English Pointer

FCI standard Nº 1

Great Britain
Group 7 Pointing Dogs
Section 2.1 British and Irish Pointers and Setters, Pointer
With working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Tuesday 05 March 1963
Publication of the official valid standard
Tuesday 28 July 2009
Last update
Monday 23 November 2009
En français, cette race se dit
Pointer anglais
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Englischer Pointer
En español, esta raza se dice
Pointer inglés
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Engelse Pointer


Pointing dog.

General appearance

Symmetrical and well built all over, general outline a series of graceful curves. A strong but lissom appearance.

Behaviour / temperament

Aristocratic. Alert with appearance of strength, endurance and speed. Kind, even disposition.


Cranial region

Of medium breadth, in proportion to length of foreface. Pronounced occipital bone. 
Well defined.

Facial region

Dark, but may be lighter in the case of a lemon and white coloured dog. Nostrils wide, soft and moist.
Somewhat concave, ending on level with nostrils, giving a slightly dish-faced appearance. Slight depression under the eyes.
Well developed, soft.
Jaws and teeth
Jaws strong, with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Cheek bones not prominent.
Same distance from occiput as from nostrils, bright and kindly in expression. Either hazel or brown according to colour of coat. Neither bold nor staring, not looking down the nose. Eye rims dark, but may be lighter in the case of a lemon and white coloured dog.
Leathers thin, set on fairly high, lying close to head, of medium length, slightly pointed at tips.


Long, muscular, slightly arched, springing cleanly from shoulders and free from throatiness.


Strong muscular and slightly arched. Short coupled.
Just wide enough for plenty of heart room. Brisket well let down, to level with elbows. Ribs well sprung and carried well back, gradually falling away at loin.


Medium length, thick at root, tapering gradually to a point. Well covered with close hair, carried on a level with back, with no upward curl. In movement, tail should lash from side to side.



Forelegs straight and firm, with good oval bone, with back sinews strong and visible.
Long, sloping and well-laid back.
Flat with front leg and protruding very little on inside.
Lengthy, strong and resilient. Slightly sloping.
Oval, well knit, arched toes, well cushioned.


Very muscular. The haunch bones well spaced and prominent, not above level of back.
Upper thigh
Good expanse of first thigh.
Lower thigh
Good expanse.
Well turned.
Well let down.
Hind feet
Oval, well knit, arched toes, well cushioned.

Gait and movement

Smooth, covering plenty of ground. Driving hind action, elbows neither in nor out. Definitely not a hackney action.


Fine, short, hard and evenly distributed, perfectly smooth and straight with decided sheen.
Usual colours are lemon and white, orange and white, liver and white, and black and white. Self colours and tricolours are also correct.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Dogs 63 - 69 cm, bitches 61 - 66 cm.


• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

Disqualifying faults

 Aggressive or overly shy.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.




Additional information from visitors

The most famous of the pointing gundogs, the English Pointer is descended from Spanish and Portuguese pointers introduced to the British Isles in the 1600's, as well as a variety of common French and English foxhounds and setters. The blood of Talbot Hounds, St.Hubert Bloodhounds, English Greyhounds and English Bullterriers also played a role in the development of this great bird dog. During the 1800's, when the Dalmatian breed was being established in Britain, many crosses with the Pointer were made, leading some to suggest that the similar colouring encountered in some English Pointers is a direct result of these matings, although most fanciers dismiss these claims, pointing out that the colour was common in the breed long before the Dalmatian appeared. The popularity of this hard worker was immediate, due to its outstanding scenting abilities and serious nature. The English Pointer was instrumental in the creation of quite a few other dogs, from various hunters to many bully breeds. The breed was never expected to actually hunt the hares by itself, but was rather used to find and point to the game, leaving it for the Greyhounds to chase the prey down. Its friendly and relaxed personality made the breed a common companion in England and it eventually found acceptance in many countries around the globe, retaining its fair popularity to this day. The English Pointer was recognized in the early 20th century by the United Kennel Club and has remained a well-loved breed in America ever since. In the United States, it was given the nickname "The Cadillac Of Bird Dogs" for its superb hunting qualities and was always distinguished from the common, but unrecognized American Pointer breed, to which it is related.
The English Pointer is an even-tempered and loving family pet and can live quite comfortably in urban environments, if provided with sufficient excercise. Its alert personality makes it an effective watchdog, although the breed generally isn't very territorial. This is a handsome, balanced and dignified breed, although some poorly bred specimens have uncharacteristic temperaments and can be overly shy and even vicious. Lightly built, muscled and agile, this is a very fast and athletic dog. The body is fairly square, with long legs and a deep chest. The head is elegantly chiseled, with the trademark "dish face" features and slightly pendant lips. The nose can be both black or flesh-coloured. The tail is relatively short and is famously known as the "bee sting". The coat is short, smooth and fine, coming in a variety of white-based bicolours, with black, brown and yellow markings being the only one accepted at Shows. Average height is around 25 inches.

