How Color is Determined in English Pointers

by Stephanie Maatta
    English pointers come in a range of standard colors.

    English pointers come in a range of standard colors.

    Dog looking birds image by Stjepan Banovic from

    English pointers were bred in England around 1650 as hunting dogs or gun dogs. They were recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1884. The AKC has standards for all recognized purebred dogs. The AKC standards require that pointers have a short and dense coat of smooth fur.


    Pointers come in a variety of colors and color combinations. The breed standards include black, lemon, liver, orange or white and any single color combined with white. Pointers can also feature a tri-colored coat, combining two colors with white.


    Markings are colored hair against the white portions. In pointers they appear as either large patches of color or as smaller spots sprinkled across the animal's coat. Some pointers will feature a combination of large patches on the head, ears and tail with smaller spots spread across the body and muzzle.


    A pointer's nose must complement his coloring. If the dog's coat is dark, such as black, then its nose should be brown or black. A lighter colored coat is accented by a lighter or flesh-colored nose.


    Like a pointer's nose, its eye color is important to the breed standard. The breed standard calls for eyes darker than the coat.

    Other Breed Standards

    Pointers must meet minimum size standards. They range from 23 to 28 inches tall and weigh 45 to 75 pounds. Size standards are different for male and female pointers, with the female slightly smaller. They have oval feet with arched toes and straight legs and powerful hindquarters.


    • Petfinder: Adopt a Pointer
    • "Breed All about It: Pointer DVD"; Animal Planet; 2008
    • "Pointer: Comprehensive Owners Guide"; Richard G. Beauchamp; 2003

    Photo Credits

    • Dog looking birds image by Stjepan Banovic from

    About the Author

    Stephanie Maatta has been a writer for more than 10 years, with articles published in professional journals including "Library Journal" and "Reference Librarian." Many of her publications focus on professional development and career advising. Maatta holds a Ph.D. and Master of Science in library and information science from Florida State University.

    Have a question? Get an answer from a Vet now!