By

Avatar photoShiloh Nevada
Last updated: 18th October 2022

Portuguese Pointer

By

Avatar photo Shiloh Nevada
Last updated: 18th October 2022

The Portuguese Pointer is a breed of gun dogs that developed in Portugal more than a thousand years ago and were used for hunting birds especially partridges. This dog has a squarish head with triangular, hanging ears, a broad muzzle, a marked stop and slightly loose skin around the neck and the shoulder region. They have a compact built with strong legs and a straight, slim tail.

Portuguese Pointer Pictures

Quick Description

Other Names Perdigueiro Português (Portuguese), Portuguese Pointing Dog
Coat Flat, Harsh, Rough, Dense, Fine, Short
Colors Yellow, Light brown, Unicoloured, With white markings
Type Gun Dog, Pointer, Hunting Dog, Working Dog
Group (of Breed) Purebred
Lifespan 12-14 years
Weight Males: 18–27 kg (40–60 lb);
Females: 16–25 kg (35–55 lb)
Height (Size) Medium; 48–56 cm (19–22 in)
Personality Traits Brave, loyal, playful, affectionate, alert, protective
Litter Size 5-8 puppies at a time
Good with Children Yes (if socialized from early age)
Good with Pets Yes (including dogs, if socialized)
Good for New/First-time Owners Yes
Shedding Less
Hypoallergenic No
Country of Origin Portugal
Time of Origin 5th to 6th century AD
Competitive Registration/ Qualification Information AKC Foundation Stock Service (FSS), UKC, FCI
Breed Standards
Breed Club

Video: Portuguese Pointer Hunting Birds in the Wild

History & Development

Believed to be thousands of years old, the Portuguese Pointer, as the name suggests, originated in Portugal as a gun dog. Its original name Perdigueiro Português was derived from the Portuguese word ‘perdigon’ that meant partridge bird. This indicates that the dog was developed mainly to assist the bird hunters in locating their games, especially the partridge type. However, they were also used for hunting small animals like the rabbit.

It is thought that this breed originated from the Iberian dogs used by the Portuguese bird hunters around the 5th and 6th century AD. Initially, they were bred in the royal kennels; however, they gradually started to spread among the lower classes as well. This breed has also been mentioned in a Portuguese hunting book written in the 12th century by Joao I and has been found in the 13th-century paintings of artist Alfonso III.

Since the Portuguese people are known to be seafarers, some dog experts also suggest that the Portuguese Pointers influenced many of the then European gundogs. Even today, the influence of this breed is visible in the British dog English Pointer, who is also termed as its “son”.

On 1 January 1996, the breed was officially recognized by the UKC, later introduced in AKC’s Foundation Stock Service (FSS).

Temperament and Behavior

The Portuguese Pointer makes a very loyal and dedicated pet. So much so that it would not even tolerate any outsider raising voice against its family members and would bark to alert its owner if it finds anything or anyone suspicious around its house. This also makes them an excellent guard dog. However, they are not noisy in general.

They are good with kids as well as other pets, especially if they are brought up together and socialized from their puppy days. This dog loves to play running games like with balls, fetching things or hide and seek. As a gundog, they have a natural drive for birds since childhood and love the outdoors.

Care

Exercise

They are incredibly active dogs and need to burn down their calories, without which they might get stressed. Utilize this playful instinct by letting it play for an hour or two inside an enclosed space freely, without its leash. Other than that, take them out for a regular jogging and a brisk walking session at least for an hour every day.

Grooming

The short coat of the Portuguese Pointer needs nominal grooming. You can use a hard, short-bristled brush to clean the coat twice a week, which will also maintain the sheen.

Health Problems

It is known to suffer from orthopedic issues including hip dysplasia and some joint related problems.

Training

  • You might need to act upon its innate prey drive right from young days. You should begin with teaching it the ways to control itself from running behind birds and other small animals, and get it used to the basic commands including halt, come back, freeze, etc. Your dog should understand that running behind others’ pets or wild birds are not acceptable behavior. Praise your dog with a treat of its favorite snack every time it obeys you. Help your dog relate its obedient behavior with your satisfaction.
  • Leash training is necessary for this breed to gain control over its pointer-dog instinct. Never make wearing the leash an issue, but a part of everyday life.

Diet/Feeding

The recommended daily quantity of meal for the Portuguese Pointer is 2½ to 3 cups of dry food per day.

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