Pointer Dog Breed
Nicknames: English Pointer, Bird Dog
|Right Breed For You?||Generally speaking this breed is among the best for young families. Pointer dogs are happiest in a rural setting as they like to roam. They are not well suited to apartment living because of their exercise requirements. These dogs should not be tied up outside – they will likely become problem dogs if not allowed to socialize with family and friends. The pointer can be adapted to living in a suburban yard despite being typically given to roaming. The fence should be rather high and as secure as possible, as it may prove difficult to keep them in since they can hop quite a large fence.||Discount Pet Supply Recommendations|
|Height:||23-28 inches (61-69cm)|
|Weight:||44-75 pounds (20-34kg)|
|Life Span:||12-14 years|
|Litter Size:||5-7 puppies|
|Color:||If the dog is dark, points are given for a dark nose, and similarly, those with light (or even white) coats should have a lighter colored nose – often a tan or rose color. As such the nails may be either dark or light, depending upon coat and skin color.|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
This medium to large sized dog with dark eyes is a true sporting companion and a dedicated family dog that has become very popular in the 20th century, in part because of the breed’s adaptability to suburban life.
The pointer has been a member of the American Kennel Club since 1975 when all the different pointer sub-breeds were admitted as a single breed. Today, there are several breeds that have arisen from this genetic pool, such as the German Wirehaired Pointer.
Pointers are graceful sprinters and, even when walking, do so in a very smooth manner. Show dogs are to keep their heads held high for use as a kind of forest sight dog. Their hair is close and sheds readily, though not to a severe degree until the bi-annual molting. They have floppy ears like a hound, but a wider head with a blunter nose like a bull terrier.
Their flanks tend to be very well developed – this is a very swift dog, even over rough terrain. This ability to cover distance quickly and the fairly good sight their stature allows them the means to excel at hunting activities. When trained to follow a full variety of commands, they can be formidable sporting companions.
The Pointer tends to be fearless though polite when well trained. Pointer puppies should be well socialized with other dogs to ensure they get along with other dogs later in life, though it is their tendency to be agreeable with other pets.
As water dogs, pointers have a short and dense coat that is designed to repel water. They even have a natural sheen that helps keep them dry. They will feel smooth to the touch and be without waves or kinks like some water dogs. Pointers may have solid coats or spots.
There is some debate regarding the origin of the Pointer, but they are known to have been in England as early as the 16th century and bred for use as hunting dogs.
There is a great deal of hound in this breed, with greyhounds, bloodhounds and foxhounds in their genetic past as well as bull terriers. At the same time there was also a Spanish type of pointer that was probably brought to England and used in the breeding lines as well.
They were first brought to the Americas in the 19th century for the very same use and were well established in the Eastern United States by the early 20th century.
The famous dog Sensation is seen today as the emblem of the Westminster Kennel Club.
Pointers have been bred to be a good hunting dog in the woods. They are alert and ready to obey commands. As such, they are very trainable dogs and will tightly bond with a master and family.
Part of the reason pointers are so popular is their ease with children. They are devoted to their packs, and will tolerate all manner of high-pitched noises and ear pulling, while not being so small that a falling toddler could injure them.
Pointer dogs are also very much enjoy being near their human pack whenever possible and do poorly when left alone for a long time. They can easily suffer from separation anxiety and should be trained with this in mind when they’re very young.
They are, however, bred to be constantly on the alert with high stamina, so they will always be ready for anything you have in mind and perhaps a bit more. If not exercised enough, they may become restless and sometimes even destructive.
Owners will find that at least two hours of exercise a day will help keep destructive behavior at bay, but anything less than that and your dog might go a little stir-crazy. Those with wide backyards will be able to leave the dogs out for a while since they typically don’t bark very much.
Generally speaking, Pointers are among the best dogs for young families. They are gentle and loyal, while also being able to guard the house with a single low, deep bark from behind the door. Should the invader actually get inside your dog may not pose much of a threat, but most pointers will be aware of any incursions and alert you.
With their human families they are just as content to run along on a bike ride as they are to just lie on the couch. Their manners are very much like that of greyhounds who when retired from racing are famous as “couch potatoes.” Whatever the pack is doing is just fine for your Pointer.
Usually a rather healthy breed, some of the larger animals may have hip disorders later in life as a consequence of aging. They are hard running puppies and often injure themselves in the first year of life, though the injury is rarely serious.
