History of the
German Shorthaired Pointer and
The German Shorthaired Pointer Club of Minnesota, Inc.
permission of Diane Roghair
In the 17th and 18th
centuries, most hunting privileges in Europe were limited to the wealthy and
landed gentry. The common working man was limited to driving game and
fowl for his employer, or poaching the landlord's estate (with fear-some
penalties if caught). Because of the limited and specialized methods of
hunting, specialist dogs were developed by the wealthy…flushing dogs for
pheasants, the setters and pointers for the grouse moors, the pack hounds for
the foxhunt, and so on.
Times changed; the
working class now enjoyed the same hunting privileges as their wealthy
counterparts. However, the working man could not afford to keep a kennel
full of specialist dogs, so an all-purpose gun dog was clearly needed.
Three Germans were prominent in the creation of several of the Continental
Pointing Breeds: the German Shorthaired Pointer (Deutsch Kurzhaar), the German
Wirehaired Pointer (Deutsch Drahthaar) and the Weimaraner.
The German Shorthaired Pointer was
developed over 100 years ago, to serve as the all-purpose gun dog for the foot
handling "rough shooter". He was expected to hunt and point
both fur and feather, track the blood-scent or wounded large game and bay the
kill, retrieve fowl on both land and water, kill and retrieve small game as
necessary (typically fox, raccoon and so on). The German foot hunter
wanted a super dog, and con-scientious breeders developed on through judicious
blending of the Old Spanish Pointer, speed hounds, and blood/scent hounds of
the 18th and 19th century. By the late 1800's a recognizable type of dog
had been created, which showed promise of fulfilling the hunter's many requirements.
In the mid 1920's Dr. Charles
Thorton (of Montana) imported several German Shorthairs into the United States,
among them a bred bitch named Senta. He whelped the first litter on
record here, and became the breed's pioneer and premier enthusiast. However,
the skill and the versality of these dogs in the field, ensured it wasn't long
before they became a recognized and valuable hunting breed.
As an interesting footnote to the
breed's US development, the breed founders here wanted the American Kennel Club
list to the breed name as the German Shorthaired Pointer and Retriever.
However, since AKC organized the existing breeds into pointing, flushing, and
retrieving classifications for show and field trials, they said NO! To the
breed name. In their wisdom (and never before having faced a
"versatile" dog) the AKC reasoned that a dog could either point or
retrieve but could not do both. So the founders had to decide how our
breed would be known…. Hence the name and classification. As such, The
GSP, the GWP, and the Weimaraner all compete in field trials under the pointing
Within the next few years, the
major breed activity centered in the Minnesota Wisconsin area. Many of
the prominent national bloodlines originated through our local breeders, and
the quality of the German Shorthair was not bettered anywhere in the
world. In 1938 local breeders in this area applied to the AKC for Parent
Club (national club) status and it was eventually granted with one of the first
tasks to be the establishment of a breed standard. This was accomplished
and in accepted in 1945.
We (the GSPC of MN, Inc.) held the first
licensed field trial in Anoka, Minnesota, also in 1945 and in that regard, Jack
Shattuck's Rusty V Schwarenburg (Minnesota bred) became the breed's first Dual
Champion (Field and Show titles). As time went by, other regional clubs
grew, and soon there was truly a national organization, with the Minnesota
people giving up Parent Club status to become a member club.