Showsight Presents The Pointer


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T he Pointer is one of the first breeds exhibited in the United States. It is also a breed that has been depicted through the centuries by artists. Many of the dogs immortalized by the masters such as George Earl, his daughter, Maud Earl, Thomas Blinks, Leon Danchin, Richard Fath, and Marguerite Kirmse, just to name a few, are not very different from the modern-day Pointer. When you enter the ring, you will see a class of Point- ers of different colors and coat patterns. This is the icing on the cake, for it is what lies underneath that makes a good Pointer. Thus, color and markings should have no bearing on your decision. In the General Appearance section of the Pointer Standard, phrases such as “bred primarily for sport afield,” “impression of compact power and agile grace,” and “hard-driving hunt- ing dog” are used. In evaluating the Pointer, one must keep in mind the purpose of the breed. These dogs should have outgo- ing temperaments and be in excellent muscular condition so they can perform the duties for which they are bred. For many years, the Pointer has been described as a head breed. There is no doubt that the correct Pointer head is the hallmark of the breed and distinguishes it from other breeds. I do feel that, as a judge or a breeder, to put all of your emphasis on the head and neglect the traits that make our dogs capable

Ch. Truewithem A Taste of Triumph was my foundation bitch; a Number One Pointer in 1976 and the dam of 29 Champions as well as four BIS winners, including the 1986 Westminster BIS winner, Ch. Marjetta National Acclaim.

Ch. Cookieland’s Life of Leisure, bred by Cheryl LaDuc. “Daisy” was the winner of 21 All-Breed Bests in Show and is also the dam of Ch. Cookieland Seasyde Hollyberry. Pictured here winning the Group under me at the Lexington KC show, handled by co-breeder Anthony Cantor. Breeders of Hollyberry: Cheryl LaDuc and A&A Cantor.

Ch. Marjetta Diamond Lil JH, owned by Dave & Linda McCurley.



From the APC Illustrated Standard

Gait Smooth, frictionless, with a powerful hindquarters’ drive. The head should be carried high, the nostrils wide, the tail moving from side to side rhythmically with the pace, giving the impression of a well-balanced, strongly-built hunting dog capable of top speed combined with great stamina. Hackney gait must be faulted.

Balance and Size Balance and overall symmetry are more important in the Pointer than size. A smooth, balanced dog is to be more desired than a dog with strongly contrasting good points and faults. Hound and Terrier characteristics are most undesirable. Because a Sporting dog must have both endurance and power, great variations in size are undesirable, the desirable height and weight being within the following limits:


• Height • Weight

23-26 inches 45-65 pounds


• Height • Weight

25-28 inches 55-75 pounds

Although not addressed in the standard, the height of body from the withers to the ground is equal to or slightly less than the length of the body from the front of the forechest to the rear projection of the upper thigh.

From the APC Illustrated Standard

a gentle curve, not exaggerated or straight, both of which would be hound characteristics. The Pointer’s silhouette should show a well-balanced dog devoid of exaggerations such as an extreme slop- ing topline or a very high tail carriage. The Pointer should also never appear low in leg. These do not present the correct outline for the Pointer. The Pointer’s chest is deep rather than wide, and the breastbone is bold, but not unduly prominent. The bone of the Pointer is oval in shape. It should neither be too refined nor too heavy as both would hinder the agility and endurance of the breed. The feet are oval with well-arched toes and deep pads, which are needed for speed and agility. Our standard calls for muscular and powerful hindquarters. When one examines a Pointer, well-defined musculature should be apparent. It is the strong hindquarter that propels the Pointer in the field. Decided angulation is required in the breed standard.

of hunting all day is a disservice to the breed. That being said, the Pointer’s head is very well-chiseled. The planes of the skull and muzzle can be either parallel or dished. The standard calls for the muzzle to give the impression of length. The nostrils are wide open to enable scenting ability. The eyes are of ample size, rounded, and intense. An oval eye is incorrect in the Pointer and detracts from the expression. The eye color should be dark in contrast with the coat color. The ear leather is so fine that the veins are evident. They are also short and, when relaxed, reach just below the lower jaw. They should be pointed at the tip and never rounded as in a scent hound. The outline of the Pointer is a series of gentle curves from the neck blending into smooth, laid-back shoulders. The cor- rect topline has subtle curves from the head to the tail. There is a slight rise over the loin and a gently sloping croup. The underline is also an integral component of the outline, the tuck-up being



“Reatta” was a National Specialty winner. She was owned by Den & Elsa Lawler and Cindy Lane.

