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Portuguese Pointing Dog

Other names: Perdigueiro Português

Portuguese Pointing Dog
Portuguese Pointing Dog

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. 

dna

Key facts about the Portuguese Pointing Dog

  • Life expectancy : Between 12 and 14 years
  • Temperament : Affectionate, Playful, Hunter
  • Size : Medium
  • Type of coat : Short, Hard
  • Price : Between £800 and £1000

FCI Group

FCI Group

Group 7 - Pointing Dogs

Section

Section 1 : Continental Pointing Dogs

Physical characteristics of the Portuguese Pointing Dog

Adult size

Female dog Between 19 and 22 in
Male dog Between 20 and 24 in

Weight

Female dog Between 35 and 49 lb
Male dog Between 44 and 60 lb

Coat colour

Light-brown, sometimes with white markings.

Type of coat

Very short and coarse. Tight to the body. 

Eye colour

Light brown.

Description

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. 

Temperament

Affectionate

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Extremely affectionate animal. Often referred to as a “velcro-dog”, the Portuguese Pointer likes to stick next to its owners. 

Playful

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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. 

Calm

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A boisterous and excitable dog. Has lots of energy to burn. May quickly tire out less active owners. 

Intelligent

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A smart dog that responds really well to reward-based training methods. Like any hunting breed, the pointer needs to be mentally stimulated. 

Hunter

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This dog was bred to track and retrieve water birds. They have a real hunter’s instinct. 

Fearful / wary of strangers

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A trusting dog that loves all types of people, including strangers. Enjoys meeting new people. Always enjoys being the centre of attention.

Independent

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Fairly independent, but still very dependent on its owners. This dog needs to feel part of a pack.

Behaviour of the Portuguese Pointing Dog

Tolerates solitude

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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

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Very easy to train, even for an inexperienced owner. Just stick to the basics - reward based training that includes lots of treats and praise. 

Barking

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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.

Tendency to run away

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High-energy working dogs pose a definite flight risk, especially if they weren’t socialised from a young age. These dogs need to learn the “heel” and “recall” commands at the earliest opportunity.

Destructive

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Although they’re easy to handle, pointers require lots of exercise, lots of company, and lots of affection. If any of their needs are not being met, they can quickly turn destructive. 

Greedy / Gluttony

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No issues with overeating or obesity. 

Guard dog

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A bit too trusting of strangers to make an effective watchdog. They also lack a territorial instinct. 

First dog

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This is a high-maintenance dog. Its needs are not particularly complicated, but they do require a real effort on the owners part. As long as you can make such a commitment, the Portuguese Pointer can make an excellent pet for the first time owner. 

Lifestyle

Portuguese Pointing Dog in a flat

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A flat is not the best environment for these dogs. They like to spend lots of time outside. They need to live near the countryside or in a house that has a large, secure garden. 

Need for exercise / Sporty

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Around 90 mins of exercise every day. Gundogs need plenty of opportunities to run free and explore. 

Travelling / easy to transport

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Small enough to transport by car, although longer trips should be broken up into stages. Too big and too restless to travel by airplane. 

Compatibility

Portuguese Pointing Dog and cats

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Early exposure to cats can help rewire a dog’s prey drive, and the Portuguese Pointer is no exception. 

Portuguese Pointing Dog and dogs

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Pointer breeds were developed to live and hunt in packs, which means they get on very well with other dogs.

Portuguese Pointing Dog and children

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A good match for young families with children. The Pointer has a lively and playful nature that keeps children entertained  for hours. 

Portuguese Pointing Dog and the elderly

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A good choice for elderly people who are looking to adopt a pet, as long as they are active. This breed can be quite boisterous, but also matures quickly. 

Price

The initial cost of a Portuguese Pointer puppy is between £800 to £1,000. The average cost to keep one of these dogs (including vet bills, insurance, and food) is between £70 to £120 a month.

Grooming

A tight, short coat. Very easy to maintain. A weekly brush is enough. However, like the majority of Gun dogs, the Portuguese Pointer is prone to ear infections. You’ll need to clean their ears once a month. 

Shedding

Average shedders

Nutrition of the Portuguese Pointing Dog

3 cups of high-quality dog food per day. Most experts recommend opting for dry kibble. This reduces the possibilities of any dental infections. 

Health of the Portuguese Pointing Dog

Life expectancy

A very healthy and well-bred dog. Their average life expectancy is between 12 and 14 years.

Strong / robust

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A strong and robust dog. Well built and comfortable working in rugged, outdoor environments.  

Withstand heat

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No issues when its comes to dealing with heat. Has a short, tight coat. Very low risk of overheating. 

Withstand cold

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Will definitely struggle during the winter, especially during the coldest months. Not built for the freezing temperatures.

Tendency to put on weight

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An active dog that tends to stay fit and lean. Any weight gain will be related to overfeeding or an underlying health problem.  

Common illnesses

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.

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. 

Names

Fonzy, Bae, Ana, Minnie

Find out more dog name ideas here

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