When people first see the English Pointer, they immediately think of hunting. The English Pointer is known for "pointing." No, they don't have fingers to point rudely at you. When a dog "points," they stand still and use their nose to identify birds and other game for hunters!
In addition to the Pointer's history as a hunting dog, they are also great family dogs when in the right home. Active and energetic, these pups are full of stamina and prefer a family that loves to move along with them! English Pointers are a very easy-going and loving breed that doesn't require too much extra care.
Find out more about this beautiful, bold dog and see if the English Pointer is the right breed for your home!
English Pointer Characteristics (Physical)
The Pointer is an active dog bred specifically for sports, so it will always look the part. Their body is powerful, agile, and graceful. The Pointer is muscular and full of stamina. This breed carries its head proudly and always looks intelligent and alert.
English Pointer Size
Pointers are medium-sized dogs. The males weigh up to 75 pounds and are 28 inches at the shoulder, but the females can weigh as little as 45 pounds.
The Pointer has chiseled cheeks and a slight furrow between the eyes. Their muzzle is a good length. They often have dark eyes. "The darker the better," according to breed standards from the American Kennel Club.
Neck and Shoulders
The Pointer has a long muscular neck. Their shoulders are long, slim, and sloping.
This breed's chest is wide and deep with well-sprung ribs. The tuck-up should be "apparent but not exaggerated."
The Pointer's tail starts off heavy at the root and then tapers to a fine point. Their tails don't curl and must not be longer "than to the hock." They never carry their tail between their legs!
The English Pointer has oval and well-padded feet. Their gait is smooth and "frictionless." The AKC states that their gait should "give the impression of a well-balanced, strongly-built hunting dog." When the pointer walks, you can tell they have amazing stamina and powerful hindquarters!
English Pointer Personality
This independent breed can sometimes be a bit strong-willed and stubborn. This trait may come from their days as a hunting dog. Some say it's best to find an English Pointer specifically bred to be a pet so they fit better into family life.
Pointers are loyal and determined. Though they are not watchdogs, they are known to warn their family if a stranger approaches their territory. They love being around their family and grow very attached to children in the home.
You'll find that the Pointer is quite active and rambunctious. This high-energy dog thrives better in larger homes with a yard — apartments might be too small for this very active dog. They are known to love jumping and tossing things around, so always keep an eye on them!
The good news is that English Pointers are not known to bark. If a Pointer barks excessively, they are most likely bored. They might also bark when a stranger approaches the house.
English Pointer Exercise
The English Pointer needs a LOT of exercise to be happy and healthy. An English Pointer that doesn't get enough exercise may become destructive due to their boundless energy. We recommend making sure your English Pointer gets at least two hours of exercise daily.
The best way to give your English Pointer the exercise it needs is by bringing your pup on walks, runs, and hikes. Put them on a harness (so they can't chase after animals on the trail) and take them on multiple walks a day. You'll notice that your Pointer can walk on trails all day long if you let them!
Agility training is another fun way to get your Pointer moving. Since they love to work, agility exercises will definitely stimulate in the best kind of way, leaving them satisfied and proud. Pointers love to have a purpose and mission.
Generally, any exercise will exert their energy and leave them too tired to cause any trouble at home.
English Pointer Training
The Pointer is intelligent and loyal. They love to please. But, their strong will can make training a bit difficult. It's advisable to get the Pointer obedience training as a puppy since they can be a bit strong-willed.
The Pointer isn't a dominant breed but they may get distracted quite easily. Since they were bred to be hunting dogs, sights, sounds, and scents can quickly take their attention. It's important to train them in a quiet location with little distraction.
Training a Pointer requires you to show leadership. It's important that you naturally take your place as the alpha so your English Pointer understands that you are to be respected. Once they acknowledge you as the leader, you can teach them easily (as long as there are no distractions).
English Pointer History
The Pointer is an English breed (hence the name). It's believed that they are descendants of the Old Spanish Pointers imported to England in 1713. The Spanish Pointer was introduced to England by a Portugal Merchant, according to the Cynographia Britannica published in 1800.
Other people believe that the English Pointer is a blend of the Portuguese Pointer, Italian Braccos, or French Pointers. A book in 1902 by William Arkwright claims that he couldn't find "any truly convincing evidence of Spanish Pointers being the foundation stock fo the Pointer."
There's ANOTHER theory about the Pointer's origin. Some people believe it was in England much longer than the introduction of the Spanish Pointer. It's said they were used during medieval times to find hares for greyhound racing.
The earliest record of Pointers in England is in the 18th century. According to a 1713 poem called "Rural Sports," they were used for hunting partridges. An English Pointer was also featured in a painting from 1725 with the Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull's dogs.
Earlier Pointers were heavier than the Pointers of today. When guns improved in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was more important for the Pointer to be fast and agile. Breeders crossed them with Greyhounds to increase their speed. Now, Pointers have the signature tucked-up loin of Greyhounds and other European pointer breeds.
English Pointer Health Problems
Compared to other dog breeds, the English Pointer is healthy and doesn't carry many genetic health issues. But, it's still crucial to only adopt a Pointer from a reputable breeder who can guarantee the health of their puppies. Here are a few issues the breed may face.
A common health problem with the Pointer is hip dysplasia. This means that the ball and socket do not fit or develop properly. Instead of sliding smoothly, their joint rubs and grinds. This results in a deterioration of the hip over time. Sometimes they can lose the function of the joint. For this reason, it's very important for you to bring your dog to regular vet appointments to keep on top of their health.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Pointers are also prone to progressive retinal atrophy, a condition that leads to complete vision loss. Your dog can inherit this condition, or it may develop later in its lifetime. If your Pointer begins bumping into furniture or becomes hesitant to enter dark spaces, we recommend taking them to the vet for an eye exam.
