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German Wirehaired Pointer - Your Friendly Guide to This Breed

August 25, 2023

Are you considering adding a German Wirehaired Pointer (GWP) to your family? This breed is a popular choice for many dog lovers due to their intelligence, loyalty, and friendly nature. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the history, characteristics, and care needs of the German Wirehaired Pointer, as well as their role as hunting dogs and training sports enthusiasts.

German Wirehaired Pointer

Key Takeaways:

  • The German Wirehaired Pointer is a versatile and friendly breed that makes a great family pet.
  • This breed has a unique history and was developed for hunting purposes.
  • GWP's require regular exercise, mental stimulation, and grooming to maintain their health and happiness.
  • German Wirehaired Pointers are highly trainable and excel at various training sports, such as obedience and agility.

History of the German Wirehaired Pointer

The German Wirehaired Pointer, also known as the GWP, is a breed of dog that was developed in the late 19th century in Germany. The breed was created by crossing several other breeds, such as the Pudelpointer, the Griffon, and the Deutscher Stichelhaar, to create a versatile hunting dog.

The breed was specifically designed to be able to withstand harsh weather conditions, and to retrieve game from land and water. The German Wirehaired Pointer's thick coat, which consists of a wiry outer layer and a soft undercoat, makes it well-suited for hunting in cold or wet environments.

Early Breeding Practices

The German Wirehaired Pointer was developed by a group of breeders who were looking for a dog that was able to perform a variety of tasks. The breeders wanted a dog that was versatile enough to hunt a variety of game, including birds and large game like deer and wild boar.

The breeders also wanted a dog that was easy to train and had a friendly disposition. As a result, the breeders selectively bred dogs that displayed these traits, and over time, the German Wirehaired Pointer became known for its intelligence and trainability.

Although the breed was originally developed in Germany, it quickly gained popularity in other parts of the world, including the United States. Today, the German Wirehaired Pointer is a popular breed among hunters and families alike.

Temperament and Personality of the German Wirehaired Pointer

The German Wirehaired Pointer (GWP) is a breed known for its friendly disposition and adaptability. They make great family pets and are excellent with children and other animals. However, it is important to note that GWP's were originally bred as hunting dogs, so they may exhibit a strong prey drive around small animals.

GWP's are highly intelligent and trainable, making them a popular choice for working roles such as search and rescue, therapy, and law enforcement. They also excel in various dog sports, including agility, obedience, and tracking.

Key Personality Traits

The GWP is known for its loyalty and devotion to its family, often forming strong bonds with their owners. They are also highly energetic and require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them satisfied. GWP's are known to be independent thinkers, which can make training a bit of a challenge. However, with consistency and positive reinforcement, they can learn quickly.

"The GWP is known for its loyalty and devotion to its family"

GWP's are social dogs and enjoy being around people. They are not typically aggressive towards strangers, but they may exhibit some protective behaviors towards their owners. They are also known for their love of water and can make great companions for swimming and other water activities.


GWP's are adaptable dogs that can do well in a variety of living situations. They are known to do well in apartments as long as they receive plenty of exercise. However, GWP's thrive in homes with large yards where they can run and play. They can also adapt well to different climates and are comfortable in both hot and cold weather.

Overall, the German Wirehaired Pointer is a friendly, intelligent, and highly adaptable breed. They make great family pets and excel in a variety of working and sporting roles. With proper training, exercise, and socialization, they can be a wonderful addition to any home.

Characteristics and Appearance of the German Wirehaired Pointer

The German Wirehaired Pointer is a medium to large-sized breed with a distinctive appearance. They typically stand between 22 and 26 inches tall at the shoulder, and weigh between 50 and 80 pounds.

Their coat is the most distinctive feature, with harsh, wiry hair that is around two inches long. The coat is typically a mix of brown, black, and white, with ticking or roaning common. They have a long, broad head with a beard and mustache, and a powerful, muscular build.

The German Wirehaired Pointer has a rugged, weather-resistant coat that allows them to work in harsh hunting conditions. Their athletic build gives them the endurance to run and hunt for hours on end, and their webbed feet are excellent for swimming and retrieving in bodies of water.

