This muscular dog was bred in Germany to hunt on land and in water for all types of game. The German Wirehaired Pointer is a loyal and affectionate dog who is eager to please and enthusiastic to learn. The harsh coat is liver and white in color, and there are bushy eyebrows and a distinctive whiskered beard around the muzzle. These dogs need a lot of exercise, but will adapt to a small yard or long walks. While they are very affectionate, they may be aloof with strangers. Devoted and somewhat protective of their families, they make excellent companions.
Height at shoulder: 22-26". Weight: 60-80 lbs. AKC group: Sporting Dogs.
Continental sportsmen were hard to please; they were not satisfied with a gun dog that would hunt only one kind of game. They envisioned an all-purpose dog, and so it happened that in various European countries retrieving Pointers began to emerge. One of these, native to Germany, was the Deutsch-Drahthaar which, literally translated, means German Wirehair.
In order to understand the heritage of this breed we must bear in mind that there existed abroad a wide variety of retrieving Pointers, all of them more or less interbred. The early Deutsch-Drahthaar Club, in fact, at first catered to all varieties of wirehaired pointing dogs. Later, however, they thought it best to separate their activities into four subdivisions catering to the advancement of the Deutsch-Drahthaar, the Pudelpointer, the Stichelhaar, and the Griffon.
Most of the early wirehaired Pointers represented a combination of Griffon, Stichelhaar, Pudelpointer, and German Shorthair. The Pudelpointer was a cross between a Poodle dog and an English Pointer bitch, while the Griffon and the Stichelhaar were composed of Pointer, Foxhound, Pudelpointer, and a Polish water dog. Thus it is easy to appreciate the different hunting skills incorporated in the wirehaired Pointers of a century or more ago.
Admirable breeders and trainers, the Germans demanded a great deal of their sporting dogs. They had no patience with specialists, preferring instead an extra-rugged hunter capable of working on any kind of game and on any terrain. In the German Wirehaired Pointer, this is exactly what they got, for they molded into the one breed the distinctive traits of Pointer, Foxhound, and Poodle. Through these avenues of diversified accomplishment they created an all-purpose dog approximating their ideal. He pointed and retrieved equally well on land and in water. He was keen-nosed and constitutionally tough. What is more, he had the courage as well as the coat fit to brave any sort of cover.
Coat has always been emphasized throughout the development of the breed, as indicated by a statement made by members of the Drahthaar Club back in 1902, when they said: "The breeding of a correct wire coat is the most important feature." There was ample reason for this emphasis on coat, considering the work that the German Wirehair was called upon to do. In short, he was designed as an all-weather as well as an all-purpose dog, and he had to negotiate underbrush that would have punished severely any dog not so characteristically armored.
The coat is weather-resisting in every sense of the term, and it is to large extent water-repellent. It is straight, harsh, wiry, and quite flat-lying. One and one half to two inches in length, it
is long enough to shield the body from rough cover, yet not so long as to hide the outline. A heavy growth on the brow guards the eyes from injury, and a short beard and whiskers combine to save the foreface from laceration by brush and briar. A very dense undercoat insulates the body against the cold of winter, but it sheds out to such a degree as to be almost invisible in summertime.
Although it had become a favored sporting dog in Germany many years earlier, the Drahthaar was not admitted into the German Kartell for dogs until 1928. The breed was imported to the United States in the 1920s. In 1953, the German Drahthaar Club of America was formed. The breed was admitted into AKC's stud books in 1959 as the German Wirehaired Pointer, and the name of the national club was changed to the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America.