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German Wirehaired Pointer – A Bird Hunting Dogs Series

German Wirehaired Pointer – A Bird Hunting Dogs Series

A German wirehaired pointer hunting grouse in New York.

Built tough for land and water, the German Wirehaired Pointer defines versatility

This series of Project Upland hunting dog breed profiles focuses on the hunting characteristics that set one breed apart from another. It’s important to understand that within a breed, individual dogs may vary in temperament, conformation, instincts and abilities. This particular article focuses on the German Wirehaired Pointer.  

Original purpose of the German Wirehaired Pointer

Most notable in the development of the German wirehaired pointer is the early breeders’ focus on versatility in performance and coat. This is unlike some pointing breeds who were initially developed for just one type of hunting or terrain. Wirehair breeders first used stichelhaars and pudelpointers, only to add in griffons and shorthairs later. They were selecting attributes that would create a dog adept at serving waterfowlers and on-foot upland hunters. At the same time, they sought a low-maintenance coat that could withstand thick brush and cold water.

Hunting style and temperament of the German Wirehaired Pointer

Impressively rugged, the German wirehair is skilled in the acquisition and delivery of game and works at a medium pace and medium range.  They perform equally well in their upland search and point, tracking, and retrieving on land or water. While their points might lack the elegance of German shorthairs or English pointers, they nevertheless present a powerful solidity. The only downside to the German wirehaired pointer is that the dense water-resistant, brush-resistant coat limits their tolerance for hot weather.

German wirehaired pointers can be intense yet display an extraordinary amount of cooperation. They are highly responsive to training. They are rarely “soft” dogs, meaning novice trainers can make mistakes and the dogs will easily recover and relearn. Most wirehairs love people and make excellent, protective family members. If they have not been raised with cats or young children, however, exercise caution when introducing an adult wirehair into such a family.

Traits important to hunters


Medium: males run 24-26” in height, females 22-24”.


Harsh and double-layered (longer outer hair, tight inner), some wirehairs have fuller coats and more wiry coverage. Others are tighter and smoother all over.  The length of eyebrow, muzzle and beard hair varies.


Early point and natural water drive. German wirehairs are biddable students that take to training at a young age.

Health Risks

Besides hip dysplasia which is of concern in most large breeds, the only red flag here is von Willebrand’s disease, an inherited bleeding disorder. You can test prospective parents, however.

Finding a good breeder

The difference between a German wirehaired pointer and a Deutsch Drahthaar often confuses people. The Verein Deutsch Drahthaar is the breed’s parent club in Germany. Dogs bred under the VDD breeding regulations are called “Deutsch Drahthaars” to differentiate them from those bred outside the VDD under other registries such as the NAVHDA or AKC.  It is noted by the VDD that in 1950’s many Deutsch Drahthaars were bred outside the German standards and evolved into a distinctively separate breed. NAVHDA databases, and the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America has a comprehensive listing of German wirehaired breeders.

View Comments (4)
  • Great article. We presently have two wires, and one of them actually likes warm weather and hates the cold. The other is fine to minus twelve degrees before she shows concern. Wires are my breed, they suit my temperament. I’ve had four so far and will have more.

  • I wish you had posted a picture of a GWP or DD that was more current with standards, including beard…but good article. If you ever need better pictures for this breed please let me know.. as a member of close to a dozen sites and clubs I am sure we can get you a better one. The dog in this article looks more like a senior GSP than a GWP. Fear the Beard.

  • Well done Nancy. I like that pic of the GWP — IMO the ideal coat! (my apologies to the muppets 😉 )

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