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All About the Pointer Dog Breed

Updated on March 7, 2013

History of the Breed

The Pointer also known as ''English Pointer'' is a dog specialized in hunting and its name derives from this breed's tendency to ''point''. Pointing in this breed is not a learned behavior, rather it stems from instinct upon locating a covey of birds. It is amazing to see young puppies already pointing when they detect prey.

This breed was initially developed in England in 1650. Initially they were used to locate and point hares, then with the introduction of wing-shooting, this breed was used to flush birds so the hunter could shoot the birds on the wing.

The breeds that played a role in the making of this breed are likely to be the Foxhound, Greyhound, and Bloodhound crossed with some "setting spaniels'' land spaniels that crept forward and pointed their game allowing the hunters to catch them with nets. However, the exact breed components are a bit blurred and lost in the history of this breed.

  • This breed is categorized by the American Kennel Club as a Sporting Breed. It was approved in 1884.
  • This breed was bred to be a gun-dog.
  • Curious Fact: one of the first dogs used for making this breed was a dog imported from England in 1876 known as "Sensation''. This is the dog portrayed on the emblem of the Westminster Kennel Club.

The head has a pronounced stop and well developed nostrils



Size: Pointers are medium sized dogs generally about 23 to 28 inches high at the shoulder and weighing about 44 to 75 pounds.

Color: white with liver patches, lemon, black, orange combined with white or solid-colored. When dark, the nose should be black or brown. When light, the nose should be light or flesh colored.

Head: the head is as wide as the length of the muzzle.There should be a pronounced stop. The nose is well developed and wide open. The eyes can be hazel to dark brown.

Tail: the tail starts bigger at the root, but then thins at a fine point. It should never curl and the length should not exceed the hock.

Coat: the coat is short therefore the breed does not do well outdoors in cold climates. It is very low maintenance but sheds at certain times of the year.

Health Issues

Pointers are generally healthy dogs but they can be prone to several health conditions, often derived from poor health testing in breeders.

  • Elbow and hip dysplasia,
  • PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy)
  • Epilepsy
  • Deafness
  • Heart disease
  • Hypothyroidism


Energy Level: Very high

Trainability: early obedience is a must. This breed tends to jump and bounce around in its first years of life. The recall may be difficult because when this breed picks up a scent it tends to ignore every thing else. Pointers can be stubborn and independent even though they are not normally dominant. This breed being sensitive does better with positive reinforcement training. Sit, downs and stays are essential for teaching impulse control.

Child friendly: yes, just do not allow rough housing. This breed may knock small children over when young as they tend to bounce around a lot.

Reaction to other pets: this breed is generally amiable with other animals.

House training: having a sensitive nose, make sure you clean up previously soiled areas with a good enzyme cleaning product. House breaking may take a while.

Guarding; this breed is over all friendly, and will most likely open up to strangers once invited into the home.

Vocalizations: this breed may bark and whine when frustrated and not allowed enough exercise and mental stimulation.

Best home: this dog does best in a home with active owners. If you love to jog, this breed will be great at accompanying you. Fail to provide a good exercise regimen, and they may turn destructive. A walk around the block will not suffix with this breed. This breed does best in the home with the family, rather than being left alone outdoors.


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    • SUSIE DUZY profile image

      SUSIE DUZY 6 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

      I love dogs and found this hub very enjoyable.

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 6 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Great hub. We have a pointer called Molly and she is exactly as you have described in your article. We have a bed and breakfast and gite in rural France with a hay meadow and we're surrounded by fields and woods - an essential for pointers - drive you crazy otherwise. They also jump and burrow in their efforts to be free. I've written a few hubs about our dog, her puppies and their misdemeanors, and the puppies' new owners have made some hilarious videos of the dogs.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      I loved this one and thank you so much for sharing.

      I had a dog called Sonny many years ago , his mom was a Springer Spaniel and his dad a cross between a German Pointer and A Patterdale Terrier.

      He had many mannerisms of a springer and also i think of the other two breeds also.

      They are all working gundogs so I suppose it was not surprising that he had many of these mannerisms.

      I am bookmarking and useful/up also.

      Here's to many more hubs to share.

      Take care