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How Much Exercise Do German Shorthaired Pointers Need?

If you’re contemplating getting a German Shorthaired Pointer, or have recently brought one home, you’ll naturally need to know how much exercise you are going to need to give them. How often will you need to walk them, and how long? What about running and other means of keeping them busy and active? Well, here’s everything you are going to need to know.

So, how much exercise do German Shorthaired Pointers need? It is generally recommended that German Shorthaired Pointers get between 1 and 2 hours of exercise per day. This includes sports like hiking, running, swimming, and mental stimulation and games. Although puppies will require less exercise at first, starting with 5 minutes of exercise per month of age, twice daily.

Of course, the exact amount of exercise will be context-dependent.

It will depend on a lot of different factors, especially the exact dog in question.

Their general health, any injuries, diet, and space they have to freely roam around your home should all be taken into account.

That being said, there are some general recommendations when it comes to structured exercise.

Let us now take a look at them, and how to ensure this breed meets their needs should you decide to bring one home.

How Often Do German Shorthaired Pointers Need To Be Walked?

German Shorthaired Pointers need to be walked at least twice daily as part of a vigorous exercise program. The exact amount of time they are walked, however, will vary based on their age and size.

Adult German Shepherd Pointers and puppies need 2 walks every day, if not more.

Here’s what can happen if your GSP doesn’t get enough exercise:

  • He may become fearful. Walking allows your dog to explore his surroundings and get used to new smells, sounds, people, and animals. Your dog might become afraid to explore new places if he hasn’t been walked as a puppy.
  • He may become lethargic. Dogs, like people, need motivation to exercise and they love going out with their people. A lack of exercise can lead to weight problems, depression, and lethargy.
  • He might become aggressive or destructive. Bored dogs will look for things to do, which might include chewing on furniture, digging holes in the yard, or ripping up other items.
  • He could become wary of other animals. Isolating your GSP from other dogs can lead him to become antisocial: he won’t know how to behave around other animals. All dogs enjoy making new doggie friends, including your German Shorthaired Pointer.
  • He could become stressed or anxious. Walking is essential for your dog’s mental health as well as his physical fitness.
  • Your bond with your dog could weaken. Walking with your dog is key to bonding – your GSP wants nothing more than to spend time with you exploring the world and playing.

Can German Shorthaired Pointers Go On Long Walks?

Adult German Shorthaired Pointers can go on long walks of several miles (4-10, or more) depending on how fast you walk and the type of terrain. Puppies, however, need to exercise in small amounts, with the length of their walks increasing as they grow.

How Long Your GSP Can Walk

A good rule is to multiply your puppy’s age in months by five for the number of minutes your puppy can walk per session (for two walks daily.)

Here’s a quick guide to how long you can walk your growing German Shorthaired Pointer.

Your Dog’s AgeHow Long Your GSP Should Walk
(Twice A Day)
3 months old15 to 30 minutes each time
4 months old20 to 40 minutes each time
5 months old25 to 45 minutes each time
6 months old30 to 60 minutes each time
7 months old35 to 70 minutes each time
8 months old40 to 80 minutes each time
9 months old45 to 90 minutes each time*

*Once your dog is an adult, 90 minutes twice a day is an excellent level of exercise. Even older adult dogs (8 years old and up) need exercise. Once your GSP is a senior, you will need to reduce the amount of time for walks (still twice a day but closer to 30 minutes each time.)

Note: The exact amount of time will differ according to each individual puppy, so these numbers are general guidelines. Keep increasing the length of your walks gradually, being sure your puppy isn’t getting tired. It takes a lot to tire out a German Shorthaired Pointer, but puppies will often keep exercising till they collapse, so you may have to curb your puppy’s enthusiasm!

How To Know Your Dog’s Limits

German Shorthaired Pointers are not considered to have reached adulthood before they’re 2 years old, so until that time, make sure you’re not overexercising your puppy.

Here are some indications that your dog may have had too much exercise:

  • Stiffness during or after exercise
  • Struggling to get up steps or jump (note: puppies should not be using stairs or jumping)
  • Lagging behind on walks
  • Heat exhaustion

If you have stairs, make sure you have a ramp for your German Shorthaired Pointer until he is fully grown.

Using stairs, jumping, or too much exercise can cause harm to growing bones and tissues.

Do German Shorthaired Pointers Like Walks?

