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German Wirehaired Pointer: Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

German Wirehaired Pointer

Height: 22–26 inches
Weight: 50–70 pounds
Lifespan: 14–16 years
Colors: Liver coats with white, roan, ticked, and spotted markings
Suitable for: Those looking for an athletic and companionable breed for outdoor adventures
Temperament: Active and intelligent, talented working breed with an affectionate nature

The charismatic German Wirehaired Pointer could just be the perfect dog for you if you’re looking for an active and affectionate pup. These dogs are talented hunting dogs, just as comfortable in the water as they are on land. Their affectionate nature also makes them a great choice as a family dog to be included in plenty of outdoor activities.

Their grizzly faces are certainly adorable, but these dogs need a great deal of exercise, as well as regular training sessions to keep their active brains and bodies occupied. The German Wirehaired Pointer has a strong work ethic, so they enjoy feeling useful and challenged to do their best.

German Wirehaired Pointers have a dedicated following of loyal fans, but you might not know that much about them. In this guide, we’ll give you all the details about this active and affectionate breed, so you can find out if they’d be the perfect addition to your family.

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German Wirehaired Pointer Puppies

German Wirehaired Pointer Puppy
Image Credit: B. Shay, Shutterstock

We know that any litter of tiny snuggly pups is practically impossible to resist. But before you take the plunge and decide to bring a new dog into your home, it’s important to put emotions aside and first focus on whether you and your family can actually provide what a particular breed of puppy needs to thrive.

German Wirehaired Pointers are active and intelligent. This means they not only need plenty of exercise, but you’ll also need to find ways to keep their brains occupied. A bored and overly enthusiastic German Wirehaired Pointer can create serious destruction around your home if you’ve forgotten their walk or training session!

As a hunting and retrieving breed, the German Wirehaired Pointer has a strong prey drive. You’ll need to keep on top of their training in this regard, especially if you’re expecting your pup to share a home with cats and other smaller pets.

3 Little-Known Facts About the German Wirehaired Pointer

1. They are famed for their wiry coat

The official breed standard for the German Wirehaired Pointer states that the coat is the “most distinctive feature.” This specific feature of the dog was intended to protect them from the elements while out hunting in the field. Their double coat keeps them well insulated in the colder months but sheds out to almost nothing over the summer months, leaving just their wiry topcoat.

This topcoat is excellent at resisting the worst weather that your dog might be out in, as well as being slightly water-repellent. German Wirehaired Pointers also have impressive eyebrows of straighter fur. These give this breed a distinctive and charismatic appearance!

2. Their coats only come in liver and white

There’s only one acceptable color for a German Wirehaired Pointer, and that’s liver! Liver is a rich chocolate-chestnut brown color. The combination of markings on this breed can vary quite dramatically, but it will always be liver color, though sometimes with a range of white markings. German Wirehaired Pointers can be liver and white spotted, solid liver, liver roan, or ticked.

Ticking leaves little “freckles” of darker markings across pale sections of the coat. The German Wirehaired Pointer’s head and ears will always be liver-colored, although there will sometimes be a white blaze down their foreheads.

3. The German Wirehaired Pointer was bred to do it all

The intention when the German Wirehaired Pointer was created was to create a versatile gundog who could do it all. From retrieving water birds to coursing rabbits or flushing out and indicating upland birds, this breed can do almost anything. Nowadays, they’re equally prized for their high-energy personalities, which make them fantastic dogs to take on runs, cycles, hikes, horseback rides, and more!

German wirehaired pointer standing on the river
Image Credit: eAlisa, Shutterstock

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Temperament & Intelligence of the German Wirehaired Pointer 🧠

German Wirehaired Pointers are fiercely intelligent, so you need to be sure that you can keep up with them before deciding to bring one of these pups into your home! Their history as working gundogs means they’re independent thinkers and will happily try to solve a problem without any help from their owners. Unfortunately, that can also extend to creating havoc in the home if you don’t give them enough attention or exercise!

This breed is affectionate and sweet-natured with their owners and can sometimes form a particularly strong bond with one member of their family above all others. German Wirehaired Pointers don’t enjoy being left alone for long periods and can be prone to developing separation anxiety. They may also develop destructive behaviors, including wrecking your yard or house!

They are naturally a little wary of strangers, so they need to be well-socialized from a young age. Male German Wirehaired Pointers can also be aggressive toward other dogs, particularly other males! This can easily be controlled with sensible training, but it needs to be taken into account when considering if this is the right breed for you.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

German Wirehaired Pointers have the potential to be an excellent family dog, as long as you’re the right sort of family! When young, this breed is extremely enthusiastic and slightly awkward as they grow into their long limbs. This means they can easily knock things flying as they race around. This includes young children and elderly grandparents!

They are well suited to active families with slightly older children who know how to behave around a dog but are also aware enough to avoid being knocked over when your dog gets a case of the zoomies.

The high energy levels of German Wirehaired Pointers sometimes require a family to take exercise shifts to wear them out.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

As a hunting and gundog breed, the German Wirehaired Pointer does have a high prey drive. This is something you will need to bear in mind if you want to integrate them into a house where you already have cats, small rodents, or both.

German Wirehaired Pointers will be tempted to chase cats and small animals that run away from them. It’s simply part of their instincts as a hunting dog. This can make it a challenge to keep them with nervous cats or small animals. That’s not to say that it’s impossible, but you’ll need to make introductions carefully and keep a close eye on your dog as you introduce them to the other furry members of your family.

German Wirehaired Pointers can be wary and even aggressive toward other dogs they haven’t met before. This is particularly true of male-to-male interactions. If you introduce your German Wirehaired Pointer puppy to another dog or cat while they are still young, then it shouldn’t be an issue, but choosing to add another pet once your dog is grown up can prove a bit more of a challenge.