Distinctive Features of the German Wirehaired Pointer

In addition to their wiry coat and athletic build, there are several distinctive features that set the German Wirehaired Pointer apart from other breeds:

The Beard and MustacheThe German Wirehaired Pointer's unique facial hair helps protect their nose and mouth while working in rough terrain.
The EyebrowsLong, arched eyebrows give the German Wirehaired Pointer an intelligent, inquisitive expression.
The TailOften docked to a length of about two-thirds of the original, their tail is carried horizontally and is used to indicate excitement or interest.

Overall, the German Wirehaired Pointer is a striking and unique-looking breed, well-suited for a variety of tasks and environments.

Training a German Wirehaired Pointer

The German Wirehaired Pointer's intelligence and willingness to learn make them excellent candidates for training. They respond best to positive reinforcement techniques that emphasize consistency, patience, and rewards.

Their natural hunting instincts can sometimes lead to distractibility, so early training and socialization are crucial. As with all breeds, early socialization with other dogs, people, and animals can ensure they grow up to be well-adjusted dogs that can handle various situations.

Basic Training Commands

SitTeaches the dog to sit and wait for your command.
StayTeaches the dog to stay in one place until you release them.
ComeTrains the dog to come to you on command.
DownTeaches the dog to lie down and rest until you command them otherwise.

Avoid using harsh punishment or physical force when training, as this can cause fear and anxiety in your dog. Instead, use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and toys to encourage good behavior.

Advanced Training

Once your German Wirehaired Pointer has mastered basic obedience commands, you can move on to more advanced training. GWP's excel in various training sports, including agility, tracking, and obedience competitions. These can provide your dog with mental stimulation and keep them engaged and active.

Professional trainers can help you and your dog refine your skills and work towards specific goals. Remember to always train with patience, positivity, and consistency.

close up of a German Wirehaired Pointer

Caring for Your German Wirehaired Pointer

German Wirehaired Pointers are an active breed that requires a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to maintain their health and wellbeing. They are also relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming and care needs. Here are some tips on how to care for your German Wirehaired Pointer:

Exercise Needs

German Wirehaired Pointers require at least an hour of exercise a day, preferably in the form of outdoor activities such as running, hiking, or playing fetch. They also enjoy mental stimulation in the form of training, puzzles, and games that challenge their intelligence and problem-solving skills.

Grooming Needs

German Wirehaired Pointers have a thick double coat that requires weekly brushing to remove loose hair and prevent matting. They also need occasional baths and nail trimming as well as regular ear cleaning to prevent infections.

Dietary Considerations

German Wirehaired Pointers are not picky eaters and do well on a high-quality diet that provides them with the necessary nutrients and energy to support their active lifestyle. It is important to avoid overfeeding and monitor their weight to prevent obesity.

Regular Veterinary Care

German Wirehaired Pointers are generally healthy, but like any breed, they may be prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, eye diseases, and allergies. Regular veterinary checkups and preventative care such as vaccinations and parasite control are essential for their overall health and wellbeing.

By providing your German Wirehaired Pointer with the necessary exercise, grooming, diet, and veterinary care, you can help them live a happy and healthy life as a beloved member of your family.

German Wirehaired Pointer and Family Life

The German Wirehaired Pointer is a friendly and affectionate breed, making them great family dogs. They are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and protective nature, making them an excellent addition to any household that values these traits in a pet.

When interacting with children, German Wirehaired Pointers are typically gentle and patient. However, as with any dog breed, it's important to teach children how to properly interact with a dog to prevent any accidents or injuries.

German Wirehaired Pointers can also get along well with other pets in the household, including cats and other dogs, but early socialization is key. They may have a strong prey drive due to their hunting instinct, so it's important to monitor their interactions with smaller animals.

German Wirehaired Pointer and Exercise

Because they are a high-energy breed, German Wirehaired Pointers thrive on regular exercise. They enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, running, and swimming, making them a great companion for active families.

