Buying or Adopting a German Shorthaired Pointer
By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
Is a DOG really the right pet for you?
I've been helping people choose and find dogs for over 35 years now, and I have to say that for many people, dogs are not ideal pets.
Should you get a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog?
Don't set your sights on any purebred dog until you read these three eye-opening articles:
Is a German Shorthaired Pointer the right breed for you?
Are YOU right for a German Shorthaired Pointer?
Can you provide what this breed needs?
- Someone home most of the day
- Fenced yard (6-8 feet high, not an electronic/underground fence)
- No cats in the household
- Restricted exercise when young – until maturity (at least 18 months old), exercise restricted to multiple short (20 minute) walks, fetch games, and playing with other dogs – no forced running (beside a jogger or bicyclist), no long-distance treks, minimal jumping
- Ample exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your German Shorthaired Pointer stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
- "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a challenging dog sport (agility, rally obedience, musical freestyle, tracking, hunt tests, field trials); challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
- An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
- A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a small dog
- An owner with enough money to treat the health problems German Shorthaired Pointers are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
- Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your German Shorthaired Pointer to lots of people and other animals, diligently correcting any signs of misbehavior or aggression
- Commitment to establish the right Leader-Follower relationship with your German Shorthaired Pointer, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say
Should you get a male or female German Shorthaired Pointer?
Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?
Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?
Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
What age should your new German Shorthaired Pointer be?
Where can you buy or adopt a German Shorthaired Pointer?
German Shorthaired Pointers are very common in the United States. Out of 189 breeds in the American Kennel Club, where 1 is most popular and 189 is least popular, German Shorthaired Pointers rank 11th. They're very easy to find.
Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
German Shorthaired Pointers are often available from Dog Rescue groups. Shorthairs may be turned over to Rescue because they need too much exercise and attention. Owners often give up their German Shorthair when it becomes apparent that the dog is too much for them to handle – too exuberant, too destructive, too noisy.... all of which are likely to result when sedentary people, or people who work all day, choose this breed.
Other German Shorthaired Pointers are given up simply because of changed family circumstances, and these dogs may have no behavior problems at all.
Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
German Shorthaired Pointers can be found here, although GSP Rescue groups do try to move their breed out of shelters and into their rescue network.
Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy a German Shorthaired Pointer from a show breeder, who breeds German Shorthairs to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring.
Or you can buy a German Shorthaired Pointer from a performance breeder, who emphasizes an energetic temperament and strong working drives for hunting and field trials. Some breeders are a combination of show/performance, though how they prioritize those two goals can vary greatly.
You can also buy a German Shorthaired Pointer from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.
Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of a German Shorthaired Pointer puppy should have:
- a certificate from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) – dated within the past year – certifying the dog to be free of eye diseases
- a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or PennHip certifying the dog to have normal hips
- a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have normal elbows
- a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or a report from a veterinary cardiologist – dated within the past year – certifying that the dog has had an Advanced Cardiac Exam and has a normal heart
Also, at least ONE PARENT of a German Shorthaired Pointer puppy should have:
- a DNA test proving they are Normal/Clear of a severe hereditary eye disease called cone degeneration.
If a seller can't show you those certificates, the puppies are higher risk for health problems. You might choose to accept that risk. But then you need to be willing (and able) to pay a couple thousand bucks for future surgeries and lifelong meds if your German Shorthaired Pointer ends up blind and crippled.
Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
German Shorthaired Pointers are sometimes found in pet shops. I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!
How To Choose a Good German Shorthaired Pointer Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of German Shorthaired Pointer puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.
AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?
Should you consider buying only AKC registered German Shorthaired Pointer puppies? Do AKC papers and pedigrees really matter?
To help you train and care for your dog
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.