Close this search box.

German Shorthaired Pointer Pros and Cons: Is This Dog For You?

Written By: Sharon Waddington

Last Updated:

German Shorthaired Pointers (GSPs) might not be as well-known as other breeds, but they make excellent pets and companions. However, you should first learn about the German Shorthaired Pointer’s pros and cons before adding one to your family to ensure it’s the right fit.

The main pros of German Shorthaired Pointers are that they’re friendly companions, extremely intelligent, and always up for an adventure. On the downside, they have a strong prey drive and may not be suitable for homes with small animals, and they need tons of exercise due to their high energy.

It’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into before adding a GSP to the family. In this article, I’ll discuss the main pros and cons, ensuring you know what to expect should you decide to get a German Shorthaired Pointer!

German Shorthaired Pointer Pros and Cons

What Are The Pros and Cons of a GSP?

Throughout history, dogs have earned their rightful place as our best friends and continue to hold that title to this day. It’s no surprise that they are the most popular pets in our homes, offering companionship, loyalty, and endless love.

However, owning a dog is not all sunshine and rainbows. While they bring many advantages to our lives, they also come with their own set of challenges. German Shorthaired Pointers, in particular, are known for their unique traits that can test their owner’s patience, financial stability, and time management skills.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a list of the pros and cons of owning a German Shorthaired Pointer.

GSP ProsGSP Cons
GSPs are intelligent and trainableGerman Shorthaired pointers have high energy levels and require plenty of exercise
German Shorthaired Pointers are versatile hunting dogCan be stubborn and difficult to train for novice owners
GSPs are loyal and affectionate with their familiesMay be prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, heart and eye problems.
Good with children and other pets when socialized properlyCan have a strong prey drive and may not be suitable for homes with small animals
GSPs have a low-maintenance coat that requires minimal grooming (moderate shedders)Prone to separation anxiety if left alone for too long – may become destructive
Excellent watchdogs that will alert their owners to any potential dangerGerman Shorthaired Pointers may bark excessively if not trained properly or unsocialized
GSPs are perfect for active individuals and families
German Shorthaired Pointer Pros and Cons

It’s important to note that every dog is unique and may not necessarily exhibit all of the above traits.

German Shorthaired Pointer Pros

Anyone interested in adding this friendly breed to the mix must first think about the German Shorthaired Pointer’s pros and cons. So first, let’s look at the pros!

German Shorthaired Pointers are Friendly Companions

Most people looking for a dog will want a loyal, friendly companion. Thankfully, GSPs are just that! 

When you take your GSP home, it will want to be near you and stay close. If you treat it respectfully and look after it, a German Shorthaired Pointer is a friend for life.

Not only are they friendly to their owners, but they are also welcoming toward strangers. If trained properly, it’s perfectly safe to have GSPs around guests in the home because they are highly sociable and crave human connections.

However, you must train them properly in the first few months. Otherwise, they can develop behavioral issues and might grow unsafe around strangers.

Learn About German Shorthaired Pointers In This Video…

German Shorthaired Pointers are Extremely Smart

GSPs are highly intelligent and easy to train once they start early. During the first few months of life, they’re eager to learn and please, so they do well with positive reinforcement training. After a few training sessions, you should already notice your GSP becoming more obedient!

While it’s generally easy to train GSPs, avoid sessions that are too long because their brains can get tired quickly, especially when learning new tricks and commands. Give them plenty of rest between training sessions to ensure they can develop the skills you want to teach them.

One tip I have is to enroll your dog in training classes, as you’ll both reap the rewards.

GSPs are Always Up for an Adventure

If you’re looking for a highly energetic dog that doesn’t like to sit still for very long, a GSP is an excellent choice! The American Kennel Club classes GSPs as some of the most energetic dog breeds in the world, so be prepared for plenty of exercises when keeping up with these bundles of excitement.

