The Pointer dog is muscular and graceful. Their most distinguishing feature is the typical Pointer stance with tail and foreleg raised and head extended towards the quarry. They carry their heads proudly. Their coats are smooth, straight and short with a tremendous sheen and come in several colours – see the breed standard for details. Adult males measure 63-69cm and weigh 30kg and adult females are 61-66cm and 26kg.
- Category size: Medium
- Grooming requirements: Less than once a week
- Shedding: Little
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Usually quiet
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Gundog
- Alone: 1 to 3 hours
- Other pets: Medium
- Stability as a guard: Low
The exact origin of the Pointer dog breed is not entirely clear: whether they originate from Spanish Pointers or from Continental Pointers is uncertain. What is certain is that English Pointer dogs date back to the 1600s, a native breed to the British Isles, being used to 'point' game out to hunters. These early dogs worked with Greyhounds in hare-coursing, the Pointer breed being used to point out hares for the Greyhounds to seize. In the early 1700s, wing shooting came into fashion and this was when their true skills became apparent. To this day, Pointer dogs are exceptional hunting dogs.
Pointers are popular working dogs. As pets they are friendly and affectionate and get on well with other dogs and household animals if introduced to them early on in their lives. They love to be included in all family matters. They are not ideal guard dogs, greeting everybody in the same welcoming manner, but they will generally bark when someone comes to the door.
Pointer dogs are relatively hardy dogs. As with many breeds, hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems) may occur and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
Because they are primarily field sports dogs, a Pointer dog needs plenty of exercise. After puppyhood, free galloping is a necessity on a regular basis. Care must be taken when allowing them off the lead, as they are hunting dogs and, as such, will gallop off on their own. A fit adult needs two-plus hours of daily exercise.
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. This breed can be prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
One of the easiest breeds to groom, Pointer dogs only need a brush over during the moulting seasons. However, regular inspection of the coat should be made as skin problems can occur.