Commonly Asked Questions About GSPs


via German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America

How large is a GSP?  How much do they weigh? 

Males can get be anywhere from 21”-27” and weight from 55-75 lbs, females 20-25” and 40-65 lbs.  However, it is not the actual size that is important, GSPs are a very energetic breed, they are actually stronger per pound than most any breed.  They are very lean and muscular and all of their body weight is focused on muscle and energy.

How long do they live?

They generally live healthy lives and live to around 13 years.  They can live longer, but in general they are healthy until around age 13

What do they eat and about how much?

Because of their high energy level, they should be fed a high quality food, containing a good balance of protein and fat.  Most, normally active GSPs will require a higher level of fat and protein than many other breeds, throughout their lives.  Adults will eat from 2-5 cups of food a day, depending on the individual dogs metabolism and how much activity they are getting.  A dog hunting and training hard in cold weather will require substantially more than one simply going on walks and sleeping on the couch.  A GSP that lives outdoors in a cold climate will need a considerable increase in food during the winter.  They do not carry a layer of fat like some breeds, therefore, they lose a lot of body heat even when sleeping. 

Where should they live/sleep?

A GSP that gets a lot of exercise and interaction with family makes an excellent housedog, but he must have a secure area to run and play or be taken on very regular romps where they can let off some steam.  A GSP that has been cooped up and not allowed to play rambunctiously may be too active to enjoy in the house.  Because of their curious nature and high activity level, it is best if young dogs sleep in a confined, secure place, such as a crate.  This assures that the dog does not “accidentally” get into trouble during the night when he wakes up and is unsupervised.  Older, mature dogs that have proven themselves trustworthy housedogs, can be allowed to sleep loose, preferably in their owners room. 

GSPs can be outside dogs, but they can not be ignored.  An ignored GSP will become bored easily.  The high intellect and curious nature of the breed will result in some very undesirable behaviors.  Barking, digging and general destruction can result.  If a GSP is going to be an outside dog, they need to be owned by an “outside” person.

What are the grooming needs of a GSP and how often should they be done?

Maintenance of the GSP is minimal compared to many other breeds, but there are still some areas that require attention.  The main area of concern is the ear.  The large floppy ears do not allow for good airflow and they can be prone to yeast infections in the ear canal.  It is imperative that you have your vet demonstrate proper ear maintenance to you.  Regular cleaning with mild solution, designed for ears, will keep this area under control. 

Good dental health is also a must.  Teach the dog early to enjoy having his teeth brushed with a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for dogs.  Also, encourage him to chew on toys that are designed to clean teeth and stimulate gums.

Toenails should be kept short.  It is best to do them once a week and remove only a small portion from the ends.  Long nails can be hazardous when the dog is running in the field, getting caught on things and possibly tearing it off.  Also, if they are long, the dog will be walking on the nails, as opposed to walking on pads of the feet as they are suppose to, resulting in sore, splayed feet.

Shedding……YES, dark hair to get on the light stuff and white hairs to get on the dark stuff!!  There are some things that can be done to help minimize this.  Regular baths with a good quality shampoo that is mild on the skin, as well as regular grooming with a rubber grooming glove will keep the skin stimulated and the hair healthy, plus remove the dead hairs before they fall off on the furniture.  Good quality, balanced food with essential fatty acids in it, will help to keep the coat healthy and reduce shedding.  A healthy, parasite free, clean GSP will shed the least possible.  Outdoor dogs will develop a downy undercoat which will shed out in the spring, this can be encouraged to all come out at once by well timed baths and brushing.

Some GSPs can have droopy eyelids.  If this is the case, attention should be paid to this when running the dog in areas of tall grass and weeds.  Grass and weed seeds can be very painful if they get stuck under the eyelids.  When hunting with such a dog, it is recommended that you carry saline solution to flush out the eyes periodically during the day.

How much exercise do they need; how frequently?

