22 May, 2016
- Early versions of this type of dog date to the 17th century, but German Shorthaired Pointers as we know them today were created to be multipurpose hunting dogs in the mid- to late nineteenth century. The forerunner to the GSP, the German Pointer or German Bird Dog, was a product of crosses between Spanish Pointers and Bloodhounds, resulting in big houndlike dog with a keen nose. Hunters selected for dogs with biddable personalities, but they came to want style and elegance to go along with that obedient nature and powerful scenting ability. They used Pointers imported from England to add style, and they created a dog that would work as well in water as on land.
Prince Albrecht zu Solms-Braunfeld of the Royal House of Hanover was credited with encouraging breeders to select early specimens on the basis of function rather than form. The result was a lean, athletic, and responsive all-around hunting dog who is also an intelligent and affectionate companion dog.
The first known German Shorthair in the United States was imported in 1925 by Dr. Charles Thornton of Montana, who began breeding the dogs. Only five years later, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club. The first German Shorthair registered with the AKC was Greif v.d. Fliegerhalde.
World War II affected the breeding of German Shorthaired Pointers. As the end of the war drew near, many breeders hid their gold, their diamonds, their artwork, their Lipizzaner stallions, and their German Shorthaired Pointers. The very best dogs were sent to Yugoslavia for safekeeping. But since Yugoslavia was behind the Iron Curtain after WW II, West German breeders didn’t have access to Germany’s finest GSPs and they were faced with rebuilding their beloved breed from a limited gene pool.
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