German Wirehaired Pointer Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
German Wirehaired Pointer Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014
The AKC Standard says, "An intelligent, energetic, and determined hunter."
"Hunter" is a key word there. The German Wirehaired Pointer is steady and sensible, but also rugged and busy. He has a high energy level and belongs with an equally athletic owner who will take him running, biking, and hiking and preferably work him in the field.
Too much confinement and too little attention can lead to barking, hyperactivity, and destructive chewing.
Though some German Wirehaired Pointers are outgoing and friendly, most are rather aloof with strangers and can be protective (though not usually aggressive). With people, that is! With strange dogs, the German Wirehaired Pointer CAN be aggressive (or at least dominant and bold), and with his strong hunting instincts, some individuals are sharp with cats.
This breed is strong-willed and determined and needs an owner who knows how to lead. Usually he is more serious and discriminating than his German Shorthair cousin, though many do have a clownish side.
German Wirehaired Pointers are not for the fastidious household: They are sloppy drinkers, their beard soaking up water and depositing it as a trail of drips across your floor.
If you want a dog who...
- Is large, tautly-muscled, and athletic
- Has a wiry coat and whiskery beard
- Thrives on vigorous exercise
- Is steady-tempered and dependable, but often more serious and discriminating toward strangers than his German Shorthair cousin
- Makes a keen watchdog
A German Wirehaired 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
- Destructiveness and barking when left alone too much or not exercised enough
- Potential for aggression toward other animals
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
A German Wirehaired 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 Wirehaired Pointer
If I was considering a German Wirehaired Pointer, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. German Wirehaired 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 Wirehairs can make a shambles of your home and yard.
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 a similar canine activity, I do not recommend this breed. German Wirehaired 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 Wirehaired Pointers (up to about two years old) romp and jump with great vigor, and things can go flying, including people.
If you have small children, or if you or anyone who lives with you is elderly or infirm, I do not recommend German Wirehair puppies. The temptation to play roughly is too strong in many young German Wirehaired Pointers.
- Separation anxiety. More than most other breeds, German Wirehaired Pointers need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They tend to express their unhappiness through destructive chewing and barking. If you work all day, this is not the breed for you.
- Animal aggression. Some German Wirehaired Pointers are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. Many have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing creatures.
- The strong temperament. German Wirehaired Pointers are not Golden Retrievers. They have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. They are easily distracted by exciting sights, sounds, and scents. They can be manipulative, and some are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your Wirehair to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My German Wirehaired Pointer Training Page discusses the program you need.
To learn more about training German Wirehaired 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 Wirehaired 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 Wirehaired Pointer. 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 Wirehaired Pointer might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your German Wirehaired 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 Wirehaired Pointer...
When you're acquiring a German Wirehaired 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 Wirehaired 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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