Canines are most secure and content with regular daily routines.  A GSP’s daily routine definitely must include some form of exercise preferably morning and evening.  The ideal would be time to run and play in a secure fenced area; at least a half hour AM and PM.  If you do not have the facility for that a brisk morning and evening walk or jog are essential.  City dwellers will have to get more creative with providing their high energy healthy pet a daily opportunity to blow off steam and stay in condition, maybe a treadmill type dog jogger, or a local basketball court where a ball or frisbee can be safely chased.

What toys and supplies do I need to buy?

Different dogs like different types of toys.  Most GSPs like to retrieve and enjoy toys that they can fetch.  It is a good idea to teach your dog early to chew on the proper toys that will result in good dental health.   Hard nylon chew toys or sterilized bones are good for helping reduce the tarter on their teeth.  Not all dogs like to chew on these types of things and they must be encouraged to do so.  Some dog treats such as rawhide bones and rope toys should be given to the dog only with supervision.  These types of toys can be dangerous if the dog eats them rather than just chewing them.  It is very individual, some dogs savor them and simply enjoy chewing, others simply destroy them and swallow large pieces, this is an individual decision.

A crate is a must.  It should be large enough for the dog to stretch out and stand up and turn around but not so large that it does not provide the secure “den” feeling that dogs enjoy.  There are various types, wire and plastic.  Different situations call for different crates.  Wire affords good circulation, but is not as secure feeling to the dog as a plastic crate.  Plastic crates are required by the airlines.

Collars with tags marked clearly with the address and contact numbers should be worn by dogs when they are outside.  Even safer is a microchip implanted under the skin registered with the AKC’s Companion Animal Recovery program.  Most veterinarians can provide this service.  Be careful of loose fitting collars and dangling tags when the dog is confined to his crate, there is the possibility of it becoming tangled in the crate and causing harm to the dog.  A “choke style” collar is very dangerous when out in the field hunting.  Only snug fitting flat collars with nothing dangling or protruding to catch on fences or brush should be used n the field.  Use discretion on these items.

Are they good with children?

The breed enjoys a reputation of being excellent with children.  This is due to their high level of intelligence and inbred desire to function with and for people.  They seem to understand that infants and very young ones need care and protection, and tend to be tolerant of little ones’ play.  This is not to say that an exuberant pup will not knock a toddler down in play or accidentally bite to grab a toy.  When visiting a new litter, you may find the dam aggressive and protective of her brood, and should respect that for what it is.  You also may encounter a GSP alarmed at the antics of small children, which should be explainable by asking if the dog has ever been exposed to youngsters.  Aggression toward or fear of people of any size or age is not typical GSP temperament and should be avoided in any dog you may take into your home.

Are they easy to train?

Yes, very, IF you know what you are doing.  The GSP is very eager to please and will work hard for positive reinforcement.  They are not generally stubborn or hard-headed.  They pick up new exercises very quickly.  Due to their high intelligence level, the biggest challenge is to keep them focused, and not let them get away with “inventing” variations to the exercise being taught.  Because of their extreme sensitivity to people, the trainer must always be watchful of their own body language and reactions to issues that come up during a training exercise.  As a general rule, a calm demeanor providing quick and clear reward for desired behavior, while ignoring or if necessary simple verbal correction of undesired behavior will net you an enthusiastic and talented working partner.

Should I crate train my GSP?

ABSOLUTELY!!  The crate was designed with the GSP in mind!!  If introduced properly and in a positive manner, it becomes a safe haven and a secure “den” for the dog.  This way the dog has a place to go when things get too hectic and he needs a break.  When he has to travel, his “home” can come with him and he is not unsettled by the situation.  He is protected from himself, when there is no one to supervise him.  It is very unfair to leave an unsupervised GSP alone in the house and expect him to be good!!  When you come home and he has done something wrong, nobody is happy!!  When he is safely in his crate, when you come home, you know that you can enjoy your dog and he can enjoy you, without the trauma of a big unexpected mess.  And last, but certainly not least, if your dog is ever ill and is required to stay in a crate, either at home or at the vet, it will help his recovery if he is comfortable resting in his “den”, rather than feeling like he is trapped in a cage he is not use to.

Is it fair to the dog if I don’t plan to hunt?