German Shorthaired Pointers love walks, just like other forms of exercise. These are very sporty dogs who need a lot to tire them out!

GSPs, like other dogs, love walking because they instinctively know that it’s good for them.

They also love spending quality time with their people, so if they can explore new sights, sounds, and smells with you, all the better!

Here’s why GSPs love walking:

  • Walking helps them stay healthy while exploring their surroundings.
  • Dogs love feeling good, and walking helps improve their flexibility and limberness, as well as keeps them fit and trim.
  • Walking can help them have fewer digestive problems, and many GSPs will snack on some grass to help their tummies when needed.
  • Seeing the world around them is excellent for their mental health. GSPs love the mental stimulation as much as the physical exercise that walking provides. Walking helps boost their hormone levels and overall well-being.
  • Walking gives your dog a sense of where he belongs in the hierarchy of your home and provides him with stability when he sees you as the leader.
  • Walking with you helps your dog increase his trust in you as his guide in unfamiliar situations.
  • Walking enables your dog to socialize with other dogs and humans, increasing his happiness and overall interest in the world around him.
  • Some GSPs who are sporting or hunting dogs enjoy walking as a way to keep in shape for the season as well as develop their teamwork with you.

Can You Run With A German Shorthaired Pointer?

Not only can you run with a German Shorthaired Pointer, but you should: these dogs love running and make excellent jogging companions. Just be sure your dog is fully grown before bringing him on runs with you.

As long as your GSP has reached adulthood (18 months to 2 years old), he can go running with you.

German Shorthaired Pointers are listed as one of the top 20 dog breeds to go running with.

These dogs are excellent endurance athletes and are known by many as the ‘triathlon athletes’ amongst dog breeds.

Your GSP will love running with you, and endurance runs are even better than short sprints: adult German Shorthaired Pointers can run more than 10 miles.

They have very muscular bodies and can jump and run, and they enjoy making their bodies work hard.

GSPs were originally bred as hunting dogs who could go for miles and miles in search of their prey.

They have an excellent sense of smell and can run very fast, making them perfect for running on roads and less well-traveled paths and trails.

The running skills of the GSP is one reason why this dog needs high fencing: he can scale or climb a 6-foot fence to run after an unsuspecting cat, dog, or other animals. And he will run until he catches his quarry!

Note: Senior German Shorthaired Pointers are better off with walking and other low-impact exercises rather than running. Once your dog reaches 8 years of age, consider it time to stop running with him. Take him for regular walks instead, along with other activities (see below.)

How To Keep Your German Shorthaired Pointer Active

You can keep your German Shorthaired Pointer active through games, toys, and intense levels of physical activity.

Redirect His Hunting Instinct with Games and Toys

If you aren’t going to use your GSP as a hunting dog – or if you don’t want him chasing your cat – you can redirect his hunting instinct using games and toys.

Your dog will need toys that will keep him occupied for long periods of time, and if they make him think, that’s even better.

Toys and food puzzles like Kong balls stuffed with treats will give your dog something to think about.

Games like tug of war or fetch are excellent for your GSP.

Be sure that anything you use for a game of tug of war is appropriate for dogs: you don’t want something that could fray or break apart in his strong jaws.

You could play chase games – make sure your dog knows it’s a game, though! Keep the chasing games playful and give your dog a big reward at the end.

Offer Lots of High-Intensity Activities

Your GSP will love some high-intensity activities. Here are some ideas for you:

  • Running around the yard (try a bubble machine – your dog will love to chase the bubbles),
  • Doing jobs like fetching sticks,
  • Frisbee games (in the water is even better!),
  • Playing with the hose,
  • A doggie obstacle course (you can set this up yourself),
  • Lure coursing (where dogs chase a mechanical lure as ‘prey’ to run in a supervised environment),
  • Agility training (there are many contests and groups you can join with your dog).


German Shorthaired Pointers need exercise.

In fact, they need a lot of it.

But of course, this should not be given too intensely from the outset.

Your GSP needs to acclimatize; the amount you give and how strenuous each session will be should be largely dictated by their age, size, and health status.

So do bear this in mind.

That being said, if you do decide to take on this dog you are taking on the commitment to regularly exercise them.

In fact, by the time they are adults, you’ll likely find that it takes up a lot of your time!

Or at least, it should.   

Are you researching the German Shorthaired Pointer breed? Then my other guides may be of interest: