HEAD AND SKULL
Germany (F.C.I.): strong-featured, neither too light nor too heavy, proportionate to the body in size and length. Top of skull sufficiently broad, slightly rounded, the central furrow not too deep. The top line of the muzzle showing an easy curve, varying from a full aristocratic Roman nose to one with a slight elevation from the straight line, this generally being more pronounced in a male dog, corresponding with his typical overall masculine appearance. A perfectly straight muzzle is also permissible but less attractive. A concave or “dished” muzzle is undesirable.
The lips fall away almost vertically from the somewhat protruding nose, down to the point where they separate, and then continue in a smooth, well-rounded curve to the corner of the mouth. They should not be too overhung. Jaws powerful, jaw muscles well developed. An even rise from the chops to the forehead. Seen in profile, the eyebrows produce a clear stop. The muzzle must be powerful and long, to enable the dog to pick up and carry game correctly.
DEFECTS WHICH EXCLUDE FROM BREEDING: DEFECTS PRECLUDING A HIGHER CONFORMATION RATING THAN “GOOD”: Snipey muzzle. Sagging concave topline of muzzle (dished muzzle). Pronounced stop.
DEFECTS PRECLUDING A HIGHER CONFORMATION RATING THAN “VERY GOOD”: Lips too large or too small.
U.S.A.: neither too light nor too heavy, in proper proportion to the body. Skull is reasonably broad, arched on the side and slightly round on top. Scissors (median line between the eyes at the forehead) not too deep, occipital bone not as conspicuous as in the case of the Pointer. The foreface rises gradually from nose to forehead. The rise is more strongly pronounced in the dog than in the bitch as befitting his sex. The chops fall away from the somewhat projecting nose.
Lips are full and deep, never flewey. The chops do not fall over too much, but form a proper fold in the angle. The jaw is powerful and the muscles well developed. The line to the forehead rises gradually and never has a definite stop as that of the Pointer, but rather a stop-effect when viewed from the side, due to the position of the eyebrows. The muzzle is sufficiently long to enable the dog to seize properly and to facilitate his carrying game a long time. A pointed muzzle is not desirable. The entire head never gives the impression of tapering to a point. The depth is in the right proportion to the length, both in the muzzle and in the skull proper.
The length of the muzzle should equal the length of the skull.
FAULTS: a. A pointed muzzle b. A dish-faced muzzle c. Too many wrinkles in the forehead
SERIOUS FAULT: A definite Pointer stop.
Britain: neither too light nor too heavy, well proportioned to body. Skull sufficiently broad and slightly round. Nasal bone rising gradually from nose to forehead (this more pronounced in dogs) and never possessing a definite stop, but when viewed from the side a well defined stop effect due to position of eyebrows.
Lips falling away almost vertically from somewhat protruding nose and continuing in a slight curve to corner of mouth. Lips well developed, not over hung. Jaws powerful and sufficiently long to enable dog to pick up and carry game. Dish-faced and snippy muzzle undesirable.
My comment: Comparing three different description of GSP head’s, there is a great variation worldwide. The greatest variation is to be found in USA, as they import dogs from Europe, Australia. It gives a variety of bloodlines and very different types of exterior.
The least variation is in UK, where the gene-poole of bloodlines is poor, so type is the most consistent.
Europe has quite a great variety of types as well as gene-poole. There is a specific type of GSP in different regions of Europe: Balkans, mid of Europe (Poland), Western Europe (Germany), and Scandinavia. So there can not be one precise description of correct type.
However, all three standards disallow snippy or “Pointer-type” heads and dogs with no stop as dogs with exaggerated stop.
The planes of skull and muzzle should be parallel.
The expression is most important. It should be benign yet self confident, and in the presence of game, purposeful, alert and intense.
Germany (F.C.I.): “Medium sized, neither protruding nor deep set. Eyelids should close properly. Ideal colour, dark brown.
