Pointers are an extremely versatile breed, one that is equally happy hunting in the field or being the perfect companion for an active family. They are loving, intelligent, and enjoy all the comforts of home. For more information, visit “Is a Pointer Right for You?”
Adult Pointers typically need 20 to 30 minutes per day of vigorous exercise. Puppies and young adults need 30 to 60 minutes twice a day. All exercise should be age appropriate to avoid damage to the bone growth plates until the dog is full grown at approximately 15 months.
Pointers are easy to train as long as you keep the training fun and use positive methods. Although considered a hard hunting breed with drive, they do not respond well to harsh or negative training methods. If working with an instructor at a training facility, it is important to select one that is known for positive reinforcement training methods.
Pointers are a healthy and long-lived breed. Responsible breeders will screen their dogs for health conditions. For more information, visit our “Health and Research” page.
The typical adult Pointer is easygoing indoors and active outdoors.
In the home, they like to be in the same room with you, sometimes inquisitive about what their people are up to. A comfy dog bed or couch of their own makes a Pointer very happy, but they’re always ready to snuggle when the opportunity presents itself.
The best way to describe Pointers outdoors is “whatever the game, we’ll play,” as long as it is active and interesting. They excel at entertaining themselves as well, finding hilarious ways to keep themselves busy.
Within any breed there are wide ranges in the spectrum of behavioral traits, including the hunting instinct. If you are interested in hunting with your Pointer, express that desire to the breeder who will help you find the perfect companion for you.
It is not recommended you let your Pointer off leash in a non-fenced area until you are confident your Pointer has a trained, reliable recall. Pointers are bred to hunt, and to “run big” while hunting. To prevent your Pointer catching a scent (such as a deer, Pheasant, or other animal) and tracking the animal out of your sight, it is recommended you keep your Pointer on leash. Pointers have been known to follow their nose right into the path of cars, so best to be safe, unless you are in a fenced or controlled environment.
They are the same breed, with the name shortened to simply “Pointer”.
English Pointers and German Shorthaired Pointers are two different breeds with different histories, temperaments, and purposes. Pointers appeared in Britain in the early 1700s and were brought to America around the time of the Civil War. With the rise of wing-shooting, the Pointer became a reliable and devoted gundog and has maintained this reputation through the present day. The GSP was developed in Germany in the late 1800’s to be an all-purpose dog. It was the original intent of the breeders to develop a breed of dog with inbred instinct for multiple tasks. The GSP was bred to point, retrieve, trail wounded game, hunt both large and small game, and to work in low or heavy cover as well as water. Both are muscular, active breeds, with the Pointer being slightly larger than the GSP. To learn more about the differences in the breeds, read about GSP on the American Kennel Club website.
A typically lifespan is 12 to 15 years, with a balanced diet, regular age-appropriate exercise, and routine veterinary care.
Pointers need very little grooming. Regular nail trims keep feet healthy (1-2 times/month) and contribute to good joint health. Bathing a few times a year helps keep the skin healthy.
Pointers do shed. A quick once-over with a grooming mitt 1-2 time/week and a high quality diet help minimize coat turnover.
Pointers bred from show or dual purpose (field and show) lines are often larger than those bred primarily for hunting and field work. With the focus on correct structure by breeders of show and dual purpose lines, their dogs are very capable of working a full day in the field, just like their smaller counterparts.
There’s no reason a Pointer can’t enjoy the apartment life, as long as they get sufficient exercise and have an outlet for their energy, such as participation in canine sports like agility or obedience, or human sports such as running or hiking.
Pointers make wonderful companions for children, as they have an endless amount of energy for daylong play. As with any sporting breed with boisterous energy, they should be supervised around young children.
Pointers make good companions for all types of animals, as long as they are introduced to them properly.
While a Pointer will alert you when someone is on their property or nearby, they are not bred to be guard dogs. For example, they may bark at the delivery man first, then greet him in a friendly manner.
Pointers make excellent teammates in companion events! A Pointer’s athleticism and desire to please make them naturals in any canine sport. Pointers have competed at the top National levels in agility, obedience, and many other companion events.
Pointers do make good running partners, although pups should not run for long distances until their bone growth plates have closed, at approximately 15 months of age.