What I Wish I Knew About Owning A GSP
If you've ever watched any of my YouTube videos that involve my dogs, you've probably heard me talk about how we didn't always get along. In fact, there were many times in the beginning, back in 2014, when I wasn't sure I could keep Bentley (our 4 year old German Shorthaired Pointer). I actually did attempt to give him away a couple of times in the first year. But, ultimately, when it came down to it I just couldn't do it. Instead I learned how to deal with them.
If I could go back 4 years ago, there are things I wish I would have known prior to falling for these adorable little pups. Had I been more prepared to handle this unique breed, we may have learned to get along much earlier in our relationship. So I thought I would put together a list to hopefully help anyone else out there who thinks they may be interested in owning a German Shorthaired Pointer.
ENERGY LEVEL ON STEROIDS: GSPs have an immense amount of energy they must burn off. I'm not talking about a sweet little walk around the block each night. Oh no. That will not suffice for this breed. GSPs need to run full speed to exercise their body for at least an hour. Every. Single. Day. But even that is not enough. This breed also requires you to exercise their mind. GSPs are hunting dogs. They are inherently born to use their body and mind in tandem for hunting purposes. This means that on days when they are not hunting, they need to have another way to work their mind. For us, that means lots and lots of fetch until they run to the door signaling they are done and want to go inside. On hot days, this may mean we play for only 20 minutes, but in the fall when it is cool, it feels as if the game will never end.
TWO IS NOT EASIER THAN ONE: We had Bentley for three years before we decided to get our 2nd GSP, Berkley. I honestly wasn't looking to get Berkley, but I had recently discovered that the original breeder had a litter of puppies with a few males left. On an impulse, I decided we needed him. I had always been told that two dogs is easier than one because they play with each other. And while this is true, they do play with each other, GSPs do not play quietly. They chase each other at speeds that would put a speed goat to shame, they growl at volumes making it difficult for anyone else in the home to carry any sort of decent conversation, and if one of them is sleeping, you can be assured that the other one will bother him until he wakes up to play with him. It is never ending. Rarely do they just sit still and relax. This is not their nature. At times, I truly feel as if I have a dozen toddlers instead of two GSPs.
NEED FOR ATTENTION: If they aren't burning off energy, they are extreme cuddlers. This is probably my favorite part about them. There is such a dichotomy between their badass hunting capability and their desire for close personal affection. When we only had Bentley, he would constantly put his nose under our hand, nudging for us to pet him. However, now that we have both Bentley AND Berkley, it adds an additional layer. If one dog is getting attention, the other will try to get even closer to the human whom is giving attention in hopes that they can steal the affection away from whichever dog was there originally. If their efforts are not successful, they will whine incessantly until you give in. I am convinced their motto is "Two Hands For Two Dogs". :) So if you like to do anything else while relaxing, hopefully you can do those things hands free, because a GSP will keep both of your hands busy scratching behind their ears and rubbing their bellies.
THEY'VE GOT A HAIR FOR THAT: I knew that owning a dog meant dog hair would find its way into my home. That part doesn't bother me. But I hadn't really thought through the fact that the color of GSPs we chose (Liver + Roan) meant that we would have white AND brown hair. "So what?", you say. Well, I quickly realized, if I wore black pants, they had a white hair to get on that. And if I wore white pants, they had a brown hair for that. Either way, they've got me covered. Literally. Invest in a lint roller to catch any last minute hair and a hand vac to quickly be able to vacuum any furniture, bed quilts, etc.
Overall, if I could go back to four years ago in the fall of 2014, I would still make the same decisions that got me to the point that I am today. German Shorthaired Pointers are an incredibly good looking breed, that are so much fun to watch work, while at the same time offering great bedtime cuddles, and being amazing family dogs. If you want to see day to day antics from my crazy awesome duo, you should follow me over on instagram by clicking here. Over there you can find, almost daily, hilarious IG stories of Berkley and Bentley, as well as great photography of them hard at work.