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German Longhaired Pointer: Dog Breed Info, Pictures & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Pedigree brown german longhaired pointer dog_BIDANDT.com_Shutterstock

Height: 23-28 inches
Weight: 55-80 pounds
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Colors: Brown roan, roan, white and chocolate, dark chocolate
Suitable for: Active families and singles, hunters, experienced dog owners
Temperament: Friendly, kind, gentle, active, intelligent, affectionate

The German Longhaired Pointer is a dog long revered in the hunting community due to their unmatched ability to search, point, track, hunt, and retrieve game, namely waterfowl. They are one of the oldest breeds of Pointer, with a long history as gundogs with wide versatility. These dogs make great working and hunting dogs, as well as loyal and loving family pets.

The German Longhaired Pointer originated in Germany and was at first a slow, stubborn, and temperamental breed. They were crossed with Setters and English Pointers during the 19th century to improve their speed, and through breeding, they have since become friendly, gentle, and even-tempered animals. They are excellent hunting dogs with tons of energy and athletic capability, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a dog with a higher endurance threshold.

If the German Longhaired Pointer sounds like the breed for you, read on for an in-depth summary of this hard-working breed.

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German Longhaired Pointer Puppies


German Longhaired Pointers require a ton of exercise to stay happy and healthy, and they’ll need daily interactive activity and training. This makes them a big responsibility and time investment, and you should consider this carefully before bringing one home. They love any type of outdoor activity and are ideal dogs for owners who love to be active. Mountains, rivers, lakes, or forests — you can be sure your Pointer will love to be by your side traveling through them all.

3 Little-Known Facts About the German Longhaired Pointers

1.Their name comes from their unique stance.

While the “German” (they originated in Germany) and “Longhaired” part of their name is self-explanatory, these dogs get the “Pointer” part due to their unique and characteristic stance. It comes from their instinct to stop and point at game, rather than run into the bush after it. They will stop, lift one leg, and point their muzzle toward the game’s location. This became a particularly prized trait when gun hunting became commonplace, as hunters were far more successful. This “pointing” trait was selectively bred for and resulted in the Pointers we know and love today.

2. German Longhaired Pointers are skilled at more than just hunting.

Although well known for their keen hunting instincts, Pointers are highly athletic and intelligent dogs too. They are frequently used in agility competitions, and they have webbed feet for excellent swimming skills and powerful noses for scenting. Both Shorthaired and Longhaired Pointers are frequent winners in agility tournaments. If you have a love for these kinds of activities and competitions, the German Longhaired Pointer is a great choice of breed.

3. German Longhaired Pointers have never-ending energy.

These dogs are not content with a brief walk around the block once a day. They have incredible endurance and seemingly inexhaustible energy reserves and require tons of vigorous exercise. There is no such thing as too much exercise with these dogs, and you’ll have to work hard to tire them out. This means that they are a massive responsibility because they’ll need vigorous daily exercise.

German Longhaired Pointer
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Temperament & Intelligence of the German Longhaired Pointer 🧠

German Longhaired Pointers are intelligent, gentle, and friendly dogs. While they are primarily suited to hunting and working applications, they are even-tempered and adaptable animals that are suitable as family pets too. They need a ton of exercise, though, and without it, they will exhibit reactionary behaviors like chewing, barking, and possibly aggression.

These dogs have a long history of close working relationships with humans and as such, tend to form strong bonds with their owners. They do not like being left alone at home, even for short periods, so they are not suited for owners who are away frequently. The German Longhaired Pointer’s temperament has changed somewhat since their conception. They traditionally were known to be stubborn and temperamental, but selective breeding has made them into loving and gentle dogs that are easy to train.

If you are an active person who loves to be outdoors with your dog, the German Longhaired Pointer will give you a run for your money in energy and make a great exercise companion.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

German Longhaired Pointers are a great family dog, provided that they are trained well. They are large dogs with tons of energy and may be a bit too boisterous for smaller children. That said, they are loving and gentle dogs that bond strongly with their owners. Their high intellect, loyal bond with owners, and large size make them great guard dogs too.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

In general, these dogs will get along great with other dogs and pets, provided that they are trained well and socialized early. Due to their history as hunting companions, they may have a strong prey drive and see smaller pets as targets! But this is usually not a problem with proper early socialization.

German longhaired pointer on the grass_Burry van den Brink_Shutterstock
Credit: Burry van den Brink, Shutterstock


Things to Know When Owning a German Longhaired Pointer

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

German Longhaired Pointers are high-energy dogs with a fast metabolism and will need high-quality food ideally divided into two separate meals. We recommend 2-3 cups of good-quality dry kibble per day, with occasional supplementation with lean meats or tinned food. Whether you feed them primarily dry kibble or wet food, the quality of food goes a long way. The best possible quality of food will lessen the health risks associated with disorders resulting from “fillers” like wheat, corn, and soy, which can cause serious health problems. The better the quality of food, the better the overall health of your dog and the less you’ll need to feed them. Dry kibble is generally more affordable and convenient, and it has a long shelf life and aids in keeping their teeth clean. Wet food, on the other hand, will add moisture, flavor, and variety to their diet, although it consists of added water. We recommend using wet food primarily to complement to their dry food staple.

Raw food diets and homemade meals are great too but can be expensive and time-consuming. It can also be difficult to gauge whether your dogs are getting the correct amount of nutrients with these diets, so you’ll need to pay careful attention to the ingredients.

We recommend feeding them two small meals a day as opposed to one large meal or free feeding. These dogs love to eat and will quickly become overweight if freely fed.

