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Adopt a Pointer

Pointer Dog Breed

Picture: S. Janssen/Foto Natura/Minden


gundog, pointer

Area of origin:


Original function:


Average size of male:

Ht: 25-28, Wt: 55-75

Average size of female:

Ht: 23-26, Wt: 45-65

Other names:

English pointer

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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

Pointer Dogs Available on Petfinder Right Now

See more adoptable Pointer dogs available on Petfinder

Pointer Dog Temperament

The pointer is a true wide-ranging hunter, which means that he not only is an excellent bird dog but also has the stamina to run for hours. Consequently, he needs lots of exercise or he can become frustrated and destructive. Because he is ever on the lookout for birds, he is easily distracted from everyday matters, but he is nearly impossible to distract once on point. He is gentle and sweet but also can be energetic and boisterous at times. Like many sporting breeds, he can be found in field or show types; the field type is generally smaller and perhaps more active.

Pointer Dog Care

The pointer needs exercise, and lots of it. He needs at least an hour of exertion every day. He enjoys running and searching the wilds on long jaunts afield. At home he needs space to exercise outdoors and should not be expected to sit inside all day. The pointer needs canine or human companionship and does far better when allowed to spend time with his family. He requires only an occasional brushing to remove dead hair.

Pointer Dog Health

Major concerns: entropion
Minor concerns: CHD
Occasionally seen: cataract, deafness
Suggested tests: (hip), eye
Life span: 12-15 years
Note: prone to tail-tip injuries

Interested in the history of the Pointer dog breed?

The earliest pointers were used in the 17th century not to point birds, but to point hare, which coursing greyhounds were then unleashed to pursue. When wing-shooting became popular in the 18th century, the pointer found his place as an adept bird locator. The ideal dog would find game, indicate its location and remain still until the hunter could get ready to shoot, a task that was somewhat slow with the old flintlock guns. The early pointer probably included in his genetic makeup some of the most talented breeds in existence: greyhounds, foxhounds and bloodhounds, as well as an old type of setting spaniel. Different countries developed different pointer breeds. The large, ponderous Spanish pointer was crossed with the English pointer to increase pointing ability, but at the expense of agility. With the advent of self-loading guns in the 19th century, the slower working traits of the Spanish pointer became undesirable, so the crosses were discontinued. In the 19th century, crosses with setters were made, perhaps to improve disposition and make the dogs more amenable to training and less prone to try to catch the game. Pointers became popular for recreational hunting on large estates. Ideally, two pointers were used so that the hunter could locate the bird precisely by cross-referencing the dogs' points. When dog shows came in vogue in the late 19th century, pointers were among the most prominent of the breeds shown. Pointers remain very popular as competitive field trial dogs and recreational hunters; however, they are not as popular as pets as many other sporting breeds.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Pointer Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Pointers ready for adoption:

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