Let's talk German Wirehaired Pointers

As pointing dogs from Germany, with exuberant facial hair and wiry coats in shades of brown and white, the German Wirehaired Pointer breed is blessed with an unimaginative, (albeit accurate) name. Luckily, their temperaments are much more interesting. These charming dogs were initially prized for their versatility as hunters’ helpers. Nowadays they are known as dogs with plenty of energy and playfulness as well as an even temper. They make a perfect companion for humans, with one caveat – they do need plenty of exercise.

Official name: German Wirehaired Pointer

Other names: German Wirehaired Pointing Dog, Deutsch Drahthaar

Origins: Germany

Black and white portrait of a German Wirehaired Pointing Dog
 Drooling tendencies

Warm weather?
 Shedding level
Suited to apartment living? 
 Physical activity needs (high, low, medium): Moderate Kid-friendly? 
Medium
 Compatibility with other pets Medium
Can stay alone?*

We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches.
Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour.
Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.
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Illustration of a German Wirehaired Pointing Dog
Male
61 - 69 cm Height
22 - 32 kg Weight
Female
57 - 64 cm Height
22 - 32 kg Weight

 

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 15 months
 Adult age  15 months to 5 years
 Mature age  5 to 8 years
 Senior age  from 8 years

German Wirehaired Pointing Dog sat feet together looking up to the sky

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Get to know the German Wirehaired Pointer

All you need to know about the breed

The bushy-bearded German Wirehaired Pointer breed was developed in the 19th century as a hunters’ companion and a great all-rounder – tracking, pointing, retrieving: the GWP (as they’re also known) could do it all, and with admirable stamina.

While the German Wirehaired Pointer now makes an excellent companion to non-hunting humans too, those breed characteristics run deep and you’ll certainly observe your GWP stopping to “point” when out and about. And if you choose a German Wirehaired Pointer you’ll be out and about often: these active, hardy dogs need plenty of exercise, whether that’s running off the lead, long walks with their humans, games or even chances to swim.

When at home, you’ll find the German Wirehaired Pointer gentle and calm, getting on well with children once trained (although they should not be left alone unsupervised with them) and even other dogs. Smaller pets such as guinea pigs or rabbits don’t make ideal German Wirehaired Pointer housemates (for their own sakes) however, as these dogs’ prey instinct is still very much present. They even make excellent watchdogs – and in recent times, search and rescue teams have started putting them to work too, giving them the ideal blend of physical and mental stimulation and adding yet another string to their bow.

German Wirehaired Pointing Dog laying in long grass with a chain collar on

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2 facts about German Wirehaired Pointers

1. Paws for thought

The German Wirehaired Pointer is a pointing dog (did we mention the breed has quite a literal name?) These helpful dogs were developed to stand still on detection of an interesting scent, and raising a front paw – this is called “pointing” and is designed to get their humans’ attention. Over the years, the breed has maintained the habit.

2. Technical outerwear

The German Wirehaired Pointer’s wiry coat serves the important purpose of repelling water, allowing them to withstand harsh conditions. Their rough, straight fur lies flat against the skin, also protecting the dog from thorns and brambles while its density helps them work in cold water.

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History of the breed

The German Wirehaired Pointer breed was developed in the 19th century as a hunters’ companion, probably from breeds including the Foxhound, Poodle and Pointer. At the time, while the trend in England was to develop hunting dogs whose skills were focused on one particular area, in continental Europe, the approach was different, with breeders developing versatile, adaptable dogs that could perform many different tasks.

They certainly achieved that aim with the German Wirehaired Pointer. These dogs can turn their paw to all the traditional jobs of tracking, pointing, retrieving, on land or in water as well as to more recent missions of search-and-rescue and watchdog duties, not to mention curling up, cosy at home near their humans, a task at which they also excel. The breed was recognised by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1959.

Black and white portrait of a German Wirehaired Pointing Dog

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of German Wirehaired Pointers

1. Face

Bushy eyebrows and beard, medium-sized high-set ears.

2. Coat

Wiry, dense coat in shades of brown and white.

3. Body

Muscular build and upright bearing.

Close-up side shot of a German Wirehaired Pointing Dog

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your German Wirehaired Pointer
German Wirehaired Pointing Dog laying on the forest floor

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Caring for your German Wirehaired Pointer

Grooming, training and exercise tips

German Wirehaired Pointers’ thick protective coats require minimal grooming, a weekly brush enough to keep them in good condition. Their teeth should be cleaned regularly (daily if you can) and their nails clipped too. While these dogs can be calm companions at home, that is on condition that they get enough exercise. Think long walks and off-the-lead runs. And as their stamina – and their powerful noses – are impressive, those runs will need to be in a safely enclosed space in case they pick up a scent and follow it. German Wirehaired Pointers need early and consistent training, and they thrive on the mental stimulation of having a job to do (if you’ve ever dreamed of having your slippers brought to you at the door, this may be your chance!) This makes them good candidates to excel at canine sports such as agility trials too. However, German Wirehaired Pointers also have something of an independent streak, so while they should be amenable to training, they need a patient but firm and confident approach and may not be the best choice for a novice owner. Make sure that any food treats used for training come out of their daily rations to avoid them becoming overweight.

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All about German Wirehaired Pointers

Absolutely! These affectionate and good natured dogs form close bonds with their humans, even if they can be a little wary with strangers. Once trained, they get on well with children, although like any other breed they should not be left unsupervised with them.

Yes – if your heart is set on a Field Spaniel it may take a while to track (pun intended) one down. But it will be worth it! If you buy from a breeder, make sure you do your research and find a responsible one.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/