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German Wirehaired Pointer


The German Wirehaired Pointer, also known as the German Rough-haired Pointer, the Deutsch-Drahthaar, the Deutscher Drahthaariger Vorstehhund, the Deutsh Stilchelhaar Vorstehhund, the Wirehair and the GWP, is a sound, reliable and versatile hunting dog developed to both point and retrieve under any weather, temperature or terrain conditions. This breed is distinguished from other pointers by its wiry coat. It can be aloof but not unfriendly and is a quick learner. The German Wirehaired Pointer was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1959, as a member of the Sporting Group.
The adult male German Wirehair is between 24 and 26 inches at the withers, with females being smaller but not under 22 inches in height. Dogs under or over these ranges are severely penalized under the AKC breed standard. Adults typically weigh between 45 and 75 pounds. The dense double coat of the Wirehair is among its most distinctive characteristics: it is straight, harsh, wiry, flat-lying, weather-resistant and one to two inches in length. The coat, along with bushy eyebrows and a wiry beard, act as armor to protect the Wirehair's body and face from brush, brambles, weather and water. It should be brushed occasionally and hand-stripped when necessary. The coat, which must be liver or liver-and-white, is shed seasonally, and in the summer months it is almost invisible.

History & Health


The Wirehaired Pointer was developed in Germany in the mid 1800s as an all-around hunting dog. Before then, hunting for sport was reserved to the nobility and large landowners. In around 1850, hunting became popular regardless of class distinction – especially the hunting of game birds. Over time, the number of hunting enthusiasts, and hence the number of specialized hunting dogs, steadily grew. Some lines became particularly adept at pointing out birds in forests and fields, while others became better at retrieving from land and/or from water. Many European sportsmen wanted an all-purpose gun dog that would hunt more than one type of game and also flush, point and retrieve. More versatile sporting dogs became increasingly popular.
In Germany, the Deutsch-Drahthaar, which means German Wirehair, was one of those breeds. The early wirehaired pointers typically came from crosses of Griffon, Stichelhaar, Pudelpointer and German Shorthair. The Pudelpointer derived from a cross between a Poodle dog and an English Pointer bitch. The Griffon and Stichelhaar descended from crosses of Pointer, Foxhound, Pudelpointer and Polish water dog. The focus of developing this new breed was create an all-purpose, extra hardy retrieving and pointing gun-dog, with a weather- and water-resistant protective coat, that could and would work on any kind of game and hunt in conditions and on terrains of all types. With selective inbreeding and out-crossing, German hunters refined the German Wirehaired Pointer, which flushed, pointed and retrieved equally well on land and in water, was keen-nosed and constitutionally tough, and had the coat and courage to work under any conditions.
The Drahthaar was admitted into the German Kartell (Kennel Club) in 1928. The official parent club and registry in Germany is the Verein Deutsch-Drahthaar. Wirehairs came to the United States in the 1920s, and in 1953 the German Drahthaar Club of America was founded. The German Wirehaired Pointer was admitted into the American Kennel Club's Stud Book in 1959, and the parent club's name was officially changed to the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America.


The average life expectancy of the Wirehair is between 12 and 14 years. Breed health concerns include cataracts, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, ear infections and skin cancer.

Temperament & Personality


The German Wirehaired Pointer is a people-oriented dog who loves human companionship and will want to be a part of every aspect of family life. They are attention-seekers and will clown around or even make a little mischief in order to maintain his "star" status. Wirehaired Pointers are hunting dogs, who are at their happiest when out in the field, working alongside people. After a long day in the brush, he'll want to come home and be pampered with praise, treats, and lots of belly rubs. While they aren't the best choice for families with small children, they get along great with older children, especially if the older kids are willing to play outdoors. They are protective of their property and family and make excellent watchdogs.

Activity Requirements

German Wirehaired Pointers have their roots in the hunting field. They can run all day, and still come back for more. When they catch a scent, they become focused, efficient trackers and they are versatile enough to hunt on land or retrieve out of water. They are best suited in homes where they will be utilized in the field, or where families are already committed to an active, outdoor lifestyle. Two hours a day of vigorous activity is required for healthy development of a Wirehaired Pointer, and if they don't get enough exercise, they will become high strung, anxious, and destructive.
Pointers don't really are what they are doing outside, as long as it involves the company of the people they love. Simply opening the back door and hoping the dog will entertain himself won't cut it. Pointers make excellent jogging companions, love to take long hikes, especially if there is a river or lake nearby where he can take a swim. In the back yard, "hide and seek" style games where he can search out toys and treats are a good choice.


German Wirehaired Pointers are strong willed and stubborn. Training them in basic obedience is can be challenging for first time dog owners, as it requires calm-assertive leadership and absolute consistency. Bend the rules once, and you have to start the process over from scratch. Training should be done in short spurts, to keep them interested and conducted with an abundance of treats. Once leadership is established and basic obedience mastered, Pointers should be graduated into advanced obedience and if possible, agility training. This breed needs to keep their minds active in order to be happy, and though they can be stubborn, they enjoy the physical and mental stimulation of the agility track. In recent years, search and rescue teams have come to use the German Wirehaired Pointer, as their hunting instincts are strong, and they thrive on the reward of finding missing people.
Housebreaking a Wirehaired Pointer can take as long as six months. Some may pick it up faster than others, but crating is the best way to get through this drawn out process.

