How To Pick the Perfect German Shorthaired Pointer Puppy

German Shorthaired Pointers were initially bred as hunters with lots of energy. But their highly active nature doesn’t just help with hunting — it also makes them one of the loveliest pet breeds out there! However, picking the right GSP puppy might be trickier than you think.

Here are the necessary steps for picking the right German Shorthaired Pointer puppy as a pet:

  1. Decide whether you want a female or male puppy. 
  2. Look for GSP qualities in its coat to confirm the breed.
  3. Identify the puppy’s breed by physical attributes.
  4. See if the puppy behaves like a typical GSP.
  5. Make sure it’s perfectly healthy.

If you have your heart set on getting one of these puppies for your home — you’re in the right place. In this article, I’ll walk you through every step of the way to make sure you end up with a perfect GSP puppy that’s well suited to your needs, preferences, and house type. So, let’s get on with it!

1. Decide Whether You Want a Female or Male Puppy

Male and female GSP puppies differ in many ways. Deciding what sex you’d prefer is an important consideration. The right choice depends on factors like the type of dog owner you are and your main reasons for getting a pet.

If you’re looking for sporty and super friendly qualities in your new puppy, I’d suggest going with a male German Shorthaired Pointer puppy. On the other hand, female GSPs tend to be more independent, requiring less of the owner’s attention — so if you’ve got a pretty busy lifestyle, the female GSP puppy would suit you well. Female GSP puppies are also great for training!

2. Look for GSP Qualities in the Its Coat To Confirm the Breed

If you’ve done your research and decided that you want a German Shorthaired Pointer as the family’s newest pet — the next step is to make sure you bring home the right puppy. For that, the first thing you need to do is to identify and confirm its breed.  

Many distinct features in German Shorthaired Pointers set them apart from other breeds. These signs will help you confirm a GSP puppy’s breed before you take it home. 

GSP Coat Signs

If you’ve seen pictures of German Shorthaired Pointers on the internet, you might think they’re pretty easily identifiable with a unique color pattern on their coat. However, keep in mind that there are closely linked dog breeds that can easily throw you off — including the German Wirehaired Pointers and the German Longhaired Pointers. 

Both those breeds look very similar to the German Shorthaired Pointer in color patterns, but the differences lie in their structure and hair length, as the names suggest. Here are some well-known signs of GSP dogs in terms of their fur coat.


Most German Shorthaired Pointer dogs are white and liver or black and white. However, GSPs can also have the following standard color patterns, these are:

  • Patched white with liver
  • Ticked white with liver
  • Ticked and patched white with liver
  • Liver roan
  • Liver

However, the color alone isn’t enough to identify a GSP puppy.

Coat Length 

The coat is supposed to be ‘shorthaired’ — so that’s another sign to look for when determining whether a puppy is indeed a GSP. While the hair is short in length, it should be thick enough to feel rough as you run your hand through it except the ears and head.


According to the American Kennel Club, a GSP’s coat is short and silky enough to require minimal care, but it still sheds quite a lot — especially during certain parts of the year. So if you’re regularly finding its hair stuck into fabrics, sofas, and the carpet — that’s a good sign.

The coat is also somewhat water-resistant, making it an ideal dog breed to take on a swim with you, especially since they also have webbed feet! Check out my article Can German Shorthaired Pointers Swim? to learn more about this breed and introducing them to water.

3. Identify the GSP Puppy’s Breed by Physical Attributes

In this section, I’ve listed key physical attributes to look for to identify a German Shorthaired Pointer. Most of this information comes from the American Kennel Club’s GSP Profile and the Official Standard for German Shorthaired Pointers.


The official standard states “wall” or “China” eyes to be disqualifying signs — so if a puppy has those, it’s not a German Shorthaired Pointer. Similarly, they’re also not supposed to have round or circular-shaped eyes. Instead, look for almond-shaped eye sockets with dark brown eyeballs. 

GSPs can also have light yellow eyes, but it’s seen as a fault by the AKC’s official GSP standard. 

The eyes should also be medium in size and positioned normally without seeming overly protruding or sunken inside the sockets. 

A GSP’s eyes are known for seeming to be filled with lots of expressions, intelligence, and energy. 

So, before you choose a GSP puppy to take home — look deep into its eyes for all of these identifying factors. 

Medium Height With a Deep Chest

According to the American Kennel Club, GSP dogs are medium height for their age. The males grow up to 25 inches (63.5 cm) while the females get up to 23 inches tall (58.42 cm). According to official standards, the chest reaches far down to the dog’s elbows — giving ‘the impression of depth rather than breadth.’ 

Neck and Nape

The hunting background of the German Shorthaired Pointer gives it a sufficiently lengthy neck to reach prey. Another sign to look for around the neck area is closely tight skin and a muscular nape. According to the official standard, its nape gets gradually bigger towards the dog’s shoulders.  

Head Shape

The American Kennel Club (AKC) states that a GSP’s head should be ‘clean-cut’ and properly proportioned to the rest of the body. It has a broad skull that’s arched on the sides with a rounded top. The fur coat should also feel softer and thinner around the head.


The GSP dog breed has been blessed with some great swimming qualities, such as webbed paws and a water-resistant coat. Both of these traits are other gifts from its hunting background to help with game fishing. 

Webbed feet aren’t too common in dogs, so that’s a pretty tell-tale sign of GSPs if the puppy meets all of the above identification criteria as well.

