The pointer or English pointer dog breed is a handsome, fit-looking and very personable dog that is one of our native British breeds, and these active and charming dogs can be a great fit for many different types of owners.
This isn’t one of the most common dog breeds in the UK today, being ranked in 92nd place in the popularity stakes out of over 240 different dog breeds and types found on our shores, but this is a fairly versatile breed that can make for a good working dog, jogging partner, family pet, or even canine sport competitor in the right hands.
However, the pointer is a unique breed with its own pros and cons, and as is the case for any dog breed, and they’re not an ideal fit for every type of prospective owner.
If you’re considering buying an English pointer and want to learn the basics about the breed to help you to make a decision, this article will tell you ten things you need to know about the breed, before you go out and buy a pointer puppy of your own. Read on to learn more.
The pointer is a type of gun dog, and has a long-established working history, although most dogs of the breed today are of course kept as pets.
Pointers get their name from their tendency to “point” at potential prey, which means using their bodily stance and position to direct handlers to the location of prey animals, standing on alert, and focusing intently until their handler takes over.
Dogs of the breed display this trait naturally, and do not need to be specially trained to do so!
One of the advantages of the pointer breed is that they have very low-maintenance coats, which are short and single layered. However, this does mean they may tend to feel the cold in winter, and might need their own waterproof, insulated jacket for walks.
The breed is also not one that sheds fur particularly heavily either.
The pointer is an extremely high energy dog breed, and they need to spend several hours each day walking, running and exercising. If you are unable to provide at least two hours of energetic, varied exercise per day for your dog and ideally more, the pointer would not be a good choice for you.
The pointer is a breed that thrives on company, and they very much dislike being left alone for any meaningful period of time. Dogs of the breed tend to suffer from acute separation anxiety and may not settle very well when alone, although conditioning the dog from an early age can help to counteract this.
However, if you are looking for a dog breed that you’d be able to leave at home on its own for long periods of time, this would not be a good pick for you.
Pointers like people and love to be a fully involved part of the household, and they are notably friendly towards and trustworthy with children as a rule, although every dog is different and needs to be assessed on its own merits in this respect.
Pointers are a good pick for active family homes, particularly if this means lots of people to walk them and plenty of company.
Pointers also enjoy the company of other dogs, and are a good pick for multi-dog households. They also need to be provided with plenty of opportunities to socialise with other dogs when walking and playing, as is the case for dogs of all types.
The average lifespan of the pointer is around twelve and a half years, which is around the norm for dogs of this sort of size. The pointer conformation is well balanced and fit for life, but the breed does have a number of hereditary health issues that all prospective buyers should learn about prior to committing to a purchase.
The pointer falls almost exactly in the middle of the scale in the canine intelligence rankings, making them a good example of the average and so, fairly versatile and adaptable as a result. They are intelligent enough to learn and execute a reasonable number of commands, but not so sharp that they are apt to pre-empt commands and outwit their trainers, and so are capable of being trained by most owners without issue.
As a medium sized dog breed, the pointer can fit comfortably into most types of homes and living situations, but they’re not really a good fit for apartment living as they’re active dogs that tend to roam around the home a lot, and that need lots of access to the outdoors.
The pointer is a good middle-of-the-road dog that can be a good choice for a first-time dog owner as well as those with more experience, providing that the owner in question appreciates and can provide for the breed’s significant need for lots of exercise.