I've always had shorthairs as pets and bird-dogs. Most of them have been good at being both and a few have been excellent in both. The smaller strains seem to be more high strung and energetic but they'll all chill out with age. I have an 80lb male that lets my 18 month old crawl all over him, pull on him, climb on him etc. He's very protective of him in spite of that. My 50 lb female is high strung, smart and trouble but is equally good with my kids and becomes a lap dog after dark.
I've always found them to biddable and versatile more so than the Labs, Goldens and other breeds like that. I had a female you could hunt ducks with early, walk up quail mid morning, shoot a limit of doves with and then tract a downed deer if you needed her to. Then she'd lay down right beside my chair and bed to sleep. I never once taught that dog to retrieve, she just did it, same with housebreaking took her out a couple of times and she never went in the house again. My 80lb male is one of her pups.
Properly trained and dealt with, there is no finer breed of dog out there. Though I caution a bargain dog from a backyard breeder.