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English Pointers: the most honest dog breed review you'll ever find about English Pointer temperament, personality, and behavior.

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English Pointer dog breed

English Pointer Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em

English Pointer Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

The AKC Standard says, "Every movement shows him to be a wide-awake, hard-driving hunting dog possessing stamina, courage, and desire to go."

Though dignified, sweet-natured, and gentle, the English Pointer is bred primarily for sport afield. He is packed with energy and belongs with an active owner who will give him the running exercise he needs to feel satisfied.

English Pointers, especially youngsters, become restless and bored when confined too much and may resort to destructive chewing and barking. A walk around the block is barely a warm-up for this superb athlete.

With strangers, most English Pointers are slightly reserved, but congenial. This is not a guard dog. He is amiable with other animals.

A bit stubborn and easily distracted, but also kindly and sensitive, the English Pointer responds well to patient obedience training that includes food rewards and praise rather than jerking around.

Commands such as "down" and "stay" are important for instilling self-discipline and control.


If you want a dog who...

  • Is large, sleek-coated and tautly-muscled, a true athlete
  • Is energetic and hard-driving, packed with energy, primarily bred to be a hunting dog
  • Is dignified and sweet-natured
  • Is usually congenial with everyone, including other animals

An English Pointer may be right for you.


If you don't want to deal with...

  • Vigorous exercise requirements
  • Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young or not exercised enough
  • Destructiveness and barking when left alone too much or not exercised
  • A distractable mind of his own -- tends to ignore calls and commands when an interesting sight or scent catches his attention
  • Slowness to housebreak

An English Pointer may not be right for you.

But you can avoid or minimize some negative traits by
  1. choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
  2. or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
  3. training your dog to respect you
  4. avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy


More traits and characteristics of the English Pointer

If I was considering an English Pointer, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. English Pointers MUST have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored -- which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored Pointers are famous for chewing through drywall, ripping the stuffing out of sofas, and turning your yard into a moonscape of giant craters.

    If you simply want a pet for your family, and don't have the time or inclination to take your dog running or hiking or biking, or to get involved in hunting, or tracking, or agility (obstacle course), or a similar canine activity, I do not recommend this breed. English Pointers were never intended to be simply household pets. Trying to suppress their "hardwired" desire to run and work, without providing alternate outlets for their high energy level, can be difficult.

  2. Bounciness. Young English Pointers (up to about two years old) romp and jump with great vigor, and things can go flying, including toddlers or infirm people.

  3. Mind of their own. Though most English Pointers are not dominant dogs, they do have an independent mind of their own, can be passively stubborn, and are easily distracted by exciting sights, scents, and sounds. You must show them, through absolute consistency and great patience, that you mean what you say and that they must pay attention to you.

    To teach your Pointer to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My English Pointer Training Page discusses the program you need.

  4. Housebreaking. The pointing breeds can be a bit slow to pick this up. Expect several months of consistent crate training.


book cover To learn more about training English Pointers to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.

It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your English Pointer the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.

Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.



book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy English Pointer. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.


If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the English Pointer might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.


book cover Once you have your English Pointer home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.

My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.

Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.



Please consider adopting an ADULT English Pointer...

When you're acquiring an English Pointer PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.

But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult English Pointers who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

Adopting a Dog From a Dog Breed Rescue Group

Adopting a Dog From the Animal Shelter

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