Copyright German Wirehaired Pointer Club of Southern California. All rights reserved.
The Deustch Drahthaar (DD), which literally translates into "German Wirehair", originated in Germany in the 1870's. The DD was the result of an effort to create a versatile, rough-coated hunting dog that could point, retrieve on land or in water, track wounded game, hunt feather or fur, and hunt in inclimate weather. The harsh coat was designed to protect the dog in thickets.
The foundation breeds of the DD include the Griffon and Stichelhaar, the Pudelpointer and the German Shorthair. (The ancestors of many of the pointing breeds include foxhounds and pointers and water dogs. Thus, a long line of game hunting dogs, both for feather and fur, are behind the GWP)
The DD was admitted into the German Kennel Club in 1928. The official parent club and registry in Germany is the Verein Deutsch-Drahthaar (VDD). The VDD requires performance tests and maintains other regulations for registering and breeding the DD.
The DD came to the United States in the 1920s. In 1953 the German Drahthaar Club of America was founded. The DD was admitted into the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Stud Book in 1959, and the breed club's name was officially changed to the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America. The DD was called the German Wirehaired Pointer. The VDD considers the DD a separate breed from the GWP. The AKC will register DDs as GWPs.
1. What is the GWP's temperament like? GWPs are fun-loving, exuberant, loyal, and affectionate. Many GWPs are outgoing when meeting new people, although some can be a little standoffish or aloof, but not unfriendly. Males can be dominant.
2. What is the GWP's exercise requirements? Daily, High. Good forms of exercises for GWPs include jogging, off-leash exercise (i.e. in fenced dog parks), hiking, swimming, agility, and field work. GWPs usually cover a lot of ground and love to run, so off-leash running is not recommended unless you have control over your dog or are in a fenced area.
3. Do GWPs make good family dogs, and how are they with children? GWPs are excellent family dogs and get along well with children. Like any other dog, they need to be socialized from a young age with children in order to tolerate them. Within their family the GWP may bond to one person in particular. To be happy and easy to live with GWPs "need a job". Some "jobs" include: pet therapy, hunting, obedience work, agility, or jogging.
4. Do GWPs get along with cats? It depends. GWPs can live in harmony with cats if they are raised with them. However, as with any dog with a strong prey drive, they should not be left unattended with cats for long periods of time or trusted with unfamiliar cats; and, GWPs may give chase to their own cat when outside.
5. Are GWPs good watch dogs? Yes, GWPs are protective and will guard their territory and family.
6. Are GWPs good indoor dogs? GWPs are wonderful house dogs, as long as they have exercise to burn off energy so they do not get into mischief. They should not be neglected in a kennel or back yard, or confined to a condo for long periods of time, as this makes for a yapping, unhappy, and destructive dog.
7. Are GWPs easy to train? Yes, GWPs are quite intelligent and highly trainable.
8. What are the grooming requirements of GWPs? Dogs with short coats require routine bi-montly bathing and occasional brushing. GWPs shed--use a slicker. Furminators can be useful, but be careful because they remove undercoat. For showing, the proper way to groom is to strip (plucking) your GWP to remove dead coat. Dogs with perfuse coats need more extensive grooming, especially during the hot months.
9. Do GWPs get along with other dogs? As a general rule of thumb, YOU must be the boss of your pack for optimal harmony in the home. Typically, regardless of the sex, a dominant and a submissive dog get along with each other best. As a rule--two male GWPs, especially if one or both are unaltered, may not get along well.
10. From whom do I get a GWP? Get your GWP from a reputable breeder, usually found from a local breed club, or adopt from a rescue or the humane society. Do not get your GWP from a a pet shop.
11. How do I know if a breeder is reputable? Reputable breeders usually have proof of health checks (for hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, and von Willebrand disease, at the very least, in the parents). Many provide health guarantees or contracts that delineate what the breeder and buyer will do in the case that the puppy develops a serious health problem. Reputable breeders don't do a 'hard sell' or play on your emotions, and they will interview the potential puppy buyer for suitability. Reputable pet rescues are typically non-profit and will spay, neuter, vaccinate before adopting out, and take the dog back if the adoption does not work out.
12. What are some health problems found in the GWP? Hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism are the most common. Less common but serious problems include: elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, juvenile cataracts and von Willebrand's disease (a bleeding disorder). Many of these diseases can be detected with screening. Disease risk is reduced by performing health checks, genetic testing, and selective breeding.