I notice from the stats on this blog that a lot of people are searching for information about English Pointers. I know that when we were considering getting a Pointer, I Googled and found basic stuff – but not a lot on how to feed Pointers or how much exercise they need and so on. Perhaps I’m just a lousy searcher. So I thought I’d put together this post with what I’ve learnt so far. You can check out the word cloud on the right hand panel of this blog (click English Pointer) to find more posts.

Zeph is now 8 months old and Zsa Zsa 4 months. They regularly feature on the DailyOxford as I’m chronicling their growing from puppies to mature dogs – so if you keep coming back, there will always be more information.

If you are thinking of getting an English Pointer – think seriously. Very seriously. They are high energy, athletic, powerful dogs and require a minimum of one hour a day of running around like a lunatic. Pointers were bred as hunting dogs and will roam far from their owner, sniffing the wind and ground for any scent of birds, so they are ideal dogs for large properties. They are known as gun dogs or bird dogs. Zeph and Zsa Zsa love nothing better than running in the paddocks and are quite happy to do this several times a day at a frantic rate, sniffing around for evidence of birds. The rest of the time, they can be found lounging around or snoozing.

I find Pointers are extremely loyal, curious and LOVE to be part of the family. They are very affectionate dogs. So if you want a dog to shove in an outside kennel and not have them as part of your family, then the Pointer isn’t for you. Whilst they aren’t guard dogs, Zeph certainly alerts us if he hears an unusual noise. He barks and runs around. Both Zsa Zsa and Zeph have very even-temperaments, which is a characteristic of the breed. Pointers are not aggressive dogs, although given their muscular appearance, I can imagine some people being a tad worried when encountering them.

I have to admit that at my advanced age, having two puppies on my hands is a trial. But taking them out to the paddocks several times a day is great exercise for me as we all run around like nut cases for thirty minutes or so. Yes, me too because I play Chase The Puppy – whilst Zeph is running after Zsa Zsa, I creep up on Zeph and chase him. So if you’re going to take on a Pointer, you can’t really be working full-time and living in a city apartment. You will need to spend time exercising them and giving them the space to run, run, run.

As far as training them goes, they are pretty obedient. You need to train them to do the usual dog stuff: sit, come, stay. And if you have chickens and roosters, as we do, you need to train the Pointer not to run after them. We use a remote trainer for Zeph – he gets verbal warnings from us not to get too close to the chickens. If he ignores this, we have a remote that transmits a tone to his collar. The tone is just a noise – there’s no zapping of the dog going on. This has been extremely effective in training Zeph, who can now just stand and look at chickens without going bananas. Out in the paddocks, he can chase wild birds if he wants. Pointers don’t actually catch birds and rip them to pieces. They point to the location of the bird and might gently take the bird into their mouth (if you use your Pointer as a hunting dog).

Another thing is the Pointer diet. Don’t feed them crap, processed dog food. The pet food manufacturers are very good at their PR and convincing you need to feed this and that. Pointers require brown rice; a raw meat diet consisting of poultry, venison, goat, pork; fish; vegetables, citrus fruits. I also top up their diet with Brewer’s Yeast, NZ Flax Oil, Pet Mussel tablets, goat milk, natural yoghurt, raw eggs, oatmeal (mixed through the food), liver, pasta, sweet potato. As a treat, Zeph and Zsa Zsa get a piece of toast (homemade bread) with Vegemite and some organic honey. Or homemade dog biscuits. For chewy things, they get natural dog treats such as Vitapet Spare Ribs or Venison chews. As much as possible, I have Zeph and Zsa Zsa on a natural, organic diet and steer clear of any processed dog food.

So if you’re thinking of a Pointer, I highly recommend them. Wonderful pets, intelligent and full of personality. Just know that you need the patience and energy to keep up with them.