pointer, breed of large sporting dog developed in England more than 300 years ago. It stands between 23 and 26 in. (58.4–66.4 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs between 50 and 60 lb (22.7–27.2 kg). Its short, dense, shiny coat may be solid liver, black, yellow, or orange, or, more frequently, white with any of these colors as markings. The pointer is a scent hunter used for upland game birds. Having located its quarry, it stands rigidly poised with its body and nose facing the game, thus directing the hunter to it. Bred from crosses of foxhound, greyhound, and bloodhound with an early "setting" spaniel, the pointer was originally used to find and point hares, which were then chased and killed by greyhounds. With the rise in popularity of wing-shooting in the early 1700s, the pointer quickly became regarded as an expert gundog, a reputation it continues to enjoy today. The term pointer is also widely used to designate a dog of any breed that characteristically points its quarry. See dog.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.