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Types of Pointer Dog Breeds

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  • Pointers are hounds that sniff out and point to small game so hunters can find it.
  • Pointers are intelligent, medium-sized dogs that generally make good pets.
  • The different breeds of Pointer originate from a common ancestor in Spain.

The Pointer is a hunting or sporting dog that stops to point at small game that the hunter may not see. When in the pointer position, the dog should not move, and the head, body and tail should be in a straight line. Some dogs also lift their paws. Because the prey was usually birds such as grouse or quail, these dogs were also known as bird dogs. These types of pointing bird dogs are thought to have a common ancestor that originated in Spain, and their pointing instinct has been ingrained for hundreds of years.

Some retrieve games and points, while others such as the English pointer are only raised to points. Lively, loyal, and obedient, these dogs tend to be larger in size. In addition to being great sporting dogs, many of them make excellent family pets. Read on to learn more about the different types of Pointer dog breeds.

1. English pointer

type of pointer dog
Red and white english pointers in the field. They are excellent for tracking small game and, unlike many other hounds, their duty and instinct is to point at the game rather than to retrieve it.

©Anna Pozzi – Zoophotos/Shutterstock.com

The name of this dog developed in England in the 17th century says it all. Originally trained to track hares, the English Pointer is long and muscular. It has a long, sloping neck and shoulders, a broad chest, and well-arched toes with thick toe pads. Its tail is in line with the back, the head has folded ears of medium length and a distinct stop above the muzzle.

The pointer measures 24 to 27 inches at shoulder height and weighs between 44 and 66 pounds. Its coat is short, stiff and pleasingly lustrous, allowing many color types as long as they are associated with large areas of white. Because it is an energetic dog, the English Pointer needs a lot of exercise if adopted as a pet.

Read here to learn more about pointers in English.

2. German Shorthaired Pointer

Types of pointer dogs
These multi-tasking dogs were bred to be instinctive all-around hunters to hunt, point and retrieve and have been used to hunt a variety of game including rabbits, raccoons, game birds, and even deer.

© iStock.com/slowmotiongli

This breed was developed in Germany in the 1800's and is similar to the English Pointer. It stands 21 to 25 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 45 and 60 pounds. As with most dogs, females are shorter and lighter than males. It has powerful legs for hunting game on land and in water. Because it is used to salvage waterfowl, it has webbed feet.

The German Shorthaired Pointer is a great family dog, but like the English Pointer needs a lot of exercise and space to run around. The coat is short and harsh, and although the dog sheds, it is not considered heavy. The coat just needs regular brushing.

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An interesting side note: Since Dalmatians are relatively rare, their gene pool has become very small, and thus their number of health defects has increased. To combat this, some breeders have introduced German Shorthair Pointers into their breeding programs. The result of this wider gene pool is that the health and temperament of Dalmatians has been greatly improved without losing any characteristic points.

Go here to learn more about the German Shorthaired Pointer.

Dalmatians with red collar
German Shorthair Pointers have been introduced into some Dalmation breeding programs to address health deficiencies.

©Alex Fleming/Shutterstock.com

What's the Difference Between a German Pinscher and an English Setter?

Indeed, German Shorthaired Pointers and English Pointers look very similar, and breeders believe that the German Shorthaired Pointer breed was genetically improved through certain English Pointers. The English Pointer may be smaller and lighter than the German Shorthair, which has a broad, deep chest and muscular legs. Another feature that distinguishes the two types of dogs is that the German Pinscher, like other German hunting dogs, has webbed feet because it also hunts in water. Another difference is that the English pointer does not retrieve games, only points.

3. Weimaraner

Types of pointer dogs
The Weimaraner is sometimes called the "gray ghost" of the dog world, due to its ghostly coat and eye color and stealthy hunting style.


