German Wirehaired Pointer

German Wirehaired Pointer
John Walton
Written by John Walton

Widely recognized for its versatility, the German Wirehaired Pointer is a dog breed you can always count on, whether you want a loyal playmate at home or a skillful hunting buddy.

Originally bred in the late 19th century, this dog breed is an excellent retriever both in land and in water, making it the favorite of hunters around the globe. Because of its functional protective coating, it can survive even in the most difficult terrains. Not to mention, it can also cope with extreme weather conditions, which makes it an ideal travel and hunting buddy.

Aside from its remarkable traits and physical characteristics, the German Wirehaired Pointer is also popular for its high stamina and outstanding sense of smell. However, just like other dogs, it also requires daily physical activities, along with care, love and affection.

So if you are looking for a loyal companion that will motivate you to put your rubber-soled shoes on for a 30-minute walk in the park, then this dog breed is perfect for you.

Breed Characteristics

AdaptabilityAbove Average
Health IssuesHigh
All Around FriendlinessAbove Average
Exercise NeedsHighest

Dog Breed Group:Sporting Dogs
Height:1 foot, 10 inches to 2 feet, 2 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: About 60 to 70 pounds
Life Span: 12 to 14 years on an average

Originally bred in Germany for hunting purposes, the German Wirehaired Pointer is a unique combination of the Poodle, Foxhound and Pointer. While it may not be large in size, it definitely played a big role in the lives of hunters in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Popular for being a hunter’s best friend, it is capable of surviving in difficult hunting conditions, thanks to its wiry coating and remarkable hunting traits.

The Drahthaar, as what the Germans call this breed, is distinct for both its physical and mental characteristics.  Genetically gifted with independence, intelligence and alertness, the German Wirehaired Pointer was bred to shine not only in hunting sites, but in show rings as well. Not only does it have super sniffing powers, but it also has a high stamina level perfect for different dog competitions.

Since this dog breed has a high energy level, it necessitates daily exercise and early training. Aside from hunting, it also loves swimming and playing with its human companions. A dog breed that can actively motivate you to unleash your athletic side, the German Wirehaired Pointer also thrives on care, love and attention, making it crucial for owners to give this breed the affection it deserves.

Just like any other dog breeds, the German Wirehaired Pointer is not for everyone. If you love engaging into an active lifestyle and you are willing to commit to its daily exercise and training needs, then this breed is ideal for you. Tough on the hunting arena but friendly and warm to its human companions, this dog breed can give you the loyalty and affection you have always been craving for.

Main Highlights
  • This dog breed is highly intelligent, making it crucial for owners to incorporate challenging tasks into its training.
  • It is an extremely independent dog breed that requires firm guidance and supervision. If the dog senses that its owner has no sense of leadership, it can become disobedient.
  • It should not be left alone for extended periods of time as it can develop separation anxiety.
  • This dog breed is affectionate to its human companions. However, it can be highly suspicious and aloof to strangers.
  • It has a high tendency to chase smaller pets.
  • At a young age, this dog breed can become destructive inside the home as it has a high energy level. Hence, it is important for homeowners to provide this breed early trainings and regular physical activities.
  • This breed can be difficult to housetrain, so owners need to stretch their patience.
  • Male-to-male dog aggression is common for this breed, so early socialization with other pets and animals is a must.
  • When buying this breed, potential owners must find a reputable breeder so they can be sure that the puppy won’t suffer from health conditions later on.
Breed History

In the late 19th Century, the German Wirehaired Pointer was bred for hunting purposes. With a unique mix of the Foxhound, Pointer and Poodle in its bloodline, this dog breed possesses characteristics that make its suitable for dangerous hunting conditions.

Physically, this medium-sized dog has a thick wiry coating that protects its body from extreme hunting environments and weather conditions. Plus, it is also popular for being an excellent retriever both in land and in water.

Although it may bear resemblance with the German Shorthaired Pointer, experts breeders can spot differences between the two. Firstly, the German Wirehaired Pointer has a slightly longer and larger body. These two breeds have different personalities and temperaments. Hence, even though they may look alike, they come from different ancestral groups.

The importation of this dog breed into the US started in the 1920’s. Then, it was admitted into the German Kartell for dogs in the year 1928. Just around two decades and a half after, the German Drahthaar Club was founded.

Today, this dog breed still possesses the same characteristics it was originally known for. While owners don’t necessarily need to hunt to maximize their Drahthaar’s full potential, the capability of this dog breed to provide loyal companionship to their owners still remains to be its most desirable trait.


Male dog breeds normally stand at around 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder, while female breeds stand at around 22 to 24 inches. It weighs 60 to 70 pounds on an average.

Personality and Character

Bred to be a hunter’s best friend, the German Wirehaired Pointer is a smart, independent and highly active dog.

Since it is equipped with hunting abilities, it has a high tendency to chase anything that moves, making it necessary for owners to provide early socialization, especially if they have other household pets. An outstanding land and water retriever, this dog breed proves to be a skillful hunting companion.

However, while it may be vicious inside the hunting arena, it doesn’t mean that the German Wirehaired Pointer deserves to stay outside the house. Despite its passion for hunting, it also thrives on human companionship.

A dog breed that can be your perfect hunting or jogging buddy, the Drahthaar always has a strong desire to please its owners. While a get-away may be a perfect reward for this dog breed, it loves to cuddle with its human companions at the end of a long, tiring day.

