Characteristics of English Pointers

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The English pointer is a mishmash of dogs, bred from dogs having the bloodlines of the Italian pointer, bloodhound, greyhound, foxhound, setter, Newfoundland and bulldog. He's been a hunting favorite for 300 years, but you don't have to be a hunter to recognize the admirable traits of this smart, gentle English pointer dog.

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Physical Characteristics

English pointers are on the large side, standing about 2 feet tall at the shoulder, weighing between 55 and 75 pounds if they're male and 45 and 65 pounds if they're female. English pointers are strong, muscular dogs, with athletic builds great for hunting. His head is long and his tail is pointed, suggesting he's made for his namesake work: pointing to game for his hunting master. The English pointer has a short, smooth coat that can be white with black, liver, lemon or orange markings, solid-colored, or patched or speckled.


Personality Traits

If you like a loyal, high energy dog, the English pointer is for you. Besides their innate hunting ability, English pointers are smart dogs and very trainable. These guys needs lots of exercise. They benefit from room to run; if you're looking for a couch potato, it's best to look elsewhere. However, if you're outdoorsy or have an active family, English pointers are game to go along for the ride or run. With sufficient exercise, they're calm in the house. Kids and other pets are safe with English pointers, though they can be a bit reserved with strangers.



Generally, with proper care, English pointers are healthy dogs. Their life expectancy is 12 to 15 years. Though they're prone to a few conditions, many live long, problem-free lives. Like other large dogs, English pointers can be vulnerable to the hereditary condition hip dysplasia. Epilepsy and dwarfism are other inherited traits potentially affecting these guys. If you decide to go to a breeder for an English pointer, be sure to request health clearances for the puppy's parents.

A Good Fit


If you live in an apartment or don't have a lot of time to spend with your pup, an English pointer probably isn't the best choice. This breed thrives when he gets an hour or two of good exercise every day. If left untrained or unexercised, this guy can be destructive, taking his frustration out on your couch, shoes or whatever else is in his reach. Kind and consistent training, combined with healthy activity, can turn him into more than a hunting dog; he'll be a member of the family.

By Betty Lewis



Dogtime: Pointer Dog Breed Information
American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Pointer
Dog Breed Information Center: Pointer (English Pointer)
Ultimate Hunts: English Pointer
Dogster: English Pointer Dogs

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About the Author
Betty Lewis has been writing professionally since 2000, specializing in animal care and issues, business analysis and homeland security. Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from West Virginia University as well as master's degrees from Old Dominion University and Tulane University.