Originating from the ancient Iberian hunting dogs, the Portuguese Pointer has a traceable history to the early 12th century. They were originally bred in the royal kennels but they became popular hunting dogs for the lower classes when people started breeding them to assist bird hunters in locating game. Today, some still breed them for hunting but many are finding them a great family companion.
The Portuguese Pointer, as a gun dog has remarkable hunting instincts, requiring only little amount of training to perform their instinctive duties. They can detect, spot and point prey easily, and they can work in tune more with their owner, especially if a deeper bond or closer connection is established. As a hunter, they beat the ground with the perseverance of an explorer, instantly finding their prey through smelling, listening and sighting. Portuguese Pointers are silent and alert in the field with their head raised, nostrils open, and a demeanour and position that are straight, ready to leap in action. When they smell game, you will notice their face contracting, their gaze fixed, their ears intently listening, their head immobile, their tail rigidly horizontal and one of their forelegs raised. They can be indifferent to what’s going on around them, focusing all their senses to the game. They will give you their best hunting skills on the ground, so make sure you give them the best rewards too.
One of the most trainable hunting dogs so far, the Portuguese Pointers desire to please their owners—as long as positive training techniques are implemented, of course. This bird dog resists harsh training but responds well to extreme praise and great treats, performing well the behavior you are trying to solicit from them. One important thing to remember when training a Portuguese Pointer, is that the training and rewards should be given with consistency. Doing so will help the hunting dog learn the tasks or tricks you required him to do.
The Portuguese Pointer is easy to recognize. They generally have a square build with a height-to-length ratio of 10:10 ½. Their head, though proportionate to their body, can give the impression of being larger due to its shape—appearing to be square from and rectilinear from the side. Their coat is usually short and coarse throughout the body but is velvety on the ears and face areas. They come in yellow or light brown standard color with some white markings. Their average height is 20-22 in. at the withers, and they weight at an average of 44-60 lbs. for the males and 35-46 lbs. for the females.
There is a reason why many raise the Portuguese Pointer dog breed as a family pet. They are attentive, affectionate, committed, gentle and friendly. They are also submissive and kind; they enjoy doing things as told. But be warned, they need constant physical stimulation such as playing and petting, and their overbearing affectionate nature can sometimes reach a point that is “embarrassing”.
They don’t have major medical issues, but they need more attention and exercise. They particularly love the outdoors where they can walk, run, play and do all sorts of activities that allow them to release their pent-up energy. These hunting dogs are for you if you are living in suburban or rural area, or if you have enough front yard or backyard space for him to engage in physical activities. On the average, a Portuguese Pointer lives between 12 and 14 years.