This beautiful silver-gray sporting dog was also developed in Germany in the 1600s, although the story of how it was developed is not definitive. Not only is it a pointer dog, but it has been used for hunting and retrieving game. Its signature coat can be short or long, with some fringe on the legs, tail and ears. The Weimaraner stands 22 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 70 and 80 pounds, much of which is due to its muscular build. Its eyes are the famous amber or blue-gray, its back is flat and clean, it has a long muzzle, long, strong neck, and deep, powerful shoulders.

For more information on the Weimaraner, visit here.

4. Little Minstrand

Types of pointer dogs
A purebred Kleiner Munsterlander dog is outdoors without a leash on a sunny day.

© BIGANDT.COM/Shutterstock.com

This is a type of Pointer bird dog with a long coat and lots of feathering on its tail and legs, which makes it look more like a setter than a pointer. Can be seen in the larger Munsterlander, as it is of course smaller, 19 to 22 inches tall at the shoulders, and weighs less, about 33 pounds. If shown, it's also limited to livery and white colors with some ticks. Its front legs are straight, and its feet are tight and well padded. Originating in the 1800's, the Small Munsterlander was, and is, revered for its pointability. This docile dog was bred in the Westphalia region of Germany.

large minstrand dog
Large Munsterlanders have longer legs and shorter bodies, while smaller Munsterlanders have shorter legs and longer bodies.

© Lenkadan/Shutterstock.com

5. Large French pointer

Types of pointer dogs
Pointers were bred primarily as hunting companions, and as such, they are single-minded in their wild setting.

This dog bred for tracking and pointing originated in France in the 1600s and looks a lot like the German Shorthaired Pointer. However, it has a wider and more angular muzzle, a somewhat rounder skull and what appear to be folds over the ears. The fur on its body is dense and thick. Although it is short, the hair on its head is very fine. Its wattle is reminiscent of a scent hound. In fact, the sense of smell of the large French hands is exemplary. The dog is nearly extinct, but its numbers are increasing.

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6. Quilled Pointing Gryphon

Types of pointer dogs
The bristly pointing griffin is known as the "Hound of Greats".

©Vaclav Sonnek/Shutterstock.com

This messy pointer originated in France and was invented by the Dutchman Eduard Korthals. It had strong legs for tracking and a large head adorned with a bushy beard and bushy eyebrows. In addition to pointing, this dog will retrieve and hunt mice and foxes. It stands between 22 and 24 inches at the shoulder, weighs between 50 and 60 pounds, and is known for its intelligence.

7. Cesky Fousek

Types of pointer dogs
The Cesky Fousek is considered an ancient dog that first took root centuries ago during the Kingdom of Bohemia.

© Jan Danek jdm.foto/Shutterstock.com

This pointer originated in Czechoslovakia in the 1800s. It looks a lot like the bristle-fingered griffin, only taller and heavier, with legs that are longer in proportion to its body. The Cesky Fousek also has a somewhat disheveled coat with the longest bristles on the back and flanks. It also has a thick undercoat and long ears that grow on the back of the head. It's a high-energy dog that needs to work to be happy, and unlike some types of Pointer Bird dogs, it's not the best of pets.

8. Auvergne pointer

Types of pointer dogs
A beautiful Auvergne pointing dog hunting with a duck.

© Best Dog Photos/Shutterstock.com

This sporting dog has the color and markings of the English and German Shorthaired Pointers, but it is heavier. It has a massive head in proportion to the body, with a rounded skull and a pronounced stop. It has a short, shiny coat, strong hindquarters, and large, soft feet. The area around the eyes and ears must be black to show the dog, preferably with a coat pattern called charbonnée. These are blue spots that appear when black and white hairs overlap. The Auvergne pointer was developed in France in the 1800's.

9. Old Danish Pointers

Types of pointer dogs
The Old Dane Pointer is a calm, steady dog with incredible determination and courage.

