Pointer (Sporting Group)
Sporting dogs are known to be excellent hunters – and at the top of the list is the classic Pointer dog breed. Considered to be a wide-ranging hunter, the Pointer is able to run for hours on end, while showing off its excellent bird hunting skills.
Like most sporting dogs, the Pointer absolutely must have plenty of daily exercise. These dogs are instinctively on the never-ending hunt for birds, even inside the house! Because of this genetic hunting trait, the dog can become a bit distracted by everyday matters. But don’t get too sidetracked by the high energy output of this lovable canine – Pointer dogs are just as gentle and kind as they are vigorous.
A Brief History Of The Pointer
History tells us that the earliest Pointer dogs were used sometime during the 17th century. However, they were not used to point birds, but instead to point hare, which, once pointed, the hunters would release Greyhound dogs to pursue the hunt.
During the 18th century, wing-shooting became popular and it was this hunting activity that the Pointer found it’s talent as an excellent bird locator. Any hunter who trained the ideal Pointer would have his dog find game, respond to its location, and remain perfectly still until the hunter could aim in for the shot.
The early Pointer dogs were reported to have many different blood types that made up their genetic make-up. Such examples include mixes from Bloodhounds, Foxhounds, older setting spaniels, and Greyhounds.
Today’s Pointer is the inherent mix of the older Spanish Pointers and Italian Pointers. Soon enough recreational hunting on large land properties became the most popular use of these dogs. The ideal hunting situation would have two Pointers used to locate a bird so that the hunter could cross-reference the canines’ points. This strategy was very successful.
Upkeep Requirements For The Pointer
The first consideration to keep in mind if you want to own one of these amazing animals is that Pointer dogs need an abundance of daily exercise. In fact, they top the list of breeds that need to run and play, day in and day out.
If your lifestyle is one that does not have lots of outside activities, or if you live in a small apartment, then Pointers are not the breed for you. The ideal home situation for the Pointer to be happy is one that offers the dog time to hunt outside, even on its own, so that it can enjoy running and scouring the woods for small prey.
Never expect this dog to sit in the house all day. Even one day of inactivity can cause a Pointer to become destructive. The best set up is to have a large open space for the Pointer to play in during the day while sleeping inside at night with the family.
Health Concerns For The Pointer
Healthy Pointer dogs can have an average life span of up to fifteen years, with most living between twelve and fourteen years. Major Health Concerns to watch out for include entropion with minor issues including hypothyroidism and CHD. Pointer dogs may occasionally show signs of deafness and cataracts but these health problems are rare. Veterinarians suggest testing Pointer dogs for potential eye, hip, and thyroid problems.