The classic gun dog for hunting, the English pointer was one of the first breeds developed specifically to stand game. By the 18th century, sportsmen favored the pointer as a gun dog. Pointer bloodlines include greyhound, setters, bloodhounds and foxhound. The modern pointer resembles his ancestors back 200 years ago.
At maturity, the English pointer height at the shoulder ranges between 23 to 28 inches, with a weight between 44 and 75 pounds. Males are larger than females.
The pointer, with his short, easy-to-care-for coat, requires little grooming. He sheds an average amount. Pointer colors range from lemon, actually a blond shade, to black, brown, liver or an orangey hue. While the pointer often has a great deal of white on his body along with ticking, those freckle-like spots of his darker body color, solid colors are acceptable in the breed standard. Darker pointers have brown noses, while the lighter colors have light noses. Since the dogs are bred for utility, as the American Kennel Club standard notes, "A good pointer is never a bad color."
Good-natured and intelligent, pointers are also affectionate and good with kids. This is not the dog for an apartment dweller -- pointers need room to run. If you're an active person or have an active family, he can make a good dog for you. Warning -- this dog never gets tired. He's bred to run all day. If you're a jogger, you've got a companion for your outings. Pointers get along well with other pets.
Unlike some other hunting breeds, such as the Labrador retriever, which are now primarily house dogs, the English pointer is still bred primarily for the field. While the pointer can make a good house dog, he requires a great deal of exercise. Hunters like these animals because of their natural hunting instincts and easy trainability. If your pointer is both a hunting and house dog, make sure he knows the difference. Teach him to "heel" on the leash when you're out for regular walks, so he realizes this is not a sport day and he must respect you and not aiming for game.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.