The German Wirehaired Pointer

Origin of the Breed

In the 1870’s, in Germany, there became a need for an all-around sporting dog.  These sportsmen wanted a versatile dog, one that could be used for both fur (rabbit, fox, deer, and boar) and feather.  It needed to be hardy and intelligent, yet also trainable.  It would be required to find, point, and retrieve game in thick cover, mountainous terrain, open farm areas, and through cold water.  Many breeds were incorporated, some of the primary ancestors being the Stichelhaar, Pudelpointer, Griffon, and German Shorthaired Pointer. In 1928 the Deutsch Drahthaar became a recognized breed in Germany.

The first Drahthaars were imported into the United States in the 1920’s.  In 1959 the Deutsch Drahthaar was recognized by the American Kennel Club, at which time the name was translated to the German (Deutsch) Wirehaired (Drahthaar) Pointer.

Breed Characteristics

The most characteristic feature of the GWP is it’s wiry outer coat and facial furnishings.  A correct coat is harsh, 1-2 inches long, lies flat, and is water repellant.  This provides protection in rough cover.  There is also an undercoat which is softer and shorter, to provide insulation in cold weather.  The GWP sports a beard and bushy brows to protect the eyes.  Hair on the skull and ears should be naturally short.  The build is essentially Pointer in type, being sturdy and muscular.  In the U.S. the tail is docked.  Males stand 24-26 inches at the shoulder and weigh around 55-75 pounds.  Females are usually smaller, but not less than 22 inches, and weigh around 45-64 pounds.  Coat color is liver, or liver and white.  Black and white is acceptable in Germany, but is penalized in the AKC.

The GWP is a lively and intelligent dog.  They are affectionate and loyal, willing to please, and learn readily (although some may have a bit of German stubbornness.)  In Germany they are considered to be aloof, but not unfriendly.  The GWP is a versatile hunting dog.  In the U.S. they are primarily used as bird dogs, for both upland game and waterfowl.  When on foot, they work as a closer-working pointer.  In Germany, they are also used to hunt wild boar, small roe deer, and red fox.  They also make a devoted companion and family pet.


Hunting- This is the most common reason for interest in the GWP.  Here in the Northwest they make for an excellent hunting companion for a variety of fowl (pheasant, quail, chukar, grouse, and Hungarian partridge) as well as for retrieving duck and geese.

Field Trials- For those with dedication and a competitive spirit there are organizations (AKC, National Shoot To Retrieve Association, National Bird Hunters Association) to show your dog’s hunting skills, while being judged against other pointers.

Hunting Tests- There are also non-competitive avenues (AKC, North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association) to test your dogs hunting abilities.

Showing/Conformation- We are lucky that this is a breed that can still perform the function it was bred for AND compete in the show ring.  This is where a dog is judged on how well it fits the written standard that defines specific breed characteristics (form, size, coat, movement, etc.)

Other Activities- Because of the GWPs intelligence and trainability there is no limit to what you can do together.  Some of the activities Wirehairs have been successful in include: agility, obedience, tracking, and as pet therapy dogs.

  • 2013

    February 2023
    S M T W T F S
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