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Pointer on point in a field.
Tim Alford via Getty Images

The alert and even-tempered Pointer is an amiable companion, both when out hunting in the field and when relaxing with their owners at home. Here are nine fascinating facts about this athletic and biddable member of the Sporting Group.

Recent Ancestors May Have Come From Spain

Pointers’ 18th-century ancestors are thought to have originated in Spain. At the end of the War of Spanish Succession in 1713, British army officers returned home from Spain with Spanish Pointers. Later, Italian Pointers found their way to England and were crossed with the Spanish Pointers, leading to the Pointer of today. America most likely didn’t see the introduction of Pointers until the time of the Civil War.

Pointer on point in a field.
©Field Dog Imagery

The Pointer Can Trace Their History to Antiquity

For the art lover, the history of the Pointer’s ancestors can be traced through various works of art. From dogs identifiable as early Pointers on the walls of 3,000-year-old Egyptian tombs to French and English paintings from the 17th through 19th centuries, to 19th-century bronze figures, the evolution of the breed is brought to life.

They Have a Long History as Hunters

Even before the invention of guns, Pointers were used for hunting birds. The dog would be sent out to locate prey. Then the hunter would throw a net over the dog and any birds the dog found, as a way of catching them. The Pointer is often called the “Cadillac of Bird Dogs.”

Pointers Adapted With the Times

After guns changed the hunter’s methods, the Pointer was taught to be “steady to wing and shot.” That means the dog stands still until a bird is flushed and the gun is fired. They will then wait for further instruction before retrieving the bird. This ensures the hunter can get a clear shot at the quarry without risking the dog’s safety.

Pointer on point in a field.
Tim Alford via Getty Images

They’re Single-Minded When in the Field

Pointers are bred primarily as hunting companions, and as such, they’re focused when out in a field environment. Their sole purpose is locating birds, and they will run hard and fast to do so. Many Pointer owners take advantage of this high-spirited instinct and participate in field trials with their dogs.

Obedience Training Is Helpful for Pointers

Because this breed has a willingness to learn and natural athleticism, Pointers can be successful in the obedience ring. Even if you don’t intend to compete with your dog, proper obedience training is a must to keep your Pointer out of trouble. They’re fun-loving dogs, even in adulthood, have a tendency toward mischief, and love being the center of attention, so teaching them the rules of your household will go a long way.

They Appreciate Creature Comforts

Pointers love creature comforts. They don’t think of themselves as dogs, but rather as part of the family. Even this hunting companion will flourish when allowed to enjoy a few luxuries.

Pointers Often Love Children

Children and Pointers can make a great combination. These dogs will play all day with their young companions. But as with any breed of dog, very young children need to be taught how to properly and respectfully interact with a Pointer. Supervision is also essential, as an enthusiastic Pointer can accidentally knock over or bump into small children.

Pointer standing in profile in a field.
©Ricant Images -

Pointers Are Dignified and Protective Dogs

According to the breed standard, Pointers are dignified dogs that are never timid with strangers or other dogs. They’re also protective of their territory and family. This makes them fabulous watchdogs that will alert you to anything amiss.

They Require Lots of Exercise

As a very active breed, Pointers need plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. Whether it’s long walks or vigorous play sessions, giving a Pointer the opportunity to burn off energy will keep them calm and content. They may also enjoy dog sports such as obedience, tracking, agility, or AKC Rally.

Related article: Hunting With Dogs: Training & Safety Tips
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