This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
This is now one of the most beautiful of all our sporting dogs, dividing with the setter the admiration of all those who enjoy the pleasures attending on the use of the gun.
The points desirable in the pointer are, a moderately large head, wide rather than long, with a high forehead, and an intelligent eye of medium size. Muzzle broad, with its outline square in front, not receding as in the hound. Flews manifestly present, but not pendent The head should be well set on the neck, with a peculiar form at the junction only seen in the pointer. The neck itself should be long, convex in its upper outline, without any tendency to a dewlap or to a "ruff," as the loose skin covered with long hair round the neck is called. The body is of good length, with a strong loin, wide hips, and rather arched ribs, the chest being well let down, but not in a hatchet shape as in the greyhound, and the depth of the back ribs being proportionately greater than in that dog. The tail, or "stern" as it is technically called, is strong at the root, but suddenly diminishing it becomes very fine, and then continues nearly of the same size to within two inches of the tip, when it goes off to a point looking as sharp as the sting of a wasp, and giving the whole very much the appearance of that part of the insect, but magnified as a matter of course. This peculiar shape of the 88 stern characterizes the breed, and its absence shows a cross with the hound or some other dog.
The shoulders are points of great importance in the pointer, as unless they are well-formed he cannot last throughout the day, and, moreover, he can neither stop himself nor turn quickly in his work as he ought to do. Hence, a long, slanting, but muscular blade is of vast importance, united to a long upper arm, which again requires for its existence an elbow well let down below the chest, and a short fore arm. This low position of the elbow is not generally sufficiently insisted on, but in pointers and setters it is all-important, and it will be seen to be particularly well shown in the portrait, page 21. Plenty of bone in the leg, well clothed with muscle and tendon, a strong knee, full-sized ankle, and round strong foot, provided with a thick sole, are also essential to the wear and tear of the fore quarter, while the hind requires muscular haunches and thighs, strong well-bent stifles, large and strong hocks, and the hind feet of the same character as those described for the fore feet The color should be principally white, in order that the dog may readily be seen either among heather, or in clover or turnips, as the case may be.
Liver-colored or black pointers look very handsome, but it will be found that great inconvenience attaches to them, as they will often be lost sight of when pointing in either of the above kinds of beat White, with black, liver, yellow, or lemon-colored heads, are the most prized; and of these my prejudice is in favor of the last from having had and seen so many good dogs of that color. A spot or two on the body, and any number of ticks, are not considered objectionable, particularly the latter, which are generally admired. Some breeds are distinguished by having numerous white ticks in the color, especially when there are large patches on the body, the marks on the head being usually free from them. Black and white pointers have sometimes also the tanned spots over the eye, and the edges of the black on the cheeks tinged with tan; but this is supposed to indicate a cross of the foxhound, and no doubt in many cases with truth; yet I fancy that if a yellow and white pointer is put to a black and white one, the tan will show itself occasionally without any admixture with the hound.
The coat of the high-bred pointer is short and soft to the touch; but for hard work, especially on the moors, a dog with rather a wiry coat, and well clothed with hair on the legs and feet, should be preferred; but these will show rather more hair on the stern than is thought to be characteristic of high breeding; yet let the stern be ever so hairy, there ought to be the same small bone and pointed tip as in the engraving
Among pointers there are no national divisions corresponding with those of the setters. There are, however, two distinct varieties, strongly marked by color, viz., the lemon and white, and the liver and white, besides the black and white, the whole liver, and the whole black strains; but these last are not common in the present day, and the appearance of one on the show bench is almost as rare as a black swan. Among the liver and whites, the dogs are often too heavy for much speed or endurance - a remarkable exception being the celebrated Drake (see page 21), bred by Sir R. Garth, and sold by him at a high figure in his seventh season to Mr. R J. Lloyd Price, of Wales, at which advanced age he went as fast, and showed as good a nose, as most puppies even of high class. This dog was in his day the fastest and most wonderful animal that ever quartered a field, and his race up to a brace of birds at Shrewsbury in the field trials of 1868, when the ground was so dry as to cause a cloud of dust to rise on his dropping to their scent, was a sight which will probably never be seen again. He was truly a phenomenon among pointers.
His extraordinary pace compelled his dropping in this way, for otherwise he could not have stopped himself in time, but when he had lost pace in his seventh season, he began frequently to stand up, as represented. In appearance, he is not taking, having a plain head with a somewhat throaty neck; but his frame is all through good, and there is no lumber about him.