Problems With German Wirehaired Pointers

German wirehaired pointers can have personality and health problems.
German wirehaired pointers can have personality and health problems. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

German wirehaired pointers are extremely intelligent, active and loyal; and make excellent hunters and watchdogs. As with all dogs, though, German wirehaired pointers have some problems related to their breed. However, they are easy to train and with some diligence behavior issues can be eradicated. The majority of the problems with this dog are health issues related to walking, infections, eye problems and disease. But, overall, German wirehaired pointers are healthy and problems they may encounter are rare.

Personality Issues

The German wirehaired pointer can be bossy and high strung. This dog needs a strong leader and it is important for the dog to know that human family members are the leaders. If an owner is passive, this dog will take charge and will also dominate other animals. When walking the German wirehaired pointer, it is important that the dog walks next to or behind you. The human needs to lead at all times or the dog will think it’s in charge. While not unfriendly, this pointer can be aloof with strangers as well.


German wirehaired pointers may experience dysplasia and trouble walking. Hip dysplasia causes the dog to limp on its hind leg or become lame. The dog may hop like a rabbit when it experiences hip dysplasia, which is painful and uncomfortable for the dog. The dysplasia begins when the dog is still a puppy. Elbow dysplasia also occurs. The front leg elbow joints will cause pain and lameness in the dog. This dysplasia is most likely something the dog is born with and the symptoms will occur within the first year of the dog’s life.


Interdigital dermatitis is an infection that causes pus-filled sacs to form between the dog’s toes. The dog will lick and bite the sacs until they burst. Another infection that affects German wirehaired pointers is otitis externa. This infection of the outer ear is caused by ear hair, ear wax, moisture and dirt that create bacteria. They are also prone to histoplasmosis, a fungus infection from animal manure including animals such as birds, chicken and bats. Histoplasmosis causes weight loss, diarrhea, fever, mucus, breathing issues and cough.

Eye Problems

Entropio is an eye irritation that can be hereditary. Entropio may cause eye spasms as the eyelids and lashes roll inward. The dog will experience tearing and may have the eyes partially shut. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is hereditary and is untreatable. This eye issue will unfortunately cause blindness in the dog. The German wirehaired pointer can also suffer from cataracts and will have cloudy vision that could lead to blindness if untreated.


Diabetes can occur in German wirehaired pointers, which requires regular insulin injections and a change in diet. German wirehairs may also experience aortic stenosis, a hereditary heart defect where blood does not flow as well to the heart, causing it to work harder. If the condition is serious, the dog will not be able to exercise and may faint or die. Hypothyroidism disease is caused by an underactive thyroid gland, which reduces the dog’s metabolism. The dog may be lethargic, depressed and gain weight or have hair loss or dry skin. German wirehaired pointers also may develop mast cell cancerous tumors or oropharyngeal malignant melanomas, which are cancerous tumors in the mouth and pharynx. They may also suffer from Von Willebrand’s Disease, which causes the dog to be unable to clot when bleeding. Gastric Torsion is another aliment common to the breed and causes a bloated stomach. Symptoms include drooling, anxiety, heavy breathing, attempting to vomit or collapse.

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