The German Wirehaired Pointer: All You Need to Know

The German Wirehaired Pointer is an affectionate, eager, and enthusiastic dog. The breed is a popular choice for hunting and makes an excellent family pet.

In this article, we will delve into the history, physical characteristics, personality, and health considerations of the exceptional German Wirehaired Pointer.

History and Origin of the German Wirehaired Pointer

The German Wirehaired Pointer (GWP) was developed in Germany in the late 19th century, and it was created by crossing several breeds, including the German Shorthaired Pointer, Griffons, Poodles, Pudelpointers, and Stichelhaars.

The goal was to create a versatile hunting dog that could work on both land and water. They wanted a dog breed that was hardy, robust, and capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions and covering rough terrain.

The German Wirehaired Pointer was the result of their efforts. The breed quickly gained popularity in Germany, and the German Kennel Club established the GWP breed standard in 1928.

The breed was recognized for its excellent scenting ability, and the hallmark of the German Wirehaired Pointer was and remains the distinct wiry coat that protected it from thorns, brambles, and the cold.

The German Wirehaired Pointer in the United States

The German Wirehaired Pointer was first introduced to the United States in the 1920s. The breed was immediately popular among hunters and field trial enthusiasts, who appreciated the GWP’s versatility and intelligence.

Over time, the breed gained a reputation for being an outstanding companion and loyal family member. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in 1959, and today, it ranks 59th on the AKC’s scale of popularity.

Physical Characteristics of the German Wirehaired Pointer

The German Wirehaired Pointer is known for its physical stamina, rugged appearance, and excellent hunting abilities. In this section, we will delve deeper into the physical characteristics of this breed.

Size and Weight

The GWP is a medium to large-sized breed, weighing between 50 and 70 pounds. Males are taller and stand around 24 to 26 inches tall at the shoulders, while females are no less than 22 inches tall.

Coat and Color

The GWP’s coat is a defining feature of the breed. It is harsh, wiry, and water-repellent, providing excellent protection from the elements. The coat comes in three color patterns, including:

  • Liver and white
  • Liver
  • Black and white 

Distinctive Features

The GWP has a broad head with expressive eyes that convey intelligence and alertness. The long, droopy ears provide excellent hearing abilities, which is essential for hunting.

The tail is docked to a third of its length and is always held high, indicating an alert and energetic disposition. This tail position is a characteristic of the breed and is often used to signal excitement or interest in something.

Temperament and Personality Traits

Intelligence and Trainability

The German Wirehaired Pointer is a highly intelligent and trainable breed, which makes it a quick learner. The breed responds to positive reinforcement and enjoys pleasing its owner.

The German Wirehaired Pointer is also very enthusiastic and easily excitable, especially when participating in outdoor family activities. Therefore, it is vital to be kept in a fenced area when not on a leash.

Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

The German Wirehaired Pointer is an energetic, high-intensity breed that requires plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They excel in hunting, agility, and obedience competitions, and they make excellent running and hiking companions.

Daily exercise and playtime are necessary for their physical and mental well-being. The breed enjoys playing interactive games and solving puzzles that challenge its mind and thinking skills. 

Socialization and Interaction with Other Animals

German Wirehaired Pointers are natural hunters and have a strong prey drive, making them unsuitable for households with small pets unless properly socialized from an early age.

To ensure correct socialization, it is important to expose your GWP to new environments, experiences, people, and pets. With proper socialization and training, it can peacefully live with other dogs and smaller pets. 

Health and Lifespan of the German Wirehaired Pointer

Common Health Issues

While the GWP is a generally healthy breed, like all dogs, it is prone to certain health issues, such as:

  • Hip Dysplasia: A genetic condition that affects the hip joint and causes pain, lameness, mobility issues, and early-onset arthritis
  • Ear Infections: The long, droopy ears are susceptible to ear infections which can be caused by bacteria, yeasts, allergies, or ear mites 
  • Eye Problems: The two most frequently diagnosed eye conditions in the breed are cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)

Regular visits to the veterinarian and preventative care are essential for preventing and managing these conditions.

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

Preventive care such as vaccinations, flea & tick control, and regular deworming is crucial for maintaining the GWP’s overall health. Regular checkups, dental cleanings, and blood tests are necessary for health monitoring.

It is also important to provide your GWP with a healthy and balanced diet that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level. Proper exercise and mental stimulation are vital for keeping your GWP happy and healthy.

Life Expectancy

The GWP is a long-lived breed with a life expectancy of between 14 to 16 years when given proper nutrition, exercise, and veterinary care.

However, it is important to note that individual German Wirehaired Pointers may have different health issues that can affect their lifespan. 


The German Wirehaired Pointer is an exceptional breed that embodies intelligence, athleticism, and loyalty. The energy levels of the breed make it an excellent choice for active families and hunting enthusiasts.

With proper socialization and veterinary care, the versatile and enthusiastic German Wirehaired Pointer can provide years of companionship and joy to its beloved human family.

Scroll to Top