A terra cotta sculpture by Richard Fath. Ch. Counterpoint’s Lord Ashley, shown by Corky Vroom and owned by William Metz. He was a Number One Pointer and a Westminster Group winner. He was the sire of Ch. Truewithem A Taste of Triumph.

proudly, the tail lashing from side to side. In this country, a lot of emphasis is put on movement, looking for tremendous reach and drive. However, the dog should never lose his outline when mov- ing. The Pointer should not get longer and lower when moving. The head should not be facing the ground. Wasted motion such as hackney gait and pounding movement are also faulty. The Pointer may be black, lemon (flesh-colored nose), orange (black pigment) or liver, either solid or in combination with white. The lemon Pointer will have a hazel eye as it is genetically impos- sible for them to have a darker eye. Unfortunately, this often con- fuses many judges as they look at the lighter eye of a lemon as a fault. Our standard does not address the proportions of the breed as it is covered in other standards. It does, however, mention “compact power” and “loins of moderate length.” Therefore, most Pointer breeders agree that the Pointer is just off-square. The height of the body from the withers to the ground is equal to, or slightly less than, the length of the body from the front of the forechest to the rear proportion of the upper thigh. I feel that if you keep these points in mind, you will be com- fortable judging the Pointer and will be able to reward the dog that best exemplifies our standard—a Pointer that could go out and do a day’s work in the field and go into the show ring the next day. Anyone wanting to see the American Pointer Club’s Illus- trated Standard or our Power Point Presentation as well as sev- eral informative articles on the breed, please visit our website at

The purists in the breed will tell you that the two most impor- tant physical characteristics of the Pointer are the head and the tail. The correct Pointer tail is thicker at the base and tapers to a fine point. Never docked, the tail should not reach below the hock in length. It should be carried straight without curl, and lash from side to side when moving. The tail can be either carried straight off the back or as high as 20 degrees above the back. The Pointer should never carry its tail between its legs. People in the breed often refer to the ideal Pointer tail as a “bee-sting” tail. It is an extremely short, tapered tail and is carried perfectly straight and lashes from side to side when the dog is in motion. One would never see the need to measure this tail as it would fall well short of the hock. In 1906, William Arkwright wrote in his The Pointer and His Predecessors , “...while the head is the hallmark of the breed, for the certificate of blue blood, apply at the other end.” It was at the turn of the last century in the development of the breed in England that Pointers were crossed with Foxhounds and Greyhounds. Mr. Arkwright was very vocal in his opposition to the crosses. He felt that the tail was an indicator of hound crosses. He had good reason to be concerned as, to this day, we can see several hound charac- teristics in our breed: lack of stop, round bone, cat feet, exagger- ated tuck-up, lack of tuck-up and skirting, long ropy tails devoid of tapering, sickle tails, long ears with rounded tips, flat croups and also steep croups. Any hound characteristic is wrong in the Pointer and should be penalized. A good Pointer’s gait is as much a part of breed type as his head and tail. The gait should be strong and powerful. The head is held

Ch. Cookieland Seasyde Hollyberry, bred by Cheryl LaDuc, owned by Sean & Tammy McCarthy & Helyne Medeiros, and handled by Michael Scott. All-time top-winning Pointer with 117 All-Breed Bests in Show and three National BISSs—all in 16 months of showing.



THB3d on Pointers JUDGING I t was late on Sunday evening and I had just returned from a show where I saw some incredible dogs being judged… well, incredibly!! My four-legged girls were all tucked in for the night when the phone rang. It was my friend, Joyce Mumford, who implored, “You’ve got to help me!!” “With what?” says me, somewhat perplexed. “I need you to write an article on how to judge Pointers and I need it… now!” I said that it was late and that I had driven a long way and I was somewhat fuzzier than normal so, of course, I replied OK. She is my friend, after all, and she needed help… now! So here I sit, pencil in hand, late on a Wednesday evening, and I have finally realized that I don’t have a clue on how to write an article to tell you how to judge Pointers. I will, however, try to tell you how I judge Pointers. A good Pointer, when he enters your ring, has a bit of an attitude—a little bit of arrogance—with his head held high and his nostrils large and flared. A good Pointer is moderate in size; not too big and over- done (males 25"-28" and females 23"-26" at the shoulder), and not too refined. From the tip of his somewhat upturned nose to the tip of his shortish tail, he fits. He has good balance. He is in proportion. I judge good Pointers on the premise that shorter is always preferable to lon- ger—EVERYWHERE. Shorter-backed is better than too long. Shorter loin is much better than too long. Shorter ears are way better than too long, and they should be somewhat pointed—never round—with thin, thin (almost see-through) soft leather. Not Foxhound-like—not ever! Our standard says that the tail is: “Heavier at the base, tapering to a fine point. Length no greater than to hock.” I find this to be fairly self- explanatory. You would be amazed at those who miss this point. It does not mean that the tail must come to the hock. It means what it says, “... no greater than to hock.” Again, a shorter, or bee-sting, tail is better than a long tail and it will likely be straighter. Long gives a multitude of problems. They hang, as in an unhappy Bloodhound or, as they are often set on too high or level, they curl or worse, stick straight up at twelve o’clock. All are equally offensive.




The standard says, “Croup falling only slightly to base of tail.” This clearly means that the croup falls off “only slightly to base of tail.” The tail, therefore, should not come off level with the back. As he stands there, the picture of what you believe to be a good Pointer, you become concerned about his topline. It isn’t level. Well, good! It isn’t supposed to be. If it were, he couldn’t do the job he was bred to do. The standard says, “… slight rise from croup to top of shoulders. Loin of moderate length, powerful and slightly arched.” This “slightly arched” gives him his powerful drive and the ability to do his work effortlessly for hours on end. So, now we have a moderate-sized dog that is compact—all over—and has an atti- tude! Now we pray that when he moves, he is basically sound coming, going, and on the go-around, and doesn’t pick his front feet up too high, i.e., hackney. The standard says, “A good Pointer cannot be a bad color.” This does not mean that he can be purple!!! He can be liver and white, black and white, orange and white or lemon and white, with associated points to match—black noses and eye rims on the blacks and oranges, self-colored on the livers and lemons. He can even be solid-colored of any of the four colors listed previously. The quality of solid-colored Pointers has improved greatly over the past years. Though still not seen frequently, there are some very good ones on the horizon. Do not be afraid to award them, though please do it based on the standard and not their color. Most of the oldest books now available warn frequently about tri-colored Pointers carrying “too much of the Foxhound blood.” You may see one on occasion, and I handle it by quietly excusing them from the ring and writing in my judge’s book, “Excused. Color not addressed in standard.” Again, ears too long, tails too long. Now, look at his feet. This is a working dog with oval feet, not round, and with well-arched toes allowing him to work all kinds of ground effortlessly. So, now what do we have? We have a moderately-sized dog that comes into your ring with his head held rather arrogantly. Your first impression is head, tail, and atti- tude. Next, he appears balanced, is in fit condition, and of the correct size. We know now that the standard says he can’t be a bad color; and he is one that is acceptable. Always look at a Pointer from all sides—coloring or patching can easily deceive and, for some reason, his “off-side” is often more pleasing to the eye. He moves around your ring with power and grace. His tail, we hope, will lash somewhat from side to side as he moves soundly on four good legs. When he stops, he looks at you with a soft, trust- ing expression. Lucky you… you’ve just judged a good Pointer. The others just won’t measure up. Enjoy.


THE VERSATILITY OF THE POINTER—FACT OR FICTION??? By Debra Pereira T he Pointer breed stan- dard states “ Th e ideal specimen gives the immediate impression of compact power and agile grace; the head noble,

until the handler arrives.” Th is inclination to work away from the handler while still taking directions can be an asset in canine sports such as agility—allowing the handler to ‘send’ the dog to an obstacle while mini- mizing the distance the handler must trav- el—ultimately resulting in faster run times. While in general the breed is well suited to performance events, it is important to consider the ultimate goals for your canine teammate when evaluating potential pup- pies in a litter. While important in all ven- ues for pups to be brave and bold, for sports like agility I also like to see a very strong play and toy drive. I personally love naugh- ty puppies—it’s fun to direct that positive energy into desired performance behaviors. Some of our top agility Pointers have come from Pointer rescues—don’t discount the suitability of a rescue if you are looking for a potential performance partner. To highlight the versatility of the Pointer, the American Pointer Club o ff ers awards at the National Specialty for Point- ers competing in fi eld, obedience, rally, agility, and conformation venues. Depend- ing on the number of di ff erent venues each dog participates in, they are eligible to receive the coveted “MVP” award. Th is program was established to encourage Pointer owners to venture out and try new types of events with their dogs, and it has been a great success with participation at record levels at the 2013 Pointer Nationals. Th ere are so many di ff erent venues available to participate in with your Point- er, it’s important to fi nd the ones that make you and your dog the happiest. It’s not about the competition; at the end of the day a national ranking means nothing if we aren’t having fun with our dogs. Our canine partner’s lives are much too short, fi nd what they love and help them do it! Is the Pointer a versatile breed? De fi nitely a FACT!

proudly carried; the expression intelligent and alert; the muscular body bespeaking both staying power and dash. Here is an ani- mal whose every movement shows him to be a wide-awake, hard-driving hunting dog possessing stamina, courage, and the desire to go. And in his expression are the loyalty and devotion of a true friend of man.” Pointers are not often seen in perfor- mance events such as agility or obedience, but it is not because they do not have the desire or the ability to excel. Th ey are will- ing and able competitors, and their ath- leticism enables them to perform at the top levels with appropriate training. Th eir exu- berant and even mischievous nature can be misleading as they can be very sensitive when they think they have made a mistake. Above all else they want to please their human teammate. Because of this sensitiv- ity, you should always reward the positive and try to ignore mistakes to maintain enthusiasm, and look for frequent oppor- tunities to give your Pointer the chance to be successful in every training session. It is important to understand each breed’s natural inclinations when consider- ing training approaches to other venues such as agility or obedience. Th e American Point- er Club website describes the Pointer in the fi eld as “very biddable, personable dogs that have one thing on their mind when let loose in hunting terrain, and that is to fi nd birds. Because of this, they tend to run hard, fast, and cover as much ground as possible to accomplish their aim. As the Pointer may be a considerable distance from the handler at the time of the bird- fi nd, he must also be trainable, so that he will “stand” his bird

Ch Black Alder Laughing Annie JH CD RE NFP MJP2 MXP3 MXPB CGC CHIC, “Annie” was the APC’s 2013 Champion of Health award recipient. She is 6 years old.

Black Alder Denali JH NJP OAP NF AX OAJ, “Deena” is 2 years old.

