German Wirehaired Pointer

German Wirehaired PointerGerman Wirehaired Pointer

Although the German Wirehaired Pointer is considered here in detail, this chapter covers several other Wirehaired Utility Gundogs which work well both on land and in water. Selected 'through performance to type', they were developed as keen, working Gundogs which loved to track, search, point at any type of game, and were not gun shy.

History of the German Wirehaired Pointer

German Wirehaired PointersGerman Wirehaired Pointers

During the late 1800's interest in recreational hunting for a sportsman to hunt on foot, began to grow. Simultaneously there was improvement in the type of firearms that could be safely used in the field. Hence the increasing demand for an all-round sporting dog that was keen, steady to use under the gun and would also hunt wounded game both by foot-scent and air-scent.

In the first half of the 1900's the type of dog varied enormously. Hunting men were more interested in working their dogs than breeding for glamorous looks. Although breeders concentrated on sound construction, the emphasis was on working ability plus the indispensable characteristic of a wire coat.

To this end, in 1899 Germany set up an umbrella organisation for all Hunting Dog breed clubs in Germany. Called the Jagdgebrauchshundverband or (JGHV), it's purpose was to develop tests to determine the natural abilities of young hunting dogs. This organization was ruthless in selecting dogs which were suitable for breeding versatile hunting dogs that had the ability to handle any type of game. As the working ability of the dog was more important than it's looks, 'through Performance to Type'[6], under the JGHV umbrella several other wire-haired hunting breeds also developed.

Cesky FousekCesky Fousek

Other recognised hunting breeds:

These are some other wire-haired hunting breeds that are now recognised:

  • The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Korthals of France (FCI 107) also recognised by Kennel Club UK and the AKC
  • The grey Wirehaired Slovakian Pointer (FCI 320) also recognised by the Kennel Club UK.
  • The Bohemian Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (Cesky Fousek) of the Czech Republic (FCI 245)
  • The Deutsch Stichelhaar - the German rough coated Pointing Dog (FCI 232)
  • The Pudelpointer of Germany (FCI 216)

History of German Wirehaired Pointers in Australia

As the German Wirehaired Pointer is the only Wirehaired Utility Gundog recognised in Australia by the ANKC at the time of writing, it is dealt with here as a comparison with the German Shorthaired Pointer. Although the first German Wirehaired Pointer arrived in Australia in 1976, it was not until the 1980's that this breed really became noticed[5]. Today they are kept alive by a small but dedicated band of enthusiasts.

Comparison between the German Shorthaired and Wirehaired Pointers

The obvious difference between these two breeds is their coat. However, at first glance in general balance German Shorthaired Pointers (GSP) may incorrectly be called square whereas the German Wirehaired Pointer allows up to 3 cms more length in the Breed Standard. Although the body of the GSP is proportionately shorter than some of the other Gundog breeds, his legs may appear just a little bit longer than his depth of body from withers to sternum as the accompanying photo demonstrates.

German Shorthaired Pointer German Wirehaired Pointer

The coat should be short and dense and although thinner and shorter on the head and ears, it should cover the whole body. The skin should be close and tight, without wrinkles.

The double coat should have a dense, water resistant undercoat and a wire haired, harsh, flat, dense outer coat approximately 2 to 4 cm long especially on the eyebrows and beard. The coat length should not obscure the outline of the dog.
  • Solid brown, without markings,
  • Black, dark or light brown roan with the corresponding solid coloured head, but the white hairs predominating the roan through the body.
  • White with brown head markings, brown patches or specks.
In all cases, yellow tan markings are permissible.
Brown or black roan with or without white chest patches or light roan. No other colour permitted.

German Shorthaired PointerGerman Shorthaired Pointer

German Wirehaired PointerGerman Wirehaired Pointer

General Appearance

The GSP is a noble dog with a balanced appearance combining strength, endurance and speed. The proud carriage of his head and tail, combined with his lean head, smooth outline and firm shiny coat without wrinkles, emphasise his nobility.

The GWP has a noble appearance, his attentive expression indicating his energy. The length of his body should be as equal to his height at withers as possible, but not exceeding it by more than 3 cms.

Head The head must be lean, but be in proportion with the the dog in length and strength, with the cheeks well muscled. The head should be in proportion to the size and sex of the dog, and have slightly diverging head planes

The skull should be moderately broad, rounded at the sides with the occipital bone just visible. However the brows should be moderately developed.

The skull should be moderately broad and flat but rounded at the sides. However the brows should be well developed.
Stop Moderately developed Clearly and visibly pronounced.

The muzzle should be strong, long and broad with the nasal bridge showing a slight rise above a straight line like a ram's nose, more prominent in males. The flews are not too pendulous with a broad somewhat protruding nose with mobile well pigmented nostrils coloured brown or black according to the colour of the dog.

The muzzle should be strong, long and broad with the nasal bridge showing a slight rise above a straight line. The flews should be thick and close fitting. The lips and nose should be well pigmented, the colour corresponding with the coat. The nostrils should be well open.

