation anxiety in them. The dog could get bored and resort to destructive activities. Finally, he may escape from your home.
These flexible breeds are pros at whatever they do. They show increased efficiency in searching and hunting several games, from birds to mammals. They are even adept at retrieving birds from the water. At the same time, these dogs excel as great companions.
They are well-muscled and sturdily built. One of their highlighting features is their wire-like weather-resistant coat and facial furnishings. Their head is moderately long, while their medium-sized eyes appear bright and oval.
These dogs even have rounded ears hanging close to their head. Their muzzles are long as well, while their noses appear dark brown. The muscular frame of the GWP is further achieved by its medium-length arched neck and deep chest. They have a high set tail carried horizontally when the GWP is alert.
These medium or big-sized dogs weigh between 50 and 70 pounds. While the males measure 24 to 26 inches, the females are around 22 inches in height.
Personality and Temperament
When it comes to their kith and kin and those they know, there is no one as friendly as the GWP. When raised in a single household, these dogs would be closely inclined to that one person. However, he will form a rapport with all the members when it is a large family. Yet, he will have his personal favorite among the clan.
They appear aloof and reserved towards strangers but never aggressive. They alert their owners by barking the moment they sense a threat. Needless to say that they are great watchdogs.
They love their people. The GWP is happiest when it spends time with its family. It comes as no surprise that it doesn’t do well when made to live in a kennel. Coming to its reputation as a gun dog, the GWP is fabulous in its work. Their biggest boon is their sharp nose. It makes these dogs great at pointing, tracking, and retrieving, not just on land but even on water.
Overall, the German Wirehaired Pointer is a healthy breed. Yet, these dogs need to be checked for certain genetic conditions. As per the National Breed Club, the German Wirehaired Pointer must be assessed for hip evaluation, elbow evaluation, thyroid evaluation, ophthalmologist evaluation, and cardiac exam. Described below are some of the health problems that this breed is susceptible to.
Most large dogs are prone to suffering from hip dysplasia. The German Wirehaired Pointer is no exception in this regard. Some of the early signs of this condition include trouble moving around. Your dog could show lameness or even have trouble getting up from a sitting or lying posture. You may even spot your dog limping as he walks. He might not even show interest in climbing stairs.
Puppies can display symptoms of hip dysplasia when they are barely a few months of age. However, in most cases, the symptoms become prominent in dogs aged between one and two years. This condition is hereditary in certain breeds. So, it is a mandate for breeders to get their dogs checked for this condition.
In this condition, the dog faces stiffness in his elbows. He often points his front paws outwards or holds his elbows at a strange angle. The elbows may even appear puffy or swollen.
Dogs could either suffer from reactive or secondary, or primary seizures. Reactive seizures occur when the brain reacts to metabolic disorders such as liver disease, low blood sugar, lower calcium levels in the blood, or kidney problems.
The reason behind a secondary seizure may be a trauma, stroke, or brain tumor. The causes of primary or idiopathic seizures are unknown, though. This condition is mostly inherited, and the symptoms start to show when your puppy is 6 months to 3 years old.
This one is a deep-chested breed with an increased risk of gastric torsion. When your dog suffers from bloating, the stomach twists on its own and gets filled with gas. Because of this twisting, the stomach and even the spleen don’t get a sufficient amount of blood supply.
A dog with gastric torsion would show certain symptoms. These include restlessness, an overall feeling of discomfort, excessive drooling, and rapid breathing. Its abdomen would also appear distended. If you see these symptoms, rush your dog to the vet at the earliest. A little delay may prove fatal for him.
It’s a condition of the eyes where the eyelids are seen rolling inwards. If the dog has this condition, it will affect both eyes. The resultant effect would be irritation and vision impairment. If your dog has this condition, it may rub its eyes frequently or even squint.
At times you would even see a discharge from his eyes. The signs could be seen before their first birthday. However, if surgery is needed, that should only be done once they are one year old.
A cataract is one of the reasons for blindness in older dogs. The GWP can develop cataracts as early as six months of age. If your dog has cataracts, he will start rubbing or scratching his eyes continuously. You could even notice a change in eye color or the size and shape of the pupil. There could even be a clumsiness in his movement. So, you must watch his condition and take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
Von Willebrand’s Disease
One of the commonest symptoms is intense bleeding. In this inherited bleeding disorder, the blood doesn’t clot. It could happen if your dog has undergone surgery or injured himself. Your dog could even suffer from nose or gum bleeding and skin bruising if it has this condition. There isn’t any cure for this disease. The only way to treat the same is through blood transfusion.
The GWP might be prone to suffer from certain heart conditions, one being aortic stenosis. It causes the aortic valve to narrow. When this happens, the heart can’t pump blood into the body with ease. In severe cases, dogs with this condition will show symptoms like lethargy, difficulty breathing, exercise intolerance, and even fainting.
These dogs need plenty of exercise to maintain good physical and mental health. They were bred as hunters. The present-day German Wirehaired Pointers are as active and energetic as their ancestors.
