German Wirehaired Pointer

Breed At A Glance


Affection, active and eager to learn

Life Expectancy
12-14 years

Average Height
Males 24-26 inches; Females 22-24 inches

Average Weight
60-70 lbs

Coat Color
Solid liver, or liver & white, spotted or ticked

Coat Length/Texture
Coarse, wiry and water/weather-resistant coat, about 2 inches long, with a thick undercoat

Shedding Propensity
Light year round

Also known as Deutsch Drahthaar, Deutscher Drahthaariger Vorstehhund, Drahthaar

General Temperament

Loving and unusually devoted, the German Wirehaired Pointer makes a wonderfully affectionate addition to the family as well as an excellent hunting companion. The GWP will become deeply devoted to anyone who lives in the household, adults and children alike. They love to be kept busy and to work for their owner, whether that work is hunting, obedience, agility, or simply a little bit of mentally stimulating play.

German Wirehaired Pointers are patient and playful companions for children, but children should be taught to respect this breed to avoid any potential problems. Most will get along well with dogs and other household pets. Although they love their human companions, most tend to be aloof or even mildly aggressive with strangers. Early socialization is recommended to minimize any timidity or dog aggression.

This breed is not for the lackadaisical owner. They possess tremendous energy and need plenty of attention, living in the home as a part of the family as opposed to being kenneled. Without proper attention and stimulation, they will become bored and quite destructive. They are intelligent and eager to please, but can sometimes be willful. Training should begin at an early age, and should be patient, respectful, and consistent throughout the dog’s life.

The German Wirehaired Pointer is extremely energetic and loves to wander, therefore they are not recommended for apartment life. It will be happiest in a home with a large yard and an active owner who will spend plenty of with him. GWP’s make good jogging companions and even enjoy swimming.

Breed History

As is indicated by it’s name, the German Wirehaired Pointer originated in Germany in the second half of the 19th century. Hunting had became a widespread pastime free of class distinction, and the wide variety of sportsmen at that time wanted an all-around hunting companion that could work with virtually any game in any climate or terrain. Thus, the Pointer was born. Early German Wirehaired Pointers (then called the Deutsch-Drahthaar) was developed from crosses between the Griffon, Stichelhaar, Pudelpointer (a Poodle and Pointer mix) and the German Shorthair.

The German Wirehaired Pointer was admitted to the American Kennel Club in 1959.

Body Structure and Composition

The German Wirehaired Pointer is a rugged and well-balanced dog with a uniquely weather-resistent coat. The fur on the face is particularly striking, with a long beard, forehead hair and whiskers that accentuate and protect the face. The muzzle is long relative to the skull, and the rounded ears lay close to the head. The neck is thin, the chest deep, and the body fur close-fitting to the skin. The GWP is slightly longer than it is tall, and like all German Pointers, the feet are webbed. In the United States, the tail is customarily docked for confirmation purposes, but docking has been banned in many other countries. (In the field, tail docking serves to help minimize injury to the dog as it works in dense brush.)

Medical Information

Although they are generally hardy and rugged dogs, there are a few problems that plague the German Wirehaired Pointer. The most problematic of these are various forms of Hypothyroidism, which occur with alarming frequency within this breed. This causes an underactivity of the thyroid gland, creating symptoms including decreased appetite or weight gain, hair loss, recurring skin infections, and lethargy. The onset of this disease can vary quite widely; often a dog can be clinically normal for years without showing signs until later in life. Hypothyroidism can be treated with an oral thyroid hormone prescribed by a veterinarian.

Some German Wirehaired Pointer lines are prone to Hip Dysplasia, a condition that occurs when the head of the thigh bone no longer fits into the cup provided by the hip socket, causing lameness and arthritis-like symptoms. They can also suffer from a similar condition called Elbow Dysplasia, although this disease occurs with much less frequency.

Responsible breeders will have their stock certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) prior to producing a litter to help control the spread of both Hypothyroidism and skeletal diseases.

Some sources suggest that the German Wirehaired Pointer is also susceptible to ear infections, eye disease and malformations (including cataracts and Entropion), and skin cancer, although specific details about these issues proved to be difficult to locate.

A GWP’s coat should be brushed twice per week and will need to be periodically stripped to remove shed hair, but no additional trimming is required or recommended. Washing or grooming the dog excessively risks causing damage to the coat. Be sure to check the ears and feet after the dog has been in the field to prevent infection or infestation.

Anecdotal Information

The German Wirehaired Pointer was the most popular gun dog in Germany at the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries.

For Purebred Dogs

Search for DNA tests by your dog’s breed. In 3 simple steps you can find & order all of the tests available for your purebred dog.

For mixed breed dogs, you can identify the key breeds in your dog’s genetic background with a Dog DNA Breed Test. Over 220 popular breeds can be detected!

Learn more about Canine DNA Testing >