The German Shorthaired Pointer has been one of my favorite dog breeds since I took an interest in dogs. I decided to go with the German Shorthaired Pointer, faced with the choice of picking a Chihuahua, Rhodesian Ridgeback, or French Bulldog.
This was four years ago, and I haven’t regretted my decision since. I have entertained a lot of questions about my GSP and the most common concern is the way my dog breed sheds. The most common question I’ve been asked is, “how much do German Shorthaired Pointers shed?”.
German Shorthaired Pointers shed on a low to moderate level. They are known to be regular shedders, which simply means that they shed in and out of the shedding season. They have very thick, short, and coarse hair, which means their shedding isn’t easily noticeable.
German Shorthaired Pointers, compared to some other dog breeds, have very tolerable shedding. Although they shed all year round without breaks, their body hair is easy to clean and manage.
Almost every dog sheds, but if you wish to go for a dog that does not shed heavily, the German Shorthaired Pointer is a good choice coupled with a few others.
What the Shedding Is Like and How Bad It Is?
German Shorthaired Pointers are not the worst shedders out there. There are a lot of other dog breeds that they shed a lot more than they do. Take the Alaskan Malamute, for instance, which is considered one of the most shedding dogs. The GSP does not come close in shedding rank to the Alaskan Malamute or the American Eskimo, amongst others.
The hair of the German Shorthaired Pointer is thick, short and coarse. Some people assume that dogs with short hair do not shed at all or shed less than dogs with long hair.
This is very wrong as the length of a dog’s hair does not necessarily determine how much it sheds. The only difference is that the shedding of dogs with short hair is not as noticeable as those of dogs with longer hair.
GSP dogs are low to moderate shedders, which is excellent. However, the small problem is that their smaller hair is a bit harder to clean from upholstery and carpets but easier to clean on tiles and hardwood floors.
Below is the best way to describe what the shedding is like when living with a German Shorthaired Pointer.
- On the floor: My German Shorthaired Pointer is liver-colored, which is easily noticeable on my white color tiled floor. I either sweep or vacuum my floor at least once a day, so there’s hardly a chance of finding a large amount of hair lying around.
- Static cling to clothes: This is one great thing I love about my German Shorthaired Pointer. I hate having to leave the house all dressed up and noticing that I have dog hair all over my clothes. This is a great reason why my GSP is just right for me. The fur does not really cling to clothing items like the fur of some other dog breeds (especially those with finer hair). However, the hair can get stuck in fabrics. Because of short and pointy hair, it can mostly penetrate the cloth when the dog rubs against you.
- On the skin: I usually advise guests to keep their footwear inside the house because I have had uncomfortable moments with my dog’s hair on the floor. More times than I can count, I’ve had some hair stuck to the sole of my feet. This happens because of the pointy tip of the hair and is why I can’t go a day without sweeping the floors.
- On the hand when petting the dog: This is not a problem I encounter with my German Shorthaired Pointer. Their hair is so short and coarse that it doesn’t stick to the hands. The only way this happens is if your hands are wet when you touch the dog. But if they are not, you don’t have to worry about getting hair on your hands when you play with your dog.
- Shedding on the couch and other upholstery: Getting the hair off the couch or curtain will present a bit of a problem. You won’t find hair clinging to your couch’s fabric, but you will find it sticking into it. Regular vacuuming won’t get the hair out of the fabrics, so you’ll have to get creative.
- Allergies: German Shorthaired Pointers are not hypoallergenic, which means their shedding can get to you if you’re allergic to dog dander. Of course, there are ways to prevent (as much as possible) allergic reactions to German Shorthaired Pointers if you own one. But if you’d rather not risk it, then you can consider adopting other dog breeds that are known to be somewhat hypoallergenic.
Although German Shorthaired Pointers are known to shed all year long, there are seasons they shed more than others. Like most dogs, the German Shorthaired Pointer sheds more during the Spring and Fall.
Climate can also affect your German Shorthaired Pointer’s shedding. Where you live is a significant determinant of how much your GSP sheds. Living in a warm environment all year round will leave your Pointer shedding continuously to stay cooler.
Being a GSP owner, you do not need a lot to keep your dog adequately maintained. The fact is that they are not heavy shedders even though they shed all year round.
Because their coat is short, they do not hold on to dirt even when they roll around outdoors. A few baths every few months is enough to keep your Pointer clean.
How to Reduce the Shedding?
The German Shorthaired Pointer, as we have already established, is not a heavy shedder. This is good news, of course, but there are other ways you can reduce the shedding even more.
Some things can be done to make your Pointer shed a lot less than it is shedding presently. I have put together a list of things that I and some other German Shorthaired Pointer owners do to reduce shedding.
