English Pointer vs German Pointer

Both pointers, originating from England and Germany, are very similar. The English and German pointers are strong dogs and have been widely used for hunting for many years. Whether it’s a bird, rabbit, raccoon, or some other animal, both these pointers have a strong ability to hunt. However, both have some distinct characteristics that separate them from each other, as described in the article English Pointer vs German Pointer.

english pointer vs german pointer

Physical Differences

Weight and size:

German pointers may generally be around 21 to 25 inches in size and a mature male pointer may weigh up to 56 to 71 lb. Whereas English pointers are usually around 23 to 26 inches and mature males are around an average of 55 to 70 lb. German pointers are shorter than English pointers in adulthood.

Appearance of skin:

English pointers most commonly have white-colored skin with brown, black, or orange patches, while the German pointer generally has brown or black skin with white or yellowish spots all over their body and at the front side of their face (around the nose). Hence, they can usually be distinguished by their skin color and patterns.

Hunting capabilities:

The German pointer is mainly used to help point birds to the hunter. As soon as it sees the birds in the sky, it indicates the right direction to the hunter by standing upright and using its paw to point at the bird. German pointers might leave their masters to help point birds but return to hunt side by side with their master.

The English pointer, on the other hand, has been used to hunt hares in the past. In the era where guns were not yet introduced, they would find hares and then another type of dog called hounds would hunt them. These dogs are used to working away from their hunter (master) and being independent. After the popularity of guns, the English pointer started being used as a gun dog.

Exercise and Training


Both these dogs are super energetic and love to stay active throughout the day. The German pointer is typically more functional and requires a high level of exercise daily. They can happily play different types of sports and are quite competitive.

The English pointer though does not need very high levels of exercise, fetching sticks or playing around with some active children during the day are enough to keep it active.

Keep in mind that both these breeds need some kind of constructive activity every day so they can channel their energy as they are not very accustomed to living in apartments or houses. If they don’t get their required exercise, they may find a way to do so themselves, and this could cause damage to your homely items.


German pointers are highly trainable because they have a natural urge to obey and please their owner. They can also be skilled in different things fairly easily. Owners of german pointers say that training them is important before they live with a family.

English pointers may be hard to train because their independence can cause them to be stubborn at times. They also don’t have the drive to please their owners as much as german pointers, hence they don’t try that hard. But they can be trained for tasks such as rescue searches. It is also important that they be trained briefly beforehand, so they can learn to live with a family.

Keeping hares and birds away from them until they are trained to refrain is a good idea, as they can trigger the german and English pointers into attack mode.

Personality of Pointers

Personality is one of the most important points for doing English pointer vs German Pointer.

Pointers are very intelligent and independent dogs, which is also why they make good watchdogs. Along with proper physical exercise, keeping them mentally healthy is important too. Since English pointers work away from their master while hunting, they think through any instructions before acting upon them, meaning they have a good work ethic.

German pointers are an affectionate and hard-working breed that is very loyal to its owner. They might easily adapt to living around other puppies and children, but mostly with older kids instead of toddlers.

When meeting new people, german pointers are usually friendly around any new people they may meet but they may bark loudly at first as an instinctive reaction. English pointers are quite the opposite; they may not instantly let their guard down around new people, rather will slowly start to loosen up. Many people advocate using this trait as being a good attribute for a guard dog for their house.


While adopting pointers, make sure you look for dogs who are checked up for health issues by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). Both English and German pointers are found to commonly be affected by diseases such as:

  • Epilepsy
  • Allergies
  • Neurotropic Osteopathy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy

German pointers are prone to cancer, as well as an uncommon disease known as cone degeneration which affects the eyes.

Moreover, since both these breeds have droopy ears, they must be regularly cleaned and checked to avoid problems. In case of any allergies, they both might be affected with similar symptoms like vomiting, high fever, etc. in which case it is important to consult a vet immediately.

Taking care of Pointers

Keeping them active

Even though both breeds of pointers are not the best suited for indoors, they may still be able to adapt and live comfortably. They love running, so if you have someone in your family who likes to bike, or even go for a morning run, then have them take your pointer dog with them!

Adult German and English pointers can also enjoy jumping around as an activity i.e. catching a ball mid-air, but jumping can cause stress on younger pointers, so it is best to avoid it.


Coming to their hygiene care, german pointers have a low amount of shedding, but usually consistently shed during the rest of the year. This can be taken care of by brushing and vacuuming your pointer regularly so that it doesn’t scatter around your home.

The English pointer doesn’t shed as regularly, which is why experts suggest that brushing them a few times a week should be enough to keep its hair off your furniture at home. In both breeds, however, you can expect a heavy shedding season, but germans shedding may still be considerably heavier than English pointers.


Furthermore, both these breeds may need to be protected by yard fences. The reason for this is that they are usually taught to run extended distances, during which they get so absorbed in running that they lose track of the way, so they may not be able to find their way back home.

Conclusion of English Pointer Vs German Pointer

In conclusion, there are many differences between German and English pointers, but both are also strong, loyal, and can be an affectionate addition to your family. They are a unique breed of dogs and a great asset if you are a regular hunter and want a sharp companion to help you get a good hunting experience!

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