Photo by Ellen Levy Finch

German Wirehaired Pointer - Breed Profile:

Origin: Germany
Colors: Solid liver, liver-and-white
Size: Large
Type of Owner: Experienced
Exercise: Vigorous
Grooming: Regular
Trainability: Somewhat difficult to train
Combativeness: Tends to be fairly dog-aggressive
Dominance: Moderate
Noise: Likes to bark

Physical characteristics

The German Wirehaired Pointer resembles the German Shorthaired Pointer but in a coarse, wiry coat, and with medium length eyebrows and beard. The body is well-muscled, balanced, and sturdy. The head is moderately long. The stop is medium. The muzzle is fairly long with nasal bone straight, broad and parallel to the top of the skull. The nose is dark brown, with open nostrils. The teeth should meet in a scissor bite. The medium size eyes are dark brown and oval. The rounded ears are not too wide; they hang down close to the head. The hips are broad with a nicely rounded croup. The tuck-up is apparent. The tail is set high and firm; it is usually docked to approximately 2/5 of its original length. Note: docking tails is illegal in most parts of Europe. The gait is smooth and free.
German Wirehaired Pointers weigh 50 to 75 pounds. The height is 22 to 26 inches.


Very affectionate with its family up to jealousy. Vigorous, energetic, and intelligent. Thoughtful and fairly serious. Naturally aloof with strangers, so early socialization with people is necessary. Can be rather wilful with diffident owners. Requires a loving but firm, confident, and consistent hand. Needs long daily walks and a lot of physical activity, otherwise can become somewhat high-strung, destructive, and restless. German Wirehaired Pointers like to be occupied and enjoy working for their owner. A great hunter, this dog has a good nose and can track, point, and retrieve on both land and water. Good watchdogs. Children should be taught how to display proper leadership. A well-balanced dog will get along well with other dogs and non-canine pets.

Coat and grooming

The wiry coat is the breed's distinctive feature. It is weather-resistant and somewhat water-repellent. The undercoat is dense, and the outer coat is straight, harsh, wiry and flat lying. It is one to two inches long. A distinctive beard, forehead hair and whiskers protect the dog's face. The possible colours are solid liver and live-and-white. It can be patched, ticked or roan. Sometimes there's a white blaze on the head. Twice a week brushing with a firm bristle brush is necessary. The coat also needs some stripping, but is not hard to learn how to do it.


Some individuals may be prone to hip dysplasia, ear infections, genetic eye disease and skin cancers. The lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

Other interesting facts

Early wirehaired Pointers were a combination of Griffon, Stichelhaar (both mixtures of Pointer, Foxhound, Pudelpointer, and Polish water dog), Pudelpointer (a cross of Poodle, Pointer) and German Shorthair. The Germen continued to breed the distinctive traits of Pointer, Foxhound, and Poodle until they had created what is today known as the German Wirehaired Pointer.