The History Of The GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER
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The GSP was developed in the 1800s, and this is a breed that came about with purpose. Hunters and gunmen in Germany joined together, intending to create one of the best gundogs around. A gundog, this is a dog that is used to assist hunters in finding and retrieving prey. Mostly birds, though the GSP has had success with hunting all sorts of animals, like possums, raccoons, rabbits, and even deer. Gundogs are broken down into three groups: retrievers, flushers, and pointers. The GSP falls into the last category. They were and still are used to help track down the game, and once it is located, the dog will instinctively stop and point with its muzzle in the direction of their quarry.
The history of the GSP starts a little earlier, though. In the 1700s. Hunting with bird dogs had been a long-standing tradition in Germany. Prince Albrecht zu Solms-Braunfels was one of the master breeders credited with putting the creation of this breed into motion. He and other breeders were always trying to refine their hunting dogs. They would take the best individuals they could find and cross them to create a sort of super hunter. It is speculated that the GSP is a direct descendant of the German Bird Dog, a now-extinct breed which was developed through the breeding of even older and now lost bird dogs. Some Spanish and English pointers are also theorized to have made into the mix and several other hounds and tracking breeds. Though, after some time, the image of what these collective breeders wanted to create started to become more clear. They wanted a highly versatile breed that would excel both on land, in water, and had a keen nose. However, the breed that eventually came out of their efforts was more incredible than their wildest dreams.
The first studbook for the GSP as its own defined breed did not come about until 1870. Though with the standard for the breed in Germany was set in 1879, many individuals out there were removed from the breeding pool as the standard set a correct type for the breed and started to standardize it. Work continued on the breed until the World Wars put the entier breed at risk. Especially in its native Germany. After the first World War numbers had decreased, then WW II left even less, and many breeds found it incredibly challenging to restart efforts post-war. In particular, one breeder, Gustav Machetanz, had fled eastern Germany to avoid the approaching Russian army and resettled in West Germany with his dogs. This was a good thing as one of his dogs Axel vom Wasserschling proved to be one of the most important sires after the war and was essential in rebuilding the breed in Germany.
Though luckily before the World Wars, the GSP had also caught some American hunters' attention. These hunters imported dogs into the States. The GSP was admitted into the AKC in 1935, and the boomed in popularity in 1938 in Minnesota and Wisconson, which allowed dedicated breeders to apply to the AKC for a club status with the officer's Joseph Burkhart and Jack Shattuck—allowing the formation of the German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America. This started a massive amount of changes in the breed standard beginning. The first in 1946, again the following year in 1947, along with several more. The last and most recent being in 1992.
The GSP is now finding itself in a large variety of homes, and over recent years it has started to rise in popularity as a family companion. But, what was it initially used for? The GSP was originally used as a gun dog and for field trails. The breed was also used heavily in field trials, which hasn't changed from then to now. Field trials originated in England, with the first competition kicking off in 1866. It is a competitive trial in which is used to test the skills of a hunting dog. They are broken up into four groups, retrieving, pointing, tracking, and flushing. The dog is expected to demonstrate its ability in one of these four groups with various animals.