Below are examples of activities GSPs love to do regularly:

  • Long walks. If you prefer to go on short walks, a GSP likely isn’t the right choice. They favor longer trips as they have excess energy to burn. Aim for at least one or two hour-long walks daily.
  • Swimming. If you like bringing your pooch to the beach, you’ll be happy to know that GSPs are generally good swimmers and love water! Getting them on a swimming adventure now and then is a fun way to burn energy and have lots of fun.
  • Runs. Not only do GSPs enjoy long walks, but they also love to run! Whether playing fetch in the yard or running alongside their owners, these energetic dogs are always ready for a sprint.
  • Park adventures. Visiting the park is another fun activity for GSPs. They have the chance to meet other dogs and humans, and they can explore the greenery while burning calories.
  • Playing with other dogs. Doggy play dates are another fun activity that many GSPs love. However, they might not always get along with other animals, so introduce them slowly and carefully.
GSP Climbing on a Tree

Minimal Grooming

Dog fur is essential for protecting skin and regulating body temperature, which is why German Shorthaired Pointers shed a lot in spring and fall. Since they shed, there’s no need to take them to a groomer to have their coat trimmed. 

The only thing you’ll need to do to maintain a GSP’s coat is to brush it regularly. You should also wash it approximately once every two months to keep everything clean. There’s no need to wash the coat more than this because doing so will strip away natural oils and could cause dry, flaky skin over time.

In between washes, it’s OK to wipe patches of dirt using a damp cloth. 

German Shorthaired Pointers are Always Alert

GSPs were originally bred as hunting dogs because of their impressive speed and hunting instincts. They’re always alert, even at night. You can expect your GSP to be a decent guard dog as it’ll let you know if someone comes near the house.

While they won’t necessarily attack other people or animals, they’ll certainly bark to warn you. They’re not the best guard dogs in the world, such as the mighty German Shepherd, but they’re also not the worst.

If you want a highly alert dog that barks when something goes wrong, a German Shorthaired Pointer is a good choice.

GSPs Are Generally Not Aggressive

Plenty of breeds out there can get aggressive, even if trained, but a GSP is generally calm, friendly, and trustworthy. While they can get over-excited and jump up on people, they’re unlikely to attack or cause harm unless they feel in a lot of danger.

As a result of their non-aggressive nature, these friendly dogs can usually be trusted around people (even strangers). If they were socialized correctly as puppies and don’t develop any bad habits, they’re loving toward others and fun to be around. Their lack of aggression also makes them excellent family dogs.

German Shorthaired Pointer Cons

Although German Shorthaired Pointers are a friendly, low-maintenance breed, there are some things you should be aware of before getting one.

GSPs Are Not Always Good Around Young Children

Although GSPs are not aggressive, they are hyper and can jump up on people if they want to play. Be cautious and never leave a young child alone with a GSP — they can be forceful when excited and could easily knock a young child over, causing accidental injury.

According to the American Kennel Club, some experts recommend having GSPs only in households with children older than seven. However, many young families have GSPs as pets, and they don’t run into any issues. The most important thing is that you never leave a young child alone with a GSP (or any dog for that matter).

Additionally, be sure to train your German Shorthaired Pointer early, ensuring to scold it if it tries to jump on a young child. Eventually, they’ll learn what’s right and wrong, but it’s up to you to teach them!

Moderate Shedding Breed

Although GSPs don’t necessarily shed as much as other dogs, they still shed plenty, depending on the time of year. If you live in a region with hot summers, expect your pooch to shed a lot during spring to prepare for the summer heat. They will also shed more in the fall as they “blow” their undercoat, ready for winter.

The extra shedding means you’ll have to sweep and vacuum regularly and probably notice a lot of hair on your clothing. If you let your GSP jump on furniture and bedding, expect to find clumps of fur everywhere.

Unfortunately, you can’t do much to control shedding other than brush your dog’s fur daily. If it doesn’t bother you, a GSP might be an appropriate choice!

GSPs Are Difficult To Control in Some Situations

German Shorthaired Pointers are excitable and energetic, which can sometimes be an issue. Sometimes, they’re prone to darting off if they spot another animal or something they want to chase.

