If you're looking for an active, loyal family canine, the German shorthaired pointer could fill the bill. "Active" is the key word. He's not a dog for couch potatoes. While the pointer was developed as an all-round sporting dog in his native land, he was also intended as a family companion. With good care, expect your pointer to share your family's life for 12 years or more.
German Shorthaired Pointer
When mature, GSPs stand between 21 and 25 inches tall at the shoulder, weighing between 45 and 70 pounds, with females smaller than males. That makes them a good size for active kids -- not small and delicate, but not overwhelmingly large. Their short coats require little grooming and they don't shed a great deal. It's important to train your dog, but German shorthaired pointers are eager to please and soak up knowledge quickly.
Pointers and Kids
If you intend to add a German shorthaired pointer to your family, wait until your kids are school-age. Although the German shorthaired pointer is a friendly dog, he's too active for toddlers and very young children. His constant exuberance combined with high energy means little ones are easily knocked over. For older kids, he's a best friend, always ready for play and affection. He also serves as a good watchdog, protecting your home and hearth. While not aggressive, he'll let you know if any strangers are in the vicinity.
Tired Dogs are Good Dogs
If you have a fenced-in yard, your kids and the dog can happily play outside all afternoon. That doesn't mean your dog won't require additional exercise in the form of long walks, but he'll unload some of his energy running around with the children. If you have a pool, invite your German shorthaired pointer in for a swim. These hunting dogs usually love water. These smart dogs do well in canine sports such as flyball, Frisbee and agility, which are also healthy endeavors for kids' participation.
If your family also consists of other canines, adding a German shorthaired pointer shouldn't cause problems. This breed normally gets along well with other dogs. Cats are a different story, as are other small pets. If your German shorthaired pointer is raised with cats, he might not bother them, at least while they're in the house. If they go outside, he might consider them fair game. Since he's bred to hunt birds, this particular dog and bird combination is unlikely to work, unless the birds are kept in a room or area he can't access.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.