The Pointer, often called the English Pointer, is a breed of
dog 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 let go." The
primary distinguishing features of this breed are the head, feet, and tail.
Hound or terrier characteristics are undesirable for show purposes.
Hudson the English Pointer going best winner
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Grooming English Pointers is not time-consuming. Their coat is very short and
needs only a quick rub with a soft brush to minimise shedding.
Coat and color
The standard colorings of the Pointer are liver and white, lemon and white,
orange and white or black and white. Lemon and white dogs have a flesh colored
nose, while orange and white dogs have dark (black or very dark brown)
pigmentation on their nose and around their eyes. They may also be any of the
above as solid colours, the body of most Pointers is mainly white, but there may
be some body markings.
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 in the United States, from the
Pointer standard, are as follows:
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 who come to your door. Pointers are very good with
children, although young children and a clumsy young Pointer are often not the
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 good
sized, securely fenced yard is a must to keep a Pointer safe since they are bred
to hunt a good distance from their person. When left for the day, they typically
do best indoors. Pointers are habitual "couch potatoes" who enjoy relaxing 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 15 years. Pointers are fairly
genetically sound as a breed. Some problems that can occur in the breed include
hip dysplasia (displacement of the hip joint), cherry eye, epilepsy, and
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
- 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.
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
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, the
official breed name according to the British Kennel Club is simply "Pointer".
The same is true of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale, the American
Kennel Club, and the Field Dog Stud Book.
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