The Pointer, sometimes called the English Pointer, is a medium-sized breed of pointing dog developed in England.
The Pointer is an adaptable, obedient, even-tempered breed – field lines in particular can be extremely active. Compared to other gundog breeds, the Pointer is more aloof and reserved with a lower need for human companionship, perhaps reflecting the blood of the reserved greyhound in its ancestry.
It is very good with children and other pets, as they can be very intuitive and sensitive along with active and playful.
The breed is happiest when they’re in the middle of the action and always wants to be wherever their family is. Thanks to its need to always be alert in the field, the pointer can also make for an adept watchdog.
The average lifespan of the Pointer hound is 12 to 17 years.
The Pointer is athletic breed that is built for both endurance and speed. They typically stand between 53 and 71 centimetres (21 and 28 in) with bitches being shorter than dogs.
It has a long muzzle, hanging ears, a tapered tail, and a short, smooth coat, usually white with black, liver-coloured, yellowish brown, or reddish brown markings.
The Pointer’s short and fine coat makes the breed well suited to working on grouse moors during the summer months but makes them particularly susceptible to feeling cold during wet and cold weather.
A noble breed, the pointer dog dates back to the 17th century. It’s believed that they are related to the greyhound, bloodhound, foxhound, and a setting spaniel in existence at the time.
The earliest recorded mentions of Pointers in England date from the early 18th century. John Gay mentions Pointers being used to hunt partridge in his 1713 poem Rural sports, and Peter Tillemans produced a painting of the Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull’s kennel of pointers in 1725.
Though they’re widely known as bird dogs, the original job of the pointer was to find hares for greyhounds to chase.
The breed adapted to point for birds when the use of guns during hunting excursions became more popular – they’ve remained extremely common as bird dogs ever since.
Before the development of guns, the pointer’s role was just as important, as birds were netted rather than shot. When guns started being used, the pointer was still needed to both point as well as retrievethe bird.
When hunting, the Pointer quarters in front of the hunter systematically with its head high scenting the air upwind, when a dog detects hidden game it halts suddenly with its nose pointing to the game so the hunter can prepare to shoot, when ready the hunter commands the pointer to flush the game to be shot.
The Pointer’s breed standard was formally adopted in 1936 and has subsequently remained largely unchanged.
The Pointer takes its name from the stance it adopts when it detects the scent of game, “pointing” at the hidden game as a visible signal to the hunter that it has found something and where it is – the breed is sometimes called the English Pointer to differentiate it from other pointing dog breeds.
Many writers consider the Pointer to be the ultimate pointing dog breed because of its sensitive nose, big stylish movements and flashy pointing stance. The Pointer is the most popular pointing dog breed used
by sporting estates in the United Kingdom and commercial shooting preserves in the United States, they are also the most popular and successful pointing breed used in pointing dog trials in both countries.
The Pointer is also used by falconers and austringers in falconry to locate the game to be flushed for the falcon or hawk to dispatch.
The term “bird dog” is usually used to describe all pointing dogs and setters, but in the United States the term is often used to describe the Pointer breed, particularly south of the Mason–Dixon line.
The average cost of the English Pointer puppy is between $400-$500. However, the price may vary with the quality of breeders.
The German shorthaired pointer is another sporting breed. Developed in Germany, it is an all-purpose dog that can track game as well as point and retrieve game in water. It is about the size of a pointer and has a short coat of solid liver colour or liver and gray-white.