German Rough Haired Pointers are self-assured, loyal, and intelligent dogs. This breed is balanced, calm, and courageous—characteristics that make for a versatile gun dog.
Known in their native Germany as the Deutsch Stichelhaar, the German Rough Haired Pointer is the oldest rough-coated pointing dog—dating back to 1888.
You might think German Rough Haired Pointers are just another variety of the German Shorthaired Pointer. However, this breed is actually a variety of the German Partridge Dog. When developing German Rough Haired Pointers, breeders didn't use any English pointing breeds. This makes them the rarest of all of the versatile German gun dog breeds.
Much like the German Longhaired Pointer, this breed's ability to work in the field, water, and forest makes it highly desirable for tracking, as well as retrieving, game.
German Rough Haired Pointers are strong, large pointing dogs. They have stiff, hard coats, distinguished beards, and pronounced eyebrows that give them a grim appearance.
The breed's distinguishing characteristic is its rough coat—described as stiff, harsh and bristly—with feathering around the legs. Hair forms a moderately-developed beard on the muzzle, and bushy, strong eyebrows.
The German Rough Haired Pointer's coloring is consistent with many in the sporting class. It comes several varieties— brown (with or without white patches), brown roan (with or without brown patches), or light roan (with or without brown patches).
German Rough Haired Pointers have medium-length ears. They're not very broad at the base and have rounded tips. Their tails are also medium-length, strong at the root, and carried straight or with a very slight upward bend.
Loyal dogs, German Rough Haired Pointers are good with children—especially when raised in a family setting. Though they generally have a calm and even temperament, they do have a lot of energy.
German Rough Haired Pointers thrive when provided with lots of mental and physical exercise. Because they're sporting dogs, they may chase or hunt small animals—including cats, other small pets, or wildlife.
To meet their nutritional needs, feed your German Rough Haired Pointer a high-quality food that's appropriate for their life stage (e.g., puppy, adult, senior) and activity level. They may also benefit from diets formulated specifically for large-breed dogs. In particular, large-breed puppy diets prevent this breed from growing too fast—which may decrease the incidence or severity of hip dysplasia as your dog ages.
To keep your German Rough Haired Pointer at a healthy weight, monitor their food intake carefully. Avoid accidental overfeeding by measuring out meals. And don't forget to account for treats in their daily calorie totals. As a guideline, treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog's calories.
The German Rough Haired Pointer's coat is relatively low-maintenance. Weekly brushing with a comb will remove loose hair and dirt. Occasional baths may be necessary. You should also clip your dog's nails regularly to keep them at a short length. Overgrown nails can become painful or lead to issues walking or running.
In addition to professional dental cleanings, establish an at-home dental care routine that includes teeth brushing. Maintaining good dental hygiene is essential for the overall long-term health of all dogs.
German Rough Haired Pointers have higher exercise needs than most dogs. Long daily walks, running in enclosed yards, hiking, and swimming are all great outdoor activities for them to enjoy. Dog sports such as agility, competitive obedience, and rally are other great ways to provide exercise and mental stimulation.
German Rough Haired Pointers are intelligent, eager to please, and hard-working. These qualities make the breed relatively easy to train.
As all breeds do, German Rough Haired Pointers benefit from early socialization. It helps them develop into well-adjusted adult dogs.
Reviewed July 26, 2020 by Cindy Elston, DVM, MPH