Man hunted for ages with dogs that he united in a pack; but these packs were of a very heterogeneous composition, since they included strong dogs, light dogs very swift of foot, shepherds' dogs, and others noted for acuteness of scent, and even mongrels due to a crossing with the wolf. It is from the promiscuousness of all these breeds that has arisen our ordinary modern dog.

The pointer is of relatively recent creation, and is due to the falconers. In our western countries, falconry dates from the fourth and fifth centuries, as is proved by the capitularies of Dagobert. This art, therefore, was not brought to us from the East by the crusaders in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, as stated by Le Maout in his Natural History of Birds.

The falconer soon saw the necessity of having a dog of nice scent having for its role the finding or hunting up of game without pursuing it, in order to permit the falcons themselves to enter into the sport. This animal was called the bird dog, and was regarded as coming from various countries, especially from Spain, whence the name of spaniel that a breed of pointers has preserved. It is quite curious to find that for three or four centuries back there have been no spaniels in Spain. From Italy also and from southern climes comes what is called the bracco, whence doubtless is derived the French name braque and English brach. Finally the agasse of the Bretons was certainly also one of the progenitors of our present pointers. It was, says Oppian, a breed of small and very courageous dogs, with long hair, provided with strong claws and jaws, that followed hares on the sly under shelter of vine-stocks and reeds and sportively brought them back to their masters after they had captured them. We have certainly here the source of our barbets and griffons.

Finally the net hunters of the middle ages also contributed much to the creation of the pointer, for it is to them that we owe the setter. It is erroneously, in fact, that certain authors have attributed the creation of this dog to hunters with the arquebuse, since this weapon did not begin to be utilized in hunting until the sixteenth century. Gaston Phoebus, who died in 1391, shows, in his remarkable work, that the net hunters made use of Spanish setters and that it was they who created the true pointer - the animal that fascinates game by its gaze. By the same pull of their draw net they enveloped in its meshes both the setter and the prey that it held spellbound.

Upon the whole, we see that at the end of the middle ages there existed three types of pointers: spaniels, brachs and very hairy dogs, that Charles Estienne, in his Maison Rustique, of the sixteenth century, calls barbets. It is again with these three types that are connected all the present pointers, which we are going to pass rapidly in review.