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German Wirehaired Pointers: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

German Wirehaired Pointer temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

German Wirehaired Pointer dog breed

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 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.

Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

More traits and characteristics of the German Wirehaired Pointer

If I was considering a German Wirehaired Pointer, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise. German Wirehaired Pointers are athletic dogs who need regular opportunities to vent their energy and gallop. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored, which dogs usually express by barking and destructive chewing. This is not a breed who will hang happily around the house and yard doing nothing.

    You should be an active outdoors lover interested in hunting or hiking, or taking your dog running with you. However, running is risky exercise for dogs unless it is done after the dog's bones and joints are fully mature, and only on a soft surface like dirt. Dogs should not be run on pavement, and young dogs should not be run at all.

  2. Bounciness. Young German Wirehaired Pointers (up to about two years old) romp and jump with great vigor, and things can go flying, including small children and infirm people.
  3. Potential dog-on-dog aggression. Many German Wirehaired Pointers are fine with other dogs, but other individuals are dominant/bossy toward other dogs of the same sex.
  4. Potential cat aggression. A good number of German Wirehairs have strong instincts to go after cats and other fleeing creatures, often with deadly intent.
  5. The strong temperament. German Wirehaired Pointers tend to be smart but willful dogs who require an experienced owner and trainer. They are also easily distracted by exciting sights, sounds, and scents, so it can be a chore to keep this breed's attention. Read more about German Wirehaired Pointer Training.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.

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