There is ample evidence from literature and art that origins of the Pointer existed in Europe from as early as the 16th century. Pointers are widely believed to have derived from the Spanish Pointer. British soldiers returning home at the conclusion of the War of Spanish Succession in 1713 are believed to have brought with them specimens of the pointing dogs they came to know during the nine years they were in Spain. They became increasingly popular with the introduction of wing shooting. Kennels of Pointers were owned by families of stature and wealth throughout England and were initially crossed with other breeds to develop dogs more suitable to the English sportsman. “The Sportsman has improved the breed by selecting the lightest and gayest individuals, and by the judicious crosses with Foxhounds to procure courage and fleetness.”
The English Kennel Club, the world’s first pure-bred dog registry was established in 1873 for the purpose of ensuring that all dog shows and field trials were run consistently and fairly. A year later, the first Kennel Club Stud Book was published listing the breedings of pure bred dogs and the results of dog shows and field trials. Pointers from successful lines began to appear in North America from around 1876. Early field trials in America were dominated by Llewellin and English Setters until the Pointer, Manitoba Rap won the 1909 National Championship. A decade later would see the dominancy of Pointers in field trials which still remains true today.
Today’s field-bred Pointers, registered with the American Field Stud Book are the result of generations of breeding based on bird dog performance in field trials across the country and parts of Canada. The Pointer is a favored upland hunting companion and along with English Setters fill the kennels of many private and public bird hunting establishments from the Southeast, to Texas and the prairies.
An upland game specialist, Pointers are athletic, have tremendous drive to find birds and have strong pointing instinct. Once thought of as aloof, today’s Pointers are generally biddable and affectionate, though attempting to restrict their natural desire to run and range will only result in dampening their enthusiasm to find game.
Pointers are highly competitive in field trials on all species of upland game birds from the foot-handled grouse woods to All-Age prairie and Southern piney woods stakes run off horseback. They are primarily white as the dominant color with either solid or ticked secondary colors of black, liver, orange or lemon. Males are generally between 50 – 60 lbs, females, 40 – 45 lbs.