BIO Debra Pereira has owned Pointers for the past 15 years, and has competed in con- formation, obedience, rally, agility, hunt tests, and field trials. Her Pointers have titled in all types of events, and they have been ranked in the top Pointers in multi- ple venues over the past several years. Her Pointers Deena and Annie won the High in Trial Agility and High in Trial Agility- Preferred respectively at the recent Pointer Nationals. Frequently the only Pointers at local all-breed agility trials, her Pointers are great ambassadors for the breed high- lighting their versatility. More informa- tion on Deb and her Pointers can be found on her website

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Judging the Pointer

By Henri B. Tuthill


mong all sporting dogs, the Pointer has achieved a place in history through the paintings of some of our most renowned

the pointer standard is not the most dif- fi cult to understand. In fact, it presents a very moderate view of a fi nely hewn sport- ing dog ready and willing to work a fi eld. Th e connotations of what is stated in the standard relevant to the breed’s form and function, I detail in this article. I include several references to the Pointer’s fi eld capa- bilities to draw a tight coupling between form and function. Five Key Attributes While attending the AKC Sporting Dog presentations last August, practically every breed presenter provided the audi- ence with fi ve key attributes of their breed that ensured thorough evaluation of breed- ing stock. For the Pointer, the fi ve attri- butes that establish his true type are the head, front, feet, rear, and tail. Th ey are placed in the order you judge a dog. Th e two attributes unique to the pointer are his head and tail. To paraphrase William Arkwright 1 , for a certi fi cate of his heritage apply to the head, for a certi fi cate of his blueblood apply to his tail. t Head (see Figures 1a, b and c) I use the terms ‘classic dish’ as reference to the heads we fi nd in paintings and older breed references that called for a concave nasal bone, which brings the nostrils to a point higher than the base of the stop, as in Figure 1a. Parallel planes are exhibited by the dog in Figure 1b. Th e nostrils should be large with consider- able expanse as in Figure 1c. Th e stop should be pronounced with a rounded eye and proper placement to comple- ment their dark brown color and inten- sity. Th e skull should be fl at with a well de fi ned Occiput, and only as broad as the length of the muzzle from stop to nose. To understand pointer symmetry, it is important to understand several rel- ative ratios that aid our subjective evalu- ation. Relative ratios have a tendency to

artists, who depicted a dog of beauty and intensity working a fi eld on upland game. Over the span of several centuries, vol- umes have been dedicated to his abilities in the fi eld. Th e root of his origins is often debated among a fi cionados of sporting dogs. Was he a companion on hunting trips with the Egyptians 3000 years ago etched in carvings on the tomb of Th ebes? Did he stem from Spain with the in fl ux of the Spanish pointer brought by troops into France and England in the 1600s? Is he, perhaps, just a jumble of genes through a bunch of disparate crosses from blood- hound to foxhound, and ancient spaniel that produced, by luck of the cross, the breed we see today? Th ere is consider- able evidence in the bibliography to sup- port an a ffi rmative answer to the fi rst two questions, and a resounding refutation of the last one. My advice, should you hold interest in the modern Pointer, is to read these historical accounts and weigh their evidence and the arguments in support of their positions carefully. In the fi nal analy- sis, you be the judge. Th e purpose of this article is to provide judges, who are at the forefront in the eval- uation of the Pointer, a practical guide to ensure the evaluation of breeding stock is accomplished at its highest level of excel- lence. You should begin by reading the AKC Pointer standard, read it carefully, and read it often. Review the American Pointer Club Illustrated Standard. It is important to the evaluation process to translate the words of the standard into a mental image of the ide- al specimen. Our responsibility as judges is to evaluate breeding stock with respect to the breed’s ideal. Among breed standards,

Fig. 1a

Fig. 1b

Fig. 1c

get exaggerated if left unchecked, but the standard pulls us back to reality with the statement that the head should give the impression of length. Short muzzled, rounded back skulls are not acceptable in the breed standard. Th e ear is triangular in shape, somewhat pointed at the tip, and thin in leather carried at eye level

t4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& + 6-: 

or higher when excited. Th e ear should reach no further than to the lower jaw. A scissors or level bite is acceptable. t Front assembly: Th ere is an old saying, “should he toe in he is out; should he toe out he is in.” Toeing out is usually associated with young stock. Th ey often grow out of this tendency by the time they reach 12-15 months of age. How- ever, toeing in is often associated with problems in the humerus, rib spring, and front angulation. Proper muscle development and conditioning should be examined. (Refer to Figure 2 for a proper front view.) Th e width of the fore chest is only as wide as is necessary to support a proper shoulder. (Refer to Figure 3 for a proper front assem- bly side view.) You must train your eye to visualize the layback of the scapula (remem- ber to follow its mid-rib), and the angle formed with respect to the humerus or upper arm. Most breed authorities concur with the observation the optimal angle of the scapula is 45 degrees, and the humerus should meet the Scapula to form an angle of 90 degrees. In the ring, you often do not see these optimal angles. However, the elbow should set directly under a vertical line drawn from the point of the withers to the front pad. Th e front assembly is the most signi fi cant load bearing structure in the pointer. Th ere should exist little doubt, the front is the most important structure of the dog’s skeleton. Refer to McDowell Lyon 7 and Edward Gilbert 5 for more critical analyses of dog structure. Both texts explore in detail the structural aspects and establish an excellent rationale for a proper Pointer front assembly and angulation. t Feet are oval more to the hare in shape, never cat-footed, it is faulted in this breed. Th e pointer foot is premier in its ability for work a fi eld. Th e toes are well arched and accompanied with strong pads. In the fi eld, a quick burst of speed, followed by abrupt turns, and pulling up abruptly to freeze in a statuesque point, hinge on a proper foot to support this action. We see a similar shaped foot in several hound breeds such as the Saluki, Afghan hound, Greyhound, and Whippet. All these dogs are built for speed and quick

