Pointers have long set the bar for pointing dog performance, and they’ve had lots of practice. Pointing dogs have been seen in 16th century paintings, and certainly, their introduction into England is ascertained to have occurred about 1700. As ubiquitous as the breed seems to be in our images of pheasant hunting, the earliest Pointers didn’t hunt birds. In fact, they were present before wing shooting. Early Pointers were partners in hare coursing. A Pointer was sent to locate and “point out” a hare, and when that happened, Greyhounds were released as the hare bolted. Later, advances in gun design made the shooting of flying birds possible, and that’s when Pointers really stood out.
The English Pointer is still a “bird hunting machine,” but after visiting a few Pointer forums on the Internet, we found that some hunters still shoot rabbits over their Pointers, and indeed, their Pointers will point one out in the field. Pointer owners who hunt, what say you?