GWP Breed Standard
The German Wirehaired Pointer is a well-muscled, medium-sized dog of distinctive appearance. Balanced in size and sturdily built, the breed’s most distinguishing characteristics are its weather-resistant, wire-like coat and its facial furnishings.
The head is moderately long. Eyes are brown, medium in size, oval in contour, bright and clear, and overhung with medium length eyebrows. Yellow eyes are not desirable. The ears are rounded but not too broad and hang close to the head. The skull broad and the occipital bone not too prominent. 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 nostrils wide open. A spotted or flesh-colored nose is to be penalized.
The neck is of medium length, slightly arched, and devoid of dewlap. The entire backline showing a perceptible slope down from withers to croup. The skin throughout is notably tight to the body. The chest is deep and capacious with ribs well sprung. The tuck-up apparent. The back is short, straight, and strong. Loins are taut and slender. Hips are broad with the croup nicely rounded. The tail is set high, carried at or above the horizontal when the dog is alert. The tail is docked to approximately two-fifths of its original length.
The shoulders are well laid back. The forelegs are straight with elbows close. Leg bones are flat rather than round, and strong, but not so heavy or coarse as to militate against the dog’s natural agility. Dewclaws are generally removed. Round in outline the feet are webbed, high arched with toes close, pads thick and hard, and nails strong and quite heavy.
The functional wiry coat is the breed’s most distinctive feature. A dog must have a correct coat to be of the correct type. The coat is weather-resistant and, to some extent, water-repellent. The undercoat is dense enough in winter to insulate against the cold but is so thin in summer as to be almost invisible. The distinctive outer coat is straight, harsh, wiry, and flat-lying, and is from one to two inches in length. The outer coat is long enough to protect against the punishment of rough cover, but not so long as to hide the outline of the dog. On the lower legs the coat is shorter and between the toes, it is of softer texture. On the skull, the coat is naturally short and close-fitting. Over the shoulders and around the tail it is very dense and heavy. The tail is nicely coated, particularly on the underside, but devoid of feather. Eyebrows are of strong, straight hair. Beard and whiskers are medium lengths.
The angles of the hindquarters balance that of the forequarters. A straight line drawn vertically from the buttock (ischium) to the ground should land just in front of the rear foot. The thighs are strong and muscular. The hind legs are parallel when viewed from the rear. The hocks (metatarsus) are short, straight, and parallel turning neither in nor out. Dewclaws are generally removed. Feet as in forequarters.
Height: 22 to 26 inches
Temperament: Affectionate, Eager, Enthusiastic
Weight: 45 to 75 pounds
Life Expectancy: 14 to 16 years
Coat Color: Black, Brown, Gray, White
Barking Level: Medium
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GWP Daily Care
German Wirehaired Pointers are high-energy sporting dogs who enjoy outdoor activities with human partners and make great companions on long walks or hikes.
Regular daily exercise such as long walks and play sessions with their owner will help keep them healthy and happy. The breed also exercises mind and body by participating in hunting, obedience, tracking, agility, rally, and other activities that can be enjoyed by dog and owner.
The German Wirehaired Pointer should be fed a high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) and activity level. Check with your vet or us if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should always be available.
While German Wirehaired Pointers are generally healthy dogs, there are health and genetic screening considerations specific to the breed. Responsible breeders test their stock for conditions the breed can be prone to and communicate with other dedicated breeders regularly, working together for breed health and preservation of the breed’s qualities.
Your Wirehair wants nothing so much as to be with you. Preferably touching you. If he's a house dog, that's easier to accomplish than if he's a kennel dog. GWPs that don't get enough quality time will bark, dig, shred and otherwise entertain themselves with games they make up by themselves. You probably won't enjoy these games nearly as much as he does.
Wirehairs certainly love to sleep in bed with you. Starting a puppy out that way can be a disaster, as it encourages him to believe he's in charge. Puppies should be crate trained and sleep in their crate next to the bed for the first 6 to 12 months. When they are invited to sleep in bed it is a privilege that can be removed if it is abused.
German Wirehaired Pointers are very intelligent, responsive, and eager to please, so they are generally easy to train. Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended and help to ensure that the dog grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion. The breed is smart, talented, versatile, and athletic and excels in a wide range of canine sports and activities.
We’ve provided simple steps to a clean, shiny, healthy GWP coat for easy living with our whiskery friends.
The goal for German Wirehaired Pointer breeders is to create a dog with a very low-maintenance coat that repels dirt, burrs, and water. Sometimes that just doesn't happen. Pet owners and hunters don't need to spend hours creating a special "do" for their Wirehair. They just want their dogs to be tidy, not track in mud from the yard and not soak up a gallon of water in their beards with every drink.