DEFECTS WHICH EXCLUDE FROM BREEDING: Entropion, ectropion, distichiasis (double row of eyelashes).
DEFECTS PRECLUDING A HIGHER CONFORMATION RATING THAN “GOOD”: not listed.
DEFECTS PRECLUDING A HIGHER CONFORMATION RATING THAN ‘‘VERY GOOD”: Eyes too light. Light yellow eyes similar to birds of prey.”
U.S.A.: “The eyes are of medium size, full of intelligence and expression, good humoured and yet radiating energy, neither protruding nor sunken. The eye is almond shaped, not circular. The eyelids close well. The best color is dark brown.
FAULTS: a. Light yellow eyes (Bird of Prey) are undesirable and are a fault.
Closely set eyes.
DISQUALIFICATION: “China or wall eyes.”
Britain: “Medium size, soft and intelligent, neither protruding nor too deep set. Varying in shades of brown to tone with coat. Light eye undesirable. Eyelids should close properly.”
My comment: All three organizations require brow eyes but not black eyes, which would be hardly seen and would spoil the expression. Very bright yellow eyes gives atypical rough expression and is undesirable. Size: should be medium sized eyes which are neither jutted out nor too deep set. The form of the eye should be almond shape but only American Standard mentions it. None of organizations mention the fact that the eyes should not be oblique.
Germany (F.C.I.): “Of medium length, neither too fleshy nor too thin, set high and wide set, smooth and hung close to the head, without twist, rounded at the tip. When brought forward, the ears should reach almost to the corner of the mouth.
DEFECTS PRECLUDING A HIGHER CONFORMATION THAN “VERY GOOD”: Ears too long, too short, set too low, narrow or twisted.”
U.S.A.: “Ears are broad and set fairly high, lie flat and never hang away from the head. Placement is just above eye level. The ears, when laid in front without being pulled, meet the lip angle. In the case of heavier dogs, the ears are correspondingly longer.
FAULTS: Ears too long or fleshy.”
Britain: “Broad and set high; neither too fleshy nor too thin, with a short, soft coat; hung close to head, no pronounced fold, rounded at the tip and reaching almost to corner of mouth when brought forward.”
My comment: At this part seems to be more equability talking about GSP ears. The shape is of medium thickness and length should reach almost to the corner of the mouth. Long Hound-type ears are not typical but preferable to small, Pointer-type ears.
All three organizations agree on the shape and length of ears. They should be of medium thickness, neither too thick, nor too thin as to be a hazard for a working dog. Ears are broad, flat and rounded at the tips. When dog is on alert and attentive the ears should come up and reveal themselves to be as described in the Standards.
The eyes and ears make a typical expression of the GSP. So it can be easily spoiled if the ears are on wrong position or eyes color is not correct.
Germany (F.C.I.): “Solid brown. Well-opened nostrils, sufficiently wide and soft. Flesh coloured and spotted noses are undesirable and are only permitted when white is the basic coat colour.
DEFECTS PRECLUDING A HIGHER CONFORMATION RATING THAN “GOOD”: Flesh coloured and spotted noses (only permitted with white as basic coat colour).”
U.S.A.: “Brown, the larger the better, nostrils well opened and broad. Spotted nose not desirable.
DISQUALIFICATION: Flesh colored nose.”
Britain: (from head and skull section) “Nose solid brown or black depending on coat colour. Wide nostrils, well opened and soft.”
My comment: British Standard asks for black noses on a black GSP and German Standard ignores it. However, brown noses on black dogs are simply not obtainable.
Interesting that the German Standard allows flesh-colored noses for white dogs when the American Standard, which contains the largest population of white colored GSPs, considers it even as a disqualifying defect.
Germany (F.C.I.): “Strong, with the jaws registering as completely as possible. The teeth correctly shaped and positioned, i.e. P4 (the fourth premolar) of the upper jaw partly overshooting M1 and M2 (the first and second molars) and the pre-molars of upper and lower jaw positioned alternately. The incisors should fit closely (scissor bite). The upper jaw incisors should not overshoot those of the lower jaw by more than the width of a matchstick (2mm).
