German Wirehaired Pointer
The German Wirehaired Pointer or Deutsch-Drahthaar as it is known in its home country, Germany. It was bred by the Germans at the end of the 18th century as a breed for hunters who wanted a versatile hunting dog. A dog who would excel before and after the shot on both furred or feathered game, in the field, woodland and in water. They wanted a thorough and passionate working dog but one who was equally able to be a family companion with a friendly and calm temperament. They set out a strictly controlled breeding program to follow this ideal and this still exists in Germany today. In Germany, the Drahthaar is the 3rd most popular breed overall and without doubt the most popular versatile breed amongst hunters worldwide.
The GWP is first and foremost a hunt, point and retrieve gundog and has a strong hunting instinct. An extremely intelligent and loyal breed, they love to please, however, training is essential - general obedience training from a puppy is a must.
Their first love is to be ahead of you locating game and pointing them, but unlike Pointers, they are also expected to retrieve to the same standards expected of Labradors and Retrievers. They are excellent in water and one of the best general purpose blood tracking breeds, very popular with deer stalkers across Europe. They are a true 'Jack of all trades' in the gundog world.
You do not have to have a GWP as a shooting companion, but you must provide him with enough mental and physical activity to keep him from getting bored. GWP's can make excellent agility/obedience dogs, they have been made into Flyball champions, trained as excellent search and rescue dogs and even Police/Customs drugs, firearms and explosive detection dogs. Their versatile nature can can be channeled into many fields, alternatively, they can just be a much loved well exercised family pet, but remember they are not for the faint hearted.
The GWP is a generally healthy breed although there have been issues with epilepsy, skin problems, entropion, in the past these seem rare these days.
Von Willibrand's disease (a rare blood clotting disorder) for which there is a DNA test, should no longer ever be an issue from tested parents and hip dysplasia which again, though rare, all reputable breeders hip score under the BVA scheme. The longstanding breeders in the UK are aware of health issues and are working with veterinary professionals to address these as and when necessary - there is a GWPC health website which keeps abreast of health issues in the breed.