attributes, and exciting to watch its action when the Pointer is working on game. In the show ring, a tail should lash in small arcs. Th is is characteristic of the ideal tail action. t Rear assembly of the Pointer pro- vides powerful propelling action with well developed thighs. Th e upper thigh should not be weedy and over- ly re fi ned. Th e hocks are short and strong, i.e. well let down. Th e Pointer rear angulation should balance with the front angulation. A well angu- lated rear does not mean overly angu- lated. Th e standard calls for decided angulation as evidence of power and endurance. Th e judge should look for balance that supports proper reach and drive. Straight fronts and rears are to be avoided in the breed. Summary Th e fi ve key attributes composed of head, front, feet, rear and tail were pre- sented. I proceed to add some additional details to the fi ve key attributes. Sound- ness and temperament help round out the key components of the breed. As previous- ly noted, the two attributes that speak to breed type are the head and tail, more than any other attribute of the breed. Selective breeding, to ensure good specimen replica- tion, is paramount to guarantee long term success for this breed’s type. Th e Pointer’s symmetry is a series of graceful curves. Th e curve comprised from the Occiput, down the neck that should fi t smoothly into the shoulders, across the short back and moderate length loin to fi n- ish at the tail should form a smooth curve. Th e underline curve begins at the point of the elbow that meets the brisket follows on to the tuck up and fl ows across the thigh, upper thigh and fi nishes at well let down hocks. Th e curves represent an excellent test to assess how everything fi ts together, i.e. the Pointer’s overall image is re fl ected in these curves, the curves of symmetry. Th e pointer should stand over ground: he is not a square dog. Relative ratios come into play again. From the point of shoulder to point of Ischium it is slightly longer than height at the withers. Th e optimal inclination of the pelvis should be 30 degrees. Th e bone

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

turns. Th e pasterns should be fi ner in bone and slant slightly. Th e pastern serves as an additional shock absorp- tion structure. Short, thick upright pasterns are to be avoided in this breed. t Tail carried level with the back, may be slightly elevated above the top line in the AKC standard, and lashed from side to side. It is thick at the root with the third Caudal vertebrae somewhat enlarged, then tapering to a fi ne point. Its length has been the object of con- siderable debate, but it should reach no further than to the hock. Th is is consis- tent with many sporting dog standards. Historically, the tail has been likened to a wasp or bee sting; however, the stan- dard calls for neither. In fact, historical- ly, the documentation in many paint- ings, illustrates a lovely pump handle tail, which follows a lazy S-curve. One cannot lose sight of the artistic works of Maud Earl, Deportes, Oudry, Blinks, Osthous, and others, who document- ed the pointer from the 17th century onward. Th e quality of the Pointer tail is one of the breed’s most important

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is oval and built for speed, never round as in the foxhound. Th e top line of the pointer should show a slight rise from the sacral vertebrae to the withers. It must not be fl at, slack, or too long as these traits will impede proper locomotion. Th e character- istic sporting dog formula of a short back and moderate length loin fi t the Pointer’s conformation as well. Soundness , in this article, references the merging of form and function. Th e Pointer should be moved on a loose lead to allow his head to come over his center of gravity. You should place equal emphasis on the up-and-back as well as movement in a circle. At the trot in the show ring, the head will come forward and slightly down when moved on a loose lead. Th e gait should be smooth and e ff ortless, with feet traveling in low arcs for e ffi ciency. Viewing movement from the side, a prop- er front assembly will permit the front foot to extend out as far as a vertical line through the tip of the muzzle. Feet and legs should move in unison, not crossing, paddling, winging, side-winding, pound- ing, or anything akin to hackney action. Th e latter is to be faulted. Th e pointer will tend to single track at the trot. Th is is an e ffi cient and e ff ective way to move and cover ground. In the fi eld, the pointer moves rapidly with front legs and rear moving in unison like a hinge supported by a strong back, capable of considerable speed. Th e pointer is a very fast running breed, well muscled and athletic. Temperament embodies the Pointer’s mental ability to demonstrate con fi dence and congenial behavior. He is very alert in all situations, and keenly interested in any- thing that has wings. Th e Pointer is eas- ily trained for work in the show ring, and responds favorably to consistent training regimens. Th e socialization factor should begin at an early age, as the Pointer does not fare well if brought to dog shows with little or no prior experience. Young dogs are often a bit unruly, but judges should be patient to allow the handlers to bring out the best from their younger exhibits. International Standards vary to some extent from the AKC standard. If you judge outside the US, you should be aware of the di ff erences that may exist in the breed stan-

