Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a German Longhaired Pointer
Average Cost to keep/care for a German Longhaired Pointer
The German Longhaired Pointer as their name suggests was first developed as a gundog in Germany where they have always been highly prized not only as working dogs, but as companions and family pets too. They are friendly, loyal and intelligent dogs that have earned themselves the reputation of being superb working dogs. As such the breed has won many fans here in the UK and other parts of the world. However, anyone wishing to share a home with a German Longhaired Pointer would need to have enough time to dedicate to these high energy dogs and they are not the best choice for first time owners, but they make wonderful family pets for people who lead active, outdoor lives.
The German Longhaired Pointer like their wirehaired and shorthaired cousins are native to Germany where they were bred to Hunt, Point and Retrieve game. They have always been highly prized not only in Germany, but in other parts of the world including here in the UK as working dogs. The breed was first introduced to Britain in the 1980's, but was re-introduced in the 1990's before being officially recognised by The Kennel Club in 1997. There are three German Pointers with the Longhaired being just one of them and although they boast having different coat types, the GLP was bred to be the largest of the three.
They were first exhibited in Frankfurt at a dog show that was held in 1878 when a breed standard was established. The breed was developed over time from being a more cumbersome, heavy dog to a much lighter and more elegant gundog which was achieved by introducing English Pointers and Setters into the mix during the 19th century.
Today, the German Longhaired Pointer remains a very popular working gundog not only in their native Germany, but here in the UK where they are also often seen competing in field trials. These elegant, noble dogs are also gaining popularity with people who lead active, outdoor lives and who would like to share their country homes with an intelligent, active canine companion.
Height at the withers: Males 60 - 70 cm, Females 58 - 66 cm
Average weight: Males 27 - 30 kg, Females 27 - 30 kg
The German Longhaired Pointer is an athletic, noble, elegant, well-muscled looking dog and one that boasts having a shiny, medium length coat. Their heads have a very aristocratic look about them which adds to their overall charming appearance. The top of their heads are slightly domed with dogs not having a very pronounced stop. They have strong jaws and nice brown noses which can have a slight speckling to them. The hair on their heads is a lot shorter than on the rest of their body.
Their eyes are a dark brown and moderately large being oval shaped and tight eyelids. Their ears are set close and high on a dog's head, being broad and turning slightly forwards with the leathers reaching as far down as the corner of a dog's mouth. The bottom edge of a dog's ears turns outwards and they are well feathered on the outside edges. The GLP has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones.
Their necks are moderately long being slightly arched and muscular with not dewlap, merging smoothly into a dog's shoulders. Their shoulders are nicely sloping and muscular with dogs having straight, nicely feathered front legs. They have strong bodies with well-developed sternums and nice deep and broad ribcages that reach well down to a dog's elbows. Their backs are level and moderately long being very well muscled around a dog's loins.
Their hindquarters are powerful with dogs having a long, slightly sloping croup and nice straight, strong back legs. Their feet are compact, well arched and oval in shape with dogs having strong pads and nails. They have a lot of hair between their toes which form tufts. Tails are nicely feathered and moderately long with dogs holding them in a slight scimitar shape, being stronger at the root before tapering to the tip.
When it comes to their coat, the German Longhaired Pointer has a close fitting top coat with a lush, softer undercoat. The hair on their throat, chest and stomach is longer than on the rest of the body where the hair is a lot sleeker and close lying. They can have either straight or slightly wavy hair and the back of their front and back legs are well feathered although below a dog's hocks, the hair is shorter. The accepted breed colours are as follows:
German Longhaired Pointers are intelligent, fiercely loyal and friendly dogs. They form exceptionally strong bonds with their owners which does have a bit of a downside in that these handsome dogs tend to suffer from separation anxiety when their owners are not around. As such, they do not do well when they are left on their own for any length of time and are best suited to families where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out of the house. They also do better living in a more rural environment because they like to be out and about as much as possible for them to be truly happy, well-balanced dogs.
Their socialisation has to start when puppies are still young and it has to include introducing them to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated. The same goes for their training which has to start early and which has to be consistent throughout a dog’s life. However, because the GLP is such an intelligent dog and one that loves to please, in the right hands and environment they are easy to train and thrive on the one-to-one attention they are given during their training sessions.
They are known to have a bit of a stubborn streak in them which if left unchecked could see a dog becoming wilful and unruly which can make them that much harder to live with and handle. However, with time, patience and gentle training this particular side to their nature can be overcome. They are a good choice for first time owners as long as they have enough time to dedicate to an active, highly intelligent canine companion and one that needs to be given a ton of daily exercise and lots of mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded characters.
They can be a little stand-offish with people they do not know, but rarely would a GLP show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards a stranger preferring to keep their distance until they get to know someone.
The German Longhaired Pointer is a very smart dog and a quick learner. The downside to this is they are just as quick to pick up bad habits as they are the good. They need to be well socialised from a young age and their training has to begin early too. It also has to be very consistent and always fair, so that a dog understands what their owner expects of them. GLP's are never happier than when they are given something to do which is why they are so amenable to learning new things.
They excel at many canine sports which includes activities like flyball, agility and obedience because they thrive on the attention they are given during their training and the one-to-one contact they have with their owners when they are competing. The key to successfully training a GLP is to make their training as interesting as possible and to avoid being too much repetition. It's also a good idea to keep training sessions shorter which helps keep a dog more focussed on what is being asked of them.
German Longhaired Pointers are known to be very good around children thanks to their gentle, placid natures. However, because of their large size any interaction between toddlers and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous which could end up frightening a child or even injuring them albeit by accident.
They can be a little "off" with other dogs which is why it's so important for a GLP to be well socialised from a young age. If they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together, but they would think nothing of chasing off any other cats they come across. Care has to be taken when a GLP is around smaller animals and pets because they might just see them as "fair game" as such any contact is best avoided.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a German Longhaired Pointer is between 12 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The GLP is known to be a healthy dog and one that does not seem to be affected by the kind of hereditary health issues that other pedigree dogs are known to suffer from. However, it's important to restrict the amount of exercise a puppy or young dog is given to prevent too much pressure being put on developing joints which could lead to problems later in a dog’s life.
As with any other breed, German Longhaired Pointers need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
German Longhaired Pointers have medium length coats which are coarse and shiny with dogs having a good amount of feathering on their ears, chests, bellies, legs and tails as such they need to be regularly groomed paying particular attention to these areas of a dog's body. It's best to groom a GLP twice a week to prevent any knots or tangles from forming in their coats and to remove any dirt and debris when necessary after a dog has been out for a walk.
They shed throughout the year, only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent brushing is usually necessary to keep on top of any dead and loose hair. It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
The German Longhaired Pointer is a high energy, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. As such, they need to be given anything a minimum of 2 hour's exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a GLP would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these intelligent, high energy dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, GLP puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a GLP puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be fed a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Because GLP's have been known to suffer from bloat, it is really important for them to be fed twice a day instead of giving a dog just one larger meal a day. It's also a good idea to invest in a stand for their feed bowls which makes it easier for these large dogs to eat comfortably without having to stretch their necks down to reach their food. Dogs should never be exercised just before or just after they have eaten either because this puts them more at risk of suffering from gastric torsion.
If you are looking to buy a German Longhaired Pointer, you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because very few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would need to pay anything upwards of £800 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old German Longhaired Pointer in northern England would be £21.87 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £57.54 a month (quote as of July 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £40 - £50 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a GLP and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £1100 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a German Longhaired Pointer would be between £70 to £120 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree or other puppy.
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