You won’t be disappointed if you plan to take the GWP on a hiking spree or long walk. They would be a fabulous companion. If a long walk is always off the cards, arrange a few short walks throughout the day, with ample playtime.
This breed isn’t for you if you live in an apartment or condo. It needs plenty of space to channel its energy. On the other hand, if you are in the countryside and have a job for your dog, it would be an added advantage. It would give your dog a sense of satisfaction. The job doesn’t have to be a complicated one, like hunting. It could be something simple, like fetching things for you each morning. Ensure you don’t employ your dog to do something that could be dangerous to him.
When a GWP is bored, it could get destructive and try to escape from its dwelling. So, it would be best if you closely watched your dog. If you have a yard, ensure it’s fenced to a height of about 6 feet. They are also great diggers, so ensure that the fence you install can’t be dug with ease.
Bathe them only when they get dirty or at the most two times a year. You should trim their nails at least once a month or earlier if they get longer. Also, take care of your dog’s dental hygiene. Brush its teeth twice or thrice a week to prevent tartar buildup.
Make it a point to check its ears weekly for bad odor and redness. Clean the GWP’s ears gently using a cotton ball dipped in a vet-approved ear cleaner solution. Check its eyes as well for any redness and infection. While you groom your dog, check its skin and other parts of its body carefully for any rashes, sores, inflammation, redness, and tenderness.
Like all other breeds, the German Wirehaired Pointer needs high-quality dry dog food. An adult dog would need between 2.5 and 3 cups of kibble daily. But don’t give it all at once. Instead, divide it equally into two meals.
The GWP is active and energetic, but that doesn’t mean that owners should overfeed them. Make sure you measure the food you are giving them properly. Avoid free feeding, i.e., leaving his food bowl out for him to feed all day long. If you plan to combine homemade and store-bought food, consult the vet.
Coat Color and Grooming
As per the breed standards, these dogs come in three solid colors – liver, black and white, and liver and white. Those with a solid liver coat are mostly of a reddish-brown coloration. The desirable markings on this breed include ticked, spotted, roan, and roan ticked.
These dogs have the characteristic wiry coat – water-resistant and water-repellant as well. Their undercoat becomes dense during the winter months. It helps to protect the dog against the chilly temperatures. Surprisingly, it gets so thin in summer that the coat is barely visible. The outer coat, 1-2 inches long, appears harsh, flat, wiry, and straight.
The GWP’s coat is of a varied texture in different areas of its body. For example, the coat is shortened in the area surrounding its lower legs. The coat has a softer texture in the region between its toes. The coat on the skull is close-fitting and short, while on the shoulders and tail, it is heavy and dense, giving a fluffy appearance. They even have medium-length bushy beards and whiskers that shield the eyes and face from scratches and tears.
Their coat would remain fine with minimal maintenance. It includes brushing its coat once or twice weekly with a soft, slicker brush and a coat. In this way, you could prevent the formation of mats and tangles. It would also help remove loose hair and dirt with ease. Also, comb its beard and eyebrows well to prevent them from looking messy.
Children and Other Pets
These dogs do better with older kids in the family than the younger ones. Considering the dog’s unruly nature, leaving the little ones alone with these dogs is never safe. The mighty GWP could end up knocking the kids, even if it is in pursuit of play.
They would share a comfortable rapport with the dogs they were raised with. However, when interacting with dogs unknown to them, the GWP may display aggressiveness. It is even said that these dogs live peacefully with the family’s cats. Yet, one should remember their inherent chasing instincts. So avoid keeping cats and smaller pets like hamsters and rabbits in the same household.
These dogs are smart, curious, active, and determined to complete their job. At the same time, they exhibit a sense of independence. This trait makes handling a little troublesome. They will only do what you tell them to if they like you. So, they aren’t a good choice for novice owners. These dogs need tactful handling.
Socialize your GWP puppies at the earliest. Take them out and expose them to different people and experiences. It would help them understand their surroundings better. At the same time, train them on commands. The better they learn to follow commands, the more disciplined they become with age. Taking their chasing instincts into consideration, teach your dogs to wear a leash from the time they are puppies. Also, take special care about housetraining and start as early as possible, when they are 8-12 weeks of age.
To sum it up, this is a wonderful breed to have, provided you give it plenty of time and train it well. The result would be a loyal and obedient dog. It would not only live up to your expectation of an adorable pet but also raise to the stature of a perfect guardsman for your family.
Though they shed throughout the year, this breed isn’t considered heavy shedders.
When purchased from reputable breeders, they come for a cost of $600-$950. Puppies below six months of age would come for $800 on average. In the first year maintenance cost of these dogs would round off to $4000. After that, the yearly cost is around $1800.
There is a difference in their coat. It is wiry for the German Wirehaired Pointer and short for the German Shorthaired Pointer. The GWP also appears heavier and taller than their cousin.
Hi, I’m Walter,
I live in Oklahoma City, USA, and have extensive dog caring and grooming expertise. In addition, I provide dog training tips and tricks through my blogs in Canine Weekly. I have a Dog Behavior and Training diploma and have previously worked as a Dog Trainer at ROC Animal Training and Behavior and Tip Top K9 of OKC Dog Training.
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