Why Do German Shorthaired Pointers Shake

Why Do German Shorthaired Pointers Shake? 10 Reasons

The German Shorthaired Pointer, often recognized for its agility and hunting prowess, (1) has left many owners pondering, why do German Shorthaired Pointers shake? This breed, known for its affectionate nature and boundless energy, sometimes displays a unique behavior of shaking or shivering.

While some might dismiss it as a mere quirk, there are various reasons behind this phenomenon. From natural excitement to underlying health concerns, the reasons can be multifaceted. As a German Shorthaired Pointer enthusiast or potential owner, understanding this behavior is important.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into the reasons behind this shaking, ensuring you’re well-equipped to cater to your furry friend’s needs. So, if you’ve ever found yourself puzzled by this particular trait, read on to uncover the mystery behind the question: Why do German Shorthaired Pointers shake?

Natural Behavior and Excitement

German Shorthaired Pointers (GSPs) are renowned for their vivacious spirit and zest for life. This exuberance often manifests itself in various ways, one of which is shaking due to sheer Anticipation and Excitement.

When they sense an impending outing or activity, their body language speaks volumes. The mere jingle of a leash or the sight of their favorite toy can send them into a flurry of excitement, causing them to shiver in anticipation.

This isn’t a sign of distress; rather, it’s their way of showcasing eagerness and an insatiable appetite for adventure.

Moreover, GSPs are not just land lovers; they have an affinity for water too. After a refreshing swim, it’s common to see them vigorously shake themselves, a behavior termed Post-Activity Shivers. This isn’t merely about getting dry; it’s an instinctual act.

Shaking off water helps regulate their body temperature and prevents hypothermia, especially given their short-haired coat. Also, after an intense play session or a rigorous training routine, GSPs might exhibit shivers.

This is their body’s way of releasing pent-up energy and returning to a relaxed state. Understanding these natural behaviors is key to ensuring your GSP’s well-being and happiness.

Environmental Factors

Just as humans react to changes in their surroundings, German Shorthaired Pointers too have their unique responses to environmental shifts. Their physical attributes and keen senses make them particularly attuned to certain external factors.

1. Cold Sensitivity

German Shorthaired Pointers, with their sleek and short-haired coat, are undeniably elegant. However, this very coat makes them more susceptible to the chill of the environment. Unlike breeds with thick, double coats, GSPs don’t have that extra layer of insulation against cold weather.

After a dip in a chilly pond or a romp in the snow, they can quickly feel the bite of the cold. Hence, it’s paramount for owners to ensure they are dried off promptly after water activities. A good rub-down with a towel or a brief session under a pet-friendly dryer can make all the difference, ensuring they remain warm and comfortable.

2. Response to External Stimuli

The world is a cacophony of sounds, sights, and sensations, and for a GSP, some of these can be startling. Loud noises, such as fireworks, thunderstorms, or even the unexpected honk of a car horn, can send them into a shivering frenzy. This isn’t just a physical response; it’s their body’s way of coping with sudden stress or anxiety.

During colder seasons, these shivers might also be accompanied by them seeking out warm spots in the house or snuggling close to their human companions. Recognizing these environmental triggers and providing comfort can greatly enhance their overall well-being.

Health Concerns

German Shorthaired Pointers, like all breeds, can exhibit certain behaviors as a result of underlying health issues. Recognizing and addressing these concerns promptly can ensure a longer, healthier life for your canine companion.

3. Pathological Shakes

Not all tremors in GSPs are due to excitement or environmental factors. Some shakes can be pathological, stemming from various health issues. These tremors can range from subtle, barely noticeable quivers to more pronounced shaking, often indicating an underlying medical concern that requires attention.

4. Hypoglycemia

A sudden drop in blood sugar levels, known as hypoglycemia, can lead to noticeable shakes in GSPs. This condition can result from prolonged periods without food, excessive physical activity without adequate nutrition, or even certain medical conditions.

Monitoring your dog’s diet, ensuring regular meals, and being aware of their sugar intake can help prevent hypoglycemic episodes.

