Showsight Presents The Pointer

LIFE WITH POINTERS

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—bright 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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