German shorthaired pointers are bred to retrieve wounded game from water. They have a water-resistant coat (and webbed feet) because of this heritage and should be bathed only when visibly dirty -- once or twice a year usually is adequate.
Run the shedding blade over your dog's coat from the top of the neck to the base of the tail using long, firm strokes in the direction of fur growth. This step is optional, but German shorthaired pointers are considered moderate-to-heavy shedders, so the more loose, dense hairs you remove beforehand, the easier time you'll have with the actual bath.
Wet your dog thoroughly with the hose or handheld shower nozzle. German shorthaired pointers are bred to be hardy, all-weather swimmers. It is acceptable to use water from a hose as long as the temperature outside is not too cold. If you are bathing your pup in the shower, the water temperature should be lukewarm or slightly warm, not hot. Your pointer's hair is water-resistant, so your dog still may feel relatively dry to the touch. Run your fingers through your dog's fur as you wet it to get the water all the way down to the skin.
Lather your doggy with the dog shampoo, beginning at the top of the neck and working your way to the tip of the tail, around to the belly, and down each leg. Work the lather through the fur and near your pup's skin. It should only take a moderate amount of shampoo, about the amount you would use to wash your own hair, to wash your dog.
Rinse all of the shampoo off of your dog with the hose or handheld shower nozzle, working from the head to the tail, from the top of the back to the belly and down each leg.
Wash your dog's face with the washcloth, using gentle strokes around the eyes and over the muzzle.
Wet several cotton pads with the saline solution, witch hazel or dog ear-cleaning solution. Gently invert each ear and wipe away any debris or waxy buildup.
Brush your pointer using firm, short strokes with the firm-bristled brush. Work in the direction of fur growth, beginning at the back of the head and moving toward the bum, and from the top of the back down your dog's sides.
Check between each of your dog's toes for trapped debris and gently remove any you find. This is especially important for German shorthaired pointers, as their webbed feet can trap burs and other matter, leading to painful and dangerous abscesses.
Stroke your dog's coat with the grooming chamois (or "shammy") to remove any remaining dirt, encourage the hairs to lie down flat, and bring out your pup's new, clean shine.
- American Kennel Club: AKC Meet the Breeds -- Get to Know the German Shorthaired Pointer
- German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America: All About GSPs
- Dog Breed Information Center: German Shorthaired Pointer Information
- Just Dog Breeds: German Shorthaired Pointer
- Dog Time: German Shorthaired Pointer
- Paw Rescue: Bathing and Shampooing Your Dog
- Towel drying usually is unnecessary for your water-repellant German shorthair. Brush your dog weekly to maintain a clean, neat coat.
- Be sure to use doggy shampoo, as human shampoo can strip the natural oils from your pup's coat and lead to flaky, itchy skin.
Angela Libal began writing professionally in 2005. She has published several books, specializing in zoology and animal husbandry. Libal holds a degree in behavioral science: animal science from Moorpark College, a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is a graduate student in cryptozoology.