dards. Some standards have size variations and emphasize the classic dish head. Most standard variations outside the US are associated with size limitations. I found the Italian standard to be most committed to relative ratios. Th e English standard pro- vides for the tri-color: black & white with tan markings. In the AKC standard, the color is irrelevant with a single comment that a good pointer cannot be a bad color. I have seen one liver tri-colored pointer in 48 years. Additional breed comments are detailed in the work of Solero 8 , and to some extent in Lola Mcdonald Daly’s book 4 . Sole- ro’s book is written in Italian, and the illus- trations are excellent. Enos Phillips 2 has portraits of tri-colored Pointers in his book that date back several centuries. In breed seminars, I am often asked to answer the question why there is such a dis- parity between the fi eld pointer and show pointer. Th e disparity is especially evident in the US. Th e answer lies in understand- ing the balance of form and function. With rare exception, those dedicated to fi eld trials in the US emphasized the functional aspects of the breed at the expense of optimal struc- ture. Th e fi eld pointer evolved as a smaller aberration of the breed with broader cathe- dral fronts and barrel ribs, shorter legs and a fl agpole tails. Th e tail designed, perhaps by happenstance, to illustrate some arcane association with desire and intensity, came in vogue as early as the mid-1930s. Th e late Robert Wehle 6 , whose pointers were a great success in fi eld trials, created his own stan- dard of the breed which called for the verti- cal tail. A photograph of a pointer skeleton with the vertical tail appears in the book. Th e AKC pointers are excellent gun- dogs, where form and function have been emphasized, without exempting the dog of its natural ability to hunt upland game. Di ff erent venues of competition have driven some to emphasize certain breed attributes over others. Hence, we have the divergence in breed type. Th e standard exempli fi es the importance of judging the entire animal as a smooth, balanced dog is more desired. Th e formula I provided encapsulates the entire animal perspective in the evaluation of breeding stock. Several years ago, I had an opportunity to chat brie fl y with Ed Gilbert. I presented

his book for an autograph. What Ed wrote are words I value: “Read, think and be chal- lenged”. Th is is practical advice for judges and breeders alike. Ongoing education is crucial to the success as a breed evaluator. I fi nd ringside observation of sporting dogs to be a valuable learning experience. Infor- mal discussions with your peers at judge’s seminars are of additional value. I should add an additional observa- tion-evaluation of breeding stock must begin with careful evaluation conducted by breeders whose intent is to present the pointer in the show ring, or compete in the fi eld. Th e best years of the modern pointer lie ahead with dedicated breed- ers and judges working together to ensure the breed’s quality remains intact. In ref- erence to dog breeders, Robert Wehle 6 said, “ Th e dog breeders of today then, are merely temporary custodians of the breeds that were handed down to us from the last generation of breeders and which we, in turn, shall hand on to the next gen- eration”. It is incumbent upon judges and breeders to ensure the preservation of the Pointer’s valuable and ancient heritage. BIO Henri Tuthill has been involved in the sport of dogs for 48 years. He and his wife Nancy are the breeders of 120 Pointer champions. Th ey have finished dogs in three groups: sporting, hound and terrier. Both Henri and Nancy are judges of sev- eral sporting dogs and continue to extend their education and ability to judge several more breeds. You may contact Henri at, or visit their web- site at References [1] Arkwright, William, “The Pointer”, [2] Phillips, Enos,”The True Pointer and His An- cient Heritage”. [3] Dogs of the British Isles [4] Daly, Lola Macdonald, “The Pointer as a Showdog”,Milo Delinger, 1936. [5] Gilbert, Edward & Thelma R. Brown, “K-9 Structure & Terminology”, MacMillan, Inc. 1995. [6] Wehle, Robert, “Wing & Shot”, The Country Press, Scottsville, New York, 1966. [7] Lyon, McDowell, “The Dog in Action”, Howell Book House, Inc. 1966. [8] Solaro,Giuseppe, “IL Pointer”, Milano, Italy. Edizioni. No date provided. [9] AKC Structure components from [10] American Pointer Club Illustrated Breed standard

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By Karen Blasche

During the early to mid-part of the 20th century a true divergence of Pointer type took place in the US due to many sportsmen breeding for field performance alone. Th is resulted in a smaller, faster, wider-ranging bird dog with a flagpole tail (straight up) that is often followed on horseback to keep track of it. Th ey are registered with the Field Dog Stud Book (FDSB) and vastly outnumber the tradi- tional Pointers registered with the Ameri- can Kennel Club (AKC). From the out- set, AKC registered Pointers were classic personal gundogs bred to conform to the physical standard adopted from England in the 1880s with relatively few changes by the parent club(s) since. Our focus is entirely on these Pointers, often known as the “show” Pointer. Th at’s a nice label, but wait! Th ere’s more! What can be more memorable than that primordial thrill the first time you see your Pointer suddenly stop, intently whi ff - ing something divine on the wind and then freeze into a point as if in a trance? You can’t teach that! An increasing per- centage of dedicated Pointer breeders and owners are nurturing the talents for which their dogs are most universally renowned through training and competition at AKC Hunt Tests and Field Trials. Some refer to this work afield as their own form of “ther- apy” and you wonder just who is benefiting the most! It’s exciting to watch a flashy Pointer being put through its paces at any Per- formance venue. Th ere are bound to be smiles from the gallery as it maneuvers the course with spirit and grace. If you’re willing, they’re willing, but humility and a healthy sense of humor are virtues when things don’t go as planned. Th ough Pointers were never considered contend- ers, now an impressive number can boast titles as long as your arm before and after their name thanks to their e ff orts and