Regular exercise not only keeps them physically fit but also helps to reduce any destructive behavior that may result from boredom or lack of stimulation. It's important to provide them with enough space to run around and play to keep them mentally stimulated and happy.

Finding a German Wirehaired Pointer Puppy

If you've decided that the German Wirehaired Pointer is the right breed for you, the next step is finding a reputable breeder. It's important to do your research and ask plenty of questions to ensure that you're getting a healthy puppy from a responsible breeder.

Researching Breeders

When searching for a breeder, start by checking with breed-specific organizations and clubs, such as the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America. These groups often have breeder referral programs and can provide you with a list of breeders in your area.

You can also search for breeders online, but be cautious of websites that offer to ship puppies or have a large number of available puppies at all times. These are often signs of puppy mills or backyard breeders, and you may end up with a puppy that has health or behavioral issues.

Once you have a list of breeders, it's important to research each one thoroughly. Look for reviews or testimonials from previous customers, and ask for references from the breeder. A reputable breeder should be willing to answer any questions you have and provide you with information about the puppy's parents and health history.

Choosing a Puppy

When you visit a breeder, take the time to observe the puppies and their environment. The puppies should be clean, well-fed, and socialized with people and other dogs. Look for a puppy that is curious and playful, but not overly aggressive or shy.

Ask the breeder about the puppy's health history and any potential health issues that are common in the breed. A reputable breeder will have had the puppy checked by a veterinarian and will provide you with a health guarantee.

Adoption Process

Before you take your new puppy home, make sure you understand the adoption process and any requirements that the breeder may have. This may include a contract that outlines your responsibilities as a new owner, such as providing proper training and care for the puppy.

Be prepared to pay a significant amount for a German Wirehaired Pointer puppy from a reputable breeder, as they often invest a lot of time and resources into breeding and raising healthy puppies. However, this investment is worth it to ensure that you're getting a happy and healthy puppy that will be a beloved member of your family for years to come.

German Wirehaired Pointer Health

Like all dogs, German Wirehaired Pointers are prone to certain health conditions. As an owner, it is essential to understand these conditions to ensure your GWP lives a healthy and comfortable life.

One of the most common health conditions affecting German Wirehaired Pointers is hip dysplasia. This disorder affects the hip joint, causing pain, stiffness, and lameness. Other health issues that commonly affect GWPs include eye problems, allergies, skin issues, and ear infections.

To prevent these health issues from arising, regular veterinary check-ups and preventive care are essential. This includes routine vaccinations, heartworm prevention, flea and tick control, and dental care. Regular exercise and a healthy diet also play a significant role in maintaining a GWP's overall health.

If you notice any changes in your dog's behavior or health, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a significant difference and may prevent any condition from progressing into a more severe issue.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation for German Wirehaired Pointers

The German Wirehaired Pointer is an active and energetic breed that requires regular exercise and mental stimulation to remain healthy and happy. These dogs were originally bred to work in the field, and as a result, they have a high level of energy and endurance. Providing them with the opportunity to run, play, and use their natural hunting instincts is essential to their well-being.

Exercise Needs

German Wirehaired Pointers should receive at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. This can be broken up into two or three sessions and should include activities that challenge their physical abilities. Running, hiking, and swimming are all great options for these dogs. Owners should also consider engaging in activities that allow their German Wirehaired Pointers to use their natural instincts, such as retrieving or tracking games.

It is important to note that German Wirehaired Pointers have a strong prey drive, so they should always be kept on a leash or in a securely fenced area when outside. They also do well with structured exercise, such as obedience training or agility courses, which not only provide physical exercise but also mental stimulation.

Mental Stimulation

In addition to exercise, German Wirehaired Pointers require mental stimulation to keep their minds engaged. They are intelligent dogs that thrive on learning new things and solving puzzles. Training sessions that challenge their minds, such as obedience, agility, or scent work, are excellent ways to provide mental stimulation.

