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Pointer dog breed profile

Did you know they’re several types of Pointers?

Whether your dog is a purebred Pointer or a Pointer mix, learning about the breed can explain a lot about your pet’s personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're looking to adopt a Pointer and want to do a bit of research first — we can help with that.

Are you an active person looking for a dog that’ll happily exercise? These high-energy pups are loyal and intelligent, which makes them perfect for people or families with active lifestyles. And that's just one of many facts that show how great Pointers are.

The history of Pointers

The name "Pointer" stems from the breed's hunting backgrounds as they’re able to point out where hiding animals are, Dr. Emily Singler, VMD, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, explains. 

These pups have a signature pose to indicate when they’re pointing at something. They angle their bodies in the direction of an animal, stretching their neck out and holding their tail horizontally, creating a straight line from their nose tip to their tail end. Pointers will also raise one of their front legs by bending their elbows and have a foot curled under. 

What do Pointers look like?

Typically, this breed has short, smooth coats that grow in various colors — most commonly liver and white.

These dogs are athletic, lean and have floppy ears and long tails. Pointers vary in size, ranging from 45 to 75 pounds and reaching 23 to 28 inches in height. 

RELATED: Bull Terrier dog breed profile

Types of Pointer dogs

Pointers are often called English Pointers, but there are other Pointer breeds, like the German Shorthaired Pointer, German Longhaired Pointer and German Wirehaired Pointer.

How are German Shorthaired Pointers and English Pointers different?

There are some differences between the two — a German Shorthaired Pointer is a little shorter than an English Pointer, and the former has a ticked color pattern. English Pointers are usually bird dogs, whereas German Shorthaired Pointers are overall hunting dogs. 

Both can be good family dogs, but English Pointers are typically friendlier and more affectionate. 

The two breeds are at risk for elbow and hip dysplasia conditions. German Shorthaired Pointers are specifically prone to color blindness, day blindness and von Willebrand’s disease. Alternatively, English Pointers have an increased risk of hearing loss. 

Pointer dog characteristics

As puppies, Pointers are energetic, active, friendly and easy to train. Pet parents should guide their puppy with positive reinforcement and encourage plenty of socialization to create a strong bond, Dr. Singler says.

Their friendly demeanor sticks with them throughout adulthood, and they’re also even-tempered, intelligent and loyal. Pointers are affectionate and can live with other dogs — but don’t be surprised if your pup often barks, as they’re likely trying to protect your home. 

Since Pointers are high-energy dogs, they’ll need enough space to move around and exercise. If they aren’t given the proper room or enough physical activity, they can develop destructive behaviors or other behavioral problems. And because of their need for space, they might not make great apartment dogs, Dr. Singler warns. Some adventures could be agility training and other competitions, taking regular walks and runs, working on a farm or interacting with your kids (under your supervision), she adds.

Adopting a Pointer

Are you interested in adopting a Pointer, Pointer mix or any pet at all? We think every pet deserves a home and encourage you to check out our shelter partners

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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Photo by Nathalie SPEHNER, Bruce Williamson and Mark Zamora on Unsplash

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