Exercise 🐕

German Longhaired Pointers are high-energy pooches that will need a ton of daily exercise to burn off all their excess energy. They were bred as working dogs and thus need to stay active regularly to stay healthy, happy, and mischief free. They are highly athletic and active dogs that will do well with a specific job to do, considering their working heritage.

These dogs need a large backyard to run around in, as well as additional dedicated exercise regimens. We recommend at least 60-90 minutes a day, split up into two sessions. Being such intellectual animals, they’ll need both physical and mental stimulation in these exercises. An intensive walk or run followed by games like fetch or frisbee will keep their physical and mental needs meet. Their history as gundogs will likely make them love water, and a regular swim is a great way to burn off energy.

These dogs are not ideally suited for urban environments due to their high energy needs and high propensity for barking.

Dog running in the field_Burry van den Brink_shutterstock
Image credit: Burry van den Brink, Shutterstock

Training 🦮

The German Longhaired Pointer is an intelligent breed that is easy to train. They have a long and rich history of working with humans and will love the mental and physical challenges posed by training. That said, these dogs are easily distracted and can quickly lose interest, so we recommend keeping training sessions as short and entertaining as possible. A good average to go by is a maximum of 20-30 minutes per session.

  • Leash training is essential with German Longhaired Pointers, as when their nose latches onto a scent, it can be near-impossible to get their attention back. The best way is to integrate this habit as early as possible and start them leash-training indoors as puppies with rewards for good behavior. A good rule of thumb is not to walk them outside until they have stopped pulling on the leash. Leash-pulling is a difficult habit to break, so it should be instilled from an early age as possible; otherwise, your German Longhaired Pointer will be walking you! That said, off-leash exercise and training are also vital, as your dog will need to be able to obey commands during off-leash play.
  • Early socialization is also vital to good training. Getting your dogs used to other people and animals at an early age will have untold benefits and stop them from getting distracted or running after other animals during walks.
  • Basic command training should be a cinch with German Longhaired Pointers, as long as they don’t get distracted. Their natural hunting instincts need to be kept in check lest they go running after other dogs and small mammals. These dogs also have a high tendency for barking, but this can be lessened considerably with basic command training.

Grooming ✂️

German Longhaired Pointers have a smooth and medium-length coat that will require regular brushing and grooming. They have a coarse topcoat and a fairly fine undercoat that may get matted if left unbrushed. These boisterous, energetic dogs are sure to get muddy and filthy on their daily walks as they love to investigate every smell and sound. This means that in addition to brushing, they’ll likely need fairly regular bathing too.

We recommend a simple rinse and rub down when they get muddy, as shampooing should be kept to a minimum. Too much shampooing can cause the disruption of the natural oils on their coats, making it lose its shine and vigor.

Health and Conditions ❤️

German Longhaired Pointers are a healthy breed with few genetic health conditions. That said, there are a few common disorders that can affect them.

  • Obesity. German Longhaired Pointers are fairly prone to getting overweight and will eat far more than their fair share if given the chance. Any unhealthy foods like wheat and sugar should be strictly avoided, as well as table scraps. This is a disorder that is fully in the owner’s control, so with strict supervision, it can be largely avoided.
  • Dental Issues. Without regular brushing, your Pointer’s teeth can build up rapidly with tartar and plaque, which can quickly progress to tooth and gum infection. Regular dental care is a must with these dogs!
  • Bloat. Bloat is usually mild in German Longhaired Pointers and can be easily remedied by a change in diet.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease. This blood clotting disorder is usually genetic and is fairly common among German Longhaired Pointers. It is usually easily treated with medication, but in severe cases, a blood transfusion may be required.
  • Distichiasis. This condition is caused by extra hair growing inside your dog’s eyelid and can cause irritation by rubbing on the surface of the eye. It is an uncomfortable condition and is remedied by a simple procedure of eyelash removal.

Hip dysplasia, allergies, heart disease, and thyroid problems are also fairly common in German Longhaired Pointers.

Minor Conditions
  • Bloat
  • Obesity
  • Food allergies
  • Skin allergies
  • Dental issues
  • Distichiasis
Serious Conditions
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patella luxation
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Von Willebrand’s disease

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Male vs. Female

If the German Longhaired Pointer sounds like the right dog for you, the last decision to make is whether to get a male or female. Spaying females and neutering males will make a big difference in personality, as well as a calmer, gentler, and all-round happier dog. Upbringing, genetics, and environment also have a bigger part to play than sex. That said, there are notable differences in male and female GLPs to be aware of.

Male German Longhaired Pointers are usually noticeably taller than females, by up to 2 or 3 inches. They are usually heavier too, by around 20 pounds in some cases. They are also more muscular and well-defined, with thick necks and bodies, while the females are more slender with thinner necks and bodies. Males are known to be more boisterous, with higher energy levels, and are generally more difficult to tire out. Females are more independent and happy to do their own thing while males enjoy and seek out loads of attention from their owners.

In terms of hunting, both dogs have traditionally been used equally, and gundog enthusiasts do not favor one over the other. The only issue is that females come into heat during hunting season, which of course, can be solved by spaying.

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Final Thoughts

The German Longhaired Pointer is an energetic and active dog that loves the outdoors. They are the ideal choice for active owners with large yards and make friendly and loving family dogs. They are easy to train, though they are easily distracted, so training should start as early as possible. Make no mistake, these are dogs that are not content to laze on the sofa. They need massive amounts of exercise to drain their seemingly inexhaustible energy levels. Due to their ever-present energy, large size, and propensity to bark, these dogs are not suited to urban living.

If you are an active owner who loves trail running through the outdoors or you are a hunting enthusiast in need of a loyal companion, the German Longhaired Pointer is a beautiful and loyal pooch that is an ideal choice of breed for your needs.

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Featured Image Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

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