DEFECTS WHICH EXCLUDE FROM BREEDING: More than two teeth missing (P1 and M3). Teeth missing (apart from P1 and M3). Teeth which are not visible count as missing teeth, unless they were declared present in the course of an earlier official conformation assessment. A bite which is overshot, undershot or crossed, as well as all combinations of the same.
DEFECTS PRECLUDING A HIGHER CONFORMATION RATING THAN “GOOD”: Pincer bite in a dog under three years of age. A pincer bite, which is confirmed as having appeared after the age of four years, does not affect the rating. If two incisors meet as a pincer, the bite must be rated as a pincer bite.
DEFECTS PRECLUDING HIGHER CONFORMATION RATING THAN “VERY GOOD”: A total of two teeth missing (P1 and M3), i.e. a maximum of two teeth may be missing from the total of 4 P1s and 2 M3s. A dog can only be rated excellent if it has a complete set of teeth.”
U.S.A.: “The teeth are strong and healthy. The molars intermesh properly. The bit is a true scissor bite. A perfect level bite (without overlapping) (pincer bite) is not desirable and must be penalised.
DISQUALIFICATION: Extreme overshot or undershot bite.”
Britain: “Teeth sound and strong. Jaws strong, with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.”
My comment: German Standard takes the teeth issue most seriously. Most judges world wide, strictly judges working dog breeds with missing teeth and incorrect bites. Many judges take hypercritical view of undershot, even at a very slight one and much less critical at slightly overshot dogs. Bottom jaw tends to grow more than the top jaw for puppies, so it is normal slightly overshot pup bite, which would transform in a perfect scissor bite not far later.
All three Standards disallow level (pincer) bite. Such bites cause the dog’s teeth to wear down very quickly, which is a serious fault in any working breed. Most important moment is that in addition, dogs with pincer bites frequently produce undershot progeny.
Germany (F.C.I.): “Length must be proportionate to build. Neck very muscular, slightly arched, becoming gradually wider towards the shoulders. Skin of throat fitting closely.
DEFECTS PRECLUDING A HIGHER CONFORMATION RATING THAN “VERY GOOD”: Loose, pendulous throat skin.”
U.S.A.: “Of proper length to permit the jaws reaching game to be retrieved, sloping downwards on beautifully curving lines. The nape is rather muscular, becoming gradually larger towards the shoulders. Moderate houndlike throatiness permitted.
Britain: “Moderately long, muscular and slightly arched, thickening towards shoulders. Skin not fitting too loosely.”
My comment: There is discrepancy between Standards again. American Standard tolerates only “moderate” throatiness, while other two organizations do not consider throatiness as a fault.
Interesting part is about the length of neck. Only ordinary moderate length is required but as we all now there are certain fashions in show ring, so long neck is one of the fashion aspects what might lead to better success. Some GSPs has such incorrect long necks today. Such breeders who runs after the fashion and tries to breed dogs with e.g. long necks, forgets what the breed was bred for. GSP is a working breed and they have to be able to carry big birds and even fox for a long distances what requires very strong neck.
Germany (F.C.I.): “Shoulders sloping, strong, taut muscles, shoulder blades lying flat. Upper arms as long as possible. Elbows laid well back, turning neither inwards nor outwards. Upper forelegs straight, sufficiently muscled, bone structure strong but not too heavy. Pastern-joints slightly angled. Pasterns never too upright.
DEFECTS PRECLUDING A HIGHER CONFORMATION RATING THAN “GOOD”: Badly out at elbow. Soft, overangulated pastern-joints. Very loose shoulders.
DEFECTS PRECLUDING A HIGHER CONFORMATION RATING THAN “VERY GOOD”: Slightly out at elbow. Toes too wide or toes too narrow when moving. Loose shoulders.”