Keep in mind that grooming should be a treat for the dog, not a chore. Start slowly and gradually increase the duration of time spent grooming the dog. If possible, start when the puppy first arrives rather than when the dog is two years old, bigger, stronger and the hair is out of control. Regular grooming each week will reduce the amount of time required to keep the coat in good shape. Thirty minutes is about average for a dog that is maintained consistently. Your buddy will appreciate the time spent bonding and the special attention he gets on grooming day.
Comb Slicker Brush
Mars Coat King Coarse Blade
Thinning Shears or Scissors
Step 1: Comb
A steel comb with thinly spaced teeth at one end and widely spaced teeth at the other will be the most important grooming tool you own. Start at the front of the dog and work backward. Comb the beard thoroughly, under the front legs and work your way through the coat of the whole dog. Comb in the direction the hair grows. Make sure the tines of the comb go all the way to the skin. When working on the back, sides, shoulders and thighs, place the comb at a sharp angle, only slightly raised from flat against the dog's coat. Undercoat will be pulled out as you go.
There may be mats in the coat the first time you start working on the coat. Small mats can be pulled out gently if possible. Larger mats can be cut out later in the process. There are grooming products, like Cowboy Magic detangler, that contain silicone to help remove the mats. You should comb through the dog every week. After each combing session, brush through your dog's hair with a firm slicker brush to stimulate healthy coat growth.
Note: A special grooming table, a whoa training table, or even a picnic table will make your grooming chores easier. By raising the dog off the ground, he is less likely to wrestle with you to avoid being handled. The height of the table also will save you back strain. It is important to remember that with or without a table, finding a way to groom your dog on a weekly basis will improve your bond with him, as well as keeping his coat in the best possible condition to repel burrs and mud.
Step 2: Rake
Once the coat is completely combed out, you can rake out any additional dead undercoat. This step should be done every couple of weeks. There are a variety of tools that accomplish this goal. Your objective is only to pull out dead coat, not break the hairs in the top layer of the coat.
The undercoat is the soft, fluffy hair you see when you part your dog's coat to the skin. The wiry topcoat is the part you want to encourage to grow, as it is the most protective to the dog in the field and will keep him looking like a Wirehaired Pointer, instead of a fluffy mutt.
My two favorite tools for raking dead coat are the Mars Coat King, preferably the medium 12 or 14- blade, and a coarse bladed stripping knife. If you can afford both, the Coat King is a fabulous tool. If you can only afford one, the stripping knife does double duty and can be used to pull coat in the next step.
Using either tool, start at the base of the skull and pull the tool in a smooth straight motion back to the tail. Keep your wrist absolutely still. If you twist or bend your wrist it will break hair.
Continue working down the sides of the dog. If you are using the coat king, use the tool much like a brush. Press firmly but not aggressively against the skin. Be very careful in the sensitive areas around the flanks, ears, throat, and underarms. If you are using the stripping knife, replicate the angle you used with the comb - only slightly raised from flat against the dog's body. Again, always rake in the direction the hair grows.
Step 3: Stripping
Now comes the slightly technical part. If you follow steps one and two routinely, your Wirehaired pal will look good, shed less and be more comfortable. If you want to keep your buddy looking like a Wirehair and not a mop, you'll need to go the extra mile and pull some of the long hair on his body. This process should be about removing dead or dying hair. Done properly it should not be painful for the dog. Done regularly, it will improve the texture of your dog's hair, making it better at repelling dirt and burrs.
With your dog freshly combed and the undercoat raked out, take your comb and break all the rules! Comb the hair backward so you can see which hairs are the longest. I always prefer to start at the front of the dog and work toward the tail. Using your coarse bladed stripping knife or
just your thumb and forefinger, pinch a few of the longest hairs and pull in the direction the hair grows. Here again, it's important to have no motion in the wrist. The stripping knife will cut the hair if you turn your wrist. At that point, there is no difference between clipping the coat.
Using electric clippers to cut off a wire coat, or stripping it incorrectly, will result in a soft, wooly coat that is useless for protection from the elements. Cutting the hair completely changes the texture and ensures more and more work for you down the line.
Working slowly and carefully at first, continue to comb the hair up and pull the longest hairs. Here it's important to note that I said "pull", not yank or pluck or pick. The most useful technique is slowly pulling in a motion that follows the line of the dog's body where you are working.
I tend to do the body first and then give the dog a break. After a quick potty trip and a cookie, I work on pulling the long hair on the head and ears. I find it easiest to use the stripping knife in these areas. It provides a better grip in close areas. Pull the hair from the ear canal to help prevent ear infections. You can use an ear powder to make it easier to grip or just use the end of the stripping knife to help get a hold on the hair.
Long hair on the head should be pulled from behind the eyebrows to the back of the skull. Then, pull the hair down the cheeks in a line between the front of the ear and the outside corner of the eye to the back corner of the mouth.
Stripping your dog's coat will take some practice, but you'll find that the finished product is distinctly tidier. This should be done once a month and will add 20 to 30 minutes to your regular grooming time.
Step 4: Trim
After you've combed, raked and stripped the coat, your buddy is looking fabulous. All that's left to deal with are those talon-like toenails, Sasquatch feet, and Grizzly Adams beard.
A good pair of scissor-type toenail clippers used each week after the comb out will keep the Wirehair's toenails short enough that they won't scratch you or the floors and they won't catch on anything and break while out hunting. Unfortunately, toenail trimming may be the most feared part of dog grooming in the known universe. It doesn't have to be! This is a simple process. Most folks don't want to hurt their dog and that's good. By following a few simple rules, you won't have to worry about that.
First, start your dog when it's young. Every week from eight weeks old, the pup should have its nails trimmed. At that point, you can just hold them in your lap and it becomes snuggle time as well as training to accept handling. Exercise patience and only do one foot at a time if that's what it takes to make it a positive experience. Eventually, nail trimming will be part of the attention and bonding that your dog associates with grooming day. If the dog is comfortable, he won't wiggle and you will be able to easily see where to trim without hitting the "quick" of the nail.
Look at your dog's toenails. If they are white or clear, you'll be able to see the pink line that is the quick. If you trim in front of that, the dog won't bleed, simple as that. Just like trimming your own nails. If your dog has black toenails, you'll look for where the nail begins to curve. Cut in front of the curve and, voila, there should be no blood.
If for some reason your dog jerks at the wrong time and you do cut into the quick, don't panic. It hurts, just like if you tear into the quick on your own finger. But it isn't life-threatening. A styptic pencil or a small amount of cornstarch or flour applied with pressure will stop the bleeding in a short amount of time.
Most of the trimming on a GWP can be done with an inexpensive pair of thinning shears. After the nails are trimmed, you can use the shears or just regular scissors and trim the hair from the bottom of the footpad and around the edges. This will help keep the dog from tracking in mud and crud from the yard. You can also trim the beard to help limit how much water your pal can share with your lap after a big drink. Feet and beard trimming can be done once a month.
Step 5: Bathe
Now that your buddy is spiffed up, he can have a bath. The frequency of bathing is up to you. If he sleeps in your bed, he might need more regular bathing than if he is a kennel dog. For most GWPs, a bath every couple of months will keep them looking good. Use tepid water and a dog formulated shampoo.
I really like a shampoo designed for wire coats, as it will help keep the coat texture correct. Don't use conditioner, since it will soften the wire coat. Remember to rinse, rinse and then rinse again. Shampoo in the coat can cause itching and hot spots. With a good towel dry and a warm place to sleep, your Wirehair is ready to go. His hair may stick up for a day or two after the bath, but it will lie back in place and look great soon.
How do you think about reducing health issues in your puppies?
I start with the healthiest dogs I can. Dogs which are tested clear of as many genetic diseases as is scientifically possible. I only include dogs in the breeding program that have been tested clear for multiple generations. If I encounter an issue (Mother Nature is a surly mistress….) I do extensive research to identify and eliminate the problem where at all possible.
What health problems commonly occur in German Wirehaired Pointers?
The most impactful issues in the breed are autoimmune thyroiditis. In itself, it is easily manageable with medication. But it is just one of a number of more serious autoimmune diseases. It indicates a hereditary potential for the body to attack itself in other areas. All Scotiadawgs in the breeding program are required to be “normal” for thyroid function. Hip dysplasia, some cancers and other more random diseases of dogs are seen, although less frequently.
Can you tell me about any health tests you perform on your dogs and why?
Our breeding dogs are tested for and certified clear of: hip and elbow dysplasia, heart and eye abnormalities and autoimmune thyroiditis.
If you have done health testing, where can I see the results?
All results are available at OFA by searching for the dog’s registered name. I am happy to supply links to any of the dogs in question.
Have any of the dogs in your breeding program ever been afflicted with these conditions?
Yes. As has often been noted, “Man plans and God laughs….” As my contract clearly spells out, all of my dogs are guaranteed for life to be free of hip dysplasia or hypothyroid or they will be replaced or have the purchase price returned at the preference of the owner. I spare no expense or amount of time to ensure my dogs are healthy and stand behind that guarantee without exception.