Detailed history

If it is customary to say that the Pointer is the thoroughbred of the dogs, it is not because the other breeds are less pure, and that does not mean that it has been free, in the distant past, a few crossings intended to hasten its improvement. Moreover, its origins keep, even today, a good part of their mystery.

No, if the Pointer is a thoroughbred, it is by the perfection of its lines, exactly adapted to what is asked on the ground. It is by the very high level of its performances: speed, endurance, delicacy of the flair. He appears as the aristocrat in his field, or better, as the "formula one" of the dog.

Admittedly, very few people could manage a race car correctly, but it would be a serious mistake to deduce that the Pointer can only be driven by an elite of hunters or professional trainers, or that it would not be appropriate. than the circuits that are the spring field trials.

The past of this marvelous mechanism, its genesis, in fact, deserve to be stopped, if only by the questions they ask. One thing is certain: the Pointer is a continental. For him, as for the Braques, it is necessary to go back to the "dog hunting in the plain far from the men" which Arrian states in the second century of our era. The paradox is that, after passing into expert hands, he was considered 100% English, and that he served to improve most of his cousins.

This dog is continental, but is it Italian, French or Iberian? On this subject, a few decades ago, innumerable pages were written. It is therefore little to say that the opinions diverge. Naturally, Italian specialists would like to bring down such an esteemed race from their Braque, and some French writers have argued that our National Watch is no stranger to the improvement of the Pointer. Proponents of Spanish origin, however, are in the majority. The Spanish Braque was imported into Great Britain between 1705 and 1713 (the date of the Treaty of Utrecht), by English officers and soldiers engaged following the Earl of Peterborough in the War of the Spanish Succession. Then, from 1720, the British hunters would have endeavored to improve the Spanish pointers.

Even if we take into account the fact that this selection lasted a good century, we remain amazed at the radical transformation that has taken place: the Spanish Perdiguero (or Perdiguero de Burgos) is indeed the largest and heaviest Continental Braques, with its loose body and head, covered with loose skin; he is very flirtatious, but very slow and calm, questing near the hunter.

The skill, even the genius of canine breeders across the Channel is not questionable. What a curious choice, all the same, that to take the most debonair and heaviest dog, to make a racer very racy! We have tried to explain the metamorphosis by wise crosses, in which the Bloodhound, the Fox-Hound, the Greyhound, the Bull Terrier or the Bulldog would have intervened. But, as we will see later, this list is quite amazing.

It is certain, in any case, that the Pointer has long been called Old Spanish Pointer, and that there must be a reason for that. So ? The patient researches of M. Martineau, former president of the French Pointer Club, lead to a hypothesis more than plausible and which agrees at the same time with the primitive name of the race: it would not be so much the Braque Spaniard who would have constituted the base of the Pointer than its Portuguese counterpart, in other words the Perdiguero Portugues. In any case, it will be said, these dogs are first cousins, and this is the objection that has long been made.

However, the Portuguese dog has characteristics very different from those of the Spaniard, and, what is even more interesting, relatively close to those of the modern Pointer. It is essentially a dog with petulant character, the morphology rather nervous and light, with attitudes marked by great flexibility. Its head is not heavy, although it is quite square, and its main feature consists in a marked stop: it is close enough to the concave profile of the Pointer! As for his paces, they are those of a fast trotter. Her dress further reinforces the probability of filiation Perdiguero Portuguès Pointer: yellow or brown unicoloured or spotted. From Portuguese yellow to lemon or English orange, there is only one step, while the Perdiguero de Burgos, like other Braques, is most often heavily speckled with brown.