U.S.A.: “The shoulders are sloping, moveable, well covered with muscle. The shoulder blades lie flat and are well laid back nearing a 45 degree angle. The upper arm (the bone between the shoulder and elbow joint) is as long as possible, standing away somewhat from the trunk so that the straight and closely muscled legs, when viewed from the front appear to be parallel. Elbows which stand away from the body or are too close, indicate toes turning inwards or outwards, which must be regarded as faults. Pasterns are strong, short and nearly vertical with a slight spring.
FAULTS: a. Toes turning inwards or outwards b. Loose, short bladed or straight shoulders. c. Knuckling over d. Down in the pasterns.”
Britain: “Shoulder sloping and very muscular, top of shoulder blades close; upper arm bones, between shoulder and elbow, long. Elbows well laid back, neither pointing inwards nor outwards. Forelegs straight and lean, sufficiently muscular and strong, but not coarse-boned. Pasterns slightly sloping.”
Georgina M. Byrne comment: A reading of the three standards, provides an excellent picture of this aspect of the dog. David Layton, during a lecture given to West Australian fanciers in 1986, made the point that a GSP’s shoulder blades should be at least two fingers’ breadth apart at the withers, for when the dog extends its neck to pick up game, the blades move closer together, and if too close will touch, preventing further neck flexion.
Although the shoulders should be well muscled, the dog should not look unduly “bulgy” from the front (“loaded shoulders”). When seen from the side, if the angulation is correct, the forelegs should be under the point of the withers. Short upper-arms are a common failing in the breed. The upper-arm bones should be approximately the same length as those of the forearm (this can be quite easily measured with one’s hands). Upright pasterns are another rather common problem, and should be penalised, for they can lead to knuckling over and the joint-breakdown in the older dog (McDowell Lyon 1950). Soft pasterns, another fault, seem to be seen less frequently in the breed. Interestingly, it seems to me that fine-boned dogs rarely “knuckle over” whilst heavily boned dogs quite commonly do. The dog should move with its weight distributed over the whole foot, allowing all the pads to assist in cushioning the joints during movement. The slight spring of pastern required by all three standards also aids in this joint-cushioning effect.
It is important when assessing puppies, to remember that slightly “east/west” feet may well correct themselves as the pup matures. ”Toe-ing in” usually worsens with age, and is often associated with an overly broad front and loose elbows.
All comments are based on well known and respectable Georgina M. Byrne’s book
“Der Deutsch Kurzhaar”.
If you are interested in books about German Shorthaired Pointers, you can choose among few of these:
This book is valuable for those who are just curious about GSP dogs or seeking to learn more in anticipation of training a German Shorthaired Pointer.
This book touches many different subjects. Written by a long time GSP owner and trainer, as well as a show dog judge.
The subjects of the book are training and hunting with German Shorthaired Pointer dogs, history, genetics, rescue, breeding, temperament, lifespan, kennel club information (AKC, not FCI), personality, as well as health information.
Hunter’s Guide is a book for those, who want to learn more about training German Shorthaired Pointers to hunt. It also covers the history of the breed to modern times, selection and care of puppies, and tactics for reading and hunting a pointing dog.
The book also lays out a minimal force training system for training pointing dogs that owners of other pointing breeds will also find useful. This system is designed to help the amateur trainer produce a quality hunting dog and family companion without resort to expensive training equipment and harsh methods.
This book is not specifically about GSPs, but all bird hunting dogs. . If you are looking for advices on how to condition your German Shorthaired Pointer or other bird hunting dog for possible field work, it will give you a very clear directions. It reads very well and makes a lot of sense. Some methods might be not yours, as forced retrieve training or so, but you will really find what to learn out of it.
More than 130 photographs show the reader how to bring your pup along, using the easy, informal, time-tested methods. This book might be very helpful to avoid making mistakes during the critical first months of a dog life, mistakes that could ruin an otherwise fine dog.