In terms of friendliness, the Drahthaar is extremely loyal to all the members of the household. Nonetheless, it can also have its personal favorite. While it may offer friendship to everyone in the household, it is most devoted to one person within the group.

When surrounded by unfamiliar people, on the other hand, it can be highly suspicious and aloof. Plus, it is protective to its human companions and personal possessions, so strangers must not initiate close contact.

In addition to that, this dog breed can also become hostile towards unfamiliar dogs and pets. Male-to-male aggression is common to this breed, so owners must provide early training and socialization.

When it comes to training, owners must not devise harsh methods. Instead, they must incorporate rewards and positive reinforcements to motivate their dog.

Lastly, the Drahthaar makes an excellent watchdog. It will do everything just to protect its household, making it a highly versatile breed.

Health and Potential Problems

The German Wirehaired Pointer is generally healthy, especially if owners were able to buy their puppy from a respectable breeder. However, potential health problems can still arise, making it necessary for owners to recognize early signs of symptoms of certain health conditions affecting this breed. As a guide, below are some of the conditions that owners should be aware of:

  • Hip Dysplasia: A genetic disorder common amongst this breed, hip dysplasia is a medical condition usually manifested as the dog ages. It is a health disorder in which the femur does not fit into the socket, and it can occur even without clinical manifestations. It is prohibited to breed GWP’s with this condition. Hence, it is vital to look for a clearance from the breeder if you wish to welcome this breed in your family.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease: An inherited disorder that can affect the blood’s ability to clot, this medical condition is manifested by bleeding gums, bleeding nose and bleeding intestines. In addition to that, excessive bleeding after an injury is also a common symptom.
  • Cataracts: Physical manifestations of cataracts in humans are similar in canines. It usually starts with cloudy spots on the eye lens that grow over time. Typically, this condition worsens as the dog ages. While it may not weaken the dog’s vision, it can cause complete vision loss. Once the dog has been examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist, a surgery can be conducted to successfully remove the cataract.
  • Entropion: A condition characterized by the inward rolling of the eyelid, Entropion typically affects the lower eyelid of the dog. It commonly affects both eyelids, and it can cause vision impairment and eye irritation. Clinical manifestations include the frequent tearing of the eyes. Also, if the dog frequently rubs its eyes, then this condition is highly likely. If owners suspect entropion, they should consult with their veterinarians immediately.
Care Features

Since the German Wirehaired Pointer was originally bred for hunting purposes, it has high energy levels. Hence, owners of this breed must allocate enough time for regular training and daily exercise. Otherwise, this dog breed can act destructively inside the home.

Furthermore, this breed can jump effortlessly, so owners must keep their backyards tightly secured. Installing a 6-foot fence is ideal so the dog won’t be able to escape. Lastly, the GWP thrives on human companionship, so owners must always provide their dog with care, love and affection.

Feeding Schedule

The daily food requirement for each dog depends on its size. Experts suggest owners of a Drahthaar to divide 2.5 to 3 cups of high-quality dog food for their pet companion per day. However, owners must still note that the quality of the food they give their pets is crucial in determining the ideal amount of food their pet needs every day.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The German Wirehaired Pointer is distinct because of its double coating. While the outer coating protects its body from harsh weather and hunting conditions, the inner coating provides its body optimum comfort.

While the coating is dense during winter condition, it becomes barely visible once summer approaches. Typically, the coarse, wiry coating extends up to two inches long. The dog’s bushy eyebrows and beard, on the other hand, serve as an extra coat of protection as it protects the face from scratches and bruises.

Moreover, this breed’s patterned white and liver coating add up to its appeal. Other GWP’s can also be characterized by a combination of white and reddish brown coating, or a few black patterns on the white coating. The nose and mouth of this breed can also be marked with liver-colored spots.

In terms of grooming, this dog breed does not require extensive grooming as it only sheds lightly. Unlike other dog breeds, regular brushing would suffice the GWP’s need for grooming. Also, owners only need to bathe their dog when needed. Since the coating of this breed has water-repelling properties, it can quickly dry after bathing.

Other grooming habits like nail trimming and tooth brushing are necessary to keep the dog in check. While the screeching sound of the nails against the floor is a signal that the dog needs nail trimming, tooth brushing is recommended at least once a week.

Lastly, the ears need to be regularly inspected so owners can keep an eye on possible signs of infection. Owners must also check the dog for rashes, sores and skin inflammation. Once any symptom of infection is monitored, owners must consult their veterinarian immediately so the condition of their dog won’t worsen.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

The German Wirehaired Pointer is an excellent companion for younger members of the household. But while it is a suitable playmate for children who can keep up with its high energy levels, adult supervision is still required for every pet-child interaction as the GWP can accidentally knock down small children.

Also, children must be taught how to interact with dogs properly. Bad habits like tail pulling can cause aggression in any dog breed, so adults must be keen on training their children.

In terms of pet compatibility, on the other hand, the GWP has a natural instinct to chase smaller animals. Also, male-to-male aggression is common in this breed, so early socialization with other pets is a must so the dog won’t be aggressive, especially if owners are taking care of smaller pets in their household.

The German Wirehaired Pointer may be bred for hunting purposes, but this unique breed has all the characteristics that every owner can only dream of. Vicious on the hunting grounds but compassionate and devoted inside its human companion’s home, this dog breed can light up every home with its lovable traits.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.