POINTER. Originally a native of Spain, but long since naturalized in this country. This dog is remarkably apt at receiving instruction : his utility and excellence are well known. Of pointers, however, there are two kinds—the English and the Spanish: and of these again there are at the present day a great variety, with respect to size, shape, and colour; some good and others bad of each sort.
The pointers most approved are such as are well made, light, and strong, and will naturally stand; not too small, nor over large. A small pointer, though ever so good in his kind, can be but of little service in hunting, particularly through a strong piece of turnips, broom, or heath, and the feet of a large heavy dog will soon be tired by his own weight. A cross between the English and Spanish pointer produces an animal possessing, generally, the desired qualifications: the Spanish pointer cannot undergo the fatigues of an extensive range, nor is he so durable and hardy as the English. Few countries can boast so many truly good sporting dogs as our own, as they are brought to that perfection which is hardly to be described. Respecting the colour of pointers, a great deal depends on fancy; but that most esteemed is the liver and white, although there are as good dogs of every other colour. A white dog is to be preferred on two accounts : 1. Being all white he is void of any thing phlegmatic in his constitution, which does not hinder him from retaining the lesson he has been taught, and prevent his being obedient; besides he has always a good nose. 2. In grouse shooting he can be discerned at any distance, whereas a brown one cannot. Pointers of a lemon colour are always the most difficult to be brought to obedience, by reason of the bilious humour which prevails in them, and which causes this irregularity. The white pointer is full of stratagems and cunning, and is not so easily tired as dogs of the lemon colour, which are very giddy and impatient, uneasy under correction, and more subject to diseases than any other dogs.
Pointers of a brown colour are generally good ones; but, from their colour, are difficult to be seen on a mountain, and are sometimes lost, which occasions the sportsman a vast deal of trouble; but let any shooter be asked if he has not remarked that a brown-coloured dog will bring him closer to game than any other, by reason that they are not so easily perceived as those of a lighter hue, particularly when the season is advanced, and birds become shy. It is proper for a young sportsman to procure a dog that is well broken, and to inquire the method and words he has been used to by his former master, in breaking and huntingwith him; otherwise the dog will have a new lesson to learn.
Those who are anxious to possess first-rate pointers, and to enjoy the pleasure of shooting in the greatest possible perfection, should breed, rear, and train their own dogs; for which purpose, they should commence by selecting a handsome dog and a bitch, both well-bred, but which bear not the slightest affinity or relationship to each other; they should be remarkable for the exquisite sensibility of their olfactory organs (or what a sportsman would call the goodness of their nose) as well as for the gallant style of their range—not the speed with which they run, but their mode of running; that is, with their heads well up, and their stern constantly moving; since nothing looks worse than to see a dog run with his 3 nose to the ground, and his tail car- i ried between his hind legs. They should have well formed straight ] legs, and a small close foot, deep chest, full blood eyes, fine stern, round back, thin long ears, hanging loosely from the head, altogether the middle size.
From a dog and bitch of this description little doubt can be entertained of a successful and highly satisfactory progeny ; and, for breeding, spring is by far the most preferable season. If, for instance, the bitch brings forth at the latter end of April, or the beginning of May, the whelps will have become sufficiently strong to endure the rigours of the following winter without sustaining the least injury. Kennels in the open air, with plenty of clean wheat-straw, are the places best calculated for pointers; here the bitch may bring forth, and at the age of six weeks, the whelps may be taken from her, and kept out at quarters, where they should have free liberty to run about, and be kept under as little restraint (at least, in regard to exercise) as possible.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835
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