The pointer is now, and has ever been, most essentially a sporting dog. Although his origin is not quite clear, nor the country from which he was imported into England satisfactorily made out, still he is generally credited with coming to us from Spain. Even now we not unfrequently hear the phrase, "That is a regular old-fashioned Spanish pointer," applied to a heavy, lumbering dog, such as was much used by our forefathers. If his footing upon British soil cannot be traced back so far as the setter's - or, at least, as the setter has existed amongst us in some form or another - still, he seems to have been bred in this country for the purpose for which he is now used, and for that alone. In France, America, Spain, and Portugal he is also used for sporting purposes.

MR. J. FLETCHER'S POINTER DOG DON (K.C.S.B. 4201). Sire Random [brother to champion Sancho, K.C.S.B. 1004)   Dam Juno.

MR. J. FLETCHER'S POINTER DOG "DON" (K.C.S.B. 4201). Sire Random [brother to champion Sancho, K.C.S.B. 1004) - Dam Juno.

He has always, as far as I can ascertain, been considered in England a distinct breed of dog, cultivated for finding game by scent, and trained to "pointing " it when found - i.e.. to come to a standstill upon scenting it. So innate is this propensity to point in a well bred puppy of this breed that we frequently see him point the first time he is entered to game. This is regarded by some sportsmen as evidence of an original disposition to point peculiar to this breed, but all the information that I have obtained on this matter goes to show that it was first only the result of training, and now exists more as a communicated habit than anything else. It is advanced in favour of the pre-disposition theory that the setter has been bred, trained, and used for precisely the same purpose, yet he does not exhibit this quality - spontaneous pointing - in anything like the same degree. It is a fact that the pointer does, as a rule, take to pointing much earlier in his training, but the cause of this I must leave for others to decide.

The pointer, however different in form to what he now is, and in spite of the many crosses to which he has been subjected, seems to have experienced very little change in his leading characteristics. The crossing him with other dogs, which at various times has been tried, has not eradicated the "stamp" peculiar to his breed; neither is it evident that the object sought by infusing into his veins blood foreign to him was so much to change his character as to introduce qualities that it was thought he might with advantage possess. By this I mean that it was not so much to produce, by crossing with other breeds, a dog to do the pointer's work, as to render him more suitable to the work which he was, through change of circumstances, required to perform. In most cases, I believe, first crosses have proved failures, whether with foxhound or other dog. The foreign blood thus imported had to be diluted (if I may use the expression) by crossing back again with the pointer, before even so good a dog as the pure pointer was produced. "Droppers" - for such is the name given to the produce of the first cross between pointer and setter - are, in some few instances, fairly good; but they are no improvement on the pointer or setter proper.

The pointer of to-day is an animal that has been produced by the most careful exercise of knowledge gained by keen observation, assisted by extensive breeding and sporting experience. He is now a dog specially adapted to his work. He has been rendered capable of doing it with the greatest amount of ease and efficiency. By careful selection he has been divested of all the lumber that was the cause of his distress in years gone by. His pace has been improved by a due regard to the formation of his chest; it is now deeper and narrower than formerly. He is, as a consequence, capable of hunting a larger range of ground without becoming useless by excessive fatigue. The ease with which the present shape of his shoulders and chest allows him to sweep over his ground in graceful strides, and to preserve and exercise with advantage his gift of scent, is a pleasure to witness.

There is no doubt that field trials and dog shows that have been held for the past fifteen years have greatly contributed towards the attainment of his present high state of excellence; but, much as I admire the modern pointer, there is just one of his properties that I do not think has been improved, at least, by no means so much as have others - I mean his olfactory powers. He does not appear to possess any greater or even so great a faculty of scenting game now as he did years ago. But I am fully aware that the great speed at which most pointers hunt the ground now, as compared with the old-fashioned dog of, say, twenty-five years ago, ought to be taken into account in considering this matter. It is more than probable that the slower a dog goes the greater are his facilities for taking into his nostrils the atoms of scent. Assuming this to be the case, the slow dog of the past had an advantage in "winding " game over the flyers of to-day.

Be this as it may, the pointer now, to my thinking, does not "spot" out his game with the ease and certainty at the great distance he once did. For let an old slow dog trot round or across a field of ordinary size, and if he did not point, you might depend on it there was no game in it. His nose appeared to be good enough to allow him to go almost straight to his game without the laborious quartering of the ground, which is now so necessary, and without which much game would be left behind.

I may be permitted to remark that many of my sporting friends who have used pointers all their lives are of my opinion upon the subject. My father, too, has used pointers and setters for nearly fifty years, and has, within the last few, trained some (and seen others at work) of my pointers by champions Rap, Pax, Chang, Macgregor, and Bang; and although he willingly admits their superior pace and style, yet he fails to detect any increased range of nose over that he has been accustomed to in good dogs he used very early in his sporting experience.