Finding a Healthy Dog
The American Pointer Club is part of the Canine Health Information Center. This health database requires breeders to submit hip and thyroid evaluations and eye clearance as well.
Always check with a breeder to see if they are part of the American Pointer Club! This ensures that their puppies are healthy. Trustworthy breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic diseases (like the ones above) and only allow the healthiest to reproduce.
How to Care for an English Pointer
The Pointer's coat is so short that they may need protection from colder weather. If you live in a state that experiences cold winters, you should consider buying a jacket to keep your dog warm. When you bring them outside, put booties on their feet so their paw pads become cracked from the cold ground.
You'll often notice that your Pointer shakes during colder months. Provide them with a warm blanket, comfy dog bed, and anything else that gives them some extra comfort. Too much shivering can lead to arthritis when they age.
Along with extra winter care, we want to stress again that Pointers need plenty of exercise to keep themselves stimulated. It's essential to set aside time to play with your dog every day. Teach them to play fetch and tug of war to keep them busy and tire them out.
For this reason, it's often recommended that Pointers live in a home with a big backyard. This allows them to exert their boundless energy. Just ensure that your yard is properly fenced because Pointers might run off when they see a wild animal or pet. Pointers can live in an apartment or city, but it's important to give them plenty of time at dog parks so they have the opportunity to run around.
CBD Can Help!
If you have a hyperactive Pointer on your hands, CBD can give a helping hand. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in hemp. It won't get your dog high. Instead, CBD calms and balances several systems in your dog's body, exerting positive effects on their mental and physical wellbeing.
Many dog owners provide CBD for their pets when they want them to be calm and less nervous. If you don't know where to start, you can try HolistaPet's CBD Calming Chews. These are easy to digest and will leave your Pointer feeling relaxed when they are getting worked up. They are also tasty and made with healthy, beneficial ingredients!
Nutrition and Feeding for an English Pointer
You should choose high-quality dog food for your English Pointer. This can include commercial dog food if you find a brand that has the right nutrients for a healthy dog. This includes a quality protein source, fats, fibers, and vitamins.
When looking for a dog food, always consider your dog's weight, genetics, activity level, and age. It's helpful to talk with a vet about what you should be feeding your Pointer. But a general recommended daily amount is two to three cups of dry food a day, split into two meals.
You might want to consider an automatic feeder to prevent your dog from gaining too much weight. This will ensure that your English Pointer gets the exact amount of food they need to maintain a healthy weight. Automatic feeders will also allow you to feed your pup at the exact same time each day.
Coat Color And Grooming
The Pointer's coat is short, dense, and smooth. The coat also has a sheen. Their fur comes in liver, lemon, black, and orange. These colors are often in combination with white.
Because their coat is so short, the Pointer doesn't require much grooming. But brushing can reduce shedding. The breed is considered an average shedder. Brush your Pointer about two or three times a week to give their coat a sleek appearance.
While the Pointer's coat is low maintenance, there are some other grooming requirements to consider. Regularly inspect their ears and clean them with soft gauze and an ear cleaning solution whenever necessary.
Also, trim your Pointer's nails if they aren't wearing down naturally. Long nails can make your Pointer uncomfortable when they are trying to walk or run. If your dog doesn't sit still to let you do this, an experienced groomer or vet can take clip them for you.
Children And Other Pets
The English Pointer is known to be very friendly with children, especially ones they have grown up with. But the Pointer should be exposed to kids from the time they are a puppy.
Sometimes toddlers can get a bit too rough when they play, so always watch how a toddler interacts with your dog. Pointers are known to toss and throw things when they are excited, and a kid might get caught in the crossfire if you don't supervise interactions.
The English Pointer is a natural-born hunter with a strong prey drive. They don't typically get along with cats and other small animals, so you will need to constantly supervise the Pointer with your other pets.
Pointers get well with other dogs they are properly introduced to and are familiar with. They are pack animals that will definitely bond with other dogs. They aren't known to be overly aggressive or protective.
Many first-time dog owners aren't able to handle the Pointer's high energy and excessive exercise needs. Their energetic nature can lead destruction and other negative behaviors. This is why English Pointers can end up in rescues when families don't realize how much time and interaction this dog needs to be happy.
Here are some English Pointer rescues in the United States:
- Pointer Rescue
- American Pointer Rescue, Inc.
- Illinois Birddog Rescue
- Dogs Hope English and German Shorthair Pointer Rescue
These rescues specialize in rescuing, fostering, and finding homes for English Pointers and other pointer breeds. These are breeds that require a bit of extra care, attention, and training. These nonprofits will rehabilitate English Pointers and get them ready for the right homes.
The American Pointer Club works to preserve, protect, and promote the English Pointer. They joined the American Kennel Club in 1888 and helped draft the physical breed standard.
The American Pointer Club notes that Americans desired a "wider ranging and faster running dog" in the mid-20th Century. To this day, Pointers compete in both the National Specialty and National Field Trial Championships. The American Pointer Club also hosts various events that promote the breed, including obedience trials, field events, and educational programs.
More About This Dog Breed
English Pointers can run more than 10 miles a day effortlessly. Some Pointer owners have told stories of their pups running up to 40 miles a day! And they can run a mile in under seven minutes!
Despite their hard-working personalities, the Pointer is known to love creature comforts. Some owners joke that Pointers don't see themselves as a dog and instead as a human family member! That's because your pup will always prefer to be involved in whatever you are doing, especially if it involves sleeping on a bed or cuddling on the couch.
English Pointers cost about $1,500 to $2,000. While they aren't the most expensive dog breeds, they still cost a pretty penny. But for English Pointer owners, the high price tag is worth every cent. This energetic, entertaining dog is great for active families that want a lively companion.