Dog Health & More
Bred for several hundred years to "point" birds and small game such as rabbits, the Pointer is a versatile field dog and exceptional family dog breed. He excels in many arenas, from the field to the show ring, agility to obedience. Energetic and fun-loving, he's well suited to active homes where he'll be a member of the family.
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The Pointer is instantly recognizable. From long head to finely pointed tail, his entire body suggests his purpose: to point game for the hunter. When a Pointer scents game birds he stands tall and still, one foot raised off the ground, pointing the hunter in the right direction. Before the development of guns, this was an essential skill, as birds were netted rather than shot. When shooting birds became popular, the Pointer was still needed to point and then retrieve them.
Today, the Pointer is known as the Cadillac of bird dogs, prized for his speed, ability to go all day in the field, "stand steady to wing and shot" — meaning that he holds his position as birds rise into the sky and the guns go off — and his personable nature. His love of people and short, easy-care coat make him an excellent candidate as family companion as well.
Pointer people like to say that their dogs don't consider themselves dogs but members of the family. They're sturdy and energetic enough to play all day with active children, and their alert nature makes them excellent watchdogs, sounding the alarm at anything out of the ordinary.
Although he's focused in the field — full of energy and "hunt" — he's fun-loving and mischievous at home. For the Pointer who's not a regular hunting dog, training and plenty of daily exercise will help channel his active body and mind into constructive pursuits rather than the destruction that can be wrought by a bored Pointer.
Thanks to his sporting dog heritage, the Pointer runs hard and fast and is a super companion for a runner or cyclist. His competitive nature also makes the Pointer a natural at dog sports such as field trials, obedience, rally, and agility. This is a dog who loves to perform in public. His flashy looks and love of attention make him an excellent show dog as well.
It's clear that the Pointer has many wonderful attributes as a companion. That said, he can be overwhelming for older or first-time dog owners. Know what you're getting when you bring a Pointer home: he needs consistent, ongoing training and an hour or two a day of play, walks, or other exercise — the more active the better. When all those things are in place, he's a loyal and true friend.