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A pointing breed is a type of gundog typically used in finding game. Gundogs are traditionally divided into three classes: retrievers, flushing dogs, and pointing breeds. The name pointer comes from the dog's instinct to point, by stopping and aiming its muzzle towards game. This demonstrates to the hunter the location of his or her quarry and allows them to move into gun range. Pointers were selectively bred for dogs who had abundant pointing and backing instinct. They typically start to acquire their hunting instincts at about 2 months of age. Many need further training to hold steadily at all appropriate times until released by the hunter.

Contents

History

Pointer at the moment of flush

The pointing breeds can be dated to England and Europe in about the 1650s.[1] They may have descended from dogs from Spain. (Furgus, 2002) Pointing dogs were originally used by hunters who netted the game. The dog would freeze or set (as in Setter) and allow the hunter to throw the net over the game before it flushed. Flushing dogs, on the other hand, were often used by falconers to flush game for the raptors.

Most continental European pointing breeds are classified as versatile gun dog breeds or sometimes HPR breeds (for hunt, point and retrieve). The distinction is made because versatile breeds were developed to find and point game as all pointing breeds, but were also bred to perform other hunting tasks as well. This distinction likely arose because while the British developed breeds which specialized in tasks such as pointing, flushing and retrieving from land or water, in Continental Europe, the same dog was trained to be able to perform each of these tasks (albeit less effectively). The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association defines versatility as "the dog that is bred and trained to dependably hunt and point game, to retrieve on both land and water, and to track wounded game on both land and water." As an example, German Shorthair Pointers are often used to retrieve birds duck hunting whereas, calling upon a Pointer to do the same would be less common. Unlike the pure pointing and setting breeds, many versatile dogs were bred for working in dense cover, and traditionally have docked tails.

The Westminster Kennel Club was organized in the early 1870s and the club's early English import, "Sensation", is still used as the club logo.

Appearance

Pointing breeds come in all varieties of coats, from short-haired dogs, to wire-haired dogs, to silky-coated Setters. Most breeds tend to have some sort of spots on their body, whether the spots are small and round, or a large oval shape.

Temperament

Pointers are very high energy dogs and constantly think about hunting and tracking. They are also extremely sweet, love to cuddle, play with other pets, and enjoy the company of other humans. They are a very independent, loyal, and responsive breed--they respond well to scolding and are extremely intelligent.[1]

Types of Breeds

A Pudelpointer in pointing stance.

Pointers (and setters) include the following breeds:

The following breeds are also considered versatile hunting dogs:

References

  1. ^ a b "Pointer". 5 Star Dog. http://www.5stardog.com/dog-breeds-pointer.asp. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  • Fergus, Charles. Gun Dog Breeds, A Guide to Spaniels, Retrievers, and Pointing Dogs, The Lyons Press, 2002. ISBN 1-58574-618-5
  • 5 Star Dogs: Pointers

External links

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