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Breed information

Group: Working
Life span: 12-14 years
Height male: 59-64 cm/ 23-25 inches
Height female: 53-58 cm/ 21-23 inches
Weight male: 25-32 kg/ 55-70 pounds
Weight female: 20-27 kg/ 45-60 pounds
Character: Affectionate, Boisterous, Bold, Cooperative, Intelligent, Trainable


German Wirehaired Pointer

German Wirehaired pointers trace their origins back to 1880. They originated in Germany, where breeders wanted to develop a rugged, versatile hunting dog that would work closely with either one person or a small party of persons hunting on foot in varied terrain; from the mountainous regions of the Alps, to dense forests, to more open areas with farms and small towns. The breed the Germans desired had to have a coat that would protect the dogs when working in heavy cover or in cold water, yet be easy to maintain. Careful crosses of the German pointer with many other breeds. Sources differ on the exact lineage, though the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Pudelpointer, Stichelhaar, and Deutscher-Kurzhaar are commonly accepted as the most likely contributors. This is a dog that can fully respond to the needs of its hunter. The goal was to develop a wire-coated, medium-sized dog that could:

  • Search for, locate and point upland game
  • Work both feather and fur with equal skill and retrieve water fowl
  • Be a close-working, easily trained gun dog
  • Be able to track and locate wounded game
  • Be fearless when hunting "sharp" game such as fox
  • Be a devoted companion and pet; and
  • Be a watchdog for its owner's family and property.

Some consider the "Drahthaar" (the original breed of German registry) to be a different type of dog than the domestic German wirehaired pointer. While the two breeds are genetically indistinguishable, all "drahts" must meet rigorous hunt and physical evaluations before being eligible for breeding. In addition to searching and pointing, these tests include the tracking and recovery of all game including wounded game such as fox, rabbit, deer and boar, which may not be required of a dog that hunts birds predominantly. A desire to recover and retrieve game must be present in all "drahts" because of German statutes requiring the recovery of all game.

For upland (i.e. non-waterfowl) bird work, many GWPs have distinguished themselves with all-breed Field Championships and Master Hunter titles. When purchasing a working GWP, attention needs to be paid to identifying breeders that place emphasis on all aspects of the versatile hunting dog. Among these breeders can be found accomplished dogs including Dual Championships (both field and show).


The German Wirehaired Pointer is a well muscled, medium sized dog of distinctive appearance. Balanced in size and sturdily built, the breed’s most distinguishing characteristics are its weather resistant, wire-like coat and its facial furnishings. Typically Pointer in character and style, the German Wirehaired Pointer is an intelligent, energetic and determined hunter.


The average life expectancy of the Wirehair is between 12 and 14 years. Breed health concerns include cataracts, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, ear infections and skin cancer.


The German Wirehaired Pointer is a people-oriented dog who loves human companionship and will want to be a part of every aspect of family life. They are attention-seekers and will clown around or even make a little mischief in order to maintain his “star” status. Wirehaired Pointers are hunting dogs, who are at their happiest when out in the field, working alongside people. After a long day in the brush, he'll want to come home and be pampered with praise, treats, and lots of belly rubs. While they aren't the best choice for families with small children, they get along great with older children, especially if the older kids are willing to play outdoors. They are protective of their property and family and make excellent watchdogs.

Activity Requirements

German Wirehaired Pointers have their roots in the hunting field. They can run all day, and still come back for more. When they catch a scent, they become focused, efficient trackers and they are versatile enough to hunt on land or retrieve out of water. They are best suited in homes where they will be utilized in the field, or where families are already committed to an active, outdoor lifestyle. Two hours a day of vigorous activity is required for healthy development of a Wirehaired Pointer, and if they don't get enough exercise, they will become high strung, anxious, and destructive. Pointers don't really are what they are doing outside, as long as it involves the company of the people they love. Simply opening the back door and hoping the dog will entertain himself won't cut it. Pointers make excellent jogging companions, love to take long hikes, especially if there is a river or lake nearby where he can take a swim. In the back yard, “hide and seek” style games where he can search out toys and treats are a good choice.


German Wirehaired Pointers are strong willed and stubborn. Training them in basic obedience is can be challenging for first time dog owners, as it requires calm-assertive leadership and absolute consistency. Bend the rules once, and you have to start the process over from scratch. Training should be done in short spurts, to keep them interested and conducted with an abundance of treats. Once leadership is established and basic obedience mastered, Pointers should be graduated into advanced obedience and if possible, agility training. This breed needs to keep their minds active in order to be happy, and though they can be stubborn, they enjoy the physical and mental stimulation of the agility track. In recent years, search and rescue teams have come to use the German Wirehaired Pointer, as their hunting instincts are strong, and they thrive on the reward of finding missing people. Housebreaking a Wirehaired Pointer can take as long as six months. Some may pick it up faster than others, but crating is the best way to get through this drawn out process.

Best Training Equipment Trainers Recommend

Behavioral Traits

Separation Anxiety is common among this breed. They require a lot of physical and mental stimulation in order to maintain an even temperament, and if their requirements are not met, anxiety sets in and that means destructive chewing and excessive barking. Couple their need for activity with their strong need for human companionship, and things get much worse. People who work long hours should consider another breed, as the Wirehaired Pointer does best in homes with a stay at home parent, or among people with flexible work schedules.

Their tendency for jealousy and possessiveness makes this breed less than ideal for families with small children. Wirehaired Pointers don't want to share the attention of their people with smaller animals or people, and their possessive nature can get out of hand. Their tendency to jump and bounce also makes them a hazard for toddlers. Cats and other small household pets are in peril around Pointers. Their chasing instinct is strong and can't be trained out of them, even if raised alongside a cat from puppyhood. Neat Freaks be warned: Wirehaired Pointers are notoriously messy. Their beards hang in their water dishes and they will trail water around the house.


Adult German Wirehaired Pointers require little in the way of grooming. They are light, year-round shedders, and weekly brushing will not only remove loose hair, but will also help keep the coat clean. Bathe the dog only as-needed. As puppies, some are born with soft, silky or even wooly coats. These coats may require a bit more attention to keep neat, but as the dog matures, the coat will become coarse in texture and brushing need only occur once per week. The undercoat will shed in the spring, requiring more frequent brushing, two to three times per week. Check the dog's ears on a regular basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax buildup. Clanse with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved solution. Never use a cotton swab on a dog's ear canal. Trim nails once per month if the dog does not wear down the nail naturally. If the toenails make a clicking sound on hard floors, they are too long. Brush teeth on a weekly basis to keep dog breath at bay and prevent tarter build up.

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