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Portuguese Pointer

The Portuguese Pointer is a medium sized gundog with the classically aristocratic domed head and chiselled muzzle, dropped ears and deep expressive brown eyes that are typical of short haired pointers. They have a robust yet athletic build, and an easy, elegant movement enabling them to go about their day to day with minimal effort.

The need-to-know
  • Dogs suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys more than two hours of walking a day
  • Medium dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Quiet dog
  • Welcomes everyone happily
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • Great family dog
  • Needs a large garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Can be left occasionally with training

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12 – 14 years
Weight:  16 – 27kg
Height:  50 – 58cm
Colours:  Comes in any shade of yellow from light to dark, with or without a red tint, and this may be a solid colour with white markings to face, tail and limbs, or patched with white on the body.
Size:  Medium
UK Kennel Club Groups: Gundog (Import Register)


Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 5/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 5/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 3/5
Portuguese Pointer running with mouth open


Described as affectionate to the point of inconvenience, the Portuguese Pointer is a very friendly, affable and companionable dog. Whilst aloof with other dogs, with people, they want nothing more than to be out working in the field, or snuggled up on a lap. Keen to work, keen to please, and quick to learn, the Portuguese Pointer is still an excellent working Hunt Point Retrieve (HPR) breed, and is the smallest of this type. They are quite sensitive souls and care should be taken to handle them thoughtfully and kindly, using positive reinforcement methods – it would be very easy to squash this happy, gentle dog’s character with harsh or aversive training.

Portuguese Pointer running on the grass

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Portugal

The Portuguese Pointer can be traced back to the 12th Century, and likely descended from Iberian hunting dogs. Their original role was to hunt small game birds – freezing, one paw raised, in the ‘point’ position to indicate where the game birds were in the cover. Due to the change in hunting laws, making hunting with pointers illegal in the 16th Century, the breed suffered and numbers declined.

In the 18th Century, wine producers from the UK who had settled in the Porto area discovered the Portuguese Pointer and brought some back to the UK where it is possible they contributed to the ancestry of the English Pointer.

In the 1920’s, Portuguese breeders made an effort to save the breed, locating ancient lines of Portuguese dogs, establishing a Stud Book in 1932 and an official breed standard in 1938. Portuguese Pointers were added to the Kennel Clubs Import Register in 2013.

Did you know?

Did You Know?

  • The Portuguese Pointer was bred to hunt small game birds, particularly the partridge, or ‘perdiz’ in Portuguese. In the 16th Century their name was Perdigueiro Portuguese or ‘Partridge Setter’.
  • Pointers and Setters basically do the same job; when they find game in the cover (undergrowth) they freeze, for the Pointer that’s a forward stance with one paw up, tail straight out behind, focusing on the bird’s location. For the Setter, it’s more of a frozen crouch, but still forward, pointing at where the bird is. This behaviour is not taught but bred in, you can see puppies of both types offering this in response to glimpsing movement on the ground from just a few weeks of age!

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