The Portuguese Pointer, also known as the Perdigueiro Português, is a breed that is descended from the ancient hunting dogs of Portugal and has a history dating back to the 12th century. Initially these dogs were bred by royalty, but eventually they became popular as a hunting breed for everyone, not just the royalty. They were primarily used to assist bird hunters in locating game. These dogs soon made their way to England and became popular as a gun dog there as well. They also contributed to the development of the English Pointer. When Portugal began experiencing social and economic hardships in the 19th century, the population of Portuguese Pointers dwindled. Then in the 1920s a few dedicated breeder made an effort to save the breed. They were able to locate some of the dogs in the more remote regions of Portugal. A breed standard was established in 1932. The Portuguese Pointer is not yet officially recognized by the AKC, but they are being recorded in the Foundation Stock Service. The purpose of this service is to keep records and information for breeders of dogs that are rare or still being developed.
The Portuguese Pointer is a strong, medium sized breed. They stand at about 16 to 22 inches tall at the withers, and they should weigh between 35 and 59 pounds. These dogs are known for their squared head with a strong muzzle that has a well marked stop. The large nose is usually black, but may sometime be brown. The large eyes are oval shaped and brown. Darker shades of brown are preferred. The drop ears are medium sized and set high on the head. They are thin and triangular with rounded tips. The tail is strong and usually docked. It is preferred that the tail not reach the hock. The short coat lays flat against the dog’s body. The hair is dense and somewhat soft to the touch. The coat may be shades of yellow or brown, with or without white markings. The Portuguese Pointer needs more grooming than other similar breeds. In addition to regular brushing they will need to be trimmed every few months as well. They only need to be bathed a needed.
Portuguese Pointers are known to be a loyal breed that is dedicated to its family. This breed makes a good watch dog and they will bark at anything that alarms them, but they are not guard dogs. This a playful breed that will enjoy running and playing outside and with children. They will be happy to play games for hours on end. These dogs do need to be obedience trained from a young age and they have a strong desire to please their owner. This is a highly trainable breed with the right techniques. The training should be firm and consistent, but not too harsh, otherwise the dog will not listen. Positive reinforcement techniques such as praise and treats will work very well when training the Portuguese Pointer. It is also a good idea to socialize these dogs while they are still puppies. This process should include taking the dog out to expose them to new people, places, and situations. Doing this will ensure that they grow up to be friendly and well rounded. They should also be introduced to other household animals while they are still young.
Portuguese Pointers are a high energy and active breed that require plenty of exercise. They will not be happy in a small home such as an apartment and will be much happier if they have a yard to run and play in. A long walk or run is recommended every day in addition to games. An hour of exercise every day will keep this breed happy and healthy. A Portuguese Pointer has a tendency to be destructive.
The Portuguese Pointer is a relatively healthy breed that does not suffer from any known health issues. These dogs live about 12 to 14 years.
Overall the Portuguese Pointer is a rare breed that is known as an enthusiastic hunter. They love to run and play games and they are best suited to an owner that is very active and can make sure this dog gets out for plenty of exercise every day. They are very loyal to their owners and love to play with children.