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The Pointer was the first dog, so far as we know, used to stand game in the sense in which we use the term today, and was developed as a distinct breed much earlier than any of the setters. It seems likely that Pointers came into general use in Spain, Portugal, throughout Eastern Europe and in the British Isles at approximately the same time, although the development of the English Pointer took place in Great Britain. The first Pointers appeared in England around 1650, some time before wing-shooting with guns became popular, and Pointers were often used to locate and point hares in conjunction with Greyhound coursing. However, by the 18th century, wing-shooting had come into vogue, and the "shorthair" has been considered by the majority of sportsmen the equal, if not the superior, of any of the gun dogs.

The Pointer's lineage is foggy, but there is no question that it includes Foxhound, Greyhound, and Bloodhound crossed with some sort of "setting spaniel," which played an important part in the creation of all modern bird dogs. Eventually the Spanish Pointer too was interbred with the English Pointer, but only briefly to intensify the pointing instinct in the breed. During the 19th century, Pointers gained in popularity and were crossed often with setters to improve disposition; they appeared often in hunting news and sporting papers. The Pointer of today is easily recognized and not a far cry from his 19th century predecessors. He is clean-limbed, lithe, and muscular without being coarse, full of energy and "hunt," built for speed and endurance, courageous, and determined. Although willing to work for someone other than his master, Pointers are wonderful family dogs and make excellent companions at any age.

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