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 and sweet-natured, the English Pointer is bred primarily for hunting. He is packed with energy and belongs with an active owner who will give him the running exercise he needs to feel satisfied.
Young English Pointers (up to about two years old) romp and jump with great vigor, and things can go flying, including small children and infirm people.
English Pointers are athletic dogs who need regular opportunities to vent their energy and gallop. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored, which dogs usually express by barking and destructive chewing. Bored Pointers have chewed through drywall and ripped the stuffing out of sofas.
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, I do not recommend this breed (unless you adopt an older adult with a mellow temperament).
Pointers are usually good with children and other animals, particularly if they are raised with them. Teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
Pointers can also get along well with other pets, including cats, if they're raised with them, although they may be a little too fond of birds, if you know what I mean.
pointers from what i read recently love to run, i think the pointer is for you, they just run and run and the only pointer i have experience of was extremely well trained, and very loving. i would go for a pointer. an unusual dog as well, so thats a good conversation starter.
I have a pointer (hungarian Vizsla) who is 9 months old now.
he is a fantastic dog, he was also our first!
He has been very easy to train, always eager to please.
We have him off lead most of the time. obv not by the roads.
The one thing i would say is he needs lots of exercise and stimulation.
2/3 good walks a day.
He is also very strong and lively so not ideal if your kids are very young.
He comes to school with me everyday and loves the attention he gets from the kids.
He is a very handsome dog.
The German Shorthaired Pointer is energetic, intelligent, cheerful. They constantly aim to please, and they love all of their family members equally. They are good with children and they are happiest when spending time in the company of people. If properly exercised, this breed makes an outstanding companion. Males of this breed tend to be more outgoing and aggressive, while females tend to be less dominant. Energy levels are likely to vary between specimens. Despite the fact that they are hunting dogs by nature, the German Shorthaired Pointer is generally good with cats and other dogs. This breed likes to bark, and they are sometimes leery of strangers.
German hunters of the nineteenth century were in need of a versatile hunting dog that possessed a keen sense of smell and outstanding pointing and tracking abilities. In order to achieve this result, the Germans incorporated the Old Spanish Pointer, the Foxhound, the English Pointer, and a variety of hounds from St. Hubert into their breeding. The contemporary German Shorthaired Pointer is the product of the efforts of these German hunters. The German Shorthaired Pointer is an all-purpose gun dog that is capable of performing very well on land and in water. They are excellent retrievers, good companions, and they require little training. They are successful in the show ring, obedience and tracking trials, hunting tests, and field trials.
They need a lot of stimulation, have a high prey drive, and need a solid recall. They really need a job, preferably hunting, but you can also do dock jumping with them, or fun prey drive games like with flirt poles.
Unless you plan on running several times a day with one, doing obedience through out his/her life, working on recall, and providing it with mental stimulation I wouldn't recommend one. A girl I work with bought one because she thought they were pretty. She ended up leaving it alone for 8-12hr shifts and not walking it beforehand. She died by age two from a blockage because she ate almost half of my coworker's couch from boredom.
I grew up with Pointers. :)
Ours were genuine hunting dogs, not house pets. They whined when they got excited, that was about it. So when they saw us getting gear ready for a hunt, they'd start that whiny hunting dog sound (I don't think I've ever had a hound or gundog that wasn't very vocal, working or pet). They're certainly not so over-the-top that they can't be pets, and plenty of people have Pointers that are pet quality, or from lines that simply aren't strong in drive.
Whether you have a rescue or a dog from a breeder (make sure you take the time to find a responsible breeder, whether they're working dogs or just conformation dogs, and if they are a working breeder make sure they understand you're after any pet quality dogs they have, which they will because every working breeder throws pet quality puppies inevitably) you have plenty of options for running down their energy and satisfying their mental needs as well. There are clubs you can join that are tailored for people with dogs like this. You might also be able to find a hunter in your area that trains dogs that would be willing to work with you if your dog turns out to have higher work drive (be very attentive to what training methods they use; I see more fluctuation in training methods, and just plain bad methods, in the hunting dog world than almost anywhere else). There are also other dog sports Pointers might be interested in so give them all a good look, if that's something you'd be interested in!
I'm stressing some sort of activity like this instead of just running a mile or two a day because a simple run doesn't really mentally stimulate most dogs that need a job. It's just a way to run down energy, but it doesn't calm their mind, and it can be the difference between a whiny, hyper-active dog with no off-switch, and a well-behaved pet that you aren't worried about in regards to destructive behaviours.
I help breed and train gun dogs, here are my two cents:
English Pointers are small, scrappy, and subservient. They are aggressive when needs be, but extremely gentle and deferent to a bonded owner. Their weight can fluctuate wildly and dramatically, it is important to keep a flexible and adaptive diet.
They are strong for the size, more muscle per inch than other typical gun dogs. German Shorthairs in particular. Dams who have recently given birth may lose as much as 40% of their body weight. Low fat storage in both English and German breeds often result in difficult weight management. Constant monitoring may be necessary.
Female GSPs are often neurotic and particularly hose-crazy. They may produce litters beyond their capacity to feed resulting in many infant deaths (+/- 15% mortality). Liver spotted GSPs (male and female) seem to be more timid than solid black GSPs.
English have a high level of gun shyness and a notoriously long initial training cycle. They can be painfully subservient animals to the point of unfitness for work. Nonetheless they are almost guaranteed to be affectionate and loyal, with a devotion bordering on needy. It is important to encourage the dog to be assertive and independent while still respecting the work training it has learned.
GSPs don't toilet-train as quickly or as thoroughly as English.
They are both slight, muscular breeds with immense strength and drive. They need to work hard. If they are well bonded they will be intuitive, attentive, and ceaselessly energetic in the field. Make sure they get water to drink because they forget.
It's a hunting dog and not suitable as just a companion dog, it wants to work and do what it's bred to do.
If you're concerned about aggression towards other dogs and there is a small child in the mix I'd stay away from all the hunting breeds and look towards herding or other working breeds.