Hunting dogs were, without doubt, the earliest specialised canines known to man. In the Louvre, in Paris, there hangs a painting by Jean Baptiste Oudry depicting a very handsome Pointer pointing a pheasant. The inscription on the painting tells us that this was a ‘Dog of the Field’ of Louis XV. The painting was done during the last half of the 17th or the first half of the 18th Century.

The English Pointer is believed be derived from both the French and Spanish pointers, breeds that date back to the 18th Century. The Pointer has now evolved into a specialised field dog; one that hesitates and points out the position of the hidden game before flushing it.


Average lifespan
Pointers can live up to 15 years of age.

Average size and weight
63cm to 70cm
18kg to 25kg

Care requirements

Breed personality, characteristics & temperament
The Pointer is known for its keen intelligence and even, biddable temperament, which makes it a congenial companion both in the home and in the field. Members of this breed are alert and handsome and this is characterised by its unique dished-face appearance. Possessing an ability to point as a true, fixed genetic characteristic, the Pointer is a hard driving gundog in the field as well as a loyal and dignified companion.

Occasionally a Pointer can also be suspicious or even fearful in certain situations and needs firm, but gentle handling should this arise. Moreover, the Pointer is sensitive and watchful and will raise the alarm whenever strangers come calling. It is slow to mature, sometimes taking up to three years to reach his full size and weight.

Compatibility with other pets
The Pointer will live happily with all members of the household. Even hens and other birds are okay if familiarised with them early in life. It will display natural curiosity to wild birds and will point all around the back yard when they are present. It is inclined to be submissive towards other dogs on initial contact and will assess the situation from there. They are not an aggressive dog and will avoid conflict wherever possible.

Care requirements
It is a low maintenance breed, the short coat needing little more than regular brushing. When the Pointer gets muddy or dirty most will fall off the coat when they dry. They do have a seasonal molt and brushing with a rubber mitt will remove most of the unwanted hair. The Pointer has pendant (dropped) ears which need to be kept clean and checked regularly for any ear infections.

It will live happily in the house with a small back yard providing they get some regular exercise to keep them in good shape and to run off any excess energy. They love to play and will fetch balls and toys willingly.

Please take note
In the field the working Pointer is the master of gundogs. It lives in harmony with its natural environment, but in our modern society there are restrictions that need to be placed on the dog. Basic obedience training is a necessity and the Pointer is good at it. It is vitally important that the Pointer is socialised regardless of whether it is to be a companion or working dog.

Decision time

Ideal owners
Pointers are ideal for the person who wants an excellent family companion or working gundog or for showing, obedience or agility. They are a soft-tempered dog and not for someone who believes in heavy-handed discipline.

Click here for advice on adopting a rescue dog and finding a breeder. All information has been provided by the Kennel Club.
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