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The 7 Most Unusual Habits of German Shorthaired Pointers

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene A. Divina, a resident of the Philippines, is a devoted fur mom to two adorable dogs: a Shih Tzu and a Beagle. With a passion for animals and storytelling, Arlene has channeled her love for dogs into her career as a content writer at iHeartDogs. Her writing captures the essence of the bond between humans and their furry companions, offering insights, tips, and heartfelt stories to a wide audience of dog enthusiasts. Read more
| Published on April 18, 2024

German Shorthaired Pointers (GSPs) are renowned for their versatility as sporting dogs, excelling in a wide range of activities from hunting to agility competitions. Beyond their athletic prowess, these dogs are known for their intelligent, energetic, and often quirky personalities. The breed’s development as an all-purpose hunting dog has endowed them with some unique behaviors that may seem unusual but are deeply rooted in their hunting heritage. These habits reflect the breed’s highly developed instincts and their adaptability to various environments and tasks. This article will explore seven peculiar habits of German Shorthaired Pointers, providing insight into how these behaviors enhance their abilities as hunters and companions, and what they mean for owners of these dynamic dogs.

1. “Ghost” Pointing

One of the most distinctive habits of the German Shorthaired Pointer is their tendency to “point” at seemingly nothing. This behavior, known as “ghost” pointing, occurs when the GSP detects a subtle scent or a slight movement that goes unnoticed by their human companions. This instinct to point, which involves the dog standing rigid with their nose directed towards the scent and one paw lifted, is a throwback to their use in hunting, where pointing at game birds was a crucial behavior. Even in non-hunting scenarios, this trait can be observed and is a testament to their keen senses and inherent hunting ability.

2. Obsession with Water

German Shorthaired Pointers have an unusual love for water and are often found splashing in puddles, swimming in ponds, or even diving into pools. This affinity for water is linked to their history as versatile hunters, trained not only to point and retrieve on land but also to work in water. Their webbed feet and water-resistant coat make them excellent swimmers. This obsession can sometimes be challenging to manage, especially if there are water bodies nearby, as GSPs might take every opportunity to get wet.

3. Following Air Scents

Unlike many other breeds that track scents on the ground, GSPs often follow air scents. This habit involves them sniffing the air with their noses high rather than low to the ground. This unusual method of scenting is particularly useful in hunting scenarios where the scent may not be directly on the ground’s surface but carried in the air. This ability showcases their advanced hunting skills and highlights their specialization in bird hunting, where this skill is particularly advantageous.

4. “Nesting” in Bedding

German Shorthaired Pointers often exhibit a peculiar “nesting” behavior, where they circle and dig in their bedding or chosen sleeping area before lying down. This habit likely stems from their need to create a comfortable and secure spot for resting, especially after a long day of activity. While it can result in some disheveled sleeping areas, it reflects their instinct to make a space their own and to ensure it’s comfortable for relaxation and sleep.

5. Intense Staring

GSPs are known for their intense and focused staring, particularly when they are zeroing in on something of interest. This staring is not just a casual glance but a deep, concentrated gaze that can seem like they are locking onto their target. This behavior is a part of their pointing instinct, where focus and steadiness are crucial for signaling hunters to the game’s presence. In a home setting, this might be directed at a toy, food, or even a small animal outside the window.

6. Perching on High Ground

Surprisingly for a hunting dog, German Shorthaired Pointers often prefer to perch on higher ground. They may choose to sit on elevated areas like hilltops, large rocks, or even furniture that gives them a better vantage point. This habit might be linked to their need to survey their environment, a crucial skill in both hunting and guarding scenarios. It also allows them to keep a watchful eye over their territory, staying alert to any changes or intrusions.

7. Extreme Loyalty and Shadowing

GSPs exhibit an extreme form of loyalty, often shadowing their owners from room to room and insisting on being part of all family activities. This can be traced back to their breeding as close-working hunting dogs who needed to stay in constant contact with their human partners. This behavior ensures that they are always involved and can sometimes lead to separation anxiety if not properly managed.

German Shorthaired Pointers are more than just sporting dogs; they are creatures of habit with a range of unusual behaviors that reflect their hunting heritage and their dynamic nature. These habits, while sometimes quirky, are what make GSPs exceptional in various roles, from faithful companions to expert hunters. Understanding and appreciating these traits can help owners develop a more fulfilling and engaging relationship with their German Shorthaired Pointer, ensuring these intelligent and active dogs lead a well-rounded and happy life.

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