Other genetically inherited disorders include:
- Hip Dysplasia: This degenerative disorder presents like arthritis and usually appears when the dog is middle aged. Typically this is carefully bred out of lines, and you should be able to get a certificate stating that both parents and hopefully all grandparents are free from the condition.
- Skin problems: Scaly skin and lumps are also an inherited disorder that can often be treated but not eliminated.
- Epilepsy: This may be triggered by certain activities such as driving in the car for more than an hour or so, or just happen randomly. Preventative medication is available from the vet.
Grooming regimens for Pointers are very simple. Their coat is virtually trouble free and a brushing, or even just a rubbing with a rough cloth every week or two will keep their hair down to a reasonable level. The hair is somewhat coarse and they usually enjoy a good scalp massage. The dog brushes with long rubber points will do a very good job of accomplishing both.
Your pointer dog should also be inspected regularly for the skin problems they are prone. If there is any significant change in your dog’s skin, be sure and make an appointment with your vet to decide if it’s something serious.
Like all dogs, pointers are susceptible to attack by fleas and ticks. If your dog has skin problems, you might want to consult your vet before administering a flea prevention plan. Sometimes the collars can cause severe reactions, and not all dogs can tolerate the sub-dermal flea protection. Natural remedies of flea control may be more effective for such dogs.
Their claws often are worn down with their incessant running, depending upon the terrain. If the ground is very soft where your dog runs, you may need to perform some nail trimming. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get your pup used to the idea of having his or her paw handled for trimming operations. Thankfully, pointers are not very willful and will usually submit to whatever treatments are necessary.
Their floppy ears may require cleaning every few weeks, also. This should very gently be done with a gauze pad, being careful to wipe only around the outside of the ear and never into the ear canal.
Since the sheen of Pointer fur comes from the protective oils their skin makes, you should try to avoid washing your dog as much as possible. A good rinse is allowable and many of them enjoy swimming, but a soapy bath should be an annual event.
Pointers need plenty of exercise, often in excess of two hours per day. This means that if you’re not keeping your dog out in the country, you’ll need to take him or her to the park very regularly or devote a great deal of your day to dog-walks.
Of course, few people have that much free time, and since they prefer to run around, pointers really appreciate having a nice big yard to tumble about in. As long as your fence is rather high, they should be able to be contained in even a suburban yard.
Sometimes when there’s more than one dog your pointer can get a little too much exercise, especially when one dog is old and the other is young. If your dog shows signs of limping or excessive panting in hot weather you’ll want to make sure you take him or her in for a rest and examination. They are such strong competitors, they have been known to literally run themselves ragged – sometimes injuring themselves and not stopping.
However, this rarely happens and you can be assured your dog will make a fantastic companion for hikes in just about anywhere. Their coat is short but dense, so they’re suited to most climates and conditions.
The Pointer is well known for its ability to take commands in the field, as long as the commands are well known. Puppies are often started from a very early age with running around and following verbal orders, though you shouldn’t expect results until you’ve really drilled the point home, since they are not the smartest of dogs.
For those who want to keep a Pointer as a companion animal only, the most important training involves housebreaking and socialization with other people and dogs. The same devotion to early and consistent commands is important.
You don’t want to confuse the dog, and positive reinforcement is certainly best. It’s up to you to give your pointer all possible opportunities to be a good dog and conversely, remove the chance for error, when very young.
Housebreaking can take awhile no matter how willing and eager your dog is to please. For that reason, it is, vitally important that you’re around constantly during the housebreaking process to take cues from your pup and keep an eye on his or her behavior. Many people use crate training successfully and the dogs derive great comfort from having a space of their very own. Be sure you get a sufficiently large crate to give your dog space to stand and turn around.
There should be no need to shout with a pointer- shunning the dog from your company is often more than ample punishment, though it is imperative that you never punish a dog for something if there’s been any amount of time between the deed and you’re discovering it. They simply forget what they’ve done immediately after doing it.
You should begin socialization training as early as possible, giving your new Pointer pup plenty of chance to play, off leash if possible, with other dogs. They are very rarely aggressive with other dogs, preferring instead to run and play. The same is true of new people whether in or out. However, if a family member is threatening your dog will respond with an impressive defensive display.
Keeping them well exercised is the key to successful training. They have a great deal of energy, especially when young, and will take to their education far more readily if they’ve had a chance to blow off some steam. As with children, hyperactivity in dogs can make learning very difficult.
Pointers love to hang out with their packs and will take commands from any member of the family as long as you all agree to a set of commands. As with any breed of dog, consistency is the key to effective training.