Descended from Spanish, Portuguese and Italian pointing breeds introduced to America prior to the Civil War years, the American Pointer was a common and valued gundog, although quite a bit heavier and slower than its more popular English cousin. It was only in the latter part of the 19th century that the English Pointer was introduced into its bloodline, improving some of the breed's trainability and agility, without seriously affecting the American Pointer's appearance. Some working bulldogge influence was reported in certain strains, but has been bred out in the early 1900's, with the drop or two of Portuguese Pointer blood aimed at restoring the speed and scenting abilities. The Dalmatian has also played a role in the establishment of the current incarnation of the American Pointer, as did the Hungarian Viszla. During the 20th century, the German Short-Haired Pointer was crossed into the breed, further improving its hunting qualities. Also, a steady influx of the modern English Pointer blood has brought the British and American breeds much closer to one another in terms of appearance and temperament. Even with these occasional outcrosses, the American Pointer has changed very little over the past 100 years and, unlike some of the old American hunting breeds, it remains commonly seen it its native country. Bred for work and not for the Show circuit, this driven hunter will not be getting officially recognized anytime soon, even though some representatives have reportedly been registered as English Pointers over the years.
Rarely employed as a hunter today, it is primarily a moderately popular companion dog. This is a playful and energetic breed, friendly with children and devoted to its owner, making an excellent family pet. However, unlike the English Pointer, this rugged worker has very little tolerance for strange dogs and people, making a surprisingly effective watchdog as well. Deep-chested, strongly built and muscular, the American Pointer is a healthy and resilient breed, but it shouldn't be kept outside, due to its very sensitive personality. The tail was sometimes docked in the past, but this is no longer a common practice. The head is elegant, with expressive eyes and a strong muzzle, which can have either a black, brown or red nose.
The coat is very short and fine, always white in colour, with black, brown, liver, red, orange or lemon patches on the head and body. Average height is around 27 inches, although smaller examples exist.