Pointer Dog Breed – Ferocious Hunter Or A Cuddly Pet, That Is The Question

Pointer Dog Breed – Ferocious Hunter Or A Cuddly Pet, That Is The Question

The list of Pointer dog breeds is long, but most experts and dog lovers primarily think of the shorthair English Pointer when talking about the pointers. This skillful hunter full of energy is also a dedicated, friendly, and loyal pet.

Be careful when deciding to adopt this dog. It is not a couch potato and requires a lot of activity, daily exercise, and firm training. It is an ideal pet for a family with kids, but you need to socialize it on time to prevent inappropriate chewing, barking, and digging.

Everything You Need To Know About The Pointer:

1. History


Historians often disagree about English Pointer origin. Undoubtedly, the breed was refined in England, but its real roots were actually in Spain. The term ‘pointer’ actually described any Pointer hunting dog breed used to point at the game and comes from the characteristic pose the dog makes after catching the game’s scent.

Pointer history

Available data show that this dog breed was presented in England in 1650. It seems that English officers brought Old Spanish Pointer from the Netherlands after the War of the Spanish Succession in 1713, but it is impossible to say if it is the truth. Even though Spanish variation was slower, larger, and heavier, it had a desired strong pointing instinct. That trait was used to strengthen British dogs’ features. The breed was far away from pets we know nowadays.

As far as it known, the list of proven English Pointer ancestors included:

  • Bull Terrier
  • Spanish Pointer
  • Greyhound
  • Bloodhound
  • Foxhound
  • Setters
  • Bulldog
  • Newfoundland

It seems that crossing with setters was crucial in an attempt to improve the breed’s temperament. On the other hand, Greyhound added speed and elegance, Foxhound some endurance, while Bloodhound improved the dog’s constitution and scenting ability.

One thing is for sure. Pointers were the earliest specialized dogs that humans used for a particular purpose. These hunting dogs used to find prey, allowing Greyhounds to kill caught animals. Once firearms appeared, Pointer became the premier, highly ferocious bird hunting dog.

The US

Some historians believe that the first Pointers came to American soil with early colonists. Without clear evidence, the only sure thing is that the first Pointers came to the US before the Civil War. It was documented that southern gentlemen used them in quail hunting. There is an illustration from 1786 that shows how little Pointer has changed over time. Only its appearance is a bit more refined nowadays.

After Westminster Kennel Club was founded in 1877, it accepted an emblem with a white and lemon Pointer imported from England in 1876. You can still see the Pointer silhouette on the catalog cover. The AKC officially recognized the new breed as Pointers in 1884, and the first American Pointer Club was established in 1938.

2. Personality

English pointer hunting dog is a well-balanced, gentle, loyal, and friendly dog. It is the right option for a family living in a house with a large backyard. Give your new puppy clear direction and guidance to let it understand its place in the pack. Without a defined alpha male in the household, Pointer can take over that role. You don’t want that to happen, I promise you.

Pointer personality

Avoid leaving your pet alone since it forms unbreakable bonds with its family. It is better when at least one family member stays at home while others are out for a long to prevent separation anxiety and possibly destructive behavior. You can choose this breed even if you are an inexperienced first-time owner. Keep in mind that your dog can often bump into things, making it an accident-prone breed.

3. Temperament

English Pointer dog will be your kid’s best friend, plus it will get along well with other dogs and cats when raised together. Keep in mind that this breed is created as a bird hunter. Therefore, keeping it with a bird in the same home is not a wise option. It is focused, highly energetic, and quickly adaptable to most environments. Let your pet an opportunity to develop its instincts, and you will get an alert buddy.

Pointer temperament

Pointer is not an ultimate watchdog, but it will be prepared to protect you, your family, and the home it considers its own when necessary. It is rarely aggressive, but it will alert you to strangers and keep people at a distance when suspecting them a threat.

Most Pointers won’t bark a lot because this breed was bred to hunt and point prey in silence and secrecy. However, you can expect your furry friend to start barking in an attempt to show dissatisfaction when left alone for hours.

4. Size And Look

The average size of a Pointer depends on its type, gender, and inherited traits. However, you can expect an English Pointer to weigh about 45 to 75 pounds (20.5 – 34 kg). In most cases, its height varies from 23 to 28 inches (58.5 – 71 cm).

