German Shorthaired Pointer Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
German Shorthaired Pointer Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2015
Good-natured and adaptable, but primarily bred to be a hunting dog, the German Shorthaired Pointer has a high energy level and belongs with an equally athletic owner who will take him running, biking, or hiking.
A walk around the block is barely a warm-up for a vigorous German Shorthaired Pointer. Too much confinement can lead to barking, hyperactivity, and destructive chewing.
Toward strangers he may be very friendly or somewhat reserved, so his alarm bark may be welcoming or mildly protective. But this is NOT an aggressive breed.
Most German Shorthairs are good with other pets, but some can be aggressive with strange dogs, and some are determined cat chasers.
Obedience training is a must for instilling self-discipline and control, for this breed can be a bundle of intense energy. Fortunately he is eminently trainable . . . but he does not obey blindly. Indeed, though the German Shorthaired Pointer can become focused when required to do so, he is easily distracted and does know his own mind and you need to be both patient and firm.
If you want a dog who...
- Is large, tautly-muscled, and athletic
- Has a sleek easy-care coat
- Thrives on vigorous exercise and outdoor activities
- Makes a sensible watchdog, but is good-natured and dependable with almost everyone
A German Shorthaired Pointer may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Vigorous exercise requirements
- Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young or not exercised enough
- "Separation anxiety" (destructiveness and barking) when left alone too much
- Possible aggression toward other animals -- chasing instincts
- A distractable mind of his own -- tends to ignore calls and commands when an interesting sight or scent catches his attention
A German Shorthaired Pointer may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the German Shorthaired Pointer
If I was considering a German Shorthaired Pointer, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. German Shorthaired Pointers MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored German Shorthairs are famous for chewing through drywall, ripping the stuffing out of sofas, and turning your yard into a moonscape of giant craters.
If you simply want a pet for your family, and don't have the time or inclination to take your dog running or hiking or biking or swimming, or to get involved in hunting, or tracking, or agility (obstacle course), or advanced obedience, or a similar canine activity, I do not recommend this breed. German Shorthaired Pointers were never intended to be simply household pets. Trying to suppress their "hardwired" desire to run and work, without providing alternate outlets for their high energy level, can be difficult.
- Bounciness. Young German Shorthaired Pointers (up to about two years old) romp and jump with great vigor, and things can go flying, including people.
- Possible animal aggression. Many German Shorthaired Pointers are fine with other animals, but some individuals are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex and quite a few have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing creatures. Remember that this is a hunting breed.
- Mind of their own. German Shorthaired Pointers are not Golden Retrievers. They are capable of learning a great deal, but they have an independent mind of their own and are easily distracted by exciting sights, sounds, and scents. Some German Shorthairs are willful and obstinate and some can be manipulative. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To learn more about training German Shorthaired Pointers to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book,
Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your German Shorthaired Pointer the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy German Shorthaired Pointer puppy. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the German Shorthaired Pointer might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your German Shorthaired Pointer home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT German Shorthaired Pointer...
When you're acquiring a German Shorthaired Pointer PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult German Shorthaired Pointers who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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Copyright © 2000-2015 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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