German Shorthaired Pointer

Lifestyle Needs

German Shorthaired Pointer

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a fairly large hunting dog.  He has an abundance of energy and stamina and ideally should have more than two hours exercise every day with plenty of free running.  He has a strong hunting drive and will need very firm and experienced handling.  Some GSPs are good natured and friendly and would be suitable as a family dog but others do have temperament issues.  He can also suffer from separation anxiety.  His coat is short, and easy to keep clean but he does need to be groomed regularly.

Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 5.3% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Effective Population Size - EPS


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

Bloat/Torsion (stomach fills with air and may twist – requires urgent vet treatment)  Associated with deep chested breeds.

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Hip dysplasia: (malformation of the hip joints causing pain and disability): breed mean score 9.3 (parents should be lower)
  • Eye disease: Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) (loss of night vision progressing slowly to total blindness) (annual testing)

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:

DNA Tests Available

  • von Willebrands disease (vWD) type 11 (bleeding disorder)
  • Cone degeneration (CD) (day blindness due to degeneration of the retinal cones – aversion to bright light)
  • Lupoid dermatosis (skin disease)
  • Junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB) serious disease shown in puppies before weaning

Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes

  • Bitches not to produce litters under two years of age
  • Bitches not to produce more than 4 litters in their lifetime

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Atopy (hypersensitivity to pollen and other protein particles – causes intense itching)
  • Idiopathic epilepsy
  • Entropion (inward folding of the eyelids which can cause damage to the eye)
  • Cherry eye (one of the tear glands is everted to lie in front of the eye)
  • Shoulder osteochondritis (abnormal formation of shoulder joint cartilage)
  • Panosteitis (painful bone inflammation) especially in young males – a self limiting disease
  • Acral mutilation syndrome (dogs lick and bite their own feet and hind legs, causing damage and possible infection
  • Heart disease: Subaortic stenosis (causes a heart murmur and maybe progressive)
  • Cancer: mammary carcinoma; nasal carcinoma
  • Hemivertebrae (abnormally shaped vertebrae causing spinal cord compression, hind limb weakness and pain)
  • Haemophilia
  • GM2 gangliosidosis (progressive neuromuscular dysfunction and impaired growth)
  • Myasthenia gravis (neuromuscualr disease causing weakness) (autoimmune disease)
  • Epidermolysis bullosa (skin blistering in response to trauma – can be severe)
  • Polyarthritis/meningitis syndrome (autoimmune disease)
  • Cutaneous lupus erythematosus (autoimmune disease)  (inflammation, scaling and ulceration on the face, progressing to other areas)
  • Muscular dystrophy (skeletal muscle wasting and weakness)

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):

You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding:

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

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