Interactive toys, such as puzzle feeders or treat-dispensing toys, are also great options for mental stimulation. These toys require the dog to use problem-solving skills to access the treats, providing a fun and engaging activity. Additionally, German Wirehaired Pointers enjoy spending time with their owners, so activities such as hiking, camping, or even training sessions can provide both physical exercise and mental stimulation while strengthening the bond between dog and owner.

Grooming the German Wirehaired Pointer

The German Wirehaired Pointer is a low-maintenance breed when it comes to grooming. However, regular grooming is essential to keep their wiry coat healthy and clean. Here are some tips for maintaining your GWP's coat:

  • Brush their coat at least once a week to remove any dead hair and prevent matting.
  • Trim their coat every three months to keep it neat and tidy.
  • Clean their ears regularly to prevent infections.
  • Clip their nails once a month to keep them from becoming too long.

When grooming your German Wirehaired Pointer, it's important to use the right tools. A slicker brush works well for removing dead hair, while a bristle brush can be used for daily maintenance. A professional groomer can also help keep your GWP looking their best.

Remember, a well-groomed German Wirehaired Pointer not only looks good but also feels good.

German Wirehaired Pointer as a Hunting Dog

The German Wirehaired Pointer is a versatile hunting dog that has been bred to work in various challenging and rugged terrains. These dogs are highly skilled in scent tracking, pointing, and retrieving game, making them a popular choice among hunters and sportsmen alike.

German Wirehaired Pointers are typically used for hunting upland game birds, such as pheasants, quails, and grouse. They are also adept at retrieving waterfowl, making them an ideal choice for waterfowl hunting. These dogs have a keen sense of smell and are able to work tirelessly for hours in pursuit of their quarry.

One of the unique qualities of German Wirehaired Pointers is their ability to adapt to varying hunting conditions. These dogs are comfortable working in both wet and dry environments, and can handle frigid temperatures as well as scorching heat. They are also capable of working in rough terrain, including dense forests and fields, where they can use their excellent tracking skills to find game.

In addition to their hunting abilities, German Wirehaired Pointers make loyal and affectionate companions to their owners. These dogs are known for their high energy and need for regular exercise, making them an excellent choice for active individuals or families who enjoy the outdoors.

If you are interested in adding a German Wirehaired Pointer to your hunting or sporting family, it is important to ensure that you select a reputable breeder who breeds for both hunting ability and temperament. Proper training, exercise, and socialization are also essential to ensure that your German Wirehaired Pointer can reach their full potential as a hunting dog.

German Wirehaired Pointer and Training Sports

The German Wirehaired Pointer is a natural athlete with a strong desire to please their owners, making them an ideal candidate for various training sports. These dogs excel in obedience, agility, tracking, and retrieving. German Wirehaired Pointers are highly trainable due to their intelligence and eagerness to learn, and they thrive on mental stimulation and physical activity.

When training your German Wirehaired Pointer for sports, it is essential to start with basic obedience training. This training establishes communication and understanding between you and your dog, making it easier to teach more advanced skills. Positive reinforcement techniques are highly effective with German Wirehaired Pointers, and rewards such as treats and praise can significantly increase their motivation.

Agility training is an excellent way to improve your German Wirehaired Pointer's athleticism and coordination. This training involves running obstacle courses, jumping over hurdles, and weaving through poles. It enhances your dog's physical abilities and reinforces their command skills. Tracking training is another popular sport for German Wirehaired Pointers, as they possess a great sense of smell and instinctual tracking abilities. This training involves following a scent trail and locating a hidden object.

German Wirehaired Pointers also excel in field trials, which test their hunting abilities and obedience in the field. These trials simulate a hunting scenario, and the dog must retrieve game and follow commands. This training is an excellent way to channel the German Wirehaired Pointer's innate hunting instincts and to provide a fun and challenging experience for both the dog and the owner.

Overall, German Wirehaired Pointers are versatile dogs that excel in various training sports. They are highly trainable, intelligent, and eager to please, making them an ideal candidate for any training sport. With patience, persistence, and positive reinforcement techniques, your German Wirehaired Pointer can become a champion in any sport they participate in.

