, often called the English Pointer
, is a breed
developed as a gun dog
. It is one of several pointing breeds
The Pointer should be athletic and graceful. The immediate impression should be of a compact, hard-driving hunting dog, alert and "ready to go." The primary distinguishing features of this breed are the head, feet, and tail. Hound
characteristics are undesirable for show purposes.
Grooming English Pointers is not time-consuming. Their coat is very short and needs only a quick rub with a soft brush to minimize shedding.
Coat and colour
The standard colourings of the Pointer are liver
. These can be solid colours
, or a combination of white with speckles (properly referred to as "ticking") and/or larger colored patches. Here are Pointer colors as described in the AKC breed standard: "Liver, lemon, black, orange; either in combination with white or solid-colored. A good Pointer cannot be a bad color. In the darker colors, the nose should be black or brown; in the lighter shades it may be lighter or flesh-colored."
Most country's breed standards prefer symmetry and balance to perfect size, and most will allow an amount of variation if a dog's size does not encumber it in the field. The approximate measurements are as follows:
|Males from show lines
|| 25–28 in
|| 25–34 kg
|| 55–75 lb |
|Females from show lines
|| 23–26 in
|| 20–30 kg
|| 44–65 lb |
|Males from American field lines
|| 22–26 in
|| 18–29 kg
|| 40–65 lb |
|Females from American field lines
|| 21–25 in
|| 16–25 kg
|| 35–55 lb |
Pointers are even-tempered, congenial dogs happiest living indoors as part of the family. Pointers are affectionate and loyal. Their aggression level is very low to non-existent and they can happily co-exist with other dogs and often cats. Pointers are typically not territorial, although their size and bark will intimidate most people that come to your door. Pointers are very good with children, although young children and a clumsy young Pointer are often not the best combination.
While Pointers were bred to be a hunting dog, they are perfectly content given adequate exercise in a non-hunting home. Since they are a galloping breed, regular exercise is important for them, as it is for all sporting breeds. A securely fenced yard is a must to keep a Pointer safe since they are bred to hunt a good distance from their person. They typically do best indoors when they are left for the day. A well-exercised Pointer is a wonderful family member. Pointers are habitual "couch potatoes" who enjoy lounging on the family's chairs or sofas. This is a natural part of their desire to feel part of the pack.
The average life span
of a Pointer is 12 to 17 years.
Pointers are fairly genetically sound as a breed. Some problems that can occur in the breed include hip dysplasia, cherry eye, epilepsy, and allergies
The pointer is employed to find upland game
. In performing his task as a hunters' aid, there are some skills that may be expected when hunting with pointers.
- Point The dog should find and point out the location of birds.
- Honor Honoring is defined as when a dog stops immediately or within a few steps, usually in a pointing stance, upon observing a bracemate on point.
- Retrieve Pointers are not expected to be natural retrievers, but are often trained and expected to find dead or wounded game.
Pointers were bred to work with hunters. In the past they were sometimes used in combination with a retriever, to point out the game for the hunter. Pointers were also used as falconer's dogs. As early as the 17th century, sportsmen used Pointers to locate hares and then Greyhounds to chase them.
The history of the Pointer, like many breeds, is a reasonably debatable topic. (Cavanaugh, 1997). There are records of Pointers in England as far back as 1650 (Cavanaugh, 1997.) According to one source, the pointer came to be in the sixteenth and seventeenth century when pointing breeds including the Spanish pointer were brought from the European mainland to England. (Fergus, 2002).
Through both history and anatomical evaluation we see that at least four breeds were instrumental in Pointer crosses: Greyhounds, Foxhounds, Bloodhounds, and Bull Terriers. (Cavanaugh, 1997.) Each of these were established breeds with unique qualities that the Pointer could use to do its job; our forefathers were trying to build a very special hunting dog. (Cavanaugh, 1997.)
Pointers were brought to the United States where the breed flourished in the abundant open hunting land. At that time (late 1800s), the Setter was considered to be the bird hunting dog and pointers were not even permitted to compete in field trials with setters. Around 1910, however, the pointer began to beat the setter at its own game. The pointer has dominated the pointing breed field trials since that time. (Fergus, 2002).
One of the earliest dogs to exert influence on the breed in the US was a dog who was imported from England in 1876 - "Sensation " He is well known as the dog on the emblem of the Westminster Kennel Club.
One modern American kennel, established in 1936, and known for breeding large quantities of Pointers, Elhew Kennels produced a popular and successful line of gundogs. Elhew pointers were well-known competitors at field trials for several decades.
In the southern United States, where the dog is so dominant it is often simply referred to as the "bird dog", Pointers are found in abundance. The bobwhite quail is the primary game bird there and is considered classic English Pointer game as the bobwhite will hold well for a pointing dog. Pointers also work game birds such as the pheasant, grouse, and woodcock with success as well.
While the dog is often called the "English pointer" colloquially, there is no breed with that name registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC), FDSB (Field Dog Stud Book) or the FCI, and that name refers to the Pointer.
- Judy (ship's dog)
- Sensation, featured on the logo of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
The first Pointer was entered at the Westminster Kennel Club Show in 1877. Three Pointers have won "Best in Show" there, the first being Ch. Governor Moscow in 1925, second being Ch. Nancolleth Markable
, and the most recent being Ch. Marjetta's National Acclaim in 1986.
- Cavanaugh, Wayne R. Assessing the Show Pointer, Cavanaugh, June 12, 1997.
- Fergus, Charles. Gun Dog Breeds, A Guide to Spaniels, Retrievers, and Pointing Dogs, The Lyons Press, 2002. ISBN 1-58574-618-5