Are German Shorthaired Pointers Aggressive? [Temperament Guide]

If you’re looking at bringing a German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) into your home, you’ll want to know whether they’re an aggressive breed or not. What is the typical German Shorthaired Pointer temperament? Are GSPs good family dogs? Well, here’s everything you are going to want to know. Besides, it is these things that will help you make an informed decision as to whether a German Shorthaired Pointer is right for you or not.

So, are German Shorthaired Pointers aggressive? German Shorthaired Pointers (GSPs) are not typically an aggressive breed. The German Shorthaired Pointer is either typically either reserved or friendly, even with strangers, and is known for being good with other pets, too. Some GSPs can however be aggressive towards dogs they don’t know, while others love chasing cats.

For the most part, this dog typically boasts a number of favorable qualities that will you are going to want to look for.

Intelligence, enthusiasm, cooperation, and being highly trainable are those to particularly note.

So let us continue to explore their typical temperament, and other important considerations relating to how this medium/large size dog tends to behave.  

What Is The Typical German Shorthaired Pointer Temperament?

The typical temperament for a German Shorthaired Pointer is friendly, curious, and playful. These dogs are known for being eager to please their people and can be receptive to interacting with strangers.

There are several factors that influence a German Shorthaired Pointer’s temperament, such as training, genetics, and socialization with other animals.


It’s essential to provide training for your German Shorthaired Pointer.

These dogs are highly intelligent and very active.

They do well at puppy training classes and obedience training, so make the most of these opportunities to bond with your puppy and train him properly.


To get a more precise idea of the likely temperament of your GSP, meet his parents if you can.

If the parents are friendly and approachable with a good temperament, your puppy will likely grow up to be the same.

The mother’s temperament tends to have a slightly greater influence on the puppy than the father.

Even if both parents are friendly and approachable, it’s best to avoid the puppy who is either hiding in the corner or beating up his siblings!

The best puppy to bring home with you is playful but not too rough and likes people.


Early socialization will make a big difference in the temperament of your GSP.

Your puppy will need to meet a lot of different people, as well as dogs and other animals.

He’ll also need exposure to various experiences, sights, and sounds so that he grows to be confident in any situation.

To make the most of your GSP’s natural inclination to explore, bring him with you to your local restaurants (where possible), stores, and other places that allow dogs.

Is A German Shorthaired Pointer A Good Family Dog?

A German Shorthaired Pointer can be a good family dog, provided you are prepared to give him the attention and exercise he needs every day. If your family wants a dog who will do everything with you, a German Shorthaired Pointer is an excellent choice.

German Shorthaired Pointers and Families

As long as your family can provide plenty of activity for your dog – games, walks, hikes, swims, runs, etc. – then your GSP will happily lay down by your side once he’s had his exercise.

If your family enjoys swimming, your GSP with his webbed feet and waterproof coat is an excellent swimmer.

He will want to be in the pool with you and will happily swim around with you.

These dogs are clever and friendly, and they are known for having a sense of humor. They have big personalities, and they will love everyone in your family.

However, some GSPs are known for having favorite people in their households.

Because these dogs are bold and full of energy, they need someone who can train them well and consistently.

They can be stubborn, but if you’ve trained them from puppyhood, they will be eager to please you.

GSPs don’t like being left alone – they prefer to stay by your side.

A German Shorthaired Pointer can be a loving family dog as he wants to be involved in everything.

They can seem clingy as they want to follow you around, and they’ll want to know where their family is at all times.

German Shorthaired Pointers and Children

GSPs are usually excellent companions for children, particularly as they crave human interaction all the time.

However, these are powerful dogs who need to be supervised when around small children. Small children and dogs don’t know the meaning of boundaries!

Your GSP won’t necessarily know his own strength, and a boisterous dog who plays rough could hurt a child without meaning to.

Teach your children and the dog to be gentle with each other, and give them time to learn.

Although GSPs can sometimes be reserved around strangers and have a strong alarm bark, they don’t threaten people if they’ve been socialized early.

Your dog will be protective of his people and his home, but he won’t be aggressive if someone comes to your door.

