Pointer

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Get all the information about the Pointer from their personality traits to their history in our complete guide.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
12 to 17 years
Size:

Medium

Maintenance Level:

Medium

Shed Level:

Low

Temperament:
IntelligentFun-LovingFull Of Energy
Coat Color:
LiverBlackOrangeLemonLiver And WhiteBlack And WhiteOrange And WhiteLemon And White

Best For

Pointers are best for homes with singles, couples, families—you name it, as long as there is someone to share their life with and as long as there is a lot of activity, you've got a happy Pointer pup.

Pointer Traits

What makes the Pointer a Pointer? Let's find out how they stack up.

Pointer Temperament

If you’re the type of traveler who loves an all-night party in Ibiza, chances are you and a Pointer will get along famously. While they might not share your concerns about the best party clothes to wear (just a simple collar will do for them, thanks), Pointer dogs do share your love for adventure and boundless energy. Intelligent and fun-loving, Pointers are confident, don’t take things personally (they’re OK that you think their dance moves might need some work), and enjoy the company of both people, including kids and babies and other dogs.

Pointers are not usually fearful or anxious in nature, so aggression and dog bites are uncommon as they are very friendly—especially with proper training and socialization. And if your kiddos are driving you bananas and making you fantasize about your party days, scoot them outside with your Pointer—kids and doggo can wear each other out playing chase in the backyard, giving you some mental space to dream about booking a trip to Ibiza.

Pointers can indeed live with cats, but they must be trained and socialized with cats or small critters starting at an early age to contend with their high prey drive. Pointers are hard workers who work through challenges and don’t give up on things easily, but sometimes what they work hard at is what they find to be most important in that moment, whether it’s chasing a squirrel, pulling you down the street or jumping to greet people at the door. Pointers were originally bred to point out prey (usually hares) for the hounds to chase down and retrieve. Even if they don’t find themselves with a hunting family, they need to work by using their nose, whether that’s through lots of exercise, nose work or other games.

How to Care for a Pointer

If you’d rather spend time playing than primping, you and the Pointer have something in common. Pointers have moderate grooming needs compared to other breeds. What’s more important is that Pointers have time and space to burn off their high energy running around or sniffing All The Scents.

Pointer Health

Pointers are generally healthy dogs, and have a life expectancy of 12 to 17 years, but pup parents need to be aware of some of their common health problems so they can help their dog live the healthiest life possible. If you’re getting your pup from a breeder, it’s important to choose a highly reputable and responsible breeder who does the appropriate health screenings. If adopting your Pointer from a rescue, make sure to get a copy of your dog’s wellness check.

  • Hip Dysplasia: This genetic disorder occurs when the ball and socket joint does not fit together and dislocates or rubs together. Over time, the joint deteriorates. Some dogs start to show signs of hip dysplasia as young as 4 months of age, while others develop it with osteoarthritis as they get older. A radiograph, or X-ray, from the vet will confirm the diagnosis, and treatment can include physical therapy, weight reduction or exercise, medication and sometimes surgery.
  • Hypothyroidism: This underactive thyroid condition is relatively common in dogs and slows down their metabolism. It can show up as anything from lethargy to dry, dull hair to shedding excessively. There is a screening test and the disease isn’t curable but is treatable with medication.
  • Bloat: Bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus or GDV) is common in larger dogs with wide chests and is a life-threatening condition. It occurs when a dog’s stomach fills with gas, food or fluid. The stomach then twists and flips, cutting off blood flow to organs. Bloat can be life-threatening, and often requires surgery to fix, so always take your dog to the vet immediately if they show any signs of the condition. A surgical procedure that involves tacking down the dog’s stomach to the abdominal wall can help prevent bloat from recurring.
  • Cataracts: A common cause of blindness in older Pointers, cataracts cloud the dog’s vision. Some dogs adjust and live with the loss of vision while surgery to remove the cataracts may be an option.
  • Allergies: Many Pointers get itchy skin as a result of allergies. Licking their paws, rubbing their face and/or frequent ear infections are common signs of allergies in Pointers, and they typically develop between the ages of 1 to 3 years. Depending on the type of allergy your dog has, they can be treated with a change in diet or medication.

Pointer History

Let’s look at the Pointer’s origin! The first Pointers appeared in England around 1650, hunting hares in tandem with Greyhounds. The Pointer found and pointed at the prey, then the hounds chased it down. With the rise of wing shooting in the 18th century, they became trained as bird dogs. Their hunting instincts tend to kick in around two months of age.

It is noted that Pointers are a very distractible dog, which doesn’t sound ideal for their purpose. But that’s actually what makes them amazing hunting dogs—they give up a smell to follow movement, then pick up that same smell until they find their target and point it out.

Pointers were one of the first breeds registered in America in 1878. When the American Kennel Club was founded in 1884, Pointers were one of the first nine breeds to be recognized by the organization.

Are you looking to add a Pointer puppy as a pet to your family? You can find a list of reputable breeders on the AKC’s website. It’s recommended to work with a reputable breeder because that usually means you’re getting a puppy who’s been screened for health issues and temperament. Depending on the breeder, a Pointer price can range from $700 to $1,000. Prospective pet parents can also adopt from Pointer rescue groups around the country, or you can keep your eye out for the breed at your local animal shelter.

FAQs

Are Pointers hypoallergenic?

No, Pointers are not hypoallergenic, and they do shed.

Are Pointers good family dogs?

Yes, Pointers are good family dogs. This high-energy breed does best with older children, but can do well with young children if they grow up together.

Are Pointer dogs aggressive?

Pointers aren’t very aggressive, but like any other dog, they should be socialized and trained at an early age to be well-behaved family members.

What are the most popular Pointer dog names?

The most popular Pointer names are Dakota, Daphne, Gracie, Phoebe, Archie, Baxter, Finn and Sawyer. Get more dog names here.

What are the most common Pointer dog mixes?

The most common Pointer mixes are:

  • Pointer-Poodle (Pudelpointer)
  • Pointer-Husky (Eurohound, Eurodog or Scandinavian hound)
  • Pointer-Pitbull (Pointer Pit)
  • Pointer-Terrier (Pointer-Terrier)
  • Pointer-Hound (Lab Pointer)
  • Pointer-Jack Russell Terrier (Pointer Jack Russell)
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Top Takeaways

Raising a Pointer will bring a ton of fun and love into your life. While their exercise needs might sound daunting, an active, adventurous pet parent will no doubt love having this intelligent, happy-go-lucky dog at their side for any “work” or activity that needs doing.

Expert input provided by Dr. Mandy Boos, a veterinarian at Laurel Veterinary Clinic in Broomfield, Colo., Mindy Jarvis, ABC-CPDT, CGC evaluator, and owner of Noble Beast Dog Training, and Linda Aaron, CPDT-KA and owner of FetchMasters in Denver, Colo.

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