Getting to Know Your Pointer

This week in our series on Getting to Know Your Dog Breed we are featuring the Pointer. The Pointer is one of the oldest hunting breeds from England, bred specifically to ‘point’ at game.

Life expectancy: 12- 15 years

Size: The Pointer is a medium sized dog, typically weighing between 45 to 75 lbs and standing about 21 to 28 inches tall.

Color: The American Kennel Club standard for Pointers notes they can be a variety of colors, specifically “liver, lemon, black, orange; either in combination with white or solid-colored”.

Origins: The Pointer’s origins can be traced back to Spain and Spanish hunting dogs, but they were developed in Britain in the 1650’s. They were bred to sniff out game and then point the hunter towards it. Since they were used for pointing before hunters used guns, they worked in coordination with greyhounds who were released to capture the game after the Pointer ‘pointed’ it out.


Personality: Pointers are dedicated sporting dogs, with a bit of OCD when it comes to birds. They can be a challenge for first time pet owners due to their intensity and energy level and they require mental and physical stimulation each and every day. They are dedicated family dogs and will play endlessly with the kids – the kids might actually tire out first. They also make great watchdogs as they are not timid and will defend their home and territory.

Health Issues: Like many sporting dogs, Pointers are susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia, but responsible breeders should screen for those issues. Other health issues seen in Pointers include eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy, epilepsy, and allergies. Their long floppy ears are also susceptible to ear infections and need to be cleaned regularly.

Fitness/energy level: Pointers are natural athletes and the “Ferrari” of sporting dogs. They possess a very high energy level that can be a challenge unless properly directed. Pointers that are actively used for hunting are best, but if you want one as a family pet, you need to be sure and dedicate 2+ hours per day for proper energetic exercise and stimulation.

Pointers are smart and eager to learn, so they do very well in field trials and obedience work.


Native foods for the Pointer:

  • Venison
  • Rabbit
  • Trout
  • Carrots

Good foods to feed your Pointer:
EVO, Red meat small bites
Nulo, Grain Free Trout and Sweet Potato
Merrick, Classic Real Beef with Whole Barley and Carrot

Fun facts about the Pointer:
Pointers were one of the first breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Pointers get their name from their ability to locate game and “point” literally with their whole body. Their body becomes rigid with energy, and the shape and direction of their body literally “points” to the thing (game) that they are looking at. They may even raise one of their front legs, giving the distinct pointing effect.

Pointers are known to display hunting instincts as early as 2 months old.




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