Pointers make good family pets — but they also like to gallop on the moors,” said Patricia Eldridge, secretary of the Pointer Club.
“They were imported hundreds of years ago, from the European mainland to do a job of work. The Pointer wasn’t bred to do anything other than find game birds (partridge, grouse, pheasant) and they’re still used for that purpose now, in field trials.
“They were originally bred to quarter the ground, and range over hundreds of acres to find these birds.
“Currently, the bloodlines are divided between working and show dogs. Both types need careful training on the recall; their instinct is to go — and remember they’re known for their stamina more than their speed.”
Although working Pointers excel in field trials today, many live happily as beloved — if lively — family pets. The Pointer Club recommends training for all Pointers, and offers help with this.
Many dogs have a reputation for enjoying running, but there are sprinters, and there are marathon runners in the dog world — and the Pointer qualifies as the latter.
“If you’re looking for a jogging partner, a Pointer could be a great choice,” said Patricia. “They have wonderful temperaments, and need regular exercise. They are described in our standard as an aristocratic breed.
“For a family dog, you need to go for a show-bred Pointer, as working lines are more ‘hyper’. You do need to look out for tiny white hairs on clothes and furniture — and they love a cuddle!”
A familiar Pointer pose — doing what they love best.
With thanks to Lynda Rayner and Heather Smith of The Pointer Club.
● Life expectancy: 12 – 15 years.
● Price: £800 – £1,100 for a puppy; a lot more for a fully trained dog.
● Size (at withers): Dogs: 63 – 69cm; bitches: 61 – 66cm.
● Weight: 23 – 32kg.
● Coat care: A brush and the occasional bath. The dogs have natural oils in their coats that help protect them in all weathers, so shampooing isn’t necessary.
● Health status: No known points of concern. Because they are often out and about in grassy areas, they may occasionally develop allergies to pollens and mould spores, and ear infections. Seed ingestion can be a more serious problem. Cut paws are another
● Character: Noble, refined, and very alert, they have staying power and speed. A sensitive breed, they are non-aggressive, kind, and gentle. They’re very easy to live with if all their exercise requirements are met. Equally at home in front of a warm fire or out on a freezing moor.
● Trainability: Pointers are very biddable and extremely intelligent. It should be remembered that they were bred for a purpose, and this instinct is very powerful. Working Pointers have been selectively bred, for centuries, for their natural hunting instincts and biddability. Careful consideration should be given to a consistent and committed training regime because of these traits. However, this does vary from Pointer to Pointer, as each dog is an individual, and a training method that may work for one does not necessarily work for another.
● Exercise requirements: They require at least one hour free running every day. It is essential that they are trained for a good recall from a very early age.