5. Stress, Fear, and Anxiety

While GSPs are generally confident dogs, they aren’t immune to feelings of stress, fear, or anxiety. Unfamiliar environments, new individuals, or even past traumatic experiences can trigger shivering as a response to these emotional states.

Providing a safe space, consistent training, and positive reinforcement can help alleviate these anxiety-induced tremors.

6. Distemper and Other Diseases

Canine distemper, a viral disease, can lead to neurological symptoms in dogs, including tremors. Regular vaccinations are crucial in preventing this and other diseases that can cause shaking. Regular health check-ups and maintaining an updated vaccination schedule can safeguard your GSP from such ailments.

7. Pain-Induced Shivering

Sometimes, shivering can be a sign of pain or discomfort. Whether it’s abdominal pain, an injury, or discomfort in other body parts, GSPs might shiver as a reaction.

Regular physical check-ups, being observant of any changes in behavior, and seeking veterinary advice when in doubt can help address and alleviate pain-induced shivering.

8. Age-Related Shivering

As GSPs age, they might become more prone to joint pain, especially in colder weather. This discomfort can lead to shivering, particularly in the legs. Adjusting their diet to include joint supplements, providing them with orthopedic beds, and ensuring moderate exercise can help manage age-related discomfort and the associated shivering.

Related Post: When Do German Shorthaired Pointers Stop Growing?

Emotional and Psychological Factors

German Shorthaired Pointers, with their keen senses and deep emotional bonds, can exhibit behaviors influenced by their emotional and psychological state.

9. Separation Anxiety

One of the most common emotional challenges faced by GSPs is separation anxiety. When left alone, especially for extended periods, they might exhibit shivering as a manifestation of their anxiety and longing for companionship.

This breed thrives on interaction and bonding with their human counterparts. Ensuring regular interaction, providing toys or interactive games during absences, and gradually training them to be comfortable alone can help mitigate the effects of separation anxiety.

10. Training and Hunting Anticipation

GSPs are renowned hunting dogs, and their training often involves activities that heighten their senses and anticipation. When engaged in pointing or awaiting a command during hunting sessions, they might shiver in sheer excitement and anticipation.

However, it’s important for trainers and owners to differentiate between shivers of excitement and those of distress. Observing their overall body language, vocalizations, and other behavioral cues can provide insights into their emotional state.

Ensuring positive reinforcement during training and recognizing when to give them breaks can help maintain a balance between excitement and well-being during these activities.

Addressing and Managing the Behavior

Successfully managing a German Shorthaired Pointer’s shivering behavior requires a blend of observation, understanding, and timely intervention.

Understanding Your Dog

Every GSP is unique, and while certain behaviors might be breed-specific, individual nuances can vary. Observing your dog in various situations, noting triggers, and understanding their reactions are important.

Recognizing the difference between a shiver of excitement and one of distress or discomfort is essential. This understanding allows owners to provide the right environment, care, and interventions tailored to their dog’s specific needs.

Consultation and Veterinary Care

While understanding and observation are vital, there are instances where professional intervention becomes necessary. If a GSP’s shivering seems abnormal, prolonged, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it’s time to seek veterinary advice.

Regular check-ups can preemptively address potential health issues, while specialized consultations can provide clarity on more ambiguous behaviors. Veterinarians can offer insights into potential health issues causing shivering and recommend appropriate treatments or behavioral interventions.

Prioritizing your dog’s health and well-being ensures they lead a happy, active, and fulfilling life.


In the journey of understanding the unique behaviors of German Shorthaired Pointers, it becomes evident that their shivering can be influenced by a myriad of factors, ranging from sheer excitement to underlying health concerns.

As owners and enthusiasts, our role is to observe, understand, and act in the best interests of these spirited canines. By staying informed and proactive, we can ensure that when our German Shorthaired Pointers shake, it’s a sign of their vibrant nature and not a cry for help.

Embracing their quirks while being vigilant about their well-being is the key to a harmonious bond with these remarkable dogs.

Related Post: Are German Shorthaired Pointers Aggressive?

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