He’s more likely to bark loudly to let you know someone is there.

What Can Make German Shorthaired Pointers Aggressive?

Several things can make a German Shorthaired Pointer aggressive, such as lack of exercise, bad experiences, or unfamiliar animals.

Lack of Exercise

If your GSP doesn’t get enough physical or mental exercise, he can turn aggressive out of boredom.

A German Shorthaired Pointer can become destructive, looking for things to occupy his mind that you might not appreciate.

If your GSP is bored, he might start digging holes, chewing on things, or tearing items apart to burn off some of his energy.

These dogs are excellent escape artists, too: they can scale or climb 6-foot fences to explore the neighborhood or chase an enticing animal who has wandered onto their territory.

Read more: How Much Exercise Do German Shorthaired Pointers Need?

Bad Experiences

If your GSP has experienced any form of abuse or another type of bad experience, he can become aggressive out of fear.

A GSP who is fearful may show the following signs:

  • Raised hackles
  • A standing tail or stiff wagging movements
  • Dilated pupils
  • Bared teeth
  • Ears pinned
  • Wrinkled nose

Unfamiliar Animals

Because the German Shorthaired Pointer is a hunting dog, he has a strong prey drive and a desire to chase after other animals.

If you already have a small pet at home, you may want to think twice before bringing home a GSP.

Pets such as cats or birds can be tempting for your GSP – he may want to chase and catch them and shouldn’t be left with them unsupervised.

These dogs can be trained to live with other small animals if they’ve been raised together. However, remember to always be there when they are together.

The GSP’s hunting instinct could kick in at any time, and you wouldn’t want an unfortunate accident!

How To Prevent Aggression In German Shorthaired Pointers

The best ways to prevent aggression in German Shorthaired Pointers are to provide them with early training, mental and physical stimulation, and supervision when around other animals.

Early Sufficient Training

Train your German Shorthaired Pointer right from the start so that he knows what’s expected of him in your home.

These dogs are highly intelligent, but they aren’t the easiest to train – they will need to know that you are the boss.

They will happily work for rewards of praise, play, or food.

However, GSPs are eager to learn, and they love having jobs to do. 

They can thrive in field and hunting competitions, agility training, and even work as therapy dogs, sled dogs, or to detect drugs or bombs.

They will enjoy learning new tricks throughout their life – not just when they’re puppies. Once your GSP has learned a trick, he will need to learn something new.

Your puppy will thrive if you provide consistent structure and leadership: this will give him confidence.

Dogs like knowing what the rules are and where they stand in the hierarchy of the household. If you don’t show him you’re the top dog, he will assume he’s in charge!

Mental and Physical Stimulation

GSPs have a lot of energy – so much so that they have been referred to as triathletes in the dog world. It will take quite a bit of activity to tire out your GSP.

Make sure you are providing your adult dog with at least an hour or two every day of vigorous exercise. Although these dogs were bred for hunting, they don’t need to hunt to be happy.

You can do any or all of the following with your GSP:

  • Go for long hikes,
  • Bring him on bike rides,
  • Go running with him,
  • Take him swimming (but be careful in cold water since he has a very short coat),
  • Take him to agility training,
  • Give him things to chase or retrieve (train him off the leash first so that he doesn’t run off).

Supervise Him In The Company of Other Animals

Don’t leave your German Shorthaired Pointer unsupervised in the company of other animals, even ones he’s grown up with.

Small animals, in particular, run the risk of being seen as prey at any time.

Some GSPs don’t take well to other dogs, particularly those of the same sex, if they haven’t been exposed to other animals as puppies.


If you are looking for a new family companion, a GSP can certainly be a great choice.

They have a lot of qualities that are desirable in a dog.

That being said, they are not generally advised for first-time dog owners, even despite their well-rounded temperaments.

They do require a fair amount of training and an extensive consistent exercise regimen.

If you think you, and your family can meet these needs, or you have experience with other dogs then you likely won’t regret bringing one home.

And unless you fail to raise them right, or are even a little unlucky, aggression is not something you should expect.