Portuguese Pointing Dog
Other names: Perdigueiro Português
The Portuguese Pointer is considered to be the ultimate gun dog. An athletic animal with a combination of speed, strength, and stamina, the Portuguese Pointer is a highly prized hunting companion. Experts believe it’s a direct descendent of an ancient Iberian Hunting dog from the 12th Century. As well as being an excellent retriever, this breed can make a great family pet. They’re affectionate, playful, and have an instinctual desire to please their favourite humans.
Key facts about the Portuguese Pointing Dog
Origins and history
Bred from ancient Iberian hunting dogs, the Portuguese Pointer became very popular during the 18th century. While the ruling nobility preferred more fashionable hunting breeds, many ”commoners” saw the potential of this under-appreciated gun dog. During this time, English wine merchants moved into the Oporto region of Northern Portugal. They also spotted the dog’s excellent tracking skill and began exporting the breed to the UK. Unfortunately, like many hunting breeds, its numbers diminished during the first half of the 20th century. New technologies and wide-spread industrialisation made many of these dogs redundant, pushing them to the brink of extinction. However, a group of diligent dog lovers rounded up the surviving dogs and established breeding clubs in the UK and Northern Portugal. Although still rare, the breed’s numbers are slowly rising.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 7 - Pointing Dogs
Section 1 : Continental Pointing Dogs
Physical characteristics of the Portuguese Pointing Dog
Female : Between 19 and 22 in
Male : Between 20 and 24 in
Female : Between 35 and 49 lb
Male : Between 44 and 60 lb
Light-brown, sometimes with white markings.
Type of coat
Very short and coarse. Tight to the body.
Medium sized dog. A well-built animal with an elegant and proud posture. Long, muscular neck and a high head carriage. Short, compact muzzle. An endearing and quizzical expression.
Good to know
These dogs love being outside. They love running through fields and forests. Not suited to inner-city life. They require lots of attention and even more affection. Can be quite “needy.” Needs a committed owner with lots of free time.
Extremely affectionate animal. Often referred to as a “velcro-dog”, the Portuguese Pointer likes to stick next to its owners.
This dog has a playful nature that will keep you entertained for hours at time. Favourite games include fetch, tug of war, and find the treat.
A boisterous and excitable dog. Has lots of energy to burn. May quickly tire out less active owners.
A smart dog that responds really well to reward-based training methods. Like any hunting breed, the pointer needs to be mentally stimulated.
This dog was bred to track and retrieve water birds. They have a real hunter’s instinct.
Fearful / wary of strangers
A trusting dog that loves all types of people, including strangers. Enjoys meeting new people. Always enjoys being the centre of attention.
Fairly independent, but still very dependent on its owners. This dog needs to feel part of a pack.
Behaviour of the Portuguese Pointing Dog
Not suited to long periods of solitude. These social dogs form lifelong bonds with their main owners. A lack of human or doggy contact will have a damaging effect on the Portuguese Pointer’s mental health.
Easy to train / obedience
Very easy to train, even for an inexperienced owner. Just stick to the basics - reward based training that includes lots of treats and praise.
No issues with excessive barking. The Portuguese Pointer will only bark for a good reason. Repeated bouts of excessive barking may be a sign of an undiagnosed mental health issue.