Behavioral Traits

Separation Anxiety is common among this breed. They require a lot of physical and mental stimulation in order to maintain an even temperament, and if their requirements are not met, anxiety sets in and that means destructive chewing and excessive barking. Couple their need for activity with their strong need for human companionship, and things get much worse. People who work long hours should consider another breed, as the Wirehaired Pointer does best in homes with a stay at home parent, or among people with flexible work schedules.
Their tendency for jealousy and possessiveness makes this breed less than ideal for families with small children. Wirehaired Pointers don't want to share the attention of their people with smaller animals or people, and their possessive nature can get out of hand. Their tendency to jump and bounce also makes them a hazard for toddlers.
Cats and other small household pets are in peril around Pointers. Their chasing instinct is strong and can't be trained out of them, even if raised alongside a cat from puppyhood.

Neat Freaks be warned: Wirehaired Pointers are notoriously messy. Their beards hang in their water dishes and they will trail water around the house.

Breed Standard

General Appearance
The German Wirehaired Pointer is a well muscled, medium sized dog of distinctive appearance. Balanced in size and sturdily built, the breed's most distinguishing characteristics are its weather resistant, wire-like coat and its facial furnishings. Typically Pointer in character and style, the German Wirehaired Pointer is an intelligent, energetic and determined hunter.

Size, Proportion, Substance
The height of males should be from 24 to 26 inches at the withers. Bitches are smaller but not under 22 inches. To insure the working quality of the breed is maintained, dogs that are either over or under the specified height must be severely penalized. The body is a little longer than it is high, as ten is to nine. The German Wirehaired Pointer is a versatile hunter built for agility and endurance in the field. Correct size and balance are essential to high performance.

The head is moderately long. Eyes are brown, medium in size, oval in contour, bright and clear and overhung with medium length eyebrows. Yellow eyes are not desirable. The ears are rounded but not too broad and hang close to the head. The skull broad and the occipital bone not too prominent. The stop is medium. The muzzle is fairly long with nasal bone straight, broad and parallel to the top of the skull. The nose is dark brown with nostrils wide open. A spotted or flesh colored nose is to be penalized. The lips are a trifle pendulous but close to the jaw and bearded. The jaws are strong with a full complement of evenly set and properly intermeshing teeth. The incisors meet in a true scissors bite.

Neck, Topline, Body
The neck is of medium length, slightly arched and devoid of dewlap. The entire back line showing a perceptible slope down from withers to croup. The skin throughout is notably tight to the body. The chest is deep and capacious with ribs well sprung. The tuck-up apparent. The back is short, straight and strong. Loins are taut and slender. Hips are broad with the croup nicely rounded. The tail is set high, carried at or above the horizontal when the dog is alert. The tail is docked to approximately two-fifths of its original length.

The shoulders are well laid back. The forelegs are straight with elbows close. Leg bones are flat rather than round, and strong, but not so heavy or coarse as to militate against the dog's natural agility. Dewclaws are generally removed. Round in outline the feet are webbed, high arched with toes close, pads thick and hard, and nails strong and quite heavy.

The angles of the hindquarters balances that of the forequarters. A straight line drawn vertically from the buttock (ischium) to the ground should land just in front of the rear foot. The thighs are strong and muscular. The hind legs are parallel when viewed from the rear. The hocks (metatarsus) are short, straight and parallel turning neither in nor out. Dewclaws are generally removed. Feet as in forequarters.

The functional wiry coat is the breed's most distinctive feature. A dog must have a correct coat to be of correct type. The coat is weather resistant and, to some extent, water-repellent. The undercoat is dense enough in winter to insulate against the cold but is so thin in summer as to be almost invisible. The distinctive outer coat is straight, harsh, wiry and flat lying, and is from one to two inches in length. The outer coat is long enough to protect against the punishment of rough cover, but not so long as to hide the outline of the dog. On the lower legs the coat is shorter and between the toes it is of softer texture. On the skull the coat is naturally short and close fitting. Over the shoulders and around the tail it is very dense and heavy. The tail is nicely coated, particularly on the underside, but devoid of feather. Eyebrows are of strong, straight hair. Beard and whiskers are medium length. The hairs in the liver patches of a liver and white dog may be shorter than the white hairs. A short smooth coat, a soft woolly coat, or an excessively long coat is to be severely penalized. While maintaining a harsh, wiry texture, the puppy coat may be shorter than that of an adult coat. Coats may be neatly groomed to present a dog natural in appearance. Extreme and excessive grooming to present a dog artificial in appearance should be severely penalized.

The coat is liver and white, usually either liver and white spotted, liver roan, liver and white spotted with ticking and roaning or solid liver. The head is liver, sometimes with a white blaze. The ears are liver. Any black in the coat is to be severely penalized.

The dog should be evaluated at a moderate gait. Seen from the side, the movement is free and smooth with good reach in the forequarters and good driving power in the hindquarters. The dog carries a firm back and exhibits a long, ground-covering stride. When moving in a straight line the legs swing forward in a free and easy manner and show no tendency to cross or interfere. There should be no signs of elbowing out. The rear legs follow on a line with the forelegs. As speed increases, the legs will converge toward a center line of travel.

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Sources: American Kennel Club


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