Mouth Teeth large, closing in a normal scissors bite preferably with full dentition Teeth large, closing in a normal scissors bite preferably with full dentition

German Shorthaired PointerGerman Shorthaired Pointer

German Wirehaired PointerGerman Wirehaired Pointer

The ideally dark brown, medium sized almond-shaped eyes should have tight fitting eyelids.

The eyes should be as dark as possible, with well pigmented and close fitting eyelids.

The ears should be moderately long and broad, set on high on and hanging straight and not twisted, close to the head level with the corner of the lips.

The ears are of medium size but wide, set on high on the head and hang straight without twisting.

Neck muscular and of sufficient length to balance the body with tight fitting skin at the throat, without dewlap.

Neck strongly muscular and of medium length with a slight arch and a clean throat, without dewlap.


The strongly muscled shoulders should be well muscled with the blades well laid back with a good open angle between the blade and the long upper arm. Viewed from the front, the strongly boned forelegs should be straight and parallel. When viewed from the side, the forelegs are placed well under the body with the elbows working close. The strong front pastern should have a minimal slope.

The strongly muscled shoulders should have a good angle between the blade and the long upper arm. The distance from the elbows to the ground to be approximately equal to the distance from the elbows to the withers. Viewed from the front, the strongly boned lean forelegs should be straight and set well under the body with a definite slope in the front pastern.
Feet Round to oval (spoon-shaped) with strong toenails and tough pads. Round to oval with thick, tough, robust and well-pigmented pads.

German Shorthaired PointerGerman Shorthaired Pointer

German Wirehaired PointerGerman Wirehaired Pointer

The withers are well defined, the back firm and muscular and the topline straight and slightly sloping towards the short loin with the croup sloping again to the tail set. The forechest is well defined with the sternum and elbow joint level. The chest is somewhat deeper than it is it broad but the ribs are well sprung without being flat or barrel shaped. The underline has an elegant arch, slightly tucked up towards the rear with no loose skin.

The topline should be straight but slopes slightly towards the short muscular loin. The croup is long, broad and well-muscled and slants a little towards the broad pelvis. The forechest is broad, deep and well developed with the breastbone reaching as far back as possible. The ribs are well arched and the underline has an elegant curve towards the rear.

The long main bones of the hind legs form a good turn of stifle. The upper thighs are long, broad and muscular and the lower thighs also long and muscular but have clearly visible tendons forming a good angle with the vertical hocks.

The hindquarters should be long, broad, muscular and well angulated at the stifles. The upper thighs are long, broad and muscular and the lower thighs long, broad and sinewy. When viewed from behind the hocks should be short, straight and perpendicular.


The German Shorthaired Pointer should carry himself with a proud attitude, and move with far reaching, harmonious strides, with forceful propulsion from the hindquarters and adequate reach of the forelimbs. The front and hind legs should move straight and parallel.

The German Wirehaired Pointer should have an upstanding posture and move covering lots of ground with good reach and drive, the front legs and hocks being parallel coming and going. His movement should be powerful, ground covering, flowing and harmonious.

Tail The tail is set on as an extension of the topline, is strong at the root and then tapers. The tail should follow the topline, carried as horizontally as possible or slightly raised. It should neither be too thick nor too thin.

Height at the withers
Dogs 62-66 cms
Bitches 58-63 cms

Height at the withers
Dogs: 61 to 68 cms
Bitches: 57 to 64 cms

References and Further Reading

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Also published as "From Rough Shooting to Conservation" Published in Dog News Australia (Top Dog Media Pty Ltd Austral NSW) Issue 8, 2016 Page 10

[1] C Bede Maxwell - 'The New German Shorthaired Pointer' - Published by Howell Book House USA 1963. Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number 65-22999 Chapter 1 Origin and Early Development Pages 11 - 19

[2] Kim Dennis-Bryan and Juliet Clutton-Brock - 'Dogs of the Last Hundred Years at the British Museum' Published by British Museum (Natural History), London (1988) ISBN 0-565-01053-0 Page 44 German Pointer.

[3] Sharon Pinkerton - 'German Wirehaired Pointers Today' Published by Ringpress Books Pty Ltd, Letchworth, Hertz, UK 1994. ISBN 0-948955 49 X

[4] German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Victoria Inc. Extract from Newsletter April 1970 Page 20

[5] Ann Atkinson - 'The History of Purebred Dogs in Australia' published by OzDog Newspaper 1997 -the German Wirehaired Pointer Page 159

[6] C.Bede Maxwell, - 'The Truth about Sporting Dogs' Published 1972 by Howell Book House Inc 845 Third Avenue New York, NY 10022 The German Wirehaired Pointer Page 298

[7] Catalogue Royal Melbourne Show 1972, 21st - 30th September 1972 Published by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria

[8] Georgina Byrne - 'Der Deutsch-Kurahaar - the German Shothaired Pointer' - Published by Austed Publishing Company, Western Australia 1989, ISBN 1-86307-006-0 Chapter 1, Page 2

[9] Jack Thompson - 'The German Short-haired Pointer' Special Supplement. Published by National Dog Newspaper, Windsor NSW November 1977 Page 16