German Wirehaired Pointers (GWPs) are medium sized gun dogs that excel at hunting in virtually all types of terrain. They also make affectionate and loyal family companions.
Do they shed much? German Wirehaired Pointers have a coarse, wiry, weatherproof double coat that sheds moderately year round. However, the hair loss can be more noticeable for a couple weeks in late spring to early summer as he sheds his thick winter coat.
Getting the shedding under control isn’t difficult though, it mostly comes down to proper grooming. So let’s take a closer look at how much GWPs shed and what you can do about it.
German Wirehaired Pointer Shedding
German Wirehaired Pointers shed a moderate amount of hair year round, except during late spring to early summer as he sheds his thick winter coat.
Overall the amount of hair they lose isn’t very noticeable. Especially not compared to heavy shedding breeds like the Akita and Great Pyrenees for example.
But on the same token, they’re not “hypoallergenic” or “non-shedding” as some dogs are considered to be, such as the Irish Water Spaniel or Poodle. So if this is what you’re looking for, the GWP isn’t for you.
The truth is though, no dog is completely hypoallergenic. Because the hair itself isn’t the problem, it’s the dog’s dead skin (dander). So not even hairless dogs are completely non-allergenic, they’re just considered more suitable for those wanting a low allergen dog.
In any case, the reason GWPs shed more fur in early summer is because they no longer need their thick winter coat. Dogs naturally grow and shed their winter coat as needed, and when the latter happens, you’ll know about it. This typically only lasts for a couple weeks, so it’s not really that big of a deal all things considered.
Either way, dogs losing hair is normal for the most part. Even if it’s a bit more extreme during certain times of the year. But it can sometimes be due to things like fleas, allergies, stress or some other underlying problem too.
So if you’re noticing high levels of shedding in your GWP and are concerned it might not be seasonal or otherwise “normal” then it may be time to contact your local vet.
Related: When Your Dog’s Shedding Could be Cause for Concern
Grooming Your GWP
One of the great things about the GWP is that they’re such a rugged dog that can handle virtually any type of terrain or weather condition you can throw at them.
They are a German pointing dog after all. Which means they were bred to hunt and retrieve game, whether it be cold or hot, on land or in the water.
And his coat is well suited to this task. The GWP’s outer coat is one to two inches in length, harsh and wiry. Which, together with his dense undercoat, makes him virtually weatherproof. So he’s not a high maintenance breed by any means.
For general grooming maintenance, brushing his coat once per week with a slicker brush and metal comb will keep his coat in good order.
However, like his close relative the Pudelpointer, you may need to brush him after he’s been out and about because they do tend to get debris caught in their coat at times. And if you don’t get these out they can cause mats and knots which can be quite painful.
Some like to have their GWP hand stripped once or twice per year, typically during spring and fall. Hand stripping is a method of grooming that involves either literally plucking the dead hairs out or doing so with a stripping knife.
But this is really only needed for dogs entering the show ring, and either way is best done by a professional groomer. At least for the first time, so they can show you properly how it’s done.
When it comes to other grooming requirements, the occasional bath can help maintain his coat, and things like regular nail trimming and ear cleaning are important to schedule in.
Can You Stop Wirehaired Pointers from Shedding?
You cannot stop any dog from shedding completely. Shedding (or moulting) is a normal process that takes place when the hair grows, stops growing and falls out. This is the natural hair growth cycle, which is essential to the health and wellbeing of your dog.
Some people opt to have their dog shaved which may be fine with some breeds, but not so much with others. And the German Wirehaired Pointer is not one that should be shaved.
They need their coat because it protects them from harsh weather extremes, cold as well as hot conditions, and things like sunburn. So removing this is simply not a good idea.
How do you reduce shedding?
Reducing how much your Wirehaired Pointer sheds really comes down to three things: brushing, bathing and diet. There are other ways to reduce shedding, but these are at the top of the list.
So let’s take a closer look at each.
Brushing is probably the most effective way to reduce how much shedding your GWP does. A good quality slicker brush will remove the dead fur from his coat along with any matting and debris.
And a metal comb or deshedding brush will remove his loose undercoat fur. This is not difficult, but it does take consistent effort, especially during shedding season.
It’s well worth the effort though. Brushing not only removes the dead fur before it ends up floating around your home, but it also promotes a healthier coat by distributing his skin oils.
Bathing is not really needed with a GWP, at least not very often. But a good bathing session every now and then prior to brushing can remove a lot of old fur from his coat.
Just be sure to only use a quality dog shampoo to avoid causing dryness and irritation in his skin. And always dry his coat before you start brushing to avoid tearing at his hair unnecessarily.
It’s one thing to work on shedding from the outside with brushing and bathing, but ensuring your GWP is consuming a healthy, balanced diet can also make a big difference.
By choosing a dog food made of quality ingredients, you are giving all the nutrients he needs to maintain healthy, moisture rich skin and hair. Which naturally reduces excessive shedding. It might cost a bit extra, but less shedding means less time spent cleaning, and your dog will thank you for it.
German Wirehaired vs Shorthaired Pointer
German Wirehaired Pointers are related to several other Pointers who were bred for a similar purpose – locating and retrieving downed game as loyal, intelligent and capable hunting companions.
However, according to the American Kennel Club, they’re especially closely related to the German Shorthaired Pointer and PudelPointer (the latter of which is a mix of English Pointer and Poodle).
The Shorthaired Pointer is definitely more popular than the Wirehaired Pointer, but they share many similarities. For example, they both make excellent, well rounded hunters, and both make great family companions. So for the most part it comes down to personal preference.
But if you had to pick out the differences, Wirehaired Pointers are a bit taller and tend to fare better in colder weather given their thicker, longer coat. They also shed a little more at certain times of the year and are higher maintenance when it comes to grooming.
German Shorthairs on the other hand, don’t handle the cold as well because they have shorter, smoother coats. But this makes them easier to brush and they don’t shed quite as much.
German Shorthaired Pointer
- Short, smooth coat
- Low to moderate shedding
- Easy grooming
- Stands up to 25 inches tall
- Weighs up to 70 pounds
German Wirehaired Pointer
- Medium, wiry coat
- Moderate shedding
- Slightly more effort to groom
- Stands up to 26 inches tall
- Weighs up to 70 pounds
There’s no right or wrong choice between a GSP and GWP, it ultimately comes down to what you personally feel is right for you and your situation. But if you’re basing your decision purely on which breed is going to shed less and be easier to groom, the Shorthaired Pointer is the way to go.
Both dogs make excellent family companions though, and even though they shed, this is easily taken care of through regular brushing and some of the other tips mentioned in this article like bathing and proper diet. Together, these simple tips can help you spend more time with your GWP, and less time cleaning up loose dog hair.