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8 Dog Breeds that Point

Brittany dog on point in field of tall grass.

Dogs bred and trained for hunting are driven by instinct to point. However, some of the non-hunting breeds can also lift and point their paw for different reasons.

Pointing dogs are a little different from other gun dogs (retrievers, etc.) because they don’t fetch or flush the prey. Instead, they serve as ‘guides’ for the hunters and lead them to the game by pointing. Although these canines still have their hunting instincts, many of them do quite well as domestic dogs. The following is a list of most common dog breeds that point.    


Brittany dog in snow covered field on point

This sweet-natured breed was developed in France and is often compared with spaniels. Brittany dogs have been around for quite some time now and have worked in different roles (like retrieving). This is the reason why they are compared with different types of canines. However, the working characteristics of these dogs are more similar to pointers and therefore, they are included in the list.

Brittanies may seem alert from their physical expressions, but they are emotionally quite sensitive. For this reason, you cannot be harsh with these pups and must treat them positively. Likewise, proper socialization is important for a Brittany as they have a reputation for being shy.   

English Pointer

English Pointer standing on hill in forest

Also known as Pointer, these large dogs have a very calm nature and they rarely display any aggression. This equation holds true only if they are getting an ample amount of daily exercise. Otherwise, the element of boredom can lead them to negative habits.

Due to their even-tempered nature, English Pointers get along well with other pets, like dogs and cats. Similarly, they can adapt to apartment life despite their big bodies. These well-behaved canines have a lingering pack mentality and like to be in the company of their people. They feel the safest when they are sitting right next to you.

German Short-haired Pointer

German Short-haired Pointer on point in grass covered field

The name itself suggests that the German Short-haired Pointer (GSP) is an incredible pointer dog. They are powerful and agile and can serve their owners in many different ways (other than hunting). For instance, these noble canines make wonderful companions who thrive in the company of their parents. Similarly, they can be quite effective as working dogs due to their strength and speed.

GSPs have a very sensitive nature and you can get the best out of them in a caring environment. Negative training is never an option with this breed as they demand love and attention. If you can give them the necessary time, these enthusiastic pups offer unmatched loyalty.     

Gordon Setter

Gordon Setter in autumn forest

These fearless dogs hail from Scotland and are the heaviest of all setter breeds. Although they are less known than their cousins, Gordon Setters match them completely in terms of intelligence and energy.

They need a rigorous exercise session of about an hour to stay in control and are only recommended for active families. However, this kind of exertion is NOT safe for puppies as they need mild exercise.

These innocent companions mature quite slowly and keep their puppy-like habits even in adulthood. This is one of the main reasons why they are adored by their families. On the other hand, a well-attended Gordon Setter is extremely loyal and loving towards his/her people. 

Irish Setter

Irish Setter on point in tall grass

Despite all the intelligence they have, Irish Setters can NEVER become good watchdogs due to their affectionate nature. Instead of barking or turning the stranger away, they would most likely go in for nice head rub. For this reason, these easy-going canines are often considered the mildest among all setter breeds.

Having said that, an Irish Setter is always ready for a job and wouldn’t disappoint you as a pointer dog. They will immediately snap to attention once they are out in the field.

Nowadays, Irish Setters are one of the most popular alternatives as therapy dogs. Their calm demeanor leads to a peaceful environment that is comforting for both parties. However, if you are planning to get one, keep in mind that these playful pups require plenty of mental stimulation.

Italian Spinone

Italian Spinone standing at edge of pond

The thick and wiry coat of these hunting dogs allows them to work in conditions that are tough for other breeds. Although they are not as quick and agile as other pointer dogs, Italian Spinones are popular for being efficient. These sturdy workers are fond of companionship and work well in the company of their people.

Italian Spinone is a mild-tempered breed that is always willing to learn new things. However, their independent attitude can make them a little stubborn at times. Consequently, this dog is NOT suitable for new owners.


Vizsla standing in tall winter grass

The elegant personality and affectionate nature of these lean dogs are too good to resist. Their physique is ideal for running, and they do live up to the expectations with their speed and stamina. Vizslas are perfect for families that like to go for bike rides because they can run for long spells.

Vizslas stand out from other pointer dogs as they have a solid-colored coat. On the other hand, most of the dog breeds that point have spots or speckling on their bodies. Even though a Vizsla may seem docile on the outside, it is an extremely intelligent breed. Therefore, they need a lot of mental stimulation to avoid negative behavior.  

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon standing at the waters edge

This supreme gun dog has a very rugged appearance with a harshly-wiry coat. Despite that, it doesn’t create many problems because Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a low-shedding breed. These gruff-looking canines have an incredibly honest and dedicated attitude that has earned them a lot of respect.

On the other hand, these pointing griffons have proven outstanding family dogs, due to their amazingly outgoing nature. They are extremely eager to please their people and these steadfast pups can adapt in households of all sizes.   

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