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The Pointer is medium-sized dog with an outstanding ability to point out their target. Dogs in the breed are broken up into two general types: show and field. Field pointers are smaller than show pointers and are always very active, but both love spending time around human beings, especially outdoors.

Physical Characteristics

The Pointer has a lean, muscular body with a short, dense coat that is usually white, liver, lemon, black, or orange in color; some pointers may have markings on their coat. Its nose is wide and its tail moves sideways when the dog is walking about, but stands upright to mark (or point to) a target. This is also the reason for which the breed was given its name.

Personality and Temperament

The Pointer is a calm but alert breed. Its appearance lends to its personality: dignified, brave, and congenial.


The Pointer should be taken out for an hour-long exercise regimen daily, as a lack of strenuous activity can make the dog very restless. It is capable of adapting to both warm and temperate climate outdoors. Its coat, meanwhile, requires minimum care -- just the occasional brushing.


The Pointer has a lifespan of about 12 to 15 years. It is prone to tail-tip injuries and will occasionally suffer from deafness and cataracts. Some minor health conditions affecting Pointers are hypothyroidism and canine hip dysplasia (CHD), while entropion is a major health issue which can affect the breed. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may run hip, thyroid, and exams on the dog.

History and Background

The Pointer came into general use in Spain, Portugal, throughout Eastern Europe, and in Great Britain. (Interestingly, the Westminster Kennel Club is said to have been formed mainly for the development of the Pointer breed.) The first Pointers may have appeared in England in the mid-17th century. And though their original function was probably tracing hares, the Pointer’s natural ability and alertness lent itself to bird pointing and the sport of wing-shooting at the height of its popularity in the 1700s.

It may be difficult to delineate the heritage of the Pointer, but it is believed the breed shows traces of Foxhound, Bloodhound, and Greyhound crossed with some sort of "setting spaniel." It also thought that British army officers, upon arriving home after the Spanish War of Succession in 1713, brought heavy-boned Spanish Pointers along with them. Crossing these new pointer types with the Italian Pointers resulted in the reproduction of the modern day Pointer.

Today, the Pointer continues to be the dog of choice when it comes to speed, endurance, determination and hunting ability. The Pointer is also a wonderful family dog and excellent companion.

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