W hat’s so special about Pointers? For one, they come in striking colors—br ight white with vary- ing amounts of markings in either black, orange, liver or lemon, or solid with pos- sible white on feet, foreface and chest. Color pattern helps tell them apart, but it’s the individual personalities of these lovable canine athletes that shine through and win your heart. Th ere are many reasons to like Point- ers—first of all they are unabashedly beau- tiful to look at with that classic outline, all streamlined and sleek, exquisite head and kind expression. Th ey are true sporting dogs, built to have great stamina yet make beloved companions and pets, no pressure if you don’t “do” extra-curricular activi- ties. Th ey’re versatile, wash ‘n wear dogs with a lifespan of 11-14 years, or more. Liv- ing with a Pointer is easy. If you have kids they can tire each other out and be happy. Th ey’re clean and sociable and eager to be part of the family. Th ey will fit right in on the sofa beside you, no matter how

small the space. In fact, they might even pile on top of one another to fit into that small space. You won’t have to look far to know where your Pointer is either, as it will most likely be where you are. I usually say, “I’ll be right back, I’m only going into the other room” but it doesn’t matter if it is for the first or fifth time, at least one will tag along to be sure not to miss anything. Others might stay in place but listen or watch to determine if further investigation is war- ranted. As for hearing, it is remarkable— a Pointer snoozing or doing something of interest at the opposite end of the house can detect the stealthiest opening of a refrigerator door and arrive instantly. Pointers were introduced from Europe into England around 1650 where the breed has been perfected over the ensuing centu- ries. Th ey grew in popularity in America after the Civil War ended in 1865 with a real concentration of imported stock arriv- ing from the British Isles during the 1870s and 80s, and again in the 1920s and 30s. For a more detailed look into the breed’s history, please see the April 2012 Show- Sight Pointer feature online.

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their owners’ perseverance. More inspir- ing is that over a dozen Pointers have now earned Tracking titles and still others have become successful Search and Res- cue dogs! Th e versatility of this breed is endless. Many are able to mix and match varying disciplines without di ffi culty. Pointers are very loyal and want to please. Some might show a natural apti- tude for a task, where others need more time and direction and plenty of that elu- sive quality known as patience to make it happen. For all their exuberance, Point- ers have a soft and gentle nature and are really quite sensitive to harsh reprimands, regardless of the transgression. A little cor- rection goes a long way and positive rein- forcement works best. Pointers make a striking Junior Show- manship breed choice with their unembel- lished physique and easy demeanor. Th ey have also been known to make appear- ances at elementary schools for show and tell sessions where they’ll patiently allow schoolchildren to pet, prod and play show- dog with them.

Th ey can sense when tenderness is required. Some make incredible Th erapy Dogs, with special certification train- ing that includes working with autistic children, Alzheimer’s patients or nurs- ing home residents. Th at beautiful head with earnest expression and soft, brown eyes nosing gently under a hand and the innate ability to move closer without intruding are remarkable talents. Since it is hard to resist such an empathetic friend, moods tend to brighten. At home, Pointers can intuitively comfort a dis- tressed family member (young or old) and willingly absorb tears shed into their embraced necks. Everything said, Pointers are robust and full of energy which needs to be released daily. Ready access to a fenced yard, regular trips to the park or a jog, or kids as mentioned earlier, are good ways to prevent the house from becoming their gymnasium. Since Pointers weigh between 45-65 pounds, remember those bony elbows if considering a lap dog (and they do consider themselves lap dogs).

Crates are a valued element in a Point- er household. Th ey provide refuge (never for punishment) for rest and quiet for the dogs, as well as peace of mind for an owner who cannot be sure if it’s wise to leave them unattended while away. Case in point was the day our cat brought a live chipmunk into the house through the doggie door, turning the three Pointers in residence into Keystone Cops on a car chase. Th e chip- munk survived but the corner cabinet was never the same.

BIO Karen Blasche is a life member of the American Pointer Club where she serves as his- torian and bench statistician. She is shown here relax- ing in “times gone by” with homebred Ch. Haymeadow Merry Me.

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by SuSan Olivia lewiS ThOmpSOn Solivia Pointers

W hen I was a little girl, my neighbor had “bird dogs” —Pointers. Th ey were kept in a small pen, and I felt really sorry for them. Th ey were so kindhearted, friendly and gentle (“ his expression are the loyalty and devotion of a true friend of man”). After school most days I would go see them, and put my hand through the fence to pet them. Watchful of the time, I would vamoose each day just prior to my neighbor’s arrival home from work, because if he saw me near his dogs he would jump out of his car, slam the door, shake his fist and scream, “Don’choo pet ’dem bird-dawgs, ’cause ’den ’dey won’t hunt!” (“ Th e Pointer’s even temperament and alert good sense make him a conge- nial companion both in the field and in the home.”) Th ose dear dogs made a lifelong impression on me, and I knew from the age of eight years that I would make this breed a part of my life. Pointers have been purebred for cen- turies. Th e breed’s foremost historian, William Arkwright, prepared an excel- lent history of the breed which all serious Pointer fanciers should own, Th e Pointer & His Predecessors (Arkwright, 1901). He did extensive research for at least eight years,