Moreover, this assumption is not in contradiction with the information provided by William Arkwright, a great English breeder who strongly influenced the breeding of the Pointer and who wrote, in 1902, a book on the race, became the Bible pointermen. According to Arkwright, the first Spanish Pointer arrived in England in 1705 was brought by a Portuguese merchant who sold it to a baron named Beekhill, Norfolk - an original character: completely ruined, he mainly relied on the product of his hunts for live. The same anecdote is found at Seydeman in 1805.

The Portuguese descent of the first Pointers would then have gone unnoticed because all Perdigueros were indiscriminately designated as Spaniards. Moreover, it must be remembered that, shortly before (from 1580 to 1640), Portugal had been united with Spain, which could have increased confusion. In addition, since the beginning of the eighteenth century, especially, trade relations between Portugal and Britain were very strong, more than the Anglo-Spanish relations.

Mr. Martineau pushed his research further. He thus found striking analogies between the Pointer and some bronze statuettes depicting hunting dogs with a partridge at their foot, and which come from the Tenerife islands: the Perdiguero Portugues would have passed through this archipelago before setting foot across the Channel.

The earliest evidence of the presence of the Old Spanish Pointer in England appears to be a Stubbs painting, dated 1768, showing a white dog with brown spots. It may be thought that from that time English breeders had resorted to various other breeds to accelerate their development.

W. Arkwright does not refute the existence of the crossings mentioned above, while judging their negative effects. Thus, the Bloodhound could have given away some of its legendary flair, but would it not have affected the lightening of the dog? Similarly, it is conceivable that the Foxhound, the famous English current dog, could have given speed and endurance, but that would not have been at the expense of the ability to stop and the receptivity to dressage, two essential qualities of the Pointer? It is probable that these tests did not bring anything good, and that it was necessary above all to erase the traces.

One could speak of a miracle when one has noticed the superiority of the English dog over the continental Braques of the end of the nineteenth century. But, rather than explain it by crossings for the least strange and heterogeneous, it is necessary above all to invoke a consanguinity well conducted. In addition, it will be remembered that English hunters, often wealthy, have not favored the versatility of their pointers, preferring to have specialists for each phase of the hunt. Thus, from the middle of the nineteenth century, they created Retrievers for the search and the ratio of the game drawn. This evolution could only facilitate the selection of the Pointer.

If we come now to a much less confused period, that of the first dog shows, which was also that of the first field-trials, all in Great Britain, of course, it is not not exaggerate to say that these events were born to the benefit of Pointers and other rifle hounds! It was inevitable, first of all, that breeders and hunters wanted to present and compare the merits of their creations and their pupils. It was therefore under their impulse that dog shows were organized. The first (in the world) took place at Newcastle on the 28th and 29th of June, 1859, and the sixty dogs which were engaged there belonged exclusively to two races: Pointer and Setter. Only during the third dog show were sections for non-sporting dogs (non-hunting dogs) added. Thus, the beginnings of the cynophilie are due to the pointermen and the settermen.

Soon it was necessary to check on the ground the skills of the breeds created for the rifle hunt, which is why the field-trials were developed, only six years after the first exhibition. The first work trial was held on April 18, 1865 at Mr. S. Whitbread's Castle, Southill, Bedford-shire. For the record, it was a very unusual heat, which, if it made the dogs very uncomfortable (Pointers and Setters, of course), did not cause the enthusiasm of the organizers and participants.

The institution of the field-trials made without a doubt to accomplish to the breeding of the dogs of stop English of big and rapid progress: nothing of such, to be able to make a reasoned selection, than to have at its disposal a base of results , precise notes on the qualities and defects of all (or nearly all) specimens. These field trials were the best way to verify the validity of such a coupling, the use of such a standard. The Pointer, in particular, made a decisive leap thanks to them.

