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The graceful and athletic Pointer, sometimes called the English Pointer is, as the names says a breed of dog that was developed to hunt and point. This is in reference to the classic stance it adopts when it has found its quarry, standing stock still and pointing its muzzle at the game, allowing the hunter to move into position to kill the quarry with the gun.
The history of the Pointer is somewhat ambiguous. Records of Pointers in England can be traced back to the 1600's, when it is thought that various Pointing breeds from all across Europe arrived in England and were crossed with certain breeds, notably thought to have been Irish Setters, Greyhounds, Newfoundland's, Bloodhounds, Fox Hounds and Bull Terriers.
The purpose was to create a dog with an exceptional sense of smell, a boxy shaped muzzle for pointing with, and the stamina and endurance to tackle all sorts of terrain. As a breed, the Pointer has only been recognised since the early 20th century. Prior to this the Irish Setter had been the dog of choice for field trails and a full day's work, but the Pointer soon made its mark with its keen sense of smell being prized. They are very popular hunt point dog in the US.
Average height to the withers: 24-26 inches for females and 25-27 inches for males.
Average weight: 20-30kg for females and 25-34 kg for males.
The Pointer is a medium to larger breed of dog with a lean, graceful body and very short hair. The coat is usually white in colour with patches of brown, liver or black. Occasionally lemon or orange patches are seen and on a rare turn, solid coloured dogs are found.
The nose and muzzle should be the classic 'boxy' shape this dog was bred to have, perfect for the job of pointing. The tail is the exact opposite, being long, thin and whip like. The body of this dog should be well muscled and powerful, giving rise to the levels of stamina and endurance needed to undertake the work this high energy dog was bred for.
Considering its working heritage, the Pointer has a very well balanced temperament and is very suitable to be a family pet, being loyal and gentle, particularly with children. They can also live with other dogs and animals perfectly well, provided that adequate socialisation is given from a young age. They do enjoy the outdoor life and will require a good couple of walks per day to satisfy their high levels of energy. Once at home though, they can be the quintessential couch potato, preferring a comfy chair to their bed where they can snuggle up to their owners and receive a pet.
They have a reputation for being clumsy when they are pups and as such they may accidentally bump into or knock down younger children or frail adults, so supervision is recommended. These accidents will almost entirely be just that - accidents as a Pointer rarely shows aggression.
They have the intelligence that makes them a very personable and easy dog to be around and can readily grasp obedience commands.
The Pointer is a fairly healthy breed with no real congenital issues to contend with. The average lifespan is between 11-14 years of age. They can suffer with Hip Dysplasia. Hip Dysplasia (HD) can affect all breeds of dog but is more prevalent in some breeds than others. It is caused by the abnormal formation of the hip ball and socket joint. Normally the ball would form a pivot point in the socket; however, some dogs are born with a genetic predisposition for HD. This means that at birth their hips are normal but as they grow, the hip joint does not grow correctly and as a result the ball no longer fits as it should. After the age of a year or so, the owner can opt to have their dog 'hip scored'. Hip scoring is a method used by vets to determine the degree of HD in dogs and involves the vet assessing a number of criteria during a diagnostic examination. If the dog is then found to have a high probability of HD, remedial action can be taken.
The short, smooth coat of the Pointer means that it requires very little in the way of grooming. Exercise needs to be at least twice daily walks or runs as this is a high energy breed of dog.