By Sergey Uhanov (Certified Veterinarian)Dr. Sergey Uhanov Last updated: 21st March 2024

English Pointer


Sergey Uhanov (Certified Veterinarian) Dr. Sergey Uhanov
Last updated: 21st March 2024

The Pointer, also called the English Pointer, is an affectionate, well-tempered, and loyal companion. It gets its name from its ability to “point” at targets with its head and paws while hunting. It assumes a “pointing” pose with its head lowered, horizontal tail, a leg raised and bent at the wrist, and nose pointing towards the target.

Graceful and athletic with its hanging ears, long snout, and narrow tail, it is loved by gundog enthusiasts and bird hunters. It thrives with an active owner and plenty of outdoor space.

English Pointer Pictures

Quick Information

Other namesEnglish Pointer
CoatShort and smooth
ColorWhite with black, yellowish brown, liver-colored, or red-brown markings
Breed typePurebred
Group Sporting
Life expectancy12-17 years
HeightMale – 25 – 28 inches
Female – 23 – 26 inches
WeightMale – 55 – 75 pounds
Females – 45 – 64 pounds
Litter Size8-10 puppies
Behavioral Characteristics Affectionate, energetic, loyal, friendly, and clever
Good with children Yes
Barking Tendency Low; they are a quiet breed, only barking occasionally
Climate compatibilityModerate; they cannot withstand extreme cold due to their short coat
Apartment compatibilityLow; they need ample outdoor exercise
Do they shedThey are average shedders
Are they hypoallergenicNo
How much do they cost$600 – $1,500
Competitive Registration Qualification/InformationAKC, RKC, FCI

History and Origin

The English Pointer first appeared in the 1600s in England and was used to track down hares and small game. Unlike other hunting dogs, it only tracks and directs the hunter toward the game. Coursing hounds, such as Greyhounds, were used to chase down prey. It likely descended from Old Spanish Pointers brought over by English soldiers in 1713 after the War of Spanish Succession. To create the ideal hunting dog, breeders mixed it with Foxhounds, Greyhounds, Bloodhounds, and various Setters in the 1700s. These crosses resulted in an agile, patient, and swift dog capable of sniffing out birds and holding its position for a long time.

It came to America in the 1860s with bird hunters. Its popularity led to the Westminster Kennel Club, established in 1877, making a lemon-and-white English Pointer, Sensation, its official emblem. The American Pointer Club was set up in 1879, and the English Pointer was one of the first nine dog breeds added to the AKC list in 1878.

Temperament and Personality

They are affectionate, loyal, and active dogs. As a hunting breed, they need plenty of outdoor play and are not a good fit for apartment dwellers. Their friendly and pleasant temperament helps them get along excellently with kids, making them brilliant family dogs. However, be careful around smaller animals as their high prey drive might make them give chase. Great as watchdogs, they bark in warning at any approaching stranger. Still, they are mischievous and have a competitive streak. Their desire to always be with their owner means they will climb onto furniture unless taught otherwise.

Leaving your Pointer alone too long will cause anxiety and encourage unruly behavior. Their pedigree as gun dogs makes them independent thinkers, and proper training and socialization are vital to ensure your pup grows well-behaved and outgoing. A Pointer who gets enough exercise and care is a calm, happy companion.



This active breed requires plenty of physical and mental exercise to stay healthy. You must provide at least one to two hours of daily play, such as long walks, running, and outdoor workouts. Outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and biking are recommended. Some other sports it excels in are agility, tracking, Frisbee, and flyball. Letting it work through all excess energy is essential, or it will get restless. This versatile breed can also be utilized for search-and-rescue operations and as a service and therapy dog.


Their short, sleek coat requires minimum maintenance. Brushing with a hound glove or soft thistle brush every week will remove shedding. An occasional rub down with a damp cloth or chamois eliminates dirt and dust. However, you should give your dog a couple of yearly baths to completely clean it. Carry out regular ear inspections, clean with a soft gauze and ear-cleaning product if required, and trim its nails before they get too long.

Health Concerns

Pointers are a relatively healthy breed but may suffer from ailments like hip dysplasia, entropion, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy, GDV or bloat, neurotropic osteopathy, cherry eye, cysts, chondrodysplasia, Addison’s disease, demodectic mange, cataracts, and allergies. Buying from trusted sources can eliminate many of the above problems.


An adult dog typically requires two to three cups of high-quality dry food daily, broken into two meals. Although treats are helpful for training, avoid feeding in excess as it can become obese. Its requirements change as it grows, so consult your veterinarian while formulating a meal plan. Only give foods safe for consumption and always provide clean and fresh water.


Though it has an independent streak, the English Pointer is clever and amiable. Early training will ensure you have a lovable, obedient, and playful pet as it grows up.

Socialization: Start socializing your dog early to help it overcome its timidity. Due to its independent nature, it may disregard your words if it doesn’t deem them important. Also, Pointer puppies tend to chew or nip frequently. Train it out of this habit, or you may have to deal with property damage. Gentle and consistent crate training, with plenty of treats and positive reinforcement, is the best way to help control this behavior.

Obedience: You should obedience train your pet from a young age to deal with any stubbornness. These dogs are known to respond eagerly and swiftly to the recall command in the show ring or hunting field. Additionally, commands such as “stay” and “sown” are helpful in teaching control and discipline.

Leash: English Pointers are easy to leash-train. Playtime should only be in fenced areas, as they tend to run off in pursuit of a scent and can get lost. Many of these dogs in shelters have wandered away from their previous owners.

Interesting Facts

  • They can display hunting behaviors as early as two months old.
  • The Pointer was the first breed to stand game, where it would track hidden prey and point in its direction to guide hunters.


1. What is the difference between English Pointers and German Shorthaired Pointers?

They are taller, longer-lived, and come in more colors than German Shorthaired Pointers. Also, they are specifically trained to point, unlike the German Pointer, which also carries out other hunting-related tasks as well.

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