Best methods/tips for reducing shedding in German Shorthaired Pointers:
- Regular brushing: If possible, you should make brushing your dog’s hair a daily routine. Use a firm bristle brush, rubber grooming hand mitt, or a fine-tooth comb to gently brush your Pointer’s coat. This will help in removing loose and dead hair, which will reduce shedding. It will also help in spreading the natural skin oils all over his coat.
- Bathing: Bath your Pointer about two times every month. It is essential not to over-bathe him because it can lead to skin irritation. This, in turn, can lead to excessive shedding of fur.
- Wipe the coat using a wet cloth: While bathing should be carried out once or twice a month, you should clean your dog’s coat with a wet cloth at least once a week. This will help in removing dead hair and preventing them from falling off all over the house.
- Invest in the right shampoo: Shampoos can either help reduce the way your Pointer sheds or increase it exponentially. The wrong shampoo can be an irritant to your dog’s skin and cause an increase in shedding. Oatmeal shampoos will help in improving the health of your dog’s skin, thereby reducing the shedding.
- Add olive oil or flaxseed oil to meals: Olive oil and flaxseed oils are rich in Omega-6 and Omega-3 acids, which can improve your dog’s coat. Adding a teaspoon of either of this oil to your dog’s meal will go a long way.
You can give these methods on how to reduce shedding in GSPs a try. Indeed, this dog breed does not shed as much as most, but if you can reduce the shedding even more, why not do it? These methods do not only curb excess shedding but also help leave your Pointer healthy and well-cared for.
Dealing With Shedding in the House
I usually do not have problems cleaning up my dog’s hair around the house. Maybe this because I’ve been doing it for a while now, and it’s become normal.
Vacuuming the entire house every day takes care of most of the hair problem. But merely vacuuming will not get rid of all the hair in the house, especially those that have worked their way into difficult areas.
I have a leather couch, so my dog’s hair never sticks into it. This gives me one less place to worry about cleaning. However, if your couch is made of fabric, your German-Shorthaired Pointer’s hair will surely stick into it. Getting rid of this hair will not be as easy as vacuuming the floors because of how short and pointy the hair is.
The hair’s ends hook themselves into the fabric of your couch (even your bed if you allow your dog to share it). I have asked a couple of friends and acquaintances who own GSPs how they get dog hair out of their fabric couch.
According to my experience, a regular vacuum will not get the job done. What you need is a vacuum attachment with bristles. Even with that, you’ll have to go back and forth a couple of times over each spot.
This will gradually loosen the hair from the fabric but won’t pull them out altogether. To get the hair out completely, you’ll need a lint roller to pull out all the hair.
For your floors, a simple sweeping or vacuuming will be enough. This shouldn’t take you a long time to finish, depending on the size of your apartment.
There are a few areas my vacuum cannot get into, like the edge of the wall or front of the stairs. To get the hair out of these places, I usually need to improvise. The simple technique I use is to wipe the whole area with a wet paper towel. The hair sticks to wet materials like the paper towel so you can wipe and discard.
Spotting Abnormal Shedding
Shedding is normal for your dog. It is another act of nature that cannot be avoided. However, there are times when you may notice some abnormalities in the way your dog sheds. One such abnormality is noticing your dog has uneven loss of hair.
When dogs shed, it’s usually a full-body process. Every part of the body with hair sheds some. It becomes abnormal when there’s hair loss in only a few areas. And it is also definitely a problem when the hair loss comes with skin irritation, a fever, or redness.
When you notice these signs, it may be as a result of specific problems. In some cases, it might be due to the type of food you feed your dog. Poor diets most times causes dogs to have poor coats.
If the first ingredient in your dog’s food is grain, you should change that. Also, make sure your dog gets all the minerals and vitamins they need.
Another potential cause of abnormal shedding in your German Shorthaired Pointer is ticks, fleas, or internal parasites. These causes skin irritation and will lead your dog to scratch excessively. This certainly also leads to shedding.
The best bet for you and your dog is to visit the vet whenever you notice any of these signs. Try not to self medicate as you might not know the exact cause of the abnormal shedding.
Also, pay attention to your dog as early detection will help curb or manage whatever issue your German Shorthaired Pointer is prone to.
My Final Thoughts
German Shorthaired Pointers are a low maintenance breed. They shed on a low to moderate level, and grooming them is pretty easy. A weekly grooming schedule is enough to reduce their shedding: brushing and a quick bath every week is all it takes.
This means you don’t exactly have to hire a professional groomer. Grooming time could just be a bonding time for you and your Pointer.
Getting quality grooming tools will go a long way to help with the process. For instance, a dual-sided brush will be great. Also, invest in quality products and food for your dog.
Get the best shampoos and keep your dog’s diet healthy. Not only will it save you some unnecessary vet bill, but it will also leave your dog healthy and happy.