The German Wirehaired Pointer
'Wirehaired Drahthaar'

descriptive textDog breed info
German Wirehaired Pointer
Weight: 45 — 75 lbs
Height: 24” — 26”
AKC Rank 2008: #70
Lifespan: 12—14 yrs
Group: Sporting

Dog breed info - The German Wirehaired Pointer

Breed Overview

Origin: Germany, 1800’s. Original Function: Hunting, Watchdog. Today: Pointing, Companion.

Originally, there was a need for some kind of versatile hunting breed in Germany. At the time, the German Wirehaired Pointer was one of the most successful dogs they had. Hunters wanted a dog that could locate and point upland game, track wounded game, confront tough vermin, retrieve water foul on land and in the water, and also function as a companion and watchdog for the hunter. The breed needed a rough, wiry coat to withstand working and hunting in bramble bushes. An important ancestor was the German Pudelpointer. They crossed this with the German Shorthaired Pointer, Griffon, and Polish Water Dog. The breed, known as Drahthaar in Germany, has become the most popular hunting breeds in Germany. It was not officially recognized there until the 1920’s when the first dogs of the breed came to America. The German Wirehaired Pointer was registered in America in 1959.


Yes, pretty easy to train; quite responsive. Use the new clicker training for quickest and best results with your training.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your German Wirehaired Pointer puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The German Wirehaired Pointer puppies are generally easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


The German Wirehaired Pointer is a friendly, intelligent, companion, bird and gun dog that has an enormous amount of energy and can hunt for hours at a time. He responds well to commands but is also quite stubborn with a guard dog instinct. Good choice for an active outdoor hunter, camper.

If you happen to a Pointer with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Wary and cautious toward strange dogs. Can get along with some dogs.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Best if raised with them. Doesn't do well with small animals.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Wary and cautious toward strangers; always on guard.


Very playful.


Moderately affectionate with his family only.

Good with children

Fair. Okay for older, obedient kids. Not tolerant for normal “kid stuff.”

Good with Seniors over 65?

No. Needs too much exercise.

Living environment

House with doggie door and fenced yard, or, a farm. Needs to be inside with his family but not locked up. Great on camping, biking and hiking trips.

The German Wirehaired Pointer would like a medium size yard but not necessary. If you plan to throw the ball and play fetch, that would requite a secure yard to run in so it's up to you.

Energy level

Very high. Can run and chase all day in the field.


Exercise needs, daily

Very high. The German Wirehaired Pointer makes a good jogging partner but keep him on leash. If he sees a squirrel or rabbit, he's gone. Two long walks, a training session and a fast game of fetch should work.


Excellent. Especially watchful over his family.

Guard dog

Good. Protective of family.


Low. Very low shedding.


Hand stripping may be needed. Brush weekly with a medium bristle brush from the pet store.



Suggested Reading - The German Wirehaired Pointer

The book on the right is put out by the American National Red Cross and is first aid for dogs only. It's very informative and every dog owner should have a copy as it tells what to do in all kinds of emergencies and questionable situations including emergencies, injuries and illnesses.


German Wirehaired Pointer Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for German Wirehaired Pointer puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been VERY well socialized and started in obedience training. Below is a site with worldwide exposure for breeders where you might find what you want:
German Wirehaired Pointer Breeders with puppies for sale.

German Wirehaired Pointer Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a German Wirehaired Pointer rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Dog Rescue - (Nationwide)At the time of this writing, there are only 49 GWP dogs listed by Petfinder as available for adoption in the USA. This figure will vary, but it is a good indicator that this is a very scarce breed in the States.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but you will most likely have to go online and surf for German Wirehaired Pointer Rescue groups, kennels, adoptions and whatever else you can think of.



Dog Health Issues For German Wirehaired Pointer
Below are the illnesses or medical problems listed for the German Wirehaired Pointer by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are medical issues this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acting lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain and difficulty walking for the German Wirehaired Pointer. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Interdigital dermatitis - An infection occurs between the "toes" of the dog and sacs fill with pus which bothers the dog. She licks and bites at the bothersome infections and after a few days, they break open and drain, giving relief to the dog. Al;l you will see is the dog limping around. Clean and cleanse the infected feet well, see a vet for medication to prevent returning infections and that should do it.

