History of the Pointer Breed
The pointer’s ancestry is unclear, however the breed most likely arose out of the best field dogs of the time including the Italian or Spanish pointer, the foxhound, the bloodhound, the greyhound, the Newfoundland, the setter, and the bulldog. The Spanish pointer was slow moving, but had exceptional pointing skills. When the new self-loading guns became widely used, a quicker breed was necessary. In the 19 th century, setters were bred with the pointers in an attempt to make the breed friendlier and easier to train. Initially used to point out rabbits, the pointer realized its true calling around the 18 th century as a bird spotter. The breed points to its prey and then remains motionless until the hunter is able to shoot. Hunters preferred using two pointers in order to narrow down the bird’s location with both dogs’ points. The breed has a great nose, is quick, and has exceptional tracking and pointing abilities. It is not usually used to retrieve game; greyhounds are often used in conjunction with pointers for this purpose. In the late 19 th century, the pointer dominated dog shows and still surpasses all other pointing breeds in the Pointing Field Trials. It is a choice recreational hunting dog and companion, although it is not as common a pet as some of the other breeds.
Size and Appearance of the Pointer
The pointer is graceful and athletic with a muscular body and proud stature. Its expression is alert and its gait is powerful with endless stamina. It runs with its head up – sniffing for its prey – with its tail swishing back and forth behind it. The breed has pendant ears and a full-length, straight tail that is held upright when pointing. The pointer has a short, thick, shiny coat colored mainly in white, however any color is acceptable. Usual color combinations include solid or markings of liver, lemon, black, orange or tri-colored.
This active breed has only one thing on its mind: hunting. Even when playing in the yard, it is tracking birds. Loyal and responsive, this independent breed is calm indoors. It may be to too active for young children, but is affectionate and playful with older kids. The pointer is adaptable, intelligent, and gentle and usually does well with other pets. Although it barks at strangers, it does not make a good watchdog, because it is timid and easily distracted. Like most hunting breeds, there are usually field dogs and show dogs. The field dogs tend to be more active and obviously work-oriented, while the show dogs make better pets.
Pointer Recommended Maintenance
The pointer’s smooth coat requires minimal grooming. Regular brushing and rubbing with a towel will remove dead hair and leave the coat shiny. This breed needs an inordinate amount of vigorous exercise. It has boundless energy and must be given plenty of opportunities to hunt, run and track or it will become agitated and destructive. Due to its high activity and exercise requirements, the pointer is not suited for apartment life. It is not as social as some other breeds, but with proper training, it makes a great companion pet.
• Life span: 12 – 15 years
• Major concerns: entropion
• Minor concerns: CHD
• Occasionally seen: cataract, deafness
• Suggested tests: (hip), eye
• Note: prone to tail-tip injuries