A brown pointer poses in a field of wheat.

All About the Different Types of Pointer Breeds

The pointer breeds consist of hard-working dogs of European origin (possibly Spain, Portugal, or Great Britain), which first came to prominence in mid-17th century England. The pointer is a hunting breed, driven to follow scents in the wind and to indicate their prey’s position by pointing to it with their bodies.

Pointer breeds are medium-sized dogs, with an average weight falling somewhere between 45 and 75 pounds and a height of 23 to 28 inches tall at the shoulder. The pointer dog breed has an average lifespan of about 12 to 17 years.

Born hunters, pointers will stand still with one foot raised off the ground to point its hunter companion in the direction of their prey. These hunting instincts may be sparked by birds, rabbits, and cats, but a pointer dog can usually gets along well with domestic pets, if raised in the same environment. Even if you’re not taking them on hunting trips, it’s in the breed’s nature, so pointers will constantly stop to take aim at birds. Their hunting instincts develop early on, and they will retain what they learn throughout their lifetime.

Pointer breeds are great hunters, but at home, these fun-loving dogs enjoy spending quality time with their owner on the sofa or playing all day long with children. They love people, and when given the opportunity, pointer breeds can become great companions. These are very protective dogs by nature and will alert you to the presence of strangers, making them excellent watchdogs.
A pointer usually has a short, smooth coat that is very easy to care for and which sheds very little. Weekly brushing is usually sufficient to maintain their coat.

Strong and energetic with a mind of their own, a pointer dog may be a little too much work for an older person or a first-time dog owner, since they need consistent training and an hour or two of daily play, walks, or exercise. When they don’t get enough exercise, pointers can be very destructive with chewing, digging, and other unwanted activities.

Meet the German Shorthaired Pointer

Originally from Germany, this low-maintenance breed is moderately easy to train. Their coat is solid liver (a reddish-brown color), or liver and white in distinctive patterns.

A versatile hunting dog, the German Shorthaired Pointer can point birds and hunt rabbits and raccoons. This is a very well-rounded breed that demands much of your energy and attention, so if you don’t have at least an hour or two to devote to exercise or walking on a daily basis, the German Shorthaired Pointer is not a good option for you.

Once their exercise needs have been taken care of, this breed is a calm house dog that loves to be a member of the family. They have excellent manners and are extremely loyal and protective. The German Shorthaired Pointer bonds firmly to his family and loves children as well, making them a great watchdog.

To learn more about the German Shorthaired Pointer, go to Meet the German Shorthaired Pointer.

Meet the English Pointer

The English Pointer, also known simply as the Pointer, is a friendly and intelligent dog in the sporting group that excels at hunting, due to their strong athletic build and high energy levels. Because the English Pointer was bred for hunting, it is a rowdy and needs a lot of daily exercise, usually at least an hour of exertion each day. Without vigorous daily exercise, the English Pointer will become depressed, frustrated, and destructive in the home, or they may develop other behavioral problems. The English Pointer breed needs plenty of space to exercise outdoors and is not suited for apartment or city living.

This active, friendly breed is very affectionate with its family members. They love to spend time with their humans and enjoy playing with children when they are raised together from a young age. While they are gentle and sweet, the English Pointer can also be hyperactive and rambunctious, so they should be supervised around small children. In general, the English Pointer gets along well with other dogs and household pets when they are raised together, but birds may present a problem.

To learn more about the English Pointer, go to Meet the English Pointer.

Meet the Vizsla

The Vizsla is an excitable pup that excels at hunting and search and rescue work.

If you are looking for a dog that you can spend plenty of time with, and relish the opportunity to run, hike and play every day, then the Vizsla is a dog suited for your lifestyle. This breed is a very active, people-oriented dog that will become bored and destructive if not exercised daily. They also don’t enjoy being separated from their owners, so it is not a dog that can live outside in the yard.

A lively, loving, gentle friend who will more than return the love you give them, the Vizsla thrives on human companionship and will follow family members from room to room, longing to be touched and snuggled by their humans.

To learn more about the Vizsla, go to Meet the Vizsla.