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German Shorthaired Pointers (GSPs) are super canine athletes with reasonably long lifespans. And if you are considering getting one, you need to be prepared for how long they live. After all, these are active dogs that will need frequent and regular exercise and activity throughout their life.

How long can German Shorthaired Pointers live?

German Shorthaired Pointers typically live between 12 and 14 years. However, some have been known to live as long as 17 years. This makes them slightly longer-lived than the average medium-sized dog breed, which typically lives between 10 and 13 years.

A GSP’s life expectancy can vary greatly depending on several factors, including diet and exercise habits. They are generally a healthy breed, though some health issues can arise due to their build and genetics.

So what kind of health issue could affect your GSP’s lifespan?

What health problems do German Shorthaired Pointers have?

GSP’s are susceptible to relatively few health problems. However, they are prone to bloat, lymphedema, progressive retinal atrophy, von Willebrand’s Disease, hypothyroidism, entropion, pannus, and degenerative joint issues such as osteochondrosis dissecans and hip dysplasia.

Here’s a closer look at some of the most prevalent health problems for German Shorthaired Pointers.

Hip Dysplasia

One of the most common diseases in German Shorthaired Pointers is hip dysplasia. These abnormalities in GSPs’ joints can lead to pain and arthritis in their joints as they age. This disease is a progressive condition that often begins when the dog is young and worsens over time.

When the ball in your dog’s hip joint doesn’t fit properly into the socket, it causes the joint to be misaligned and unstable, leading to pain and arthritis as your GSP gets older. In addition, hip dysplasia can cause a loss of range of motion and mobility. So, it’s essential to have your dog tested as soon as possible if you suspect it has this condition.

Von Willebrand’s Disease

Occasionally, a GSP may be born with von Willebrand’s disease, a genetic blood clotting disorder. This can make your dog particularly vulnerable to fatal blood loss during surgery or after injuries.

Eye Problems

GSPs are more likely to develop Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA than other breeds. PRA is a degenerative disease of the retina, the layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of your pet’s eye. The condition tends to progress slowly and can cause dogs to go completely blind over time.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for PRA and no way to prevent it from happening. In the instances where it shows up early, dogs will go completely blind by the time they are 2 years old. If it shows up later in life, it will progress slower but will still eventually result in blindness.

Some dogs’ first signs of PRA may be difficulty seeing at night or dim lighting, such as in a dark room or outside after sunset. The best way to make sure your GSP is safe from PRA is to make sure your breeder tests all of their dogs through PennHIP or OFA, which certify that the dog does not have PRA.

GSPs are also prone to pannus, a condition where an immune response damages the cornea in the eye. They may also be born with entropion where the eyelid curls inwards and irritates the eye. Surgery is needed to correct this issue.

Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD)

Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD) is another joint disorder found in dogs. It occurs when the cartilage covering the bone breaks away from the bone and becomes trapped in the joint. In severe cases, OCD can result in lameness and arthritis.

German Shorthaired Pointers are prone to OCD, especially in their shoulder joints. Although this disorder can affect any breed, it most commonly affects large breeds, and German Shorthaired Pointers are considered a medium-to-large breed.

If your German Shorthaired Pointer is displaying symptoms of OCD, it’s important to bring them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. The sooner you catch this disorder, the easier it will be to manage the symptoms.

Degenerative joint disorders are often exacerbated by a bad diet while dogs are puppies. In particular, it is vital that GSPs consume the correct calcium-to-phosphorus ratio and amount in their food. The ratio should be about 1.4:1 Ca:P. For more information on the best diet for your GSP, you can read our article here.


German Shorthaired Pointers are pretty prone to hypothyroidism. It occurs when your GSP’s body can’t keep up with thyroid hormone production. It typically occurs when the thyroid gland is underactive and does not produce enough hormones or when your dog cannot absorb enough iodine.

However, it can also be caused by issues with the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates hormone release. Changes in the coat are the most common symptom of hypothyroidism in German Shorthaired Pointers. Hairs become coarser and duller, and they start shedding a lot more.

It can also cause them to gain weight, have decreased energy levels, experience gastrointestinal problems, and have trouble breathing. Fortunately, hypothyroidism is easily treatable with medication from your veterinarian.


Lymphedema is a condition that causes fluid retention in a dog’s limbs. German Shorthaired Pointers are predisposed to this condition. If you have a GSP, watch out for symptoms like swelling in the limbs and around the joints.

Lymphedema can be treated with medication and other methods, but it is important to catch it early on to avoid complications. Those familiar with human lymphedema will recognize dogs’ symptoms, which are swelling in the legs and paws due to an impaired lymphatic system.

The swelling can be painful, and it can also be a sign of other serious medical conditions, so it is important to get your dog checked out by a veterinarian if you notice this swelling.


GSPs appear to be more vulnerable to this particular health concern than other dog breeds. The problem with German Shorthaired Pointers and bloating is that they have deep chests. As a result, when they eat too much or eat too quickly, the food can get into their stomachs faster than it should, causing their stomachs to expand.

If your GSP has a bloated stomach, you must act quickly to avert any potential health risks. Bloating can lead to a life-threatening condition called gastric torsion or gastric dilatation-volvulus, GDV, which can kill an affected dog in just a few hours.

Are you interested in reading our post, My GSP Is Small: Why and What to Do

Helping to Ensure Your GSP Lives a Long, Healthy Life

Several elements go into keeping a GSP healthy. One of these is proper exercise. You can also read our German Shorthaired Pointer exercise guide to keep your GSP fit and healthy.

It’s also good to have your dog participate in an organized activity once a week, like agility training. This will help keep your pup in peak mental and physical condition. GSPs are natural hunting dogs, and participating in field trials is an excellent way to make use of their natural instincts. Playtimes are also excellent for improving the quality of your dog’s life.

A diet rich in protein but low in fat is essential for the GSP’s health and we have a guide on feeding your gsp. Nevertheless, it’s important to avoid overfeeding a GSP because they can easily become overweight. The GSP has a healthy appetite and will eat as much food as you give them, so be careful not to overdo it.

A German Shorthaired Pointer should also be taken to the vet at least once a year for a checkup. You’ll want to schedule regular appointments with your vet to discuss any health concerns. Some professionals even recommend it twice a year.

Frequently asked questions

Are German Shorthaired pointers cuddly?

German Shorthaired Pointers are very active and energetic dogs, but they love cuddling with their owners and being part of the family. They’re incredibly affectionate and loving, which means they’re great guard dogs and amazing companions.

Are German Shorthaired Pointers good guard dogs?

German Shorthaired Pointers are good guard dogs. They are very intelligent, and they are fiercely loyal to their owners. They are very trainable and respond best to short frequent training sessions. They do well when they have a job to do and are natural watchdogs that will alert you.

Is a German Shorthaired Pointer a good house dog?

GSPs make great house dogs, although they are quite rambunctious and do need clear boundaries. This breed is known for its friendliness, intelligence, and ability to learn quickly. However, they are also known for their energy, which means they’ll need a lot of exercise to avoid becoming destructive.

Final Word

The German Shorthaired Pointer is an ideal dog for an active family that is physically vigorous. They love to fully immerse themselves in outdoor activities, such as running or hiking with their dog.

In general, they are a long-lived breed that usually lives well into their teens. So they are a long-term commitment. They may have some health issues that one needs to be aware of, but with quality care, your GSP should live a long and healthy life.