German Wirehaired Pointer_Shutterstock_Vellicos
Image Credit: Vellicos, Shutterstock

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Things to Know When Owning a German Wirehaired Pointer

Deciding to add any dog to your family is a big decision, and German Wirehaired Pointers need a certain kind of owner to develop into a well-mannered adult dog. So, before you make up your mind, here are a few more things to take into account.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

German Wirehaired Pointers will do best on a high-protein diet that helps them build lean muscle, as well as providing all the energy requirements to match their active lifestyle. Whether you choose to feed kibble, wet food, or a combination of both depends on your preferences, as well as those of your dog.

Most German Wirehaired Pointers will easily burn off all the calories you provide them, so make sure to keep an eye on their condition and adjust their rations accordingly if it seems like they might be dropping a little weight. Your veterinarian will be able to help devise the correct diet for your dog, taking into account that as an active breed, they may require larger quantities than recommended for an average dog of their size.

Exercise 🐕

This is the big one when it comes to German Wirehaired Pointers! You’ll need to set aside at least one hour every day for serious exercise, although your dog will be more than happy to take as much exercise as you can give them. Think of long hikes, runs, cycling, swimming sessions, and backyard play sessions. Choosing to take your dog to obedience classes, tracking, agility, and gun dog trials will all help keep your German Wirehaired Pointer’s brain active and engaged, as well as their bodies.

If a German Wirehaired Pointer feels bored or not challenged enough mentally, they may still become destructive around the home, even if they’ve had enough physical exercise.

Letting your dog out into the backyard for time in the sun or a quick training session is a great idea, but it’s not a substitute for the exercise they’d get on a walk. German Wirehaired Pointers can jump up to 6 feet, so they can easily clear most backyard fences if they choose to—and a bored dog would consider this!

Training 🦮

Regular training sessions are as important as plenty of exercise when it comes to this breed. These dogs love to please their owners, and their above-average intelligence makes them both easy and rewarding to train.

These dogs can be a little possessive, as well as wary of strangers. This means puppy training classes, including plenty of socialization with both other dogs and humans, are essential to helping your German Wirehaired Pointer become a well-mannered adult dog.

Make sure to practice your recall skills too, as this breed does have a high prey drive. Squirrels, neighborhood cats, and any other wildlife can easily become a target for these observant dogs. If it runs, a German Wirehaired Pointer will want to chase it!

What you can be sure of with this breed is that with the right training, they have the potential to excel at many different canine sports. So, if you’re looking for an all-around talented pup for obedience, agility, tracking, or retrieval, the German Wirehaired Pointer might just be the perfect breed for you.

Grooming ✂️

After all that time spent making sure your German Wirehaired Pointer is well exercised, you won’t need to spend much time grooming them. Their wiry coat is low maintenance, so a weekly grooming session is all they need to stay looking smart.

They do shed seasonally, but this can be kept under control with a slicker brush when needed. It’s a good idea to check over their coats after long walks through high grasses to make sure they haven’t picked up any burrs or ticks.

It’s not hard to train your German Wirehaired Pointer to accept having their nails, teeth, and ears checked weekly. This is a good habit to get into and means you can quickly tell if they need trimming or cleaning.

Two German Wirehaired Pointer close up
Image Credit: Ricantimages, Shutterstock

Health Conditions ❤️

As a general rule, the German Wirehaired Pointer is a healthy breed. Most breeders will be happy to speak to you about health conditions, as well as provide evidence of health tests that they’ve had carried out on parent dogs. Some also provide a written guarantee of health for their pups, and this is something we recommend asking about.

Several health conditions can affect this breed. That’s not to say they will affect your particular pup, but these are the main conditions to be aware of:

Minor Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Entropion
Serious Conditions
  • Cataracts
  • Von Willebrand’s disease

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Male vs Female

Perhaps by now, you’re fully convinced that the characterful and energetic German Wirehaired Pointer is the perfect breed for you. You might be thinking about whether you should get a girl or a boy pup. Before we take a look at the considerations for male versus female, first of all, it’s important to remember that each dog’s character isn’t going to depend entirely on their sex. Their sex won’t make a difference for most character traits.

So, if you find yourself falling for an outgoing female pup when you thought you’d be tempted by a male instead, then go with your gut and pick the puppy who pulls at your heartstrings the most, regardless of whether they’re a girl or a boy.

Female German Wirehaired Pointers will generally end up a little smaller than males, but this isn’t going to be a noticeable difference once they’re mature.

One thing to consider with male German Wirehaired Pointers is that they can be wary and even a little aggressive toward other male dogs. This usually isn’t an issue if you’re introducing them to another male dog in your household while the German Wirehaired Pointer is still a pup, as they will find it easier to integrate into your household at such a young age. But if you plan on hanging out with friends who also have male dogs, you might find it easier to choose a female pup to avoid any possible confrontations. Of course, good training will alleviate this issue to some degree.

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Final Thoughts

The German Wirehaired Pointer might not be as well-known as some of the other retrievers and gun dogs, but this charismatic breed has so much going for them! Their combination of intelligence, affection, and sheer zest for life makes them a fun companion for all your adventures. They bond strongly with their families and love being involved in every aspect of daily life.

You may find their exuberance and energy a little too much, and if you haven’t got enough time every single day to dedicate to their physical and mental well-being, then this is a breed that can easily get frustrated and bored as a result.

If you think you can keep up with a German Wirehaired Pointer, though, you’ll have a loyal friend who will always be at your side. Plus, they get serious cute points for those incredibly expressive eyebrows!

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Feature Image Credit: Pixabay

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