German short hair dogs, most commonly known as German shorthaired pointers, are a hardy breed of hunting dog . This intelligent breed has a relatively unknown history, but it has grown in popularity in recent years with both hunters and pet owners alike. It is a medium-sized breed, and should maintain a moderate weight for its height and bone structure.
The origins of the German shorthaired pointer are not as clear as some other breeds. Hunters in Germany desired an intelligent, moderately-sized dog that could point and flush game in the field, and none of the local dogs were versatile enough to meet their needs. The existing German bird dog was crossed with Spanish pointers to create a bloodline that displayed the drive to locate game deep in the field. These dogs were crossed with a variety of local scent hounds and tracking dogs, but the breed still wasn’t performing as well as hunters had hoped. They eventually introduced English pointers to their breeding program and produced dogs with the winning combination of drives, good looks and sound temperaments to hunt all day and still be good family companions.
The German shorthaired pointer is a moderately-sized dog that should be lean and agile. The majority of the breed’s weight should be lean muscle, so even dogs at a healthy weight may seem thin in comparison to other breeds. Males are usually bigger than females, and should stand between 23 and 25 inches at the top of the withers. Females should be slightly shorter, with an average height of 21 to 23 inches at the withers. Male German shorthaired pointers should weigh between 55 and 70 pounds, while females should be between 45 and 60 pounds.
A Heavy Dog
German shorthaired pointers have healthy appetites and will easily pack on weight if their diet is not closely monitored. Excessive weight gain in particularly common in companion GSPs, since they are not engaged in the strenuous exercise of their hunting counterparts. You should be able to feel the dog’s ribs when you run your hand along his sides, and if you can’t easily feel them, your dog is probably too heavy. Adult dogs should eat between 2-5 cups of food a day depending on their age and activity level, but if your pup is packing on the pounds, reduce his daily intake by 1/2 cup, and cut out all treats and table scraps. Increase his daily activity by at least 15 minutes, and allow him to run in the yard as often as he wants to burn off excess weight.
A Thin Dog
German shorthaired pointers can be high-energy dogs, and this can lead to extreme leanness, especially in working dogs. If you can see your dog’s ribs or spine through his coat, he is too thin. Switch him to a high-quality, high-protein food, and increase his daily rations by 1/2 cup. Speak to your vet about adding an oil supplement to his diet, such as fish oil pills. These pills not only add calories to his diet; they also add essential amino acids that help support muscle development. Limit the dog’s play time to 30 minutes a day, and allow him to exercise under supervision to make sure he isn’t burning off too many calories.
Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.