|Frequently Asked Questions
|Jack of All Trades
Aside from its unique coat, one of
the most distinguishing features of
the GWP is its versatility and its
adaptability. Waterfowl retriever;
Pointer of upland game birds;
Blood tracker of wounded deer;
Hunter and Retriever of fox, hare,
rabbit and similar small furred
game; this breed is all of this and
In North America, the breed is a
popular personal gun dog in
addition to having achieved
success in AKC Field Trials. The
GWPCA has long stressed the dual
purpose dog throughout its history.
Unlike other members of the
Sporting Group, with few
exceptions, there is still no split
between 'field type' and 'show type.'
In the US, the breed has had many
Best in Show winners, and a large
number who have won or placed in
group. It also has many dogs with
obedience and tracking titles. A
sizeable percentage of titled GWP's
have achieved titles in more than
one activity, and many show and
obedience dogs are also used as
hunting dogs. With the new sport of
agility gaining popularity, the GWP
has found another arena in which
its natural athletic talent makes it a
In fact, attaining excellence in more
than one field of endeavor is not
uncommon to the breed. Several
hundred GWP's have run in North
American Versatile Hunting Dog
Association (NAVHDA) tests since
that organization's founding in
1969, and a high percentage
qualified in those tests. Many of
those dogs were also show
champions, field champions,
hunting title holders and obedience
title holders. Many have done well
in National Shoot to Retrieve trials.
If the Shoe Fits
Loyal and affectionate, the German
Wirehaired Pointer craves human
companionship and bonds closely
with its "people." A high energy and
high drive breed, the Wirehair must
receive regular exercise or have a
job to do; otherwise their creativity
and independence may get them
into trouble! Although they shed
lightly year-round, Wirehairs with a
correct coat require only minimal
Source: American Kennel Club
Are GWP's good with Kids?
GWPs are usually very good with kids, especially
when raised with kids. But, even when they aren't
raised with kids, they seem to really like kids. But,
GWPs sometimes don't realize how big and
strong they are, and could inadvertantly
knock-over a small child. And, although GWPs
are very patient with children, you should
supervise your children when they are with any
dog, since some children are not good with dogs,
and if the dog tries to defend itself, it can get it
A GWP raised with cats or small dogs is usually
very good with them, since they are all part of
their family. Cats and small dogs defend
themselves against a puppy's rough play, and
the puppy learns to respect those that are
smaller than he is.
But, sometimes it can be difficult to introduce an
adult GWP to a cat or small dog, since they may
see the small animal as "prey." Remember this
when introducing an adult GWP to a smaller dog
or cat, and be prepared to correct the GWP if he
tries to attack the small dog or cat. We have
successfully introduced adult GWPs to cats, but it
does take time and vigilance--you may need to
ask your dog's breeder for advice so nobody
GWPs want to be with their families all the time,
and LOVE to be house dogs. Young dogs (under
two years old) need to get plenty of outside
exercise to be really good house dogs, but even
young dogs are really good in the house when
they have been properly exercised.
GWPs do NOT make good kennel dogs--they
want to be with their families, and when they are
left alone in kennels, they tend to bark, climb out
of their kennels, and can be destructive.
Do GWP's require a lot of grooming? Do they shed?
GWPs, and any wire-coated dog like terriers, shed very little compared to longer coated dogs, or even
short-coated breeds like beagles, labs, and pointers. GWPs have a "wire" coat, and the amount of
grooming required depends on the quality of coat your dog has. A correct, wirey coat will mainly just need
an occasional bath and brushing to keep the coat shiny and clean. We also recommend an undercoat
stripper, like a Mars Coat King to remove dead top coat and undercoat, and if you use a pumice stone on
the top coat, you will keep your dog's coat looking great!
GWPs are a relatively healthy breed, with no really serious health
issues common to the breed. That said, there are problems to
watch for. Like almost all breeds, GWPs can have hip problems.
Breeders should x-ray their breeding stock for hip dysplasia, and
have their dogs certified by OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of
America) or rated by Penn-Hip for hip laxity.
Many breeders are now starting to have their breeding stock
tested for thyroid by OFA. Although the dogs may not actually
have thyroid problems themselves, low or high thyroid levels can
be a precursor for immune system diseases in future generations.
Other health tests that breeders may use for their breeding dogs
include CERF (eyes), OFA Elbows, Heart/Cardiac (usually OFA
certified) and VonWildebrands Disease (a bleeding disorder.)
These are all issues that have appeared in GWPs, so some
breeders like to test for some or all of these issues.
Another problem that occasionally pops up in GWPs (and all
breeds) is epilepsy. Seizures can be hereditary or environmental,
but a responsible breeder will never breed a dog that has had
seizures, and will closely evaluate the dogs family history, and will
not breed that line if relatives have also had seizures.
But, all of these things are relatively uncommon in GWPs,
although it is important to be aware of potential issues.
What's the difference between a GWP and a Drathaar (VDD)?
We breed GWPs, so our answer is going to be different from a VDD breeder, but basically a VDD is a GWP that is registered with the American
VDD registry (licensed through Germany) instead of registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC.)
VDD breeders follow strict guidelines from Germany, and are not allowed to breed a dog until it has passed the VDD field tests, and the VDD group
can control what dogs a breeder can breed his dog to. VDD breeders believe these limitations make their dogs better than GWPs.
GWP breeders are allowed to breed dogs how they please, and some may breed for convenience rather than for quality, or for show quality with no
regard for field ability. But, GWPs bred for field ability are going to be as good or better than any Drathaar. Drathaar and GWP breeders who breed
for field can get good to excellent pups, and even an occasional dud. There is nothing inherently better or worse between the breeds, and in fact,
there are many countries that do not distinguish between the two and they breed back and forth regularly.
What is better -- Male or Female?
This is a personal question, and many people have a distinct preference
for one or the other, but we say you shouldn't rule out either one. Both
have their pros and cons, but overall, the differences are minor.
Males are more affectionate and easygoing, and tend to be interested in
making her happy. Females are a little more independent, although they
are more inclined to "give you the finger" and ignore you when they don't
want to do what you says! But, girls are affectionate, and boys can be
We have never had problems with leg-lifting in the house with the boys,
and if you spay or neuter, there is no difference in "sex drive."
Are GWP's good with cats and small dogs?
Are GWP's good house dogs or should I keep my GWP in a Kennel?
Are GWP's a healthy breed? Does the breed have any health problems to watch out for?
The following information on GWPs is courtesy of IdaWire Kennels. Thank you!
What else can I do with my GWP?
GWP's are very intelligent and you can do things such as Agility, Obedience,
Search and Rescue, AKC Hunt Tests, and AKC Field Trials. Ironwire participates
in Hunt Tests and Field Trials to keep our dogs on birds and extend our hunting
season. Through these events countless people have helped us train and learn to
better handle our dogs in the field. We encourage you to try different events with
your GWP and see what you and your dog enjoy, more than likely your dog will
surprise you and GWP's love to have a job!