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Thread: German Short-haired Pointer - Advice needed...

  1. #1

    German Short-haired Pointer - Advice needed...

    Evening all.

    i'm looking for some advice about German Short-haired Pointers, and i'd be very grateful for any help or pointers (ha! geddittt??!!) that you've got.

    we are an active family looking for a outgoing, loving, loyal, fun and gentle dog. it will occasionally come with me on beating trips and rough shooting, but it'll be a family dog who'll get most of its activity on walks and cycle rides in the forest, fields and hills where we live. much as i want to say we'd never leave the dog at home, we're normal people, we go shopping, we go to parents evenings, we take the kids to school by car...

    after long years of happy experiences of Springers, and a decade of a not-happy experience with a rescue Staffie-cross, we've set our hearts on the GSP. we've seen them about, met some at agricultural and country shows and out and about, and read up on them. however, we've got some concerns about them - and us - that we'd like the advice of those who know them much better than us about.

    looking for GSP's on the interwebnet we see lots of breeders, however many of these breeders seem to be very 'show' focused, and we're concerned about inherited health issues within the breed, as well as any concentration on show features rather than health and temperament. so, without further ado...

    would we, with our lifestyle, be a decent home for such an active dog?

    is it ok to to have just one GSP - do they need a partner?

    where would be a good place to get a GSP? we're happy to travel, and we'd like to get a dog from working stock rather than showing stock - we're not interested in breeding, we just want a healthy, happy, well socialised dog.

    if we decided that a puppy - with two kids under 4 - was too much hassle, would a re-homed GSP be a decent decision, or are the horror stories we've heard about breeders using them like mad, and then getting rid as 're-homers' true?

    all advice very gratefully recieved...

  2. #2
    Of all my dogs my favorite was a GSP brilliant with children soft as can be, but did not like cats at all.
    most of the GSP's that I know seem to like eating them given half a chance.
    Ours did train well to hand signals and whistle ( if she said there was a pheasant under that dock leaf there always was )
    They need a great deal of exercise, mine was still putting in a good days work at 12yrs.
    I would say buy German stock if possible. But there are good English animals out there just be careful, check the hip score etc.
    Two children under 4 yrs and a GSP that's a hell of a lot of work in my opinion,
    Anyway I wish you the best of luck.

  3. #3
    I had a GSP "Yorric" - (hence my handle) for all his 17 years & he was my soul mate. I got him as a pup after looking far & wide at loads of bitches & litters. - I chose carefully, discarding any from odd ball owners & any dogs that I had any concerns about temprament. - After seeing a few & their owners, I got pretty clued up & finally got Yorric from a very classy litter from a high class bitch of working lines.
    He was known far & wide as "Mad Yorric" - He was always very loving but was a super hyper dog who was great with all he met - just perpetually on speed! He had only one speed --- FLAT OUT!
    He loved to hunt, but his breeding as a HPR designed for for covering vast amounts of ground (on moorland) meant that he was simply too fast & impetuous to work with the other dogs on a conventional small shoot in lowland Berkshire.
    Until he slowed down at 14 years of age I never managed to tire him out!!
    I know now that I didn't do a fantastic job of training him but we had a fantastic time together.
    The GSP breed is quite dificult to train - because they are so hyper & have more energy than any other breed I've come across - they really need to be worked & require loads of exercise.
    I would strongly advise against getting an older, rehomed GSP as a family pet - there is great potential of problems due to the nature of the GSP. They can be extremely head strong! - They just ain't easy!
    However with appropriate early life training & socialization the GSP will be a super member of a family.

    After Yorric went to the great moorland in the sky, I decided that I was too old to take on another rocket fueled breed & have moved over to the Golden Retriever breed as a family & gun dog. - It was a wise move - We got a working strain puppy bitch "Maxie" & she has been so easy in comparison. The breed is self teaching & totally devoted to us - either that or I've got a lot better at the training thing! She does most gundog things well - beating, retrieving & as a stalking dog - In this she excels & helps me by telling me about deer that I have no idea are there.
    We chose Maxie due to her parents working pedigree & it has really paid off. She is a wonderful lively companion & is energetic & full of life - so different from the show line dogs that can be almost catatonic.

    Ian

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Yorric View Post
    I had a GSP "Yorric" - (hence my handle) for all his 17 years & he was my soul mate. I got him as a pup after looking far & wide at loads of bitches & litters. - I chose carefully, discarding any from odd ball owners & any dogs that I had any concerns about temprament. - After seeing a few & their owners, I got pretty clued up & finally got Yorric from a very classy litter from a high class bitch of working lines.
    He was known far & wide as "Mad Yorric" - He was always very loving but was a super hyper dog who was great with all he met - just perpetually on speed! He had only one speed --- FLAT OUT!
    He loved to hunt, but his breeding as a HPR designed for for covering vast amounts of ground (on moorland) meant that he was simply too fast & impetuous to work with the other dogs on a conventional small shoot in lowland Berkshire.
    Until he slowed down at 14 years of age I never managed to tire him out!!
    I know now that I didn't do a fantastic job of training him but we had a fantastic time together.
    The GSP breed is quite dificult to train - because they are so hyper & have more energy than any other breed I've come across - they really need to be worked & require loads of exercise.
    I would strongly advise against getting an older, rehomed GSP as a family pet - there is great potential of problems due to the nature of the GSP. They can be extremely head strong! - They just ain't easy!
    However with appropriate early life training & socialization the GSP will be a super member of a family.

    After Yorric went to the great moorland in the sky, I decided that I was too old to take on another rocket fueled breed & have moved over to the Golden Retriever breed as a family & gun dog. - It was a wise move - We got a working strain puppy bitch "Maxie" & she has been so easy in comparison. The breed is self teaching & totally devoted to us - either that or I've got a lot better at the training thing! She does most gundog things well - beating, retrieving & as a stalking dog - In this she excels & helps me by telling me about deer that I have no idea are there.
    We chose Maxie due to her parents working pedigree & it has really paid off. She is a wonderful lively companion & is energetic & full of life - so different from the show line dogs that can be almost catatonic.

    Ian
    Ian gave good advice, you seem to want a jack of all trades i would add maybe you would be better suited to what Ian said or a labrador. I must however add people do best which the breed they like if you choose this route expect a lot of hard work.

    atb

    Tony

  5. #5
    They are fantastic dogs, very loyal & all the ones I've had are great with children. They aren't easy to train as some of them are a bit headstrong (dogs more so than bitches). They are naturally enthusiastic hunters & do need a bit of work & exercise to stop getting bored. You've trained dogs before so it shouldn't be too difficult but you will need to adapt to the rather different training for a pointer. As they are enthusiastic hunters if you have 2 off the lead together you can expect to be ignored, which isn't good. This can mean exercising & training them separately which becomes very time-consuming; I would start off with one, but they do like human company & prefer not to be left all day.

    My temptation would be to avoid re-homing a GSP as even though the dog may be fine & was just the wrong choice for another family; the chances are that a considerable amount of damage will have been done, which can take up to a couple of years to undo.

    All of ours have tolerated cats in the house but one wandering into the garden would be given short shrift.

    I've had a bitch from show lines & it was the most bull-headed dog I've ever met or tried to train, whereas the dogs from working strains were much easier to tame & train.

    Most GSP's will cope well with what you've outlined above but you didn't mention if you wanted it to have a working life.

    Let us know how you get on.

  6. #6
    I own a GSP and an English Cocker, have done for the last 5 years and agree with most of what's been written above.
    Both are brilliant loyal hunting dogs, lovely temperament.
    Great with children, other dogs and even cats (In my experience).
    The only thing I wish to stress is they need a lot of exercise, not every second day, not 15 minutes or a little trot.
    They need a solid run everyday in my experience.
    I use a bike, a thrower, and as I live near the beach a Dokken duck.
    But if I miss one day of exercise because it's raining, or I get home from work late he will punish me!
    And fair enough, they are an absolute athletic machine with so much drive and enthusium.
    Wonderful with kids, so gentle with everyone, but unfortunately my English Cocker has been mauled a couple of times by a staffy.
    This has now made my GSP super protective to the extent that no other dog can get anywhere near her.

    My advice is go for it if you are totally committed to exercise them, and if you don't wait until your lifestyle permits you to have the time to commit to a GSP properly.
    They are a wonderful companion.
    Last edited by 9.3x64; 27-01-2015 at 09:01.

  7. #7
    thanks everyone, i'm really grateful for your advice and experience.

    i think perhaps you've given me a bit of a reality check - i knew they are boundless, but suppose i didn't quite know how boundless - and its certainly true that rocket-fuelled, headstrong dog with two small children and an older one is going to be a right handfull.

    i still love them though!

  8. #8
    I have kept gun dogs all my life, and for the past twenty years nothing but GSPs, and would echo what other posters have said.

    If you buy a pup remember they are slow to mature and you will have a pup for eighteen months , many people give up to soon on them, they take along time to get their sensible head on.
    They do get bored easily especially when young and may not be the right choice if you don't have the time to spend with them.

    Would not worry to much about a working background, as the GSP is not so far removed from working as say labs can be, they have only become popular with the show people in fairly recent times and with quite a small pool to breed from their working ability has not get been effected .

    They are good all round working dogs though they excel at walked up shooting grouse and woodcock for example
    but with a bit of effort they can work in a beating line, and I have even gone picking up with some of mine.Down side is there is a tendency to being hard mouthed not in all certainly but have come across it in quite a few.

    They also perform quite well as deer dogs, so if you are only going to have one dog a GSP is not a bad choice.
    Last edited by bogtrotter; 27-01-2015 at 15:50.

  9. #9
    Well you have received some really good advice here.
    My only concern is 2 kids aged under 4 years old, they alone must be a handfull.
    It will be very difficult to spend as much time with the puppy as you need and any training that you have instilled can very easily be undone by your children.
    Personally I would wait untill your youngest is at least 6 years old at that age they will be both in school and it will be a good companion for you wife during the day.

  10. #10
    My advice, based on my wife's late show bred GSP and my own experience with having had two working strain GSPs, is steer clear of any dog whose pedigree is show based. The show people are concerned solely with looks, nothing else, stritly form over function. My wife's GSP was neurotic, self-centred and bonkers beyond belief. (Think badly spolied teenage girl and you'd be getting warm.) You want one from proven working stock, it should be level headed to say nothing of ability and willingness to please - please the owner that is, not itself. My last four dogs have been GWPs, as will my next dog.

    -JMS

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