Breed of the Week - Pointer

by Jamie Pyatt

The Pointer, along with its forebears, are hunting dogs of the highest level. Early representations of the breed were used to point hare, which greyhounds then chased. When bird hunting became popular, the Pointer evolved into a spectacular bird locator. Pairs were often used so that the hunter could locate the bird in reference to both dog’s points.

Sturdy Spanish Pointers were crossed with Italian Pointers in England during the early 1700’s. It is likely that other talented hunting dogs of the day such as greyhounds, foxhounds, bloodhounds and, now extinct, setting spaniels were interbred at some point in the Pointer history to contribute the particular talents that each breed possesses.

The Pointer as it is known in America today, can be traced to the Civil War period in America.

Pointers, with their distinctive profile, are the epitome of hunting dogs. They have exceptional noses, can be strong swimmers and retrievers; and with their natural pointing instincts are an exceptional all around hunting dog. This breed is always on the lookout for birds so can seem distracted –that is, until they are on point.

The Pointer is truly an athlete. A high energy dog, he requires a good deal of exercise and enjoys running and “searching”. A Pointer that is not challenged physically and mentally will become frustrated and develop unwanted behaviors.

While this dog’s reputation is one of being stubborn, bird focused and overly energetic, they flourish in a family situation, although they can be a bit boisterous around small children. Owners of Pointers find them to be gentle and sweet companions that enjoy the company of people, children and other dogs. They are friendly with strangers but are also good watchdogs and will alert you when they notice, through their keen sight and scent, uncommon situations.

The Pointer as a show dog is well documented. The Westminster Kennel Club was created primarily by Pointer fanciers and still features the silhouette of a Pointer named “Sensation”, as its logo. These dogs shine in the ring, partly due to their noble carriage. Head held high, nostrils flaring, tail straight out behind, whether in the ring or the field, a Pointer is truly an astounding sight.

All dogs benefit from obedience training and Pointers are not an exception. Early socialization is a must. A Pointer should not be shy or skittish but outgoing and confident and those are the characteristics you should consider when selecting a puppy and continue to emphasize through positive training methods. Patient and consistent training will produce a happy and well adjusted Pointer who will make a great companion whether in the house or on the hunt.

Versatile pointers can succeed in Obedience trials or Agility, bringing their enthusiasm to everything they do.

Grooming barely needs mentioning in regards to Pointers. Their short, close coat requires little brushing and only occasional bathing. Regular ear cleaning and nail trimming should be practiced.

The Pointer is generally a healthy dog. You should be sure that the parents of any puppy you are considering have Orthopedic Foundation (OFA) and Canine Eye Foundation (CERF) certificates but that is a basic requirement for ANY breed you are considering. According to the OFA website, there is a small occurrence of thyroid and hip issues. Entropian, inversion of the eyelids so that they roll inward and irritate the eye requiring surgery, is a concern.

For more information about this breed check out the American Pointer Club.

To find gifts and apparel featuring Pointers, visit and select Shop by Breed or Click Here.

During the month of April, get 10% off the Pointer Lead and Collar sets.