GSPs are most commonly thought of as prized hunting companions, but what the avid hunters who treasure them know is this is not just because they have fantastic noses, tremendous endurance,  great heart and strong field instincts. This breed was developed with versatility in mind, and the German breeding programs succeeded admirably at what they set out to do.  They are also bred for tracking, for companionship, for watching over their territory and ridding it of vermin, for working in rough terrain both on land and in water.  What is not fair to this breed is to ignore them and sentence them to a sedentary life with limited human companionship.   If you can find activities in your life which afford the dog the opportunity to work with and for you, you will have a happy and well-adjusted animal no matter what that activity may be.  The temperament, physical and intelligence qualities youread about in this piece allow the GSP to excel at just about any activity you are interested in which can include a dog.

How do I find a responsible breeder and what health issues should I ask about?

The GSPCI provides Breeder Referral contacts elsewhere on this website who can furnish lists of breeders in your area and guidance through your search for a healthy dog with the characteristics you are looking for.  The GSP is relatively free of genetic problems when compared to most other AKC breeds, but there are many health clearances which breeders can provide.  At a minimum breeding stock should be certified against hip dysplasia by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).  GSPs rank 107th in hip dysplasia with only 5.3% of the Xrays submitted classified as dysplastic.  This data is skewed by the probability that most bad Xrays are never submitted to the OFA, which makes the certification all that much more important.   Breeders are also starting to screen elbow joints with few problems surfacing in GSPs (98.2% checking clear).   Many breeders have eyes cleared through the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF); have thyroid levels tested; test for Von Willenbrand’s Disease (VWD) a blood clotting disorder; and have heart function also cleared through the OFA.

Ask breeders questions about the health not only of the sire and dam, but of their siblings and parents if known.  How long did they live?  What kind of surgeries have they had?

GSPCI Awards Program - 2016 Award Winners


GSPCI members with dogs who, in the previous year, have earned a title or award from a nationally recognized association (for example AKC, UKC, NAVHDA, NSTRA, IABCA and many more) are eligible to receive a GSPCI Award Plaque. Award candidates must have been a member in good standing in the prior year, titles must be earned during that prior year, and the member must be a paid member for the current year to be eligible to receive Club Awards.

A separate award form must be submitted for each title requested, along with a copy of the associated title certificate. Deadline dates (which will be within the first quarter of the year) will be announced on the Home page of the website each year. The awards will be presented at a pre-announced Club event each year.


GSPCI Lending Library

A free lending library is available to members of the GSPCI. The library includes a variety of DVDs, VHS tapes and BOOKS to help you train your dog as well as learn more about AKC and other events. The library is available at the bi-monthly meetings and items can be borrowed for up to two months. Contact GSPCI Vice President, Perry Dlugie at for more information.

Below is a list of materials available. Jump to: DVDVHS or BOOKS


Site Updated:  09 / 18 /16


One of the most popular gun dogs in the world, the shorthair has earned its proper place beside the American hunter. This video covers the wonderful versatility of the breed, a conformation that provides for strength and endurance in the field, its “trainability” and its easy-going, biddable nature. You’ll also learn more about the history of this “natural retriever” and see what it can do in the field.

Applicable to pointing dogs of all ages and in all stages of development, “Gun Dog Training Pointing Dogs” breaks a training program down into easily understood segments, each of which lead the dog to a more polished performance in the field. Beginning with the basic commands, and simple introductions to the gun, birds, and water, professional trainer Bob West explains and demonstrates each command, how to communicate it, and how to enforce it, culminating with advanced lesions in training steadiness to wing and shot.

Bob West and Roger Sparks reveal their techniques for teaching your pointing dog the most important command he will learn. Covers training table to ground work.

This DVD includes segments on: the basic training commands: Kennel, Come, Heel, Introduction to Birds, the Gun and Water, The Most Important Pointing Dog Command: Whaa!, The Trained Retrieve, Bird Planting, Staunching, Steadiness and Style, Steadying to Wing and Shot.

This is not a puppy training video, but rather a video to teach you how to develop your puppy’s behavioral patterns. Conquering behavior at a young age means a better behaved dog latter. Working through the steps in this video will prepare your dog to listen to orders so that you can train him successfully.

A Puppy Development Program will prepare your dog for formal training. This is the second video in series to teach you the how to encourage your puppy’s inherent hunting instincts. Working through the steps in this video will teach you to develop your dog’s senses of sight, smell and touch as well as encourage his desire to hunt.

The Smith family has provided bird dog training for almost a century and training seminars since 1968. Rick and Ronnie Smith are products of this training tradition and bring to you a lifetime of knowledge and experience. Rick and Ronnie operate training kennels and guide quail hunts. They have trained numerous National and International
Champion Field Trial winners, produce training videos and teach seminars all over the world.

With Rick and Ronnie Smith
The Smith family has provided bird dog training for almost a century and training seminars since 1968. Rick and Ronnie Smith are products of this training tradition and bring to you a lifetime of knowledge and experience. Both Rick and Ronnie operate training kennels and guide quail hunts. They have a legacy of training numerous National and International Champions, producing training videos and teaching seminars all over the world.

This video will give you an overview and outline of the training system developed by the Smiths and used in the training programs and seminars. It’s called the “ Silent Command System” because it is based on using the language your dog already knows, and verbal commands are not added until the correct behavior is being performed. Using this system, your dog will learn more easily because it doesn’t have to learn our language, and we will be eliminating the frustration that can result when dogs are pushed too fast and too hard.

George Hickox teaches the how to’s of training gundogs to owners through this easy-to-understand and logical program.

Volume I – Introduction to Birds and Gun.
Developing the hunting and pointing instincts in your dog.
Volume II - Electronic Collar Training and Basic Obedience
All the essentials of proper e-collar introduction are covered in this volume.
Volume III – Holding Point and Hunting in Range
How to teach your dog to be staunch on point reliably.
Volume IV – Advanced Training
Teaching your dog to retrieve to hand, back and be steady to wing and shot.

A training program with Hall of Fame Trainer Buddy Smith

With J. M. Nahorn or Mason Creek Kennel

There is nothing more rewarding than a tranquil hunt with a well-trained dog. View how to train for Silent Training. Watch the training of an eight week old German Wirehaired Pointer puppy as she develops into a solid hunting companion by the age of six months. This video illustrates the step-by-step methods of training for:
First steps in retrieving and pointing
Introduction to birds
Introduction to water
Check cording into birds
Revealing tips for:
Planting birds
Use of remote bird launcher
Avoiding gun shyness
Plus more….

With Scott Miller
Scott Miller has won the National Bird hunter’s Association Top Handler of the year award for 10 consecutive years. The dogs he trains are all hard hunting with perfect manners and compete in National Bird hunter field trials. These dogs are the type most hunters would love to own, but either don’t know how or have the time to train them. In this program, Scott shows you the way to train your dog to be all he can be without using harsh methods or taking up all your spare time. His methods are time proven for all pointing breeds and the same as he uses on competition dogs as he prepares them for an even higher level of training. Watch as he trains points of different ages and stages of development. You will learn about:
Picking a puppy
Developing a puppy
The electronic training collar
Holding point
Honoring another dogs point
Hunting to the gun
Natural retrieving
You will see quail hunting action with pointers, setters, German Shorthairs and Brittany Spaniels.

For training an advanced retriever using the Electronic Collar
Featuring Master Trainer Tony Harnett
Have the retriever you have always wanted!! This is the first instructional DVD that shows you in visual detail how to properly use the Electronic Collar to rapidly turn your dog into a top Hunting Retriever. Using these time-proven, easy techniques and taking only fifteen minutes each day, you can have an advanced retrieving dog in a few short months. This best-selling guide includes force-fetching, wagon wheel, swim by, nine cast drill and many more proven training techniques.

Whether you own a pointing or retrieving breed, it’s important to lay a solid foundation to help your dog become the hunting and household companion you’ve always wanted. Follow along with Steve Ries(a GSPCI MEMBER) and top members of the Native Pro Staff team as they walk you through many of the key components of canine training.

TOPICS INCLUDE: Choosing the right dog for you, Basic obedience introduction, Puppy socialization, Introduction to gunfire, Introduction to water retrieves, Basic marks and retrieves, Teaching the “whoa” command, Steadying and honoring And many more.


This widely accepted training method is both humane and very effective. You’ll train your dog using safe. Low-level stimulation. Covers proven avoidance techniques that get positive, fast results!

Retriever training from puppy to finished gun dog.


A must for all pheasant hunters the how, when and where pheasant hunting video.

The AKC Hunting Test for pointing breeds.

Enter the domain of the ring-neck pheasant.






By Bill Tarrant – New strategies from today’s top trainers.

By Dave Duffey – Trouble shooting gun dog problems.

“BASIC GUN DOG TRAINING (And then some)”
By Bob West

By Kenneth C. Roebuck – Care and training of all pointing breeds.


Litters may only be listed by GSPCI members. To list your litter, email the webmaster and include Whelp Date, Sire and Dam registered names, Number of males and females available, Breeder and Kennel names, Email address and Phone number.  Optionally, include copies of sire and dam pedigrees if you would like a link from this page to the pedigrees. 

Please feel free to contact these members for their services nor is this considered an endorsement. The German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Illinois is not responsible or liable for the services listed below.


Litter Announcement

This is an incredibly bred litter. Sire is a DC Hillhavens Hustler line dog. Dam is from one of the oldest GSP breeders in the world, Hege-Haus (Top and Bottom). These pups promise great noses, high prey drive, trainability, even temperaments, and great conformation. These pups are the real deal. What a GSP should be and look like. Please contact us if interested. $1200. Located in central Illinois area.

Whelped on 9/7/19: 10 puppies total. 8 females and 2 males.

Sire: Truman vd Westwind
Dam: J’Adore von den Donau-Wirbeln JH, NA III.

Breeder: HighFire Kennels - Phone: 309-645-6218


We have four week old German Short Hair Pointer puppies that are now available for deposits. We are asking $800 ea and a $200 deposit will hold them until they are ready. All puppies have been well socialized and played with. There are eight girls and one boy. We have the mamma on site and the daddy has another owner and have pedigrees on both parents. They will all have their shots and will be ready to go after September 28th.

Please call for more information or to come see them.

Phone: 815-990-5655 Naomi or 815-275-1407 Jason.

Dam: Ellie Mae is a sweet girl. We don't use her in hunting but she shows the instinct to point and retrieve. She is happy to work and listens to direction well. - (Victor Mason Clark X Tracy Tashella)

Sire: Danny is a junior hunter and he has a great pedigree and post it also more info can be found on Danny is a high energy dog that shows great natural desire. (FC AFC P.J. WILDFIRE’S LITTLE BUD X Dam-Bildors She's Not Dirty She's Just Gerty JH)

Puppy collage 9-1-19.png


Woodsway Kennel And Game Birds

Brad Haseman
Po Box 156
Hinckley, IL 60520
(815) 739-4481

Rice Family Farm
Jeff Rice
29800 Bushnell Road
Burlington, WI 53105
(262) 539-3374

G.C. Breeding
Guy Carnagey
6158 W. Bruns Rd.
Monee, IL 60449
(708) 534-7521?Hatch N' Catch Quail

Randy Lay
3684 E. 29th Rd.
Ottawa, IL 61350
(815) 792-8050

JR Game Birds
2002 East 3150 North Road.
St. Anne, IL 60964

Training & Boarding

The German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Illinois offers its members the opportunity to post their services as a dog trainer, boarding facility or breeder. Please feel free to contact these members for their services. The German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Illinois is not responsible or liable for the services listed below nor is this to be considered as an endorsement. If you are a GSPCI member who would like to have their services listed below, send your information to

Current Dog Training
Gary Current
Wheaton, IL
(630) 690-5045

Power Point Kennel
Dave Troup
(574) 536-2631

Lark Frederiksen
Verona, IL 60479
(815) 287-9800