Sporting dogs are known to be excellent hunters — and at the top of the list is the classic Pointer dog breed. Considered to be a wide-ranging hunter, the Pointer is able to run for hours on end, while showing off its excellent bird hunting skills.
Like most sporting dogs, the Pointer absolutely must have plenty of daily exercise. These dogs are instinctively on the never-ending hunt for birds, even inside the house! Because of this genetic hunting trait, the dog can become a bit distracted by everyday matters. But don’t get too sidetracked by the high energy output of this lovable canine – Pointer dogs are just as gentle and kind as they are vigorous.
A Brief History Of The Pointer
History tells us that the earliest Pointer dogs were used sometime during the 17th century. However, they were not used to point birds, but instead to point hare, which, once pointed, the hunters would release Greyhound dogs to pursue the hunt.
During the 18th century, wing-shooting became popular and it was this hunting activity that the Pointer found it’s talent as an excellent bird locator. Any hunter who trained the ideal Pointer would have his dog find game, respond to its location, and remain perfectly still until the hunter could aim in for the shot.
The early Pointer dogs were reported to have many different blood types that made up their genetic make-up. Such examples include mixes from Bloodhounds, Foxhounds, older setting spaniels, and Greyhounds.
Today’s Pointer is the inherent mix of the older Spanish Pointers and Italian Pointers. Soon enough recreational hunting on large land properties became the most popular use of these dogs. The ideal hunting situation would have two Pointers used to locate a bird so that the hunter could cross-reference the canines’ points. This strategy was very successful.
Upkeep Requirements For The Pointer
The first consideration to keep in mind if you want to own one of these amazing animals is that Pointer dogs need an abundance of daily exercise. In fact, they top the list of breeds that need to run and play, day in and day out.
If your lifestyle is one that does not have lots of outside activities, or if you live in a small apartment, then Pointers are not the breed for you. The ideal home situation for the Pointer to be happy is one that offers the dog time to hunt outside, even on its own, so that it can enjoy running and scouring the woods for small prey.
Never expect this dog to sit in the house all day. Even one day of inactivity can cause a Pointer to become destructive. The best set up is to have a large open space for the Pointer to play in during the day while sleeping inside at night with the family.
Health Concerns For The Pointer
Healthy Pointer dogs can have an average life span of up to fifteen years, with most living between twelve and fourteen years. Major health concerns to watch out for include entropion with minor issues including hypothyroidism and CHD. Pointer dogs may occasionally show signs of deafness and cataracts but these health problems are rare. Veterinarians suggest testing Pointer dogs for potential eye, hip, and thyroid problems.
It is thought that Pointers hail from Spain, and they came to England at the culmination of the War of Spanish Succession, when British Army officers transported them home. Italian Pointers were also brought to England. These are the breeds that were bred with the Spanish Pointer: Italian Pointer, Bloodhounds, Greyhounds, Foxhounds, and Bull Terriers.
During the 17th century, hunters used the archaic flintlock gun. This meant that the dog had to locate the game, point out its position, and watch it, while the hunter prepared to shoot. Actually, two Pointers were utilized to find the game and to supply a cross reference of the game’s location. The first pointers came to England, when shooting flying birds wasn’t in vogue. After the game had been flushed by the Pointers, then Retrievers were used to bring the game to the hunter.
Pointers were in the U.S.A. in the middle of the 19th century. The Westminster Kennel Club was started in the 1870′s; its main purpose was to improve the Pointer. The Pointer Club UK was established in 1960. The AKC recognized the Pointer in 1884. Pointer clubs have been established in Bulgaria, Poland, Canada, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and other countries.
The features that mark off the Pointer are the tail, paws, and head. The skull is about as wide as the muzzle. There is a bit of a furrow between the eyes. The tail is thicker at the base and tampers off. The paws are oval shaped, the toes are arched and close together, with good padding, which is deep.
The Pointer is big, with a sleek coat, and taunt muscles.
Is This Your Breed?
The Pointer needs a lot of exercise, otherwise, he may be destructive. This is a breed for an active owner. He gets along well with people and other animals. He has a sweet nature. He takes months to housebreak. His coat needs minimum care.
The coat is short, thick, and shiny.
The colors are liver, lemon, black, and orange. It can be a combo of a color and white or a solid coat.
The hindquarters drives powerfully. The movement is smooth. The tail moves back and forth in pace with the gait.
Pointers are faithful, smart, friendly, affectionate, and clean. He likes kids. The Pointer is sometimes reserved, but congenial with strangers. He is kind and sensitive. He enthusiastic about hunting. It takes sufficient exercise for him to be calm at home. He is adaptable to changing situations.
The Pointer needs a strong minded owner so he won’t be timid or nervous or act willful, thinking you need leadership. The trainer needs to be patient, and give treats and praise to get a good response. This breed can be stubborn.