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Group Gundogs (KC)
History The Pointer is a breed of gun dog that first appeared in England around 1650. “Pointer” can also refer to a group of similar breeds that could hunt by pointing their muzzles in the direction of the prey. Hunters used them alongside retrievers to hunt for small game such as rabbits and birds. The pointer as we know it today is officially called the English pointer, and it exhibits many of the skills and physical attributes of its fellow gun dogs.
The origins of the Pointer are debated, but the breed is most likely a mix of several hound varieties with the Italian pointer, bulldog, and setter. This unusual combination has given it a remarkable sense of smell, efficient speed, and the ability to work in any climate and terrain. Today, the Pointer remains a favorite hunting companion throughout the world as well as a popular family pet.
Appearance The Pointer has a proud stance and a lively, alert expression. Its nose is set notably high on the muzzle, as if emphasizing its scent-tracking ability. Its body should be well-muscled and athletic, but not heavy or stocky. The ears are hanging and somewhat pointed. The neck should be long and flexible, allowing it to scope out scents in a large field. The coat is short and shiny.
Colours The coat can be black, liver, lemon, or orange, either solid-colored or combined with white. Eye color should match the shade of the coat.
Temperament Although intimidating at first glance, Pointers are very congenial and make excellent family dogs. They can be very docile and peaceful at home, but will spring into action once outdoors or when they pick up a scent. They get along well with children, but their size and speed can be dangerous for small toddlers. They tend to bark a lot and will make excellent watchdogs, as long as they are trained not to be too aggressive.
Weight Males should stand 25 to 28 inches and females 23 to 26; standard weight is 55 to 75 pounds for males and 44 to 65 for females.
Problems This breed is very hardy and has no genetic flaws, although common dog diseases can sometimes occur. Hip dysplasia can sometimes be a problem, as it is with most medium and large breeds. Some lines are prone to skin infections and allergies. Other common problems are cherry eye, epilepsy, dwarfism, and thyroid disorders.
Living Conditions Pointers will do equally well indoors and outdoors, but like other dogs, they have a primal instinct to walk and should be taken out regularly. The ideal home is one with at least a medium-sized yard and a sturdy fence. These dogs like to run free and should be given opportunities to do so. They can be very active indoors, so owners living in apartments may want to consider another breed.
Requirements Pointers are extremely energetic. They should be taken on long walks every day and allowed to run and play to their heart’s content. Otherwise, they’ll use up all that energy indoors, barking and running for most of the day. They make excellent jogging and biking companions, but should be kept on a leash as they tend to wander off to follow interesting scents.
Training Requirements This breed is very trainable, thanks to its long history of hard work alongside humans. Training should be started early, however, as they can grow up stubborn and willful. Watchdog training is usually unnecessary as the dog has strong guarding instincts, but obedience training is recommended. Pointers respond best to firm and consistent methods.
Life Expectancy Pointers usually live from 13 to 14 years.
Grooming Pointers don’t require much grooming, as the coat is short and naturally shiny. Regular brushing with a bristle brush usually does the trick. For added sheen, rub the coat with a towel or chamois once in a while. Bathe only when necessary; make sure to dry them well as Pointers get cold easily.
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