Portuguese Pointer

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Is the Portuguese Pointer right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Perdigueiro Português; Braque Portugais

The basics:
A historic breed that existed in Portugal by the 12th century, the Portuguese Pointer was a fine hunting dog bred in royal kennels to track, point, and retrieve upland gamebirds, particularly the red-legged partridge. But royalty couldn't keep its talents a secret, and it became a popular choice of the lower classes as well. Eventually it made its way to England, where it probably played a part in the development of the English Pointer. While a rather rare breed today, the Portuguese Pointer is still known worldwide, and it is currently being recorded by the American Kennel Club's Foundation Stock Service, a step on the path toward breed recognition in the US.

The Pointers as a class have a fine reputation as family dogs when they get home from the hunt, and the Portuguese Pointer is no exception. It is devoted and loyal and loves to be near its people.

Appearance / health:
The Portuguese Pointer is a medium sized dog that has a square profile when seen from the side. It has an alert expression and a well-muscled athletic body. The head is a distinctive square shape that is average in size and proportionate to the body. The nose is set higher than rest of the muzzle. The tail is traditionally docked to half, or two-thirds the natural length.

Portuguese Pointers are average shedders and are easy to groom. They require occasional combing and brushing with a hard-bristle brush to stimulate coat growth and remove dead hair. They may be bathed occasionally. Standard care is needed for eyes, ears, pads, and nails.

It is important to keep Portuguese Pointers involved in some type of activity to prevent destructive chewing or excessive barking. A daily long walk is necessary to keep them healthy. They make good jogging companions.

Not much is documented about health conditions seen in this breed. Albinism is occasionally seen (lack of pigment in the shin, hair and eyes), which can lead to skin cancer later in life.

Behavior / temperament:
They are easy to train and have excellent instincts, making them great companions. Affectionate, friendly, intelligent and attentive, the Portuguese Pointer is both an excellent hunting dog and family pet. They are speedy, skilled, have an excellent nose, and enjoy the “hunt and retrieve.” A Portuguese Pointer pup will often start pointing and retrieving at about two months old with no training. They take delight in sharing the hunt with their master, and are intense and tenacious when hunting. With family they are gentle, submissive and kind. They are highly trainable, and take their lessons seriously, perhaps as an effort to please their owner. This breed is known to need constant physical stimulation, such as petting and playing with their owners. The AKC standard book mentions that Portuguese Pointers can sometimes be overbearingly affectionate to the point that it is "embarrassing", and the dog may have to be trained to restrain itself.

Portuguese Pointers are mild-tempered and usually get along well with people and animals. They can also obstinate and manipulative at times. They are very energetic and need lots of physical exercise and mental stimulation. They love the company of people and do not like to be left alone for more than few hours. They are protective of their family and territory by nature.

Portuguese Pointers are intelligent and are easy to train. They are sensitive dogs but could be manipulative and self willed. Training needs to be firm, consistent, and ongoing. Socialization needs to begin at an early age to help them acquaint with different people, situations, sounds, and sights.

Portuguese Pointers are usually quiet dogs. It is important to pay attention when they bark, as they do not bark without reason. They may resort to excessive barking if they are not provided with sufficient physical exercise and mental stimulation.

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