Differences Between German Shorthaired Pointers & English Pointers

German shorthaired and English pointers are an asset to hunters.
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German shorthaired pointers and English pointers both possess courage, stamina, a keen sense of smell and are highly intelligent. Their hunting skills include pointing, trailing and retrieving. Both pointers have the ability to point out animals such as raccoons, deer, possum, quail and waterfowl. They show subtle differences in their temperament, coloring and size and display unique tracking techniques that are specific to their breed.

Temperment and Approval

German shorthaired pointers are calm, hardworking and seek affection and approval from their master. English pointers are independent, focus on getting the job done, have a strong work ethic and show loyalty to their master. English pointers lack the need to seek approval from their master. Both breeds require physical and mental stimulation, even when they are not working in the field.

Height and Weight

German shorthaired pointers specifically used for hunting often have a 6- to 8-inch tail, that has been docked to prevent field injuries. Their long, droopy, large ears are rounded slightly at the tips. At maturity, males are slightly larger than the females. German shorthaired pointers can grow as tall as 25 inches and weigh 55 to 70 pounds. English pointers can weigh up to 75 pounds and grow up to 28 inches in height. At maturity the English pointer is larger than a German shorthaired pointer.

Spots and Coloring

The main ancestry of the German shorthaired pointer is the German bird dog, which is related to the old Spanish pointer breed. It is also thought that the lineage includes German scent hounds, who are known for their trailing and tracking abilities. German shorthaired pointers often have a solid white coat accented with small markings in colors such as black and liver throughout the body; the coat can also be solid liver or black. The English pointer's lineage is thought to include the greyhound, bloodhound and foxhound, with distant ancestry possibilities coming from the English setter, Newfoundland and bulldog. English pointers can have a solid coat of black, lemon or orange, at times, white coloring or spotting is shown sporadically throughout the body and on the bridge of the nose and face.

Hunting Behavior and Technique

While both breeds exhibit the pointer technique, which alerts the hunter to the direction of the game, they differ in their tracking technique. German shorthaired pointers assist the hunter by staying close to his side, only leaving to retrieve the game and immediately return back to his master. English pointers, have the capability to hunt independently or hunt in packs of three or more. In both cases, the English pointer works far from his master, hunting, retrieving and returning with the game.