All of our vets and nurses here at Swaynes’ have a lot of different dog breeds between us. We have Labradors, chihuahuas, spaniels, terriers to name but a few. As we have featured on the blog before many different breeds we thought it was the turn of the German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP). As the author of this article and having owned a GSP I can definitely say this breed is high maintenance and often needy! Obviously in combination with so many beautiful traits, very loyal, fun and playful. This breed has an average lifespan of 9-12 years
The GSP originated as a German hunting dog to be used as a hunting breed on both land and in water. This brings us to their first trait – their hunting sense. Nothing is more beautiful than watching a pointer on point – however be prepared for them to follow this through and without a doubt chase that game through fields, ditches and even across roads! This breed has a strong sense of smell and instinct to hung and will follow that no matter how much yelling and calling owners often do.
As puppies with this breed cementing and reinforcing recall and using a whistle is often very important. A whistle can cut through wind and rain much better than the human voice can. With all breeds early socialisation and training is very important but this breed is particularly intelligent, eccentric and affectionate which can be easily trained given the right cues, despite often a very strong personality and mindset.
This breed is very social around people but a household with cats may not necessarily suit, again due to their strong prey drive. Ensuring a pointer has sufficient exercise is key to prevent them becoming very hyperactive and often destructive within the house. Ideally this breed should be allowed off lead exercise in safe areas, again ensuring you have good recall, or alternatively to be able to go running with their owners.
Like all breeds they are susceptible to certain health conditions. Being a large breed with a deep chest they can be prone to Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GDVs), a condition previously featured on this blog. A GDV occurs when the stomach fills with air and twists, which is a life threatening condition and must be treated at the vets immediately. Trying to reduce the risk of GDV in this breed includes not exercising them for at least an hour after eating and drinking.
Other conditions include Von Willebrands disease, hip dysplasia, epilepsy and certain tumours. As this breed loves to run and exercise considering starting them on joint supplements at middle age is always helpful. If you have any questions about any of these conditions please don’t hesitate to contact your local Swaynes’ branch.