German Shorthaired Pointers
Working Dog is Also Excellent Family Companion
The German shorthaired pointer is highly recognized as a prized hunting dog, focused and in the zone while out in the field.
The breed is also a beloved family dog who loves to play with children and curl up on laps, often choosing to burrow under a blanket. This dog is definitely not all work and no play.
German Shorthaired Pointer History
There is limited knowledge of the German shorthaired pointer’s history. Developed in Germany during the 19th century, the dog was bred specifically to be a hunting companion, both in the field and in the water.
Experts believe that the German shorthaired pointer is descended from the German bird dog, although other dogs, including German hounds and the English pointer, may have contributed to the breed’s lineage.
German Shorthaired Pointer Appearance
The German shorthaired pointer has a very short coat accompanied by a water resistant undercoat, which allows the dog to stay warm in cold weather.
The breed’s colors can be dark brown, black, brown and white, or black and white. A variety of patterns can exist with the breed, including a solid pattern with large patches (called “saddles”), or a speckled white or brown pattern.
Considered a medium to large breed, the average German shorthaired pointer weighs between 45 and 70 pounds, depending on the gender.
German Shorthaired Pointer Personality
German shorthaired pointers are highly intelligent, energetic dogs who are just as accustomed to being indoors with family as they are outside in the field, hunting birds.
Suitable for family life, the German shorthaired pointer gets along quite well with children, although caution should be held around smaller children who may not anticipate the boisterous behavior of an excited German shorthaired pointer.
The breed also gets along well with other dogs and even cats, if said cats are part of the dog’s family and can therefore not be confused with prey.
Because the German shorthaired pointer is an athletic, working dog, it should be given plenty of regular exercise, especially if the dog is not used as a hunting companion. A lack of sufficient exercise will likely lead to hyperactivity and boredom, which can then lead to destructive behavior.
German Shorthaired Pointer Health
Overall, the breed is known to have a longer life expectancy than many breeds of a similar size, living anywhere from 12 to 18 years. While these may be common medical conditions, your German shorthaired pointer will not necessarily develop any of those listed below. Choosing a reputable breeder from which to purchase your pet will help minimize the risks.
- Cancer is the leading cause of death for German shorthaired pointers, with female pointers commonly diagnosed with breast cancer. Spaying female dogs early (prior to first estrous-"heat period") reduces the incidence of mammary gland cancer in adults. It also eliminates a number of reproductive problems common in female dogs. Owners who do not plan to breed or show their pets should consider spaying them around 6 months of age.
- Canine epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures. The symptoms vary in severity but the dog usually foams at the mouth and appears to be chewing on something. Then he will have violent muscle contractions, lose bladder or bowel control and faint.
- Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV): a condition associated with stomach bloat, when the stomach twists (also known as volvulus or "torsion") due to a variety of reasons. This condition is severe and requires immediate, emergency veterinary treatment.
- Hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip and elbow joints that causes arthritis, is especially crippling in large breeds of dogs.
- Otitis (ear infections): refers to an inflammation of the ear canal, and can be caused by a foreign body in the ear canal, parasites, yeast or a bacterial infection. The German shorthaired pointer has long, floppy ears that are prone to infection, so regular checking and cleaning should be done as a preventive measure.
In addition, the German shorthaired pointer can also suffer from skin disorders and congenital eye defects.
As with any pet, be sure to regularly consult a veterinarian for routine care and medical advice for your four-legged friend.
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