Otherwise referred to as the 'English' Pointer, the breed has been in existence for over 300 years, being referenced in records as early as 1650. The Pointer was originally utilised in hunting small game and birds, flushing them from the bush for the hunter to shoot. This powerful hunting dog grew to great popularity in the 1700s before guns were incorporated in the sport, being the favoured breed choice of hunters across Great Britain. The breed's ancestors are thought to have originated in Spain hundreds of years ago, and combined various bloodlines, from the Italian Pointer, Foxhound, and Bloodhound, to the Newfoundland, Bulldog, and Setter. The Pointer was introduced to the United States following the Civil War and was widely observed in the South, hunting quail. Officially recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1884.
As a hunting breed, the physique should be both graceful and athletic. The Pointer should possess powerful legs of a moderate to long length, a deep muzzle, large pendant ears, dark eyes, and a smooth, close-lying coat. Such characteristics would have aided the Pointer as a working and sporting dog, serving to promote endurance and efficiency, whilst protecting against rough earth, bush and bracken. The coat should be short and commonly coloured white with lemon, orange, black or liver markings. Tri-colouring, speckling and solid colouring are also seen, although solid white is considered rare.
A high energy breed, the Pointer requires both regular exercise and mental stimulation in order to discourage destructive behaviours around the home. In order to promote the best from your dog, early socialisation, consistent training and firm leadership is beneficial. When the Pointer is not being active and playful, it is otherwise cool, calm and collected, happy to relax with its family and display a gentle, mannered and sociable temperament. A Pointer should never be unduly nervous or aggressive. Weighing an average of 20-30 kg, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years, the Pointer is a great breed choice for active families or a dedicated sole owner, providing its needs for exercise and human companionship are met.
Re-bred for its inherent hardiness, the Pointer is typically healthy and long lived, susceptible to few breed-specific ailments. These range from mild to more serious. Hip dysplasia and associated orthopedic complaints, as well as skin allergies are commonly identified in the breed, as are various optical disorders, epilepsy and congenital deafness.