Pointer Dog Breed: The Hunter’s Companion 

The pointer is one of those breeds that’s named after what it’s best at: pointing at things! You’ll recognize this breed immediately for its iconic point: standing motionless with its nose pointed toward the target, tail held horizontal, and front leg raised. Whether it’s game birds, rabbits, or another small animal, this smart and hard-working breed is happiest when it’s on the hunt. Pointers have been used since the 1600s as gun dogs, pointing prey out for their companion hunters to shoot. Today, these active dogs make great pets for active families looking for a smart, loyal companion.

Photo 91669733 / Dog Adoption William Wise | Dreamstime.com

Do Pointers Bark a Lot?

The pointer isn’t known for having extremely high levels of barking, but it can bark a lot if it’s bored. The breed is in the hunting class, so it’s bred to handle long, daily activities with regular exercise. Dogs with naturally high energy levels like this will look for an outlet for their excess energy. This can lead to excessive barking and destructive tendencies. If you’re a runner, you can take your pointer along, as it will easily stay in pace with you. Read more in our guide to running with dogs.

A pointer dog is most at home in a family with an active lifestyle. If they’re properly exercised, they’ll be alert, mannerly, and friendly while at home. The breed isn’t a great guard dog or watchdog. They’ll warn you by barking if a stranger is approaching — if they take notice; however, their friendly nature means they’re easily won over by strangers. If you don’t want to encourage this behavior, you can check out our article on teaching your dog the difference between intruders and visitors.

Facts About Pointers

Points became the preferred hunting dog of choice in the 1700s due to their tracking and pointing ability. The breed is happily quiet and focused on the hunt, having high endurance and speed when needed. There’s variety in pointer temperaments depending on what its lineage was bred for. Pointers bred for hunting will be independent and have high energy, while those bred for show will be calm and patient.

  • Pointer size: Pointers are usually between 23 and 28 inches tall. Female pointers weigh 45 to 65 pounds, and males weight 55 to 75 pounds.
  • Life expectancy of pointers: Their lifespan is 12 to 17 years.
  • Pointers’ coats: Pointers have short, dense, and glossy coats. Their coat can be brown, black, yellow, orange, or even white with small darker patches.
  • AKC group: Sporting

Are Pointers Easy to Train?

Pointers are generally considered easy to train because they are alert and intelligent. However, the more independent and willful your pointer is, the harder you’ll have to work to teach it. Early socialization with other dogs and people is also important, as your pointer will need to learn how to play well with others.

Do pointers make good pets?

Pointers make good pets for families with active lifestyles. If there’s always someone around who can walk or run with the dog on a daily basis, the pointer will be the perfect dog. Pointers can have too high energy for younger children, but do well with older kids as they’re naturally friendly.

Is the pointer a good watch dog or guard dog?

Pointers won’t always be on alert while at home, so they aren’t considered natural watchdogs. However, if they do catch something unfamiliar or strange nearby, they may bark or perform their signature “point” to signal you to the disturbance.

Do Pointers Need Grooming?

Pointers have a short, smooth coat that doesn’t need too much maintenance. However, you should expect to brush its hair weekly with a bristle brush or glove to get rid of loose hair and dirt. Their ears should also be regularly inspected for buildup and cleaned with soft gauze.

Regular nail clipping is helpful for dogs with an active lifestyle, as long nails can cause discomfort when walking and running. Nail clippers can do the job, but if your pointer has darker nails, a nail grinder is ideal to avoid cutting the quick.

Pointer Breed Mixes

The pointer’s calm temperament and high endurance can be blended with other breeds for a companion unlike any other. Here are some of the more popular Pointer breed mixes.

Resource Links for More Pointer Info

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