tracking references about the breed by pri- or authors, interviewing other breeders to record their knowledge of the breeds’ for- bears, sending letters, reviewing artwork which might lead to more information as to those involved with the breed—all without modern day computers and inter- net. It is an exhaustive, extensive work, and we are most grateful to him for this huge e ff ort. Mr. Arkwright was born into a fam- ily that raised Pointers, and his father pro- duced quality hunting dogs of exhibition caliber. Sadly, his father only lived a few weeks after William Arkwright was born, but left specific instructions with his ken- nel manager that his son was to be taught everything his father knew about the rais- ing and training of his Pointers, and about the breed in general. Th e wise and kind “favourite keeper” of Mr. Arkwright’s father, Charles Ecob, complied with these posthumous instructions and set young William on a course which resulted in his devoting his life to this breed. People are drawn to this breed as to any magnificent work of art. Th is breed has been the subject of artists for centuries. Pointers are among the most immortalized by art- ists of all purebred dogs. Th e head(s) of the Pointer are distinctively THIS breed, like

no other, and simply beautiful. Th e head, face and eyes of Pointers are irresistible. Th ere are TWO allowable heads under the AKC breed standard! Parallel planes (the top of the head is on the same plane as the muzzle) and a head with a dished muzzle (the muzzle is slightly concavely dish-shaped, similar to an Arabian horse muzzle) are EQUALLY ACCEPTABLE (“...the muzzle is of good length, with the nasal bone so formed that the nose is slightly higher at the tip than the muzzle at the stop. Parallel planes of the skull and muzzle are equally acceptable”). Th ere are gradations of the dished muzzles ranging from pronounced to very slight dish. Th e TOP of the head (topskull) of a dished- muzzle Pointer should still be in a parallel plane to the ground. Th is is true in a par- allel-planed head as well. If the top of the skull slopes backwards towards the dog’s neck, then the head planes diverge and are considered “o ff .” Ensure that the bottom of the dog’s muzzle is in a parallel plane to the ground to observe the plane on the top of the head. Further about how the Pointer breed standard (AKC) di ff ers from other breeds is mention of TWO allowable bites: “Jaws ending square and level, should bite evenly


“enSure ThaT The bOTTOm Of The dOg’S muzzle iS in a parallel plane TO The grOund TO ObServe The plane On The TOP OF THE HEAD.”

or as scissors.” Th is sentence compounds a huge amount of information. Th e jaw (bone structure and teeth) ends square and level (so, for instance, not like a Greyhound). Th e front incisors may meet evenly or as scissors, and from the experience of those of us in the breed for a very long time, some judges still do not seem to grasp that a scissors bite is not to be preferred over a level bite. Ago- nizing over each little incisor at the expense of the overall quality of the entire animal is micromanaging the judging process. Th ere is no question that hound breeds were introduced into the mix in the early centuries of this breed’s development, and as such, characteristics such as heavy, floppy lips and longish, thick ears should be selected against. “ Th e muzzle should be deep without pendulous flews.” Early hound and setter/spaniel influence can result in longer, lower set ears than are desirable (“...ears ...set on at eye level. When hanging naturally, they should reach just below the lower jaw, close to the head, with little or no folding. Th ey should be somewhat pointed at the tip—never round—and soft and thin in leather”). Soft and thin-leathered ears are distinctive in this breed. Th e veins of the ear should be visible. Th e ear should not be “long” or setter-like. Just place your hand under the ear and hold it in your hand. If it feels thick and inflexible, somewhat like a bea- gle ear, or is set low and folded like a setter ear, or long and heavy like a bloodhound, it is atypical for a Pointer. Pointers are gloriously beautiful when galloping through the fields. Th e gallop is the gait most utilized by a hunting dog. Curiously, the movement of a show dog is

only evaluated at the trot. A visualization of a bunch of handlers running full tilt around a show ring with their galloping dogs is sort of hilarious. But galloping is how this breed still earns a living. Slowing this conversation down to a trot, however, let us talk about how a well-built Pointer should move. Front reach and rear drive are easy to see, but HOW MUCH reach and drive is present is NOT necessar- ily easy to discern. Try to watch the steps being taken by the dog (although handler error contributes mightily to evaluating movement, usually negatively!). Many steps or fewer steps when covering the same dis- tance—which dog covers the same amount of ground with less action? Th e answer to that is probably the one that has su ffi cient angulation in the front and rear. Good reach in the front, without “hack- ney action,” is a result of su ffi cient and balanced lengths and layback of scapula and upper arm. Lifting a standing dog’s paw will easily reveal the angle of its shoul- der assembly (if you cannot easily tell just by looking or physical exam). Trace the upper arm back to just below the elbow and visualize the angles formed by the shoulder assembly. Th ese are living, breathing ani- mals and not constructed by computer- programmed machines, so approximation is the goal here, and the most desirable characteristic is that the scapula and the humerus approximate the same length. A mature Pointer in good condition should have a depth of brisket that reaches to the elbow (“...Chest, deep rather than wide, must not hinder free action of fore- legs”). Th ere may be slight air under the elbows because this is a pointing breed


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