The Wirehaired Pointer was developed in Germany in the mid 1800s as an all-around hunting dog. Before then, hunting for sport was reserved to the nobility and large landowners. In around 1850, hunting became popular regardless of class distinction – especially the hunting of game birds. Over time, the number of hunting enthusiasts, and hence the number of specialized hunting dogs, steadily grew. Some lines became particularly adept at pointing out birds in forests and fields, while others became better at retrieving from land and/or from water. Many European sportsmen wanted an all-purpose gun dog that would hunt more than one type of game and also flush, point and retrieve. More versatile sporting dogs became increasingly popular.
In Germany, the Deutsch-Drahthaar, which means German Wirehair, was one of those breeds. The early wirehaired pointers typically came from crosses of Griffon, Stichelhaar, Pudelpointer and German Shorthair. The Pudelpointer derived from a cross between a Poodle dog and an English Pointer bitch. The Griffon and Stichelhaar descended from crosses of Pointer, Foxhound, Pudelpointer and Polish water dog. The focus of developing this new breed was create an all-purpose, extra hardy retrieving and pointing gun-dog, with a weather- and water-resistant protective coat, that could and would work on any kind of game and hunt in conditions and on terrains of all types. With selective inbreeding and out-crossing, German hunters refined the German Wirehaired Pointer, which flushed, pointed and retrieved equally well on land and in water, was keen-nosed and constitutionally tough, and had the coat and courage to work under any conditions.
The Drahthaar was admitted into the German Kartell (Kennel Club) in 1928. The official parent club and registry in Germany is the Verein Deutsch-Drahthaar. Wirehairs came to the United States in the 1920s, and in 1953 the German Drahthaar Club of America was founded. The German Wirehaired Pointer was admitted into the American Kennel Club’s Stud Book in 1959, and the parent club’s name was officially changed to the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America.
The average life expectancy of the Wirehair is between 12 and 14 years. Breed health concerns include cataracts, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, ear infections and skin cancer.