First bred as a type of hunting dog in the 1600s, the English Pointer gets its interesting name from the way it would stand completely still when finding game, as if pointing at it. It was often paired with Greyhounds on hunting expeditions to track game for the hounds to retrieve. Today, this mild-mannered and loving dog is more common in the suburbs than the hunting grounds and wins over hearts with its docile personality, droopy ears and long legs.
Pointers are a medium to large-sized dog, and can reach a height of between 55-62cm in males and 54-60cm in females. Despite their size, they are quite lean and only weigh in at between 20-30kg. These dogs are also known for their long necks and snouts, and round, kind eyes that speak to their good nature.
Their standard coat colour is white with coloured markings in either lemon, brown, orange or black. Their nose colour corresponds with the coat markings and is either flesh, dark brown or black.
Although bred for hunting, Pointers are not aggressive animals and get along great with children and other dogs and pets. They are also not very territorial and tend to be reserved with strangers, which makes them the wrong choice for a watchdog.
Pointers are also quite intelligent and have high energy levels, which means they will need sufficient mental and physical exercise to be a happy, well-adjusted pet. Like with most dogs, strong leadership is necessary to ensure your Pointer does not take on the role of pack leader and become difficult.
Pointers are extremely active animals and should only be taken on as a pet if the owner can guarantee plenty of vigorous exercise. This includes daily long, brisk walks or jogs, or even a run alongside a bicycle ride.
This need for regular activity makes Pointers unsuitable for apartment living and a better fit for homes with a big yard or situated close to ample acreage. Their short coat makes them easy to groom, but also more suited to warmer temperatures.
The average life expectancy of an English Pointer is around 13-14 years. The breed is very genetically sound, which means they tend to have very few health issues. Some of the problems that might develop include hip dysplasia later in life, cherry eye, some skin conditions and allergies, thyroid issues and dwarfism.