English Pointer

Country of origin:
Great Britain
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
tri-color, lemon & white, orange & white, liver & white, black & white
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons
  • friendly
  • wonderful companion                  
  • excellent gun dog
  • easy to groom
  • requires a lot of daily exercises
  • doesn't suit for living in a small apartment

The English Pointer is a handsome average-sized dog, which creation dates back to the XVII century’s England. Its primarily work is to point the exact location of the shot game and it excels at such kind of tasks. This breed has gained so many admirers among American hunters that it is sometimes called there the «Cadillac of bird dogs».

The English Pointer is an immediate descendant of dogs that were brought to England from continental Europe in the XVI century. It’s widely suggested that the most probable forefather of the breed is the Spanish Pointer and at some point it was even referred by the above-mentioned name. The English breeders interbred the Spanish Pointer with several native dogs in order to create modern variety of the English Pointer. It’s universally agreed that the Foxhound, the Bloodhound, and the Greyhound played a certain role in creation of this dog. It’s also commonly believed that the now-extinct Setting Spaniel or its offspring were used in the breeding program. Another point of view proposes the participation of following breeds in the invention of this dog: the Bull Terrier, the Bracco Italiano, different types of Braques (French Pointers), the disappeared Talbot Hound, the Northern Hound, and the Southern Hound.

Originally the English Pointer was used in pair with Greyhounds and Lurchers. This dog with sharp nose was supposed to detect a small animal and to either point to its seat or flush it out from its hide. Then other types of dogs were unleashed to pursuit and kill the game. The usual quarry of this kind of hunting was rabbits or hares and occasionally foxes. Gradually the English Pointer proved its effectiveness in hunting on birds. Despite its excellent skills as the pointer the breed was considerably less popular in this role than different Spaniel and Setters breeds. This fact can be attributed to its cold intolerance so it was quite rare in the Northern England and Scotland. The English Pointer was designed to perform one particular task that was to quickly and accurately point the location of small animals especially birds. Actually it’s reckoned by many hunters as the most capable upland bird dog in the world.

The English Pointer was imported to America by British immigrants or American sportsmen in the XVII century. The peculiar popularity of the dog in this country can be explained by increased popularity of the field trials in this period. The breed showed exceptional results in this type of competition and it was quickly appreciated by American sportsmen. Nowadays the English Pointer is still widely used in trial contests as well as a working gundog in the United States, in particular in the American South. The American Kennel Club (AKC) fully approved the breed in 1884.

The character of the English Pointer was honed to fit perfectly to its original goal of being a peerless working gun dog. This easy-tempered breed is remarkably faithful to its master and his family and likes to spend quality time with them. It’s usually nice with children and majority of specimens will actively and willingly participate in their games. Moreover this dog is quite tolerable to some teasing during the play and even welcome it. However, the English Pointer may be too energetic for an awkward toddler since it can accidently tumble it down.

On the whole the breed demonstrates aloofness in the presence of unfamiliar people. However a well-trained English Pointer will always be respectful and polite with strangers. It will always signal to its master about the approach of a strange person with its sharp bark so it will make an outstanding watchdog. But this breed is too friendly to become a reasonable guard dog. It’s worth to remember that this dog is foremost a hunting dog, which turns out to be an excellent investment for any passionate hunter.

The English Pointer is peace-loving dog and it gets along both with other canines and other types of family pets. The breed will be rather happy to co-habituate with another dog but it will also do fine as the only dog. Being a hunting breed the English Pointer has surprisingly low hunting drive. This can be explained by the fact that its job is to point the location of the game and occasionally retrieve it and it isn’t supposed to kill it. That’s why this dog will get along with a home cat but it should be timely socialised with it.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• ear infections;
• hunting injuries;
• thyroid problems;
• eyes problems;
• epilepsy
• skin allergies.


The English Pointer’s coat requires a minimal attention from the owner. He will never need to take his dog to a professional groomer. Nevertheless its coat should be brushed once or twice a week in order to maintain its natural healthy look.

It’s not necessary to bathe this dog too often so it’s better to wipe it with a wet cloth to get rid of superficial dirt. Long hanging ears of the English Pointer are big enough to attract dirt and debris so its owner should take extra time to clean it regularly and properly.


The English Pointer is regarded to be average as far as the training concerns. On the one hand the dog needs very few training to perform at the highest level in field trials. It also shows great results in obedience and agility competitions. On the other hand the breed is rather headstrong and definitely doesn’t live to oblige. Additionally, the dog can be easily captivated by some enticing scent and in this case nothing will be able to get its attention back to training.

In order to achieve optimal results with the English Pointer the handler should apply consistent and repetitive approach to the lessons with the dog. The breed is somewhat sensitive to forceful methods of training and will react to it with outright defiance and disobedience.

The English Pointer is a famous athlete, which demands impressive amount of exercise to be fully happy. It should be taken for at least an hour vigorous walk each day but actually it will gladly accept as much as you can offer. However once the dog has spent enough time running and playing it will be well-mannered and calm at home.

It would be wise to remember that this breed will turn into an evil and extremely destructive creature if it doesn’t receive enough physical outlets on a regular basis. In consideration of the high exercise requirements of the English Pointer it’s recommended only for families that prefer active lifestyle and like to include their dog in their sporting hobbies.