Gundogs and what we loosely term ‘hunting dogs’ are renowned for their good nature. They are usually easy to train and have been bred with co-operation in mind - unlike some of the feistier terriers. Pointers - of every variety - are among the gundog breeds best adapted to home life and certainly help keep lazier family members healthy!
There are many types of pointer - adapted to terrain throughout Europe and the world. The Germans have the short and long-haired varieties, there is the Hungarian Viszla and literally dozens of beautiful ‘braques’ from France, each the outcome of breeding for a specific region, be it Mediterranean, mountain or lowland. And of course, pointers and pointer types are immensely popular in the Eastern Mediterranean where they are used as all-purpose dogs - tracking and retrieving game.
But the English pointer with his short, dense liver and white or black and white coat can be traced back at least 300 years into English history. Now more often a pet, it was bred to catch rabbits and birds. It should be athletic and graceful. The immediate impression should be of a compact, hard-driving hunting dog, alert and ‘ready to go’.
Grooming an English pointer is not time-consuming. The coat needs only a quick rub with a soft brush to minimise shedding. Pointers are even-tempered, congenial dogs, happiest living indoors as part of the family. They are affectionate and loyal. Their aggression level is very low to non-existent and they can happily co-exist with other dogs and cats.
They are typically not territorial, although their size and bark will intimidate most people who come to their door. Pointers are very good with children, although young children and a clumsy young pointer are often not the best combination.
While pointers were bred to be hunting dogs, they are perfectly content given adequate exercise by other means. Since they are a galloping breed, regular exercise is important for them, as it is for all sporting breeds. A good-sized, securely fenced yard or garden is a must to keep a pointer safe, since they are bred to hunt a good distance from their owner or walker. When left for the day, they typically do best indoors. Pointers are habitual couch potatoes who enjoy relaxing on the family’s chairs or sofas. This is a natural part of their desire to feel part of the pack.