AKC Dog Breeds: Portuguese Pointer

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Foundation Stock Service® Breed
Height: 16-22  inches   Weight: 35-59 pounds  Color: light brown or yellow, with or without white markings

Originating in Portugal in Royal kennels, the Portuguese Pointer is believed to have descended from dogs used by falconers in the 5th and 6th centuries. The Portuguese Pointer's name in Portuguese, "Perdigueiro Portugueso," is a derivation of the word "perdigon," meaning "partridge." Portuguese Pointers were first described in writing in the 1100s, in a book of hunting by Joao I. A popular hunting dog, this breed is considered to be extremely rare. The Portuguese Pointer is valued for its strong pointing, hunting, and retrieving instincts. A devoted hunting companion, this breed is an avid hunter over all types of terrain and in any climate. Portuguese Pointer's are used in the hunting of small and large game, particularly the gray partridge. Portuguese navigators took the Portuguese Pointer along in their ships during the time of the discovery of the Americas and the breed was used in the formation of popular breeds such as the Labrador Retriever and the English Pointer. The Portuguese Pointer was almost extinct by the 1920's. While the Portuguese Pointer is still rare outside of Europe, its numbers are growing. The Portuguese Pointer's breed standard was written in 1938.The Portuguese Pointer has been recorded in the Foundation Stock Service since 2005.

General Appearance
For at least a thousand years, this dog has always had the same square head, a marked stop, triangular ears and compact look. The Perdigueiro Portugueso, as it is also named, is a medium sized dog that may have been the progenitor of several other Pointer breeds. The Portuguese Pointer is a dog of medium proportions, and should be well balanced. It is thought to have come before the English Pointer and contributed to its genes. The Portuguese Pointer is moderately sized, reaching between 20 and 22 inches in height and weighing between 35 and 60 pounds. They have a short, thick and smooth coat They have short fur that is short and dense, and on the head it is velvety and soft. The coloration of the breed is from yellow to chestnut, sometimes with white markings in an Irish pattern. The tail is usually docked and carried level or above the back when moving. They have drop floppy ears and dark, large, sincere eyes. Their personality only magnifies their adorable appearance.


The Portuguese Pointer breed is intelligent, faithful, attentive, and affectionate. They are very obedient and submissive, and will retrieve or hunt anything commanded with the utmost joy. They are active dogs, tenacious and well-being. They thrive on physical contact and attention, and in return are intense hunters and highly trainable. A Portuguese Pointer pup will often start pointing and retrieving at about two months old with no training. This obvious instinct illustrates the Portuguese Pointers incredible ability and desire to hunt. Obedient, good with children and other dogs, the Portuguese Pointer is an all-around friendly hunting dog for the family. Portuguese Pointers are so affectionate and friendly that even in the AKC standards is a mention of their unwavering adoration of their masters. The breed is mentioned to be so affectionate that it is sometimes "inappropriate and inconvenient". They are very versatile and can bend to their master's requests. The Portuguese Pointer is gentle and committed. They are highly trainable. Although affectionate,  Portuguese Pointer's are naturally serious dogs. They adore family.

The Portuguese Pointer needs to have a rub down and brushed every few days to keep them looking in top condition. Grooming is very low maintenance on the short coats. For the long coated variety, brushing should occur more often to keep tangles and debris out of the fur, especially the ears, since the fur is long on the ears. Dry shampooing will suffice. Dental hygiene is extremely important.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

Albinism has been known to be a problem in this breed. The Portuguese Pointer has a life span of 12-14 years.

Activity Level

The Portuguese Pointer is not recommended for apartment living. This breed requires regular exercise and thrives on hunting and companionship. The Portuguese Pointer, while somewhat tenacious, is a joy to hunt with. This breed is said to need constant physical stimulation, such as petting and playing with their owners. The best owner for this breed would be an active family living in a suburban or rural area.


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Portuguese Pointer profile at dog encyclopedia