When British dogs arrived in France at the end of the nineteenth century (it was not long too soon to import the field-trials), they had benefited, for fifteen or twenty years, from a rigorous and unknown selection method on the Continent. It is understandable that their performances aroused amazement and admiration. Soon, any hunter, a little enlightened and wealthy, had to possess a Pointer to beat the plain.

However, if he was praised, the Pointer was also the subject of the sharpest criticism. For example, the Marquis de Cherville could predict: "Our breeds of dogs are disappearing and in a quarter of a century, the national dog of the French will be the Fox-Hound, or rather the Pointer with a predominance of the qualities of the dog. Fox-Hound. As for the Comte de Grammont, the translator of the works of the English cynologist Hugh Dalziel, he thought himself obliged to warn the French readers about the Pointers: "It must be said that they are often useless and tiring, and they can not replace the best French breeds."

This controversy must be placed in context. The English had then gained an undeniable advance in the breeding of purebred animals. This know-how had begun to produce its first results in the late eighteenth century, with the selection of the Dishley sheep breed, but it was above all the breeding of the thoroughbred horse that had acquired considerable prestige. For the most part, hunting-dog lovers were at the same time men on horseback. To be convinced of this, it is enough to remember that, originally, the Central Canine Society was an emanation of the Jockey Club, noting also that the doggie jargon is still impregnated with hippology.

Moreover, this vogue of British hunting dogs, especially the Pointer, is the illustration of "anglomania" which prevailed at the end of the nineteenth century, Anglomania which had begun to manifest itself as soon as the emigrants returned. England, which eventually reached the entire bourgeoisie of the Second Empire (Napoleon III himself gave the example of dogs: his packs were exclusively composed of Fox-Hounds and Bloodhounds). Of course, such enthusiasm had its defectors, who tried to defend the old French breeds, from "country dogs", and who strove to leave them a regional character.

Comparing Pointer and French Braque breeds, as was often done, implied a fundamental misunderstanding. The first had been designed for hunters with large, well-kept and guarded hunts, with advanced rifles, and with the help of several specialized dogs, depending on the territory and the game, and assigned to different tasks: a luxury hobby, meticulously organized. The latter were intended for hunters modestly equipped, operating in very fragmented territories, and whose dog, who was the only one to do everything, had to have a very moderate pace, a very restricted search.

The French dogs (the other mainlanders too, for that matter) and the British dogs were thus at the antipodes. But this did not prevent, in the inter-war period, as one tried to make the French races more and more sporting, that the Pointer became the example to follow. However, no one could claim to compete in a few years with several decades of selection, so the Pointer served more to improve other breeds. It is a fact that, in the exhibitions and in the fields, a certain number of Braques were strongly infused with Pointer, as evidenced by the anecdote reported by EL Blat about the Braque d'Auvergne: In his book published the day after Of the war, Oberthur already mentions this abusive point of view and tells how he bought, in the thirties, a bitch who won the exhibition at the Orangerie des Tuileries where the Paris exhibition was held at the time. Surprised by one of his stallions, he had the unpleasant surprise of getting puppies white and liver in his litter.

This pointing had its disadvantages. On the one hand, the result was the production of bad Braques, of a temperament too ardent for their physical qualities or too fast for their nose, but was it necessary to conclude that the Pointer brought nothing good ?

On the other hand, we noticed the appearance of bad short-tailed Pointers. In fact, it is not enough for a dog to cross the English Channel to make it excellent, and it is obvious that, in a fashionable way, not all imported Pointers were of high quality.

In France, the establishment of the breed was fast and solid, since the French Pointer Club was created in 1891! First adopted by the elite hunters, the Pointer did not fail, then, to take advantage of the development of field-trials. It is indisputable, however, that it has been destined a little too exclusively for competitions, especially those called "grand quest" which do not quite correspond to the imperatives of practical hunting, and that its diffusion is found somewhat hampered. This opinion is corroborated by a former president of the French Club, J. - P. Bouin: "Unfortunately, by a short-sighted policy and perhaps too focused on the great quest and not enough on the practical hunt, the club in charge This wonderful breed has not known how, for too many years, to popularize it in the noble sense of the term, I mean to make it better known and appreciated."

It is not surprising that the Pointer has long kept this image of great trialer, high level athlete reserved for a minority of hunters.

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