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General Questions and Answers

Obtained by the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America website.


What Were The Goals of the Germans When They Bred the GWP?

German Wirehaired Pointers trace their origins back to the late 1800's. 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 people hunting on foot in varied terrain; from the mountainous regions of the Alps, to the 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. 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; retrieve waterfowl, be a close-working, easily trained gun dog; be able to track and locate wounded tame; be fearless when hunting "sharp" game as fox; be a devoted companion and pet; and be watchful of its owners' family and property, In 1959, the breed was recognized by the America Kennel Club and the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America (GWPCA) was established. Today, the German Wirehaired Pointer is one of the most popular dogs in German, where it is known as the Drahthaar. It came to America in the 1920's and achieved AKC recognition in 1959.

Are GWP's a Healthy Breed?

Generally GWP's are healthy, long lived-dogs, with many individuals reaching 14-16 years of age. As with any large-breed dog, hip dysplasia may be a concern. Buyers should verify that the breeder of their new pup has screened for this crippling disease in the sire & dam, and that the dog's family includes animals that are certified by OFA (the Orthopedic Foundation of Animals) or PennHip to be clear of hip dysplasia. The breed has also seen an increase issue with Thyroid and Cardiac disease and these diseases should be tested in breeding stock. Of breeds tested by the OFA currently GWP's are in the top 20 for thyroid disease, so while thyroid disease can be treated with medication this is not something you want to be burdened with and seondary diseases also appear with thyroid issues; go to   to verify the sire and dam of your puppy has been tested clear of Autoimmune Thyroiditis. The ultimate goal for health testing any GWP is to follow the CHIC guidelines. CHIC along with the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America established a recommended health screening protocol for all breeders. This protocol involves testing breeding stock for OFA hips, elbows, thyroid, cardiac, eye and von Willebrands.

How Much Exercise is Needed for a GWP?

Exercise is a daily requirement for this energetic dog and a fenced in area is a must. The ideal situation would be to combine exercise with hunting or some type of activity to stimulate his/her mind, activates could include retrieving, swimming, tracking, agility, tricks and so forth. A 15 minute walk after work will not suffice for this active breed. GWP's thrive on human companionship, they do best as a house-dog with access to the outdoors. GWP's also need to be taught basic obedience and socialized early to other dogs and humans is a MUST, because of their aloof personality socialization early and continuing as they age is critical.

Do GWP's Coat Shed?

The functional wiry coat is the breed's most distinctive feature. The coat is weather resistant and to some extent, water-repellent. The outer coat is straight harsh, wiry and flat lying to protect the dog from rough cover in the field and may require minimal hand-stripping. The GWP coat does not shed drastically or "blow" their coat twice a year like many breeds; all dogs do shed, however, GWP's just shed at a rate that is not normally very noticeable. The coat should be one to two inches long. On the GWP head the coat should be naturally shorter except for the eyebrow and beard. Coat colors are usually liver and white spotted or roan, solid liver or white but the head should have liver color that covers the ears and around the eyes. Black is sometimes seen instead of liver.

I Want a GWP as a Pet, Why are Titles Important to Me?

Unless you have the opportunity to actually meet the sire & dam, work them in the field or just watch how they handle things in different situations; titles can give you a good guideline about their personality, abilities and your breeder goals. Titles demonstrate that the sire & dam are successful in areas that are important to the breed, that they have a personality and/or temperament that is comfortable in public forums and in possible stressful situations. That they can be trained in different venues, and that the breeder is involved with organizations and events that support GWP's. You want a puppy that come from well rounded adjusted trainable and good tempered sire & dam.... titles can give you some insight into these qualities.

What Are Their Temperaments Like?

The GWP is a complex breed; intelligence, strong desire to please, sharpness and clown-like are all qualities that make up the typical GWP. They can be active, busy dogs that amuse themselves with various games. Along with the intelligence the Wirehair possess, the  breed also has the capability to be very creative and somewhat independent. They prefer to work for who they like and will very often create their own rules of engagement. Wirehaires generally are high energy, high drive, though not a "hyper" breed, but the need for a "job" is a must. Even if the job description includes only retrieving newspapers and slippers, this breed needs to be given meaningful work.

It is their intelligence, however, that can become the GWP's downfall. Without interaction with their family and a job to do, GWP's can become easily bored. Without mental stimulus, they can become destructive and noisy in their attempt to "find something to do." Because of their desire to please, the GWP does not require or respond well to harsh or heavy handed training. Most GWP's truly do not like to be "on the outs" with their people,  and undesirable behavior can be corrected with a sharp "NO!" A GWP That is treated harshly or roughly may completely turn off, become fearful, sulky and remote, or may become a biter.

On the other hand, when permitted to develop a close relationship with one or more people, and when trained with respect for his intelligence and desire to please the GWP is a willing and able partner who will continue  to amaze you with his quickness to learn and his desire to perform. In general, there are few more loving or interesting breeds.

Do GWP's Make Good Family Pets?

GWP's are extremely devoted dogs. When raised in a home with one owner, they become very definite one person dogs. When raised with several people, including children, they become devoted to the whole family, although they may attach strongly to one member of the household.

GWP's make superb companion dogs and pets. In fact, they crave human companionship, doing best in a home where they are permitted a warm, close relationship with "their people". They are one sporting breed that does not make a good kennel dog, nor a dog that lives all its life in a backyard with little human contact.

How is a GWP Different From a German Shorthair Pointer?

Other than the obvious differences in coat the two breeds are very different. While both breeds originated about the same time, with the GSP slightly older, each has developed from distinctly different root stock. These differences not only make the two breeds different in coat but they have different temperament and personality. GWP's thrive with a positive reinforcement training, they have a tendency to be more aloof to strangers and more protective over their owners and GWP's can be more clown like.

What Are Some of Things I Can Do With a GWP?

First, and most important, enjoy one of the closest and most interesting relationships with a dog that you are ever likely to experience. Then ask yourself what you enjoy doing, it's pretty likely your GWP can participate.

Aside from its unique coat, one of the most distinguishing features of the GWP is its versatility and its adaptability. Waterfowl retriever... Pointer of upland game birds... Blood tracker of wounded deer...Hunter and retriever of fox and hare and similar furred game, this breed is all this and more.

In North America, the breed is a popular personal gun dog in addition to having achieved success in AKC Field Trials, Hunt Test, and NAVHDA. The GWPCA has long stessed the dual purpose dog throughout its history. Unlike other members of the Sporting Group, which have a distinct differences between breed and hunting dogs. GWP's have kept "show type" and "field type" the same.

In the US, the breed has had many Best In Show winners, and a large number who have won or placed in group. It also has many dogs with agility, obedience and tracking titles. A sizeable percentage of GWP's have achieved titles in more than one activity, and many show, agility and obedience are also used as personal hunting dogs. In fact, attaining excellence in more than one field of endeavor is not uncommon to the breed and is celebrated by the GWPCA by their versatile program and title.

GWP's have performed with the Ringling Bros circus and have acted in movies and commercials. The star of Walt Disney's movies The Biscuit Eater and Bristleface were both GWP's. As with most 'stars' there were even several fellow GWP's who acted as stand ins.

This is a breed that enjoys plenty of exercise. Even GWP owners who prefer not to participate in any particular organized dog activity find that their dog makes an excellent companion on camping and fishing trips. They love to go on long hikes and even make great jogging companions once they have matured.

In short, the activities in which you can participate with our GWP are limited by your interests, financial resources, the location in which you live, and the time you have available to devote to your dogs training.   

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