Portuguese Pointing Dog (Perdigueiro Português)
The Portuguese Pointing Dog is an excellent example of a hunting dog that has been bred in Portugal for numerous centuries. With its sensitive nose and well-developed retrieving abilities it makes an invaluable companion for any enthusiastic hunter. Moreover this extremely staunch and affectionate breed can be turned into a good family pet for active families and individuals.
Portugal is the homeland of the Portuguese Pointing Dog and it has performed its hunting duties on rough terrains of this country since at least the X century. The local name of this dog is the Perdigueiro Portugueso, which virtually means the Portuguese Partridge Dog, and points to its supreme skills in hunting Perdiz, an indigenous bird in the Iberian Peninsula. It’s thought to have descended from the Segugio Hounds and Assyrian Mastiff.
Originally the Portuguese Pointing Dog was predominantly kept in the kennel of the upper class and was utilised to track down, point and retrieve various types of game. Unsurpassed tenacity and natural docility of the breed made it a popular choice for fowling-net and falconry. In the XII century it also won favour of poor Portuguese hunters who valued its great intelligence and ability to work without the assistance of its counterparts.
With the foundation of the British colony in Oporto in the XVIII century lots of Portuguese Pointing Dogs were imported to England where they significantly contributed to the development of the English pointer. During that and the next century other hunting breeds came into fashion in Portugal so the population of this ancient native pointer gradually reduced to dangerously low level. By 20s of the XX century it was almost on the brink of complete extinction. Luckily enough in the 30s the breed’s piteous state called attention of Portuguese breeders and the process of its reconstruction began. The efforts paid off in 1938 with recognition of the final standard of the Portuguese Pointing Dog.
Presently most of the breed members are still active or retired gun dogs although they usually combine their hunting duties with the life of companion animals. Nonetheless the Portuguese Pointing Dog hasn’t yet achieved any noticeable popularity outside its native land.
The Portuguese Pointing Dog is famous for its inclination to develop extremely deep affection to its human masters and becomes an excellent addition to any family. Severe separation anxiety is a very common problem for this breed since above all it strives for your companionship. At the same time it’s very submissive and patient with kids and absolutely loves playing with them. Make sure to explain your kids that their four-legged friend deserves respectful treatment as even the kindest dog may bite if seriously provoked.
In most cases the Portuguese Pointing Dog meets a strange people with wagging of its tail and joyful bark. However timely socialisation is still necessary for it if you want your pet to feel itself comfortable in public places. The breed will always announce about the arrival of a welcomed or unwelcomed guest and become a great watcher. But since it usually greets everyone with the same cheerful eagerness it can’t be charged with guarding responsibilities.
The Portuguese Pointing Dog is also good with other dogs and immensely enjoys their company. Despite its powerful prey drive it can be easily taught to tolerate other types of pets so it will never harm a familiar household cat. Of course, your pet will probably perceive all homeless animals as game and relentlessly chase them.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· ear infections.
The Portuguese Pointing Dog can be groomed with trivial amount of efforts. Its short sleek coat needs to be brushed just once a week to preserve its natural beauty. Frequent bathing is unnecessary for this dog as water may damage its weather-proof fur.
The owner should also pay special attention to ear cleaning of his pet since they usually become a favourable place for development of nasty infections and irritation. Trim the dog’s nails at least every other month and brush its teeth one or couple of times per week.
The obedience and quick wit of the Portuguese Pointing Dog make it a very trainable breed. It wants to oblige its masters and will show unparalleled diligence in order to win your approval. Hunting instinct is in the blood of this dog so it needs very basic training to become a great pointer and retriever.
Remember that your pet may have problems with concentration if its attention is caught by some object that resembles a prey. It’s totally unacceptable to punish the Portuguese Pointing Dog for such occasional inattention as rough handling will only intimidate it or cause avoidance behaviour.
The Portuguese Pointing Dog is a sturdily built and vivacious breed that won’t be fully happy without daily playtime in a well-fenced territory. If you don’t intend to use your pet as a hunting companion, make sure to provide it with some type of tasks that would duplicate its hunting duties.
In general, this dog is ill-suited for the keeping in an apartment since it needs lots of space to move and play indoors. Such behavioural issues as unreasonable barking, destructiveness and aggressive outbursts are typical for all Portuguese Pointing Dogs who are derived of necessary physical and mental stimulation.