The paws will also be heavily nailed and oval-shaped with arched toes. Their pads are also strong and thick. 

A Smooth and Graceful Gait

The official standard for GSP mentions a lithe gait as being essential for German Shorthaired Pointer dogs. The standard also states that the legs should converge beneath the GSP’s body as the dog starts moving faster. 

Long Muzzle

As most of the dog’s physical attributes optimize hunting performance, the muzzle also follows the pattern. It’s noticeably long to allow the dog to catch and carry game conveniently. It shouldn’t be pointed, but it should be deep enough. 

Nose and Ears

The nose should be brown, and the larger it is, the better the puppy’s chances of being a GSP. Its nostrils should be broad and opened well. The official standard says GSP’s have broad ears positioned a little higher above their eyes. They hang down to reach the corners of its mouth.  


A GSP’s tail would never be curved toward the dog’s head over its back as it moves. Instead, it should be horizontally held as the dog walks. It hangs down when the dog’s quiet but generally remains set high, with 60% of it docked.

4. See if the Puppy Behaves Like a Typical GSP

A dog’s temperament says a lot about the breed it belongs to — and it also helps in correctly identifying them. Here are a few personality traits you should look for in a German Shorthaired Pointer puppy.

They’re Super Active Bundles of Energy

GSP dogs are known for being hard to train, mainly because they’ve got so much energy in them during their puppy years. All they want to do is have fun and play any chance they get! If you end up getting a GSP and find yourself having a difficult time training it, I highly recommend Brain Training For Dogs. This is an at home training solution that will walk you through the proper way to train your pup. Adrienne Farricelli is professional CPDT-KA certified dog trainer with over 10 years experience and has trained military and service dogs. This is the best value you find when it comes to dog training.

However, sporting breeds like GSPs need quite a bit of exercise during the day to maintain their fitness. When you go shopping for a GSP puppy, one behavioral sign to look for is high energy!

Watch Out for Hostility Toward Other Dogs

GSPs will sometimes behave in ways that aren’t typical for family pets but make perfect sense for a dog bred for hunting. One example is their chasing instincts!

You can spot these tendencies early on in some GSP dogs, even when they’re just puppies. Make sure you select a GSP puppy that gets along with the other pets in the shop or shelter. Otherwise, it may grow into an aggressive dog that chases off other pets — particularly of the same sex. 

5. Make Sure the German Shorthaired Pointer Puppy is Perfectly Healthy

Aside from identifying and confirming the breed of your chosen puppy, you must also take the necessary steps to ensure it’s in perfect health. Here are a few signs of a healthy German Shorthaired Pointer puppy:

Clean Ears, Nose, Eyes

When you’re picking up a GSP puppy as a new pet, make sure you carefully check its ears, nose, and eyes for any negative signs. These include redness, foul smells, discharge, infections, or deep marks of constant scratching. 

In GSP puppies, external irritants like grass, bugs, or bacteria can get into their ears and cause such problems. Some of the most common causes of red ears in puppies are yeast infections, allergies, and bacterial infections. 

Healthy GSP puppies shouldn’t get a runny nose or coughs either. Make sure you look out for all of these red flags before you take your puppy home!

A Well-Built Body

German Shorthaired Pointers are known for being pretty muscular naturally — again, thanks to their hunting origins. 

Healthy GSP puppies have sturdy bodies that neither look bulky nor too light. While a slightly lower chest is natural for GSP puppies, no other areas should seem oddly big or small. Make sure the puppy you choose isn’t too heavy or bony — but strikes the perfect balance. 

Curious and Playful Behavior

There aren’t many other dog breeds that’d beat the German Shorthaired Pointer in terms of how active and energetic it naturally is — especially in the puppy stages! It should display a curious behavior, interacting with any engaging items in the environment during playtime. 

If you have some experience playing with dogs, you can try getting friendly with the puppy to see how they respond. Look for positive signs that show a GSP puppy’s excitement to play with you, such as tail wagging, friendly barks, rolls, etc.

Healthy puppies hardly ever sit alone in silence when all the other pets are playing. Some puppies can be naturally shy, but a complete lack of interest in what goes on around them points towards sickness.

A Clean Behind

By this, I mean their bottom area shouldn’t have any visible residue on it. If there is, it’s a sign of diarrhea — which shouldn’t be taken lightly in the case of puppies. Make sure the GSP puppy you pick has healthy bowel movements. He should be able to get it all out at once with firm pieces of stool and no discoloration or blood. 

Moreover, an irregular bowel routine and constantly licking the genital area are signs of potential urinary tract issues.

A Healthy Coat

We’ve discussed the coat of GSP puppies above, but that was from a breed identification standpoint. Let’s look at a few positive signs to look for to see if your GSP puppy is in good shape. 

Ideally, the puppy should have a clean and shiny coat all around it. Examine its coat from all areas to spot itchy, patchy, flaky, dull, irritated, or red areas. These indicate allergies, infections, or skin problems. 

If you bring it home without proper inspection, these skin troubles might get transferred to the other pets at your home — and that’s the last thing you’d want as a dog owner.


The German Shorthaired Pointer commonly referred to as GSP for short, is amongst the world’s most popular canine breeds. While it was first bred in the 17th century, the American Kennel Club recognized it as a breed in 1930.

This canine breed is a no-brainer for anyone looking for a lovely family dog with outstanding athletic capabilities! 

Now that you know how to pick the perfect GSP, all that’s left to do is to start bonding and getting to know each other. All the best!


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