Today we are looking at a German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) as part of our series on breed profiles!
We talked to Megan, who owns Wallace, all about her experiences with the breed. Megan and Wallace live in the suburbs of London, next to a lovely Royal Park with plenty of space to run.
Why did you get a German Shorthaired Pointer?
We have always been dog lovers and have wanted our own dog together for years, however it is tricky when renting an apartment in London! Once we were in the right position to be able to look after a dog we couldn’t wait!
I had previously owned a GSP x Weimaraner and Laurence’s family have always had Irish Setters, so we both preferred a large dog breed. We started to lean towards a GSP and watched YouTube videos of them, chatted to owners at the ‘All About Dogs’ show in London and went to a GSP breed show in the Midlands. After all this we were certain about getting a GSP!
GSPs are brilliant working dogs, able to hunt, point & retrieve. Although we do not work Wallace, we take him to gun dog classes regularly as it is great training for him, and he thrives off the mental stimulation.
What were the first 12 months like? How was he to train?
Despite all the preparation we had done (I highly recommend Pippa Mattinson, ‘Happy Puppy’ book) It was definitely a learning curve! We agreed early on we would crate train Wallace, which if I had to recommend ONE thing for this breed, it would be to crate train (talk to Jen at Bone Ball Bark about the right way to do it though!).
The second most important training aid I’d recommend you start immediately with a GSP is their recall. Being such a high energy breed, you will have an infinitely happier life if you are able to exercise your GSP off lead. With their strong instincts, a robust recall is an absolute necessity.
In regards with training tricks, I couldn’t keep up with how quick Wallace learnt! He is very food and toy motivated.
What is the best thing about having a German Shorthaired Pointer?
The cuddles!!! Oh the cuddles! Nothing makes a GSP happier than being laid on top of their owners (or anyone sat on the sofa really), and yes Wallace is 30kg, but that doesn’t stop him. Second to cuddles is their ears, even into adulthood those big floppy ears are as soft as velvet. It isn’t possible to stay stressed after a long day at work once you start rubbing those ears.
Thirdly, just how handsome and elegant the GSPs look! I lose count of how frequently Wallace is complemented for his spotted colouring, adorable head tilt and good behaviour.
What is the hardest thing about having a German Shorthaired Pointer?
Two things I would say; their energy levels firstly. Wallace has a great routine where he is at doggy day care 9am – 5pm 4 days a week, the other three days we has a minimum of two 1 hour off-lead runs in the park. This helps him to be a very happy, balanced dog without any destructive or behavioural issues. After having this level of excise, he happily snoozes on the sofa for the rest of the day, or relaxes in a cafe or pub.
Secondly is how accident prone GSPs are! When he was a puppy it felt like every single day he was finding new way to cause himself serious harm! Including, eating a bees nest, following hissing swans, eating at least 15 socks. Especially when they are young, GSPs are over exuberant and often their smarts go out the window when excited.
Does your German Shorthaired Pointer have any quirks related to the breed?
I would say that GSPs demand to be a BIG part of your life. Between their desperate desire to be your best friend and high energy, they need a lot of affection and time from you. If I had to describe Wallace in a few words it would be; sweet, friendly, boisterous, affectionate, energetic, loyal and extra handsome.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about getting a German Shorthaired Pointer?
Spend some time with them first to be sure they feel like the right fit for you. There are often breed shows and Facebook groups which can be a great insight into what it is like to own a GSP. Once you do have a GSP – crate train, start recall training straight away and be prepared share your sofa for the next 15 years or so ;)
Isn't he absolutely gorgeous! Thank you Megan and Wallace for sharing:) You can follow them on instagram at @megan_or_wallace for more.
We actually know Wallace well here at Bone Ball Bark and have spent quite a few happy hours in the park with him. He is absolutely stunning, fantastic with other dogs, has perfect recall, and wants nothing more than to chase his ball. Back at home, he literally wants to curl up as close as possible to you, preferably on you, and loves "go find " games with his toys! Here is a short clip of us beginning to teach him "Crawl". GSPs need a lot of mental stimulation as well as a lot of physical exercise, so teaching them a variety of commands, skills and tricks is important.