Pointers, Then and Now ...
Pointers are in many respects the ultimate show breed. They are certainly one of the most traditional, with a longer history than most — in the field, of course, even before there were any dog shows. They are in fact inextricably linked to our image of a Victorian country sportsman in tweeds, with a gun and a few Pointers at his side. One object of early dog shows was, in fact, to allow these gentlemen an opportunity to display their gundogs to each other. Many of the first dog shows were, for that very reason, limited to just Pointers and Setters.
Even later they often made up a large part of a show's entire entry. In 1877, at the first annual bench show of the not-yet-incorporated Westminster Kennel Club, there were almost 200 Pointer entries of 1,201 total, including 10 dogs owned by Westminster Kennel Club itself. (These were entered "not for competition" and listed as "not for sale," which is worth noting because many of the dogs were offered for anything from $40 to more than $1,000, at a time when a regular laborer would earn about $30 per month.) A head study of the club's recently imported stud dog Sensation was on the cover of the catalog, and it stayed there on an annual basis until 1936 "with some regularity" (to quote William F. Stifel's wonderful "125 Years of Westminster").
That year the figure was changed to a full figure of Sensation on point — and that's what we still see on the cover of every Westminster catalog in modern days. The dog's outline is the same, but what was originally a black and white drawing was updated in 1983 to an embossed silhouette in gold with a gold shadow behind him on a background of royal purple. The dog's form — head, body and pose —is unmistakable. It is without any question one of the dog world's most easily recognizable insignia.
The trophies offered at the first Westminster are worthy of mention. There was a special prize for "the best Pointer, of any weight, dog or bitch, in the show" — a double-barrelled, breech-loading, central-fire shotgun from England, valued at $150. (It's difficult to convert this to a reliable contemporary sum, but it's safe to say that the equivalent would cost more than $4,000 today.) The best Pointer puppy won a gold- and silver-mounted, pearl-handled revolver, presented by the WKC, "value $25." (Best Irish Setter puppy won an "ivory-enamelled opera glass"!)
The influence from the breed's mother country has always been strong, and was so even in 1877: Some of the exhibitors at Westminster in fact came all the way from England! One of the first dogs known to have been extensively campaigned was a Pointer, Wagg, owned by one Richard J. Lloyd of Wales, who was exhibited at more than 60 shows in the U.K. and Germany in the 1870s. A modern exhibitor, accustomed to internet information, timely premium lists and a couple of hours' drive on smooth freeways, blanches at the thought of the perils involved in just getting to a show in those days … Wagg may even have been the first Best in Show winner of the breed: He won several cups for "Best Dog in all Classes at the Show," which is about as close as you could get to BIS in those days.
Most of the traffic naturally went west, from Great Britain to the U.S., but not all of it. The only Pointer to have won Best in Show at Crufts, Ch. Chiming Bells in 1958, was in fact sired by an American import, Ch. Herewithem Royal Flush, which his breeder Robert F. Maloney of Pittsburgh had sent as a gift to England trying to help Pointer breeders there build up their stock after World War I. The Herewithem dogs won a lot in their day, but the biggest win for Mr. Maloney came with a dog that didn't carry his prefix: Ch. Governor Moscow, BIS at Westminster in 1925.
The legendary English Crookrise kennel has greatly influenced Pointers in America.
Governor Moscow is the oldest of nine Pointer winners that I have assembled photographs of in an attempt to figure out how much a breed has changed over the decades. I asked a number of breed specialists, including some AKC judges, to share their thoughts when confronted with these photos, which obviously didn't include any current or recent dogs. I am very grateful to them for being willing to share their opinions. This is by no means something that everybody is willing to do. One well-known judge demurred, expressing a feeling that I think is fairly universal: "I just feel I know too much about a number of the dogs, both temperament and health-wise, to be impartial ... I think I would end up with just fluff to write." You've got to respect those feelings. In fact, several participants obviously did not think it was quite proper to provide comments on past top winners.
Henri Tuthill, who is successful breeder and also a judge, expressed both the limitations of this exercise and the potential benefits: "The evaluations are submitted without regard to the dogs’ outstanding show records and in absence of their movement, which would certainly round off any thorough in-ring evaluation. In fact, there may be some who take offense that the breed icons are evaluated at all, but I posit that is the way to continuous breed improvement. What is winning now in the ring may be considered one type; what is described in the breed standard may be considered yet another type. My evaluations fall to the latter: the ideal description of the breed we all aspire to with our breeding programs. The key breed attributes are head, tail and feet, followed by overall skeletal structure consistent with the breed’s functional requirements."
So, have Pointers improved? Multi-group AKC judge Marjorie Martorella, who is also president of the American Pointer Club and the Pointer breeder responsible for the Westminster BIS winner in 1987, Ch. Marjetta National Acclaim, says: "What I found interesting is we always hear dog people commenting on the quality of our breed and how it was better in the past. These photos show a progression for the better in the development of the breed in the United States. It should also be noted that from Ch. Counterpoint’s Lord Ashley through Ch. Luftnase Ablearm Bee’s Knees, these Pointers are all closely related. It is the result of generations of line-breeding."
Tom Bradley, past Westminster show chair, judge and long-time Pointer breeder, