With its loving nature, attentive gaze and rustic beard, the German Wire-Haired Pointer soon wins the hearts of many dog lovers. Despite its many positive qualities, however, this breed is reserved to a certain group of people with good reason: the German Wire-Haired Pointer is a high-performance hunting dog historically used for hunting.
What does the German Wire-Haired Pointer look like?
For a long time, good performance in combination with a rough coat was most important of all for these hunting dogs. Their appearance was secondary. Nowadays there is a standard for the breed, which has become a real eye-catcher. Reaching 57 to 68cm in shoulder height, the German Wire-Haired Pointer is classed as a large dog. It is muscular and has a deep, broad chest. A characteristic feature of the German Wire-Haired Pointer is its rough fur combined with a thick beard beneath the upper and lower jaw. This gives the head, surrounded by lop ears with brown eyes, a particularly trusting expression. So it's no surprise that many people fall for the German Wire-Haired Pointer's appearance! The breed is found in the colours brown or mottled brown or black. White markings are permitted.
Breeding with the best hunting dogs
Towards the end of the 19th century, dog lovers in Germany began pairing different rough-haired breeding dogs in a targeted manner. Their aim was to combine the best of the existing breeds and they chose Griffons, Pudelpointers and German Rough-Haired Pointers, which had the best characteristics for hunting. Hunting performance counted for more than a uniform appearance. Breeders attached great importance to dogs' versatility from the beginning. Be it hunting ducks in water or forests, these dogs should shine wherever they go. Fans of the prospective new breed later crossed more and more German Shorthairs in order to further improve performance in terms of pointing and quarrying. The purpose even of the rough coat was to optimise performance, since the rigid coat protects dogs from bad weather, thorns, nettles or cutting reeds.
The German Wire-Haired Pointer today
Initially there was a lot of scepticism towards this hybrid amongst many hunters. However, it became established as an independent breed recognised by the FCI over time and the German Wire-Haired Pointer is nowadays one of the most popular hunting dogs in Germany. It is by far the most popular pointer dog, with over 3,000 puppies born each year. These all-rounders are held in high esteem in other countries too. Amongst others, the German Wire-Haired Pointer has enriched hunting at the Spanish and Swedish royal courts. The most promising German Wire-Haired Pointers come together as part of the annual international Hegewald test. This is a screening test for breeding and ambitious breeders and fans of the breed from many countries meet for this.
What is the character of the German Wire-Haired Pointer?
The German Wire-Haired Pointer is a passionate hunter with a lot of self-confidence. If kept and trained in a species-appropriate manner, it makes a calm and reliable companion through thick and thin. It is affectionate, playful and wins over fans of the breed with its typical humour. Courage and endurance are defining characteristics during hunting and in day-to-day life too. It's mental flexibility should also be emphasised. These clever canines like to learn and do so quickly. It is ideally suited as a family dog – if it can pursue its main passion of hunting. It acts reserved towards strangers but not aggressive. The German Wire-Haired Pointer has a certain male sharpness when it comes to protection against poachers – it will defend its human family in emergencies. This should not be encouraged unintentionally.
How can a German Wire-Haired Pointer be trained?
The German Wire-Haired Pointer is an intelligent dog and learns quickly. Due to its diverse ambitions, it isn't a dog for first-time owners. It belongs in the hands of a committed owner who wants to share many experiences with their dog. This includes professional hunting training, which begins during the puppy phase. Hunter or hunting dog associations offer suitable dog handler courses, where the owner and prospective hunting assistant are prepared for hunting tasks. Along with basic obedience, the syllabus also includes the safe discarding of objects, shooting stability, pointing, tracking work, dragging work with retrieval as well as work in the water with and without ducks. Hunting dogs complete their training with a hunting dog examination. Of course, the same applies at home as with all dogs: loving consistency is the key to well-trained dogs. Otherwise, the clever German Wire-Haired Pointer makes exceptions the rule – for instance, begging at the table, sleeping in your bed.
Training a hunting dog without harming other animals
If you are not into hunting, it is totally possible to train these dogs without live prey. It is still possible for them to live a fulfilled life as long as they have a sufficient outlet for their instinctive drive. Fetch and intelligence toys are a perfect substitute for other animals. Agility equipment can be a perfect addition to your throw and fetch game.
A hunting dog for all situations
The German Wire-Haired Pointer is a real all-rounder – experts talk of multi-purpose dogs. As pointers, they indicate game to their owner by raising their front leg. The German Wire-Haired Pointer is suitable for diverse hunting tasks. These include:
- Tracking work, i.e. looking for injured or dead game
- Searching and quarrying
Tracking dogs are legally prescribed hunting assistants in many countries, because they prevent animals that have been shot from suffering for a long time. The German Wire-Haired Pointer shines in all areas. It is merely unsuited to hunting on farms due to its size. A German Wire-Haired Pointer goes into decline without meaningful tasks. Dog sports like agility offer an alternative for dogs from this breed that aren't suited to hunting or a supplement to hunting tasks.
How healthy is the German Wire-Haired Pointer?
A dog from a scrupulous breed has ideal prerequisites for living a long life. Animals deployed for breeding are subjected to health examinations before being authorised. Strict selection greatly reduces the danger of hip dysplasia in German Wire-Haired Pointers.
The parent animals should also be free of shoulder osteochondrosis. In rare cases, the breed can suffer from craniomandibular osteopathy. This disease is particularly common amongst terriers, although German Wire-Haired Pointers can also be affected. It involves painful alterations in the bones in the skull and jaw area, which affect young dogs between three and six months of age. Dogs suffer from severe pain, eat little, salivate and become listless at times. Once they are about one year old, the disease usually comes to a stop. However, some animals have to be put to sleep due to the severe pain. Veterinarians from several universities are currently investigating the genetic background of the disease. If cared for well, a healthy German Wire-Haired Pointer can reach on average up to 14 years of age.
What is the right diet for a German Wire-Haired Pointer?
These muscular and agile dogs need a high-quality food with a high proportion of meat. The energy consumption of hunting dogs can differ greatly: quarry dogs cover dozens of kilometres. If a German Wire-Haired Pointer is used for work in the water, it covers less distance but is still subject to physical demands. If a dog runs many kilometres every day, a food with a high protein content and sufficient fat is suitable to provide the necessary energy. If you go hunting in the morning, it's best to give your four-legged helper its last meal the evening before. No food is given before and during the hunt, because too much exercise after eating can trigger dangerous stomach twist in dogs. German Wire-Haired Pointers should be able to have something to drink at least once an hour during the hunt. Distances should be kept shorter in high temperatures. Snacks made from dry meat or rawhide bones satisfy hunting dogs' urge to chew.
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Is a German Wire-Haired Pointer right for me?
If you wish to adopt a German Wire-Haired Pointer, you should meet one requirement above all: you should be a hunter. German Wire-Haired Pointer breeders only give away puppies to people who train them for hunting with good reason. These friendly dogs love being close to their human family, so shouldn't have to live in a kennel. A house with a large garden is ideal. Hunting dogs aren't suited to life in a city apartment. Leisure hunters should offer their dogs daily activity. The breed gets on well with children, although small children should never be left unsupervised with a dog. These hunting dogs can see cats as prey, whilst small animals like rabbits or guinea pigs shouldn't live with them. Even if they are behind a grille, the presence of a hunter is stressful for small rodents. Grooming a German Wire-Haired Pointer isn't complicated and doesn't require much time.
Where do I find a German Wire-Haired Pointer?
You will only find German Wire-Haired Pointer puppies with certified breeders, who breed from hunters for hunters. Reputable German Wire-Haired Pointer breeders are happy to give insights into the rearing process and invite interested parties to their breeding sites. Take a look at the mother and if possible, the father too. Are the dogs confident and relaxed? What are the housing conditions like? Only buy a puppy if you're certain about the breed. Breeders give puppies away at the age of nine weeks at the earliest with an EU pet passport.
There are several options if you're interested in an adult German Wire-Haired Pointer. Some breeders who have specialised in professional hunting dogs offer trained hunting dogs for sale. Associations for hunting dogs in need feature different pedigree hunting dogs and hybrids on their website, which are looking for a new home for different reasons. Even non-hunters may have the rare opportunity to end up with a German Wire-Haired Pointer, because some of the dogs are no longer suitable for hunting.