  • Diabetes—The pancreas manufactures the hormone INSULIN. If the pancreas stops making, or makes less than the normal amount of insulin, or if the tissues in the body become resistant to the insulin, the result is called “diabetes.” The dog can NOT control her blood sugar without injections of insulin on a regular basis, but given the insulin, the dog can live a normal life like a human can. If the German Wirehaired Pointer does not receive the insulin injections at the same time each day of her life, the dog will go into a coma and she will die. Some causes of diabetes may be chronic pancreatitis, heredity, obesity or old age, but no one is sure. Symptoms are extreme drinking and urination, dehydration, weight loss, increased appetite, weight gain, and cataracts may develop suddenly. Treatment is in the form of the insulin injections daily and a strict diet low in carbohydrates and sugars. Home cooking may be suggested in some cases. Frequent trips to the vet for blood monitoring will be needed but diabetes is not a death sentence.

  • Aortic stenosis—Hereditary heart defect. A narrowing of the aorta inhibiting blood flow in the heart, causing the heart to work harder in the German Wirehaired Pointer. If the condition is mild, the dog may never show symptoms and live a long life. If severe, the dog will object to exercise, possibly faint at times or experience sudden death. In 90% of the affected dogs, the condition of the heart would not change from around 1 to 2 years on through it’s life. The dog’s most affected by this condition are the Newfoundland, Rottweiler, Boxer, and German Wirehaired Pointer.

  • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the dog's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the dog’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

  • Otitis externa—Inflammation and infection of the outer ear, especially dogs with long, floppy ear flaps. Dirt and moisture collect and breed yeast and bacteria. Ear hair and wax contribute to the infection environment. If left untreated it can become a serious infection. If at home treatments with cleaning and meds don't work and the problem worsens, surgery might be the last resort.

  • Mast Cell Tumors—Mast cells are found throughout the body and help maintain the German Wirehaired Pointer's normal immune response, health and body functions. The tumors in question are CANCEROUS and spread through the body. There is no known cause for mast cell cancer and no cure, other than surgery for early-detected, low degree tumors that haven't spread too far. The best formula is to keep the dog as healthy as possible and be aware of any signs of tumors or poor health. Whether the dog survives or not depends on how advanced and fast moving the malignant tumor is.

  • Nasal depigmentation - "Pink nose." Cause unknown. The nose and sometimes other areas like around the eyelids turn from normal black to a pinkish color. There are many theories but no answers. It can affect Siberian Huskies. Use protective sun screen cream on the nose and keep the dog out of the direct sun if you can.

  • Seizures.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy— Eye problems. An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

  • Entropion—Eye irritation caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

  • Ruptured Cranial Cruciate Ligament - The tearing of the Cruciate ligament and NO weight can be applied to the affected leg with the torn ligament. Even sitting can be a painful problem This will cause lameness that may be severe. Knee surgery with total restriction of activity is the only answer

  • Elbow Dysplasia— This, as with hip dysplasia, is something the German Wirehaired Pointer may be born with. Wear and time in the front legs (elbow joints) cause lameness by the time the dog is roughly a year old. If you have a dog prone to this disease, have an early x-ray to see if surgery to the joints will stave off further damage to the joints. Typically, there has been no cure, but recently doctors have come up with some ideas. 1) Keep the weight of your dog down. 2) Use anti-inflammatory medication. 3) Look into injections of stem-cells to help regenerate bone-covering cartilage to cause the bones to line up properly again. (This is new research and some vets may not know about it so ask around.)

  • Von Willebrand"s Disease—A deficiency in clotting factor in the blood. The affected dog does not properly utilize the blood-platelets for blood-clotting. Thus, the dog is prone to excessive bleeding if in an accident or surgery.

  • Cataracts - Eye problem. Hazy or cloudy vision and if not treated can cause total blindness.

  • Oropharyngeal malignant melanomas - Tumors found in the mouth and pharynx. A serious cancer.

  • Histoplasmosis - A fungus infection acquired from contact with bird, chicken and bat manure and similar sources. Some dogs have weight loss with serious diarrhea and bright blood, straining, fever and mucous. Other symptoms may show, such as breathing problems and a chronic cough. See a vet immediately if you think there might be a problem.

  • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Dog Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief description of the problem:
    Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.


    Other health problems could occur with your German Wirehaired Pointer. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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