Their tendency to chase things comes from the fact that they were originally bred as hunting dogs, so they like to catch things like birds and squirrels. Therefore, it’s not always a good idea to let a GSP run free in a park, especially if there are many other animals and distractions around.

Even a well-trained GSP may run away if they spot prey, so never expect them to do as they were trained. Before letting them run around the park, look at the surroundings to ensure it’s a safe environment. 

Two German Shorthaired Pointers

German Shorthaired Pointers Have Lots of Energy To Burn

Although a GSP’s need for a lot of exercise can be considered a benefit, it can be a bad thing for people who don’t enjoy lots of physical activity or don’t have enough time.

If you like to go on short walks once a day, a GSP won’t be a good match. Without enough exercise, these lively dogs can:

  • Become bored and stressed. Just like humans, dogs can become bored and stressed if they have no way to burn their energy.
  • Gain too much weight. Lack of physical activity can lead to weight gain and health problems.
  • Act up due to boredom. If a GSP can’t burn energy through exercise, it might begin acting up and causing trouble instead. For example, they may bark more or damage furniture.
  • Have trouble sleeping. Exercise is an excellent way to tire GSPs out, ensuring they sleep soundly at night. A pooch that doesn’t get enough exercise might not be tired enough to sleep properly, causing issues throughout the night.
  • Suffer from separation anxiety. This is when a dog cannot bear to be alone for long periods. However, ensuring the dog is sufficiently exercised before leaving it will drastically reduce this.

So, if you want to own a GSP, a short walk once a day simply won’t cut it.

Breed-Specific Health Issues

Like most purebred dogs, GSPs are prone to health issues as they age. A study ranked dog breeds in terms of the frequency of hip dysplasia, and, unfortunately, GSPs topped the list.

This means that owners must take extra care and feed their GSPS a healthy, balanced diet. If you want to try making homemade dog food because of its health benefits, check out my article on Kibble vs. Homemade Dog Food.

It’s also important to go with a reputable breeder to lessen the chances of hip dysplasia and other issues from developing.

Other health problems affecting GSPs include:

  • Bloating – which can be highly uncomfortable and dangerous.
  • Aortic Stenosis (heart disease).
  • Eye issues, including PRA (progressive retinal atrophy).

The GSP Doesn’t Always Get Along With Other Dogs

For the most part, GSPs are friendly pets. However, they can get aggressive toward other animals, including other dogs. The chances of a GSP not getting along with other dogs increase if it has never been trained or socialized properly.

When going to the park or anywhere else with other dogs, confirm the area is safe before letting your pooch run around, as you don’t want it to chase after or, even worse, attack another dog. 

To get a GSP used to other dogs without being aggressive, consider setting up playdates in a controlled environment. For example, keep the leash on until you’re confident it won’t get aggressive with the other dog.

Panting German Shorthaired Pointer

Should I Get a German Shorthaired Pointer?

You should get a German Shorthaired Pointer if you’re looking for an energetic pet who will always keep you on your toes. However, you shouldn’t get one if you don’t want to dedicate at least two hours (but ideally more) of exercise daily.

Here are indications a German Shorthaired Pointer is a good choice for you:

  • You’re an active person.
  • You have lots of time to dedicate to exercise with your pooch.
  • You don’t mind dogs that shed.
  • You have a large home and yard.

Here are indications a German Shorthaired Pointer isn’t for you:

  • You’re not a highly active person.
  • You’re usually too busy for walking and other activities.
  • You want a dog that doesn’t shed.
  • You live in a small apartment and don’t have a yard.

Also, if you have small children in your family, only get a German Shorthaired Pointer if you’re able to keep it outside or in a separate room. They should only be in the same room if you can supervise them at all times.

Final Thoughts

After learning more about the main German Shorthaired Pointer’s pros and cons, you should better understand whether or not it’s the right breed for you. 

They’re friendly, energetic, and highly loyal dogs that need affection and exercise to thrive. On the downside, they can get bored easily if they don’t get enough walks, and they might sometimes be hard to control in public settings.

Be sure to compare all pros and cons before making a final decision.

Photo of author

Sharon Waddington

Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs.