You may find yourself wishing that your dog could communicate with you. But did you know they actually can? Dogs frequently communicate with their owners through different facial expressions, noises, and actions. For example, dogs can point to a spot to signal something to you. But how do dogs point?
When dogs “point” to a spot, they often freeze and fixate on the location that interests them. But every dog has a different way of pointing! Keep reading to learn more about how dogs point.
Before you scroll further down this guide, “How Do Dogs Point,” you can check out these other dog-related articles from our team at We Love Doodles: Can a Dog Kill a Lion? and Best Shock Collar for Hunting Dogs.
Why and How Do Dogs Point?
Why Dogs Point
Hunting dogs tend to point more than other breeds. The origin of hunting dogs that point goes back to Europe hundreds of years ago. Owners trained their hunting dogs to detect birds and other prey and “point” to them.
The dog’s pointing told hunters where to cast their nets or aim their guns to capture an animal. This was especially useful because most dogs attack prey instead of stopping to signal its presence. As you can imagine, this specific trait was incredibly helpful to hunters!
While most hunting dogs can point, other breeds may also exhibit this behavior. So don’t be surprised if your non-hunting dog starts pointing!
How do Dogs Point?
Every dog points differently. However, most pointing has certain foundational characteristics. For example, almost every dog freezes and directs their nose toward the target in question. Some dogs will simply do this, while others may also raise their paw in the direction of the prey.
The capacity of the dog to maintain the stance until a hunter can prepare themselves is also essential. Additionally, many pointing dogs are trained to remain in position after a kill or capture so they can track the prey and collect it when ready.
What are Pointing Dogs?
Pointing dogs are a class of gundogs that assist hunters by finding and identifying prey and then tracking the prey down after it has been killed or captured. The name “Pointing Dog” comes from the dog’s instinct to halt and direct its snout toward prey.
It’s possible that Spanish dogs, notably the Old Spanish Pointer, are the ancestors of pointing dogs. Today, breeders carefully select dogs with strong pointing, tracking, and retrieving instincts to produce pointers.
Pointing dogs are available in a variety of coat types and colors. However, almost every pointing dog has some spotting on their coats.
Pointing Dog Breeds
The medium-sized English Setter is a stunningly beautiful sporting dog with a gentle disposition. It was bred to thrive and work in the unique landscape and weather in Scotland, England, and Ireland. English Setters are graceful, sturdy, and charming canines.
These hunting dogs are perfectly balanced and stand about 25 inches tall. They also have a unique spotting pattern that gives them an exotic and gorgeous look. English Setters also have large heads, elegant necks, and dark brown eyes.
This jolly dog is regarded as the prince of the canine world. However, they can be noisy and competitive when playing. English Setters also get along nicely with humans and other canines.
The Gordon Setter, often known as the black avenger of the Highlands, is a large pointing dog with a Scottish aristocrat as its namesake. They were bred to resist the harsh environment and inclement weather of their native Scotland.
Gordons are physically fit and love the woods. They are also courageous, determined, and fiercely loyal.
Gordons are the biggest and heaviest breed of setters. For example, an adult male may weigh up to 80 pounds and measure up to 27 inches tall. These dogs also tend to have longer hair on their ears, stomachs, limbs, chests, and tails. They have gorgeous gleaming coats, too.
Irish Red and White Setter
The energetic Irish Red and White Setter is a medium-sized pointing dog with great athletic ability. They were bred specifically for hunting. Irish Red and Whites are smaller and bulkier than their cousin, the Irish Setter. But they are just as entertaining, sociable, and high-spirited.
A majestic Red and White Setter locked on point is as immovable as a statue. These large to medium-sized dogs have immense strength, endurance, and sense that allow them to keep pace for an entire day of hunting!
The eye-catching fur, which looks like brilliant red islands hovering in an ocean of pearl white, serves a useful purpose by making it easier for hunters to recognize their dog from a distance.
The Irish Setter is a passionate pointing dog with a striking red coat and a reputation for elegance and speed. They are known for being excellent family pets, gentle companions for older adults, and boisterous playmates and tennis ball retrievers for young children.
The Irish Setter is considered one of the most attractive dog breeds. They boast a magnificent coat of mahogany or chestnut, tower tall over other breeds, and have a strong yet graceful form.
The Irish Setter is also extremely fast thanks to its strong, spindly legs and hind push. Dog owners and sportsmen have cherished the Irish Setter for over 200 years because of its endearing disposition.
Irish are friendly dogs who love to socialize. These boisterous redheads are really just huge kids at heart, but they have a strong desire to impress and will learn well from gentle, encouraging instruction. They are also fearless and determined hunting companions.
The English Pointer is the pinnacle of canine strength and elegance, and they have been pointing at game birds for generations. The vivacious Pointer makes a great running and hunting buddy.
This breed is the epitome of canine beauty and ferocity. Pointers are unquestionably the aristocracy of sporting dogs. They are swift, agile, and conduct themselves with pride. A Pointer can be any color and, as its admirers would like to say, none of them are bad.
A small female Pointer may weigh as little as 45 pounds and measure 23 inches, whereas a male can reach 28 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 75 pounds.
Frequently Asked Questions
While dogs did not point at first, the behavior is natural to many breeds today. This is because certain breeds (mostly hunting dogs) have been trained for hundreds of years to point to prey. Now, the behavior is second-nature for several breeds!
Most dogs begin developing their hunting instincts at around two months. During this time is when you may start to see your dog pointing.
Most pointing dogs can also retrieve prey for you. However, this behavior may not come as naturally as the pointing. You may need to give your dog some training to teach them how to retrieve an animal after it has been killed or captured.
Conclusion For “How Do Dogs Point”
It’s important to know how dogs point to better understand what and when your dog is trying to communicate. Dog pointing can vary for each dog. But generally, standing motionless with one paw up and an aimed nose are signs that your dog is pointing.
If you find this guide, “How Do Dogs Point,” helpful, you can check out these other dog-related articles from our team:
- Best Pointer Breeders in the United States
- Top Duck Hunting Dog Names
- Are Labradoodles Good Hunting Dogs?
You can learn more about pointing dog breeds by watching “These Are 10 Ultimate Pointing Dog Breeds” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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