English Pointer
Height25 to 28 inches (63.5 – 71 cm)23 to 26 inches (58.5 – 66 cm)
Weight55 to 75 pounds (25 – 34 kg)45 to 65 pounds (20.5 – 29.5 kg)

Nowadays, you can recognize a few Pointer types, including:

  • English Pointer dog
  • German Pointer dog
  • French Pointer dog
  • Italian Pointer dog
  • Spanish Pointer dog
  • Turkish Pointer dog
  • Canadian Pointer dog
  • Hungarian shorthaired Pointer dog
Pointer size and look

Depending on the coat kind, you can recognize:

  • English shorthair Pointer
  • English longhaired Pointer
  • English wirehaired Pointer

Even though you can find white Pointer, white and lemon Pointer, red Pointer, blue Pointer, and brindle Pointer, the list of accepted Pointer colors includes only eight variations.

Pointer coat color variations:

  • Lemon Pointer
  • Lemon and white Pointer
  • Orange Pointer
  • Orange and white Pointer
  • Liver Pointer
  • Liver and white Pointer
  • Black and white Pointer
  • Black Pointer

5. Grooming

Pointer shedding is not a crucial issue, and you won’t have much trouble grooming its shiny, short, dense, and smooth coat. It will be enough to remove dead hair and dirt with a hound mitt or rubber curry brush once a week.

Pointer grooming

6. Exercising

Pointer dog exercise should include long walks, running, jumping, and much physical stimulation. Provide it with at least an hour of exercise a day to get a happy and satisfied pet.

Pointer exercising

7. Training

Thanks to its intelligence, English Pointers training is not a hard job. Pointer puppy will quickly learn primary commands like come, sit, leave it, down, stay, and quiet. However, training a Pointer can sometimes be tricky since this quick learner can pick up bad habits the same way as desired ones. Therefore, consistent early socialization is crucial in forming a well-balanced dog.

Pointer training

8. Diet And Nutrition

It is crucial to provide an adequate diet for this highly energetic dog. Baby Pointers require quality food rich in proteins, while you should adapt the size and number of meals depending on whether you have the medium or small Pointer breeds. On average, this dog will require 2 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food, depending on its age, size, gender, and activity level.

Pointer diet

A fully mature, adult Pointer needs depend on its daily activities and include:

  • 9 to 12 ounces (256 – 343 g) for a dog weighing 44 pounds (20 kg)
  • 10 to 13 ounces (283 – 368.5 g) for a dog weighing 55 pounds (25 kg)
  • 11 to 14 ounces (312 – 404 g) for a dog weighing 66 pounds (30 kg)
  • 12 to 16 ounces (340 – 453.5 g) for a dog weighing 77 pounds (35 kg)

Always divide that food amount into two separate meals. Stick to a routine and feeding schedule, and make any necessary changes gradually to prevent digestive issues.

9. Possible Health Problems

In general, Pointer is a healthy breed, but you should be aware of a list of possible hereditary diseases it is prone to. Responsible breeders always check dogs and will exclude those with genetic issues from breeding.

General Predisposition

Not all Pointer dogs will have a problem with common diseases.

However, you should know that the breed is more likely to have some of these conditions than other dogs:

  • Neurotropic Osteopathy
  • Chondrodysplasia
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Gout
  • Inhalant, food-based, and contact allergies

Older dogs are also prone to:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Aortic stenosis
  • Cancer
Pointer health

Genetic Predispositions

Be prepared that unchecked breed lines can carry genes that lead to:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Shoulder osteochondritis
  • Epilepsy
  • Wobbler syndrome
  • Entropion
  • Cataracts
  • Cherry eye
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Congenital deafness

That is the reason why purchasing a puppy from a proven and reputable breeder is so essential.

Necessary Tests

You should expect a breeder to provide necessary tests, including:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease, and hypothyroidism from Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.
  • Thrombopathia from Auburn University.
  • Eyes from Canine Eye Registry Foundation.

Always check the CHIC database before buying a puppy since all positive and negative test results are regularly published. Avoid breeders that refuse to do those tests.

The average English Pointer life expectancy is approximately 12 to 15 years.


Even though you can find different types of Pointers available, most people think of English Pointer when it comes to this particular breed. It is an active family dog that enjoys spending time with its family and requires vigorous daily exercise. Puppies can be rambunctious, and you should be careful if you have toddlers in the house.