©Johnny Randen/Shutterstock.com

Among the different types of Pointer dogs, this dog stands out because of the flab on its neck. The wattles give this pointer an anomalous sense of smell, as folds of skin waft odor molecules up the dog's nose. In addition to pointing, it is also used to track wounded prey. Although the Old Dane Pointer is not as tall as other pointers as it stands 20 to 23 inches at the withers, it is strong and muscular. Unlike the English Pointer, its tail is down, but its back is also straight. It also has a liver-colored nose, long, round ears, and a deep chest. This dog was developed in Denmark in the 1700's.

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10. Perdigueiro Portugueso

Types of pointer dogs
Perdigueiro Portugueso is on the hunt.

©Pedro Monteiro/Shutterstock.com

The hound was so good at its job that game, especially the partridge for which it was named, became scarce. Owning a Perdigueiro Portugueso is actually forbidden unless you are a member of the royal family. This happened in the 16th century and the breed is much older than the 16th century, having been bred in Portugal in the 1200's.

This gentle and energetic dog stands 20 to 22 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 35 and 60 pounds. Its ears are large, folded, and shaped like rounded triangles, its muzzle is broad and short, its nose is large, and its nostrils are large. The neck is straight and powerful, the body is short and broad, and the back is slightly arched. The Perdigueiro Portugueso comes in both long-haired and short-haired versions, but among the different breeds of Pointer, the long-haired Perdigueiro Portugueso is now rare.

How to Care for the Pointer Breed

The Pointer is a strong breed that needs a lot of exercise and physical activity to stay healthy. Here are some care tips for properly caring for your Pointer dog.


Pointer breeds are prone to eye problems, thyroid and hip dysplasia. Although an experienced breeder will watch for such problems early on, it's a good idea to take your Pointer to the veterinarian on a regular basis. Beyond that, make sure to brush your teeth with dog toothpaste every day.

Just like any other large breed with a large chest area, Pointer breeds can develop sudden distension, which can be fatal to them. As a responsible dog owner, you should be on the lookout for early signs of gas and take preventive measures.


Depending on the breed, metabolism and activity level, Pointers should be provided with plenty of high-quality food. In addition to packaged foods, they can eat chicken, fish, turkey, and eggs. You can also serve them boiled sweet potatoes, brown or white rice. But avoid foods that cause bloating, such as potatoes, onions, garlic, peas, etc.

Sports and Training

The German Wirehaired Pointer's sturdy coat repels water
German Wirehaired Pointer dog outdoors in nature

© iStock.com/Image Credit: Photographer and Illustrator

Pointer dogs thrive outdoors, which is why it's a good idea to have a fenced backyard in your home where they can run around and lie down. They also need lots of walks and vigorous play sessions. Pointer dogs enjoy activities such as tracking, field work, obedience training, agility training, and other canine sports.

Because of their natural service orientation, Pointers are an excellent breed to train as service dogs, therapy companions, and search and rescue dogs.


The pointer dog's coat is usually short, dense and glossy and needs to be brushed and cleaned with soft gloves once a week. Their ears should also be checked and cleaned regularly for hygiene. Their nails must be trimmed regularly to keep them comfortable and clean.


If you're looking for a great hunting dog or a nice family pet and you're able to provide your home with plenty of fresh air and exercise, then one of these pointers could be the perfect match. Find a reputable breeder to help you find the right puppy for you.

  1. English pointer
  2. German Shorthaired Pointer
  3. Weimaraner
  4. little münstrand
  5. large french hands
  6. Quilled Pointing Gryphon
  7. chesky fossaic
  8. auvergne pointer
  9. old danish pointer
  10. PerdigueiroPortuguese


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Types of pointer dogs
Types of pointer dogs

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about the author

Krishna is a lifelong animal owner and advocate. She owns and operates a small farm in upstate New York where she lives with three dogs, four donkeys, a mule and a cat. She holds a BA in Agricultural Technology and has extensive experience in animal health and welfare. When not working with her own animals and tending her farm, Krishna is helping other animal owners with behavior or management issues and teaching regenerative farming practices to nearby farmers.

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