German Wirehaired Pointer and Breed Clubs

If you are a proud owner of a German Wirehaired Pointer, you might want to consider joining a breed-specific club or organization. These clubs are dedicated to promoting the welfare, breeding, and training of German Wirehaired Pointers, as well as providing resources and support for their members.

One prominent German Wirehaired Pointer club is the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America (GWPCA), founded in 1953. The GWPCA is the premier organization for the breed in the United States, hosting events and activities that showcase the breed's versatility, athleticism, and hunting prowess.

Besides the GWPCA, there are other regional clubs and organizations that are worth exploring. These clubs offer a variety of services and programs, including breed rescue, training classes, and competitions.

German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America (GWPCA)

The GWPCA is a non-profit organization that aims to promote the breeding, hunting, and showing of German Wirehaired Pointers in the United States. The club sponsors field trials, conformation shows, and obedience trials, as well as educational seminars, social events, and health clinics.

Membership Benefits 
Access to an extensive breeder directoryNetworking opportunities with other GWP enthusiasts
Access to educational resources and training materialsSpecialty events and shows for members

If you are interested in joining the GWPCA, you can visit their website to learn more about the application process and membership fees.

Other German Wirehaired Pointer Clubs

There are several other clubs and organizations dedicated to the German Wirehaired Pointer breed. Here are a few examples:

  • The German Wirehaired Pointer Club of Canada
  • The German Wirehaired Pointer Club of Great Britain
  • The German Wirehaired Pointer Club of New England

Each of these clubs has its own set of activities, services, and membership requirements. You can visit their websites or contact them directly to learn more about what they offer.

"Joining a German Wirehaired Pointer club is a great way to connect with other GWP owners, learn more about the breed, and participate in fun and challenging activities with your dog."

German Wirehaired Pointer in Pop Culture

The German Wirehaired Pointer, with its distinctive features and hunting prowess, has made appearances in various forms of popular culture, including movies, television shows, and literature.

Famous German Wirehaired Pointers

One of the most famous German Wirehaired Pointers in popular culture is the character Argos in Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey. In the story, Argos is the loyal dog of Odysseus, who recognizes his master after a long absence and dies happily after seeing him again.

Another notable German Wirehaired Pointer is Max, the "hero dog" from the 1994 movie of the same name. Max is a brave and loyal canine who helps his owner stop a group of criminals. His intelligence, athleticism, and loyalty make him a beloved character in the movie.

German Wirehaired Pointers have also made appearances in television shows such as The West Wing, where one of the characters owns a GWP named "Charlie" and in the crime drama, NCIS, where a GWP named "Jethro" is a recurring character and a trained investigative dog.

German Wirehaired Pointer as a Mascot

The German Wirehaired Pointer's distinctive appearance has also made it a popular choice as a mascot. One example is "Skeeter," the GWP mascot of the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America. Skeeter's image has been used in various forms of media, including magazines and websites, to promote the breed and the club.

German Wirehaired Pointer Artwork

German Wirehaired Pointers also make striking subjects for artwork. The breed's distinctive wire coat and distinctive features have been captured by several artists, including Robert J. May, who is known for his realistic dog paintings. His GWP artwork has been widely used in various forms of media, including prints and calendars.

Additionally, German Wirehaired Pointer merchandise, such as t-shirts, mugs, and phone cases, featuring the breed's image, can be found in various online stores.


After reading this comprehensive guide, it is evident that the German Wirehaired Pointer is a breed that holds a special place in the hearts of dog lovers. With a rich history, friendly and adaptable temperament, striking physical characteristics, and versatility in hunting and training sports, the GWP is an excellent choice for families and individuals alike.

It is important to note that caring for a German Wirehaired Pointer requires commitment and attention to their exercise, grooming, and health needs. However, the reward of their loyal companionship and playful nature makes it all worth it.

For those interested in adding a German Wirehaired Pointer to their family, finding a reputable breeder, selecting a healthy puppy, and providing proper training and socialization are critical steps in ensuring a happy and healthy life for your furry friend.

So, is the German Wirehaired Pointer the right breed for you?

If you lead an active lifestyle, enjoy spending time outdoors, and are willing to invest time and effort into training and caring for your dog, the answer is a resounding yes.

Whether as a loyal family companion, hunting partner, or training athlete, the German Wirehaired Pointer has proven time and time again to be a breed that embodies intelligence, loyalty, and a distinct personality.

We hope this guide has provided valuable insights and information on the German Wirehaired Pointer breed, and wish you the best of luck in your pursuit of finding your perfect furry friend.


Q: What is the history of the German Wirehaired Pointer?

A: The German Wirehaired Pointer originated in Germany and was bred for hunting purposes. Its development can be traced back to the 19th century, where breeders aimed to create a versatile hunting dog capable of working on both land and water.

Q: What are the typical temperament and personality traits of the German Wirehaired Pointer?

A: German Wirehaired Pointers are known for their intelligence, friendliness, and adaptability. They are loyal and make excellent family companions. However, they may have a strong prey drive and require proper socialization and training.

Q: What are the characteristics and appearance of the German Wirehaired Pointer?

A: German Wirehaired Pointers are medium to large-sized dogs with a distinct wiry coat that provides protection from the elements. They have a muscular build, a characteristic beard and mustache, and a sleek, athletic appearance.

Q: How should I train a German Wirehaired Pointer?

A: German Wirehaired Pointers are intelligent and eager to please, making them highly trainable. Positive reinforcement techniques, consistency, and early socialization are key to their training success.

Q: What are the essential care needs of a German Wirehaired Pointer?

A: German Wirehaired Pointers require regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. They have a thick, double coat that needs regular grooming to maintain its condition. Proper nutrition and routine veterinary care are also important.

Q: How do German Wirehaired Pointers interact with children and other pets?

A: German Wirehaired Pointers are generally excellent with children and can get along well with other pets if properly socialized. However, supervision and gradual introductions are always recommended.

Q: Where can I find a German Wirehaired Pointer puppy?

A: It is best to find a reputable breeder who specializes in German Wirehaired Pointers. They should be able to provide you with a healthy and well-socialized puppy. Adoption from rescue organizations and breed-specific clubs can also be considered.

Q: What are the common health issues in German Wirehaired Pointers?

A: German Wirehaired Pointers can be prone to certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, eye diseases, and certain forms of cancer. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and appropriate exercise can help maintain their overall health and well-being.

Q: How much exercise do German Wirehaired Pointers need?

A: German Wirehaired Pointers are an active breed and require regular exercise to keep them happy and healthy. Daily walks, play sessions, and mental stimulation are important to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors.

Q: How should I groom my German Wirehaired Pointer?

A: German Wirehaired Pointers have a dense, wiry coat that requires regular brushing to prevent matting. Some owners may opt to hand-strip their coat periodically. Nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental care are also essential parts of their grooming routine.

Q: Are German Wirehaired Pointers good hunting dogs?

A: Yes, German Wirehaired Pointers were originally bred as versatile hunting dogs. They have a keen sense of smell, strong instincts, and are capable of hunting various types of game. They excel in both upland bird hunting and waterfowl retrieving.

Q: Can German Wirehaired Pointers participate in training sports?

A: Absolutely! German Wirehaired Pointers are highly trainable and excel in various training sports such as obedience, agility, tracking, and even dock diving. Their intelligence and eagerness to learn make them excellent competitors.

Q: Are there any breed clubs specifically for German Wirehaired Pointers?

A: Yes, there are breed-specific clubs and organizations dedicated to the German Wirehaired Pointer. These clubs provide resources, support, and opportunities for German Wirehaired Pointer owners to connect with others who share a passion for the breed.

Q: Have German Wirehaired Pointers appeared in popular culture?

A: Yes, German Wirehaired Pointers have made appearances in movies, television shows, and other forms of popular culture. Their unique appearance and lovable nature have made them a popular choice for on-screen portrayals of dogs.

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