German Wirehaired Pointers

Home of 50 UK GWP Champions since 1986
Owner & Breeder of UK Field Trial First Prize winners

Established 1977
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The German Wirehaired Pointer

The German Wirehaired Pointer is a medium sized breed from the hunt, point and retrieve section of the Gundog group. As their name suggests, they are a German breed, created by hunters who wanted a versatile hunting dog, capable of all aspects of hunting, including tracking wounded game and be a devoted companion to its owner and property. They are not as tall as the Setter’s, being approx 22-26 inches height, but they are more substantial in build. Although similar to the German Shorthaired Pointer, they are a totally separate breed with different breed features. Visually the obvious difference is their coat texture. The Wirehair’s coat, should be just that "wire hair". It should feel hard and bristle to the touch, and when parted, should reveal a softer undercoat. The outer coat should be approx 2.5cm long, which, if you look at a ruler, is not as long as people imagine. If the outer coat is considerably longer than that, it will be very difficult to lie flat, and if the coat is not lying flat it will allow the wind to lift the outer coat, and a such it will not be weather resistant and allow both the wet and cold to affect the dog. A coat that is the correct length will automatically lie close and will act as an insulator against weather. The finishing touches to the Wirehairs distinctive coat, is their face furnishings. It is impossible to have a full beard (in excess of 3 inches) and bushy eyebrows (in excess of 1.5 inches) with a natural correct coat length. With a coat, of approx. 2.5 cm long, you will get a distinct beard but the eyebrows would be virtually non-existent. The normal coat type seen, in it’s natural state, is slightly longer than the ideal length (unless it has been shortened by mechanical means) and as such you would get distinct beard and eyebrows.

Another breed feature, which differs from the Shorthair, is that the body length should be longer than shoulder height. Before the Kennel Club breed standards were streamlined, the standard stated that the breed should be "as long as they are high, as 10 is to 9". This statement is far easier to understand than the current, which says "slight longer compared to shoulder height". Using the "10 is to 9" statement, means that a dog measuring 24 inches at the shoulder, should be 26.6 inches long in the body.

Colour wise, the Wirehair can be various shades of liver & white, solid liver (can actually have white feet and white chest markings) or black & white. The white part can be either clear white or various depths of roaning and flecking. Solid black or tri-colour are not allowed in the breed. I have actually seen a tri-colour, a German bred bitch in Holland, and although I found her to be very attractive it is not an approved colour.

Temperaments can and still vary, with individual dogs varying from what is considered to be the norm. The breed is known for its aloofness with strangers and they are extremely devoted to their immediate family. They have tendencies to be very "one-person" dogs, but when raised in a home environment they do become devoted to the whole family although they will favour the one member of the household who spends the most enjoyable time with them such as walks and training. Wirehairs are a very intelligent breed and are capable of being taught almost anything - good things as well as bad habits! As they are an intelligent breed they need interaction with their family. They do not require hours and hours of exercise just involve them in activities to prevent them from becoming bored. Without having something to stimulate them, they can easily become destructive and is some cases noisy in their attempt of "finding something to do". As youngsters, Wires are fun-loving and constantly on the go, and with proper supervision can be raised with children, provided the children have also been taught how to behave around the dog.

People should never loose sight of the fact that they are a German breed and in their home Country the breed is required to work for their existence, and when necessary follow hunting through to a conclusive end. Therefore it is essential to be firm throughout all the initial training, whether it is for working, showing, or just a pet/companion. Never ask for something to be done more than once, if the first command is not obeyed, then insist that it is. Enrolment in a basic obedience course is considered to be quite essential as they grow, quite quickly, to be a fair sized, active dog. There is nothing worse than a teenager Wirehair, averaging 60lbs, leaping around the house, because its owner thought it was funny when the puppy was only 8 weeks old and since then they haven‘t bothered to instil any manners or basic obedience.

The average Wirehair should not show any form of aggression to either people or dogs. Unfortunately there are some that do not mix with other dogs, and even worse have been seen to attempt to bite people. Therefore it is essential that you meet up with as many adult Wirehairs before you decide upon your puppy purchase. If you visit a kennel, then you should be able to see the mother, possibly the stud dog, and as many "relatives" you can see. It is unlikely you will actually see the mother with the puppies, but if you ask to see the mother in close proximity to where the puppies are being kept, you will get an idea as to her reaction when you are handling her puppies. As said previously, the breed is known for it’s aloofness with strangers, but please do not be taken in by any form of warning or aggression as "just protecting her puppies". If you have any doubt about the overall temperament and suitability of the particular bitch/puppies/line, then please walk away and keep looking. I am always on the alert when dogs/bitches are shown to people, singularly and on a lead, because if you hadn’t got anything to hide, then you could easily show them all running together.

Related Links

The Kennel Club Breed Standard

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The German Wirehaired Pointer Information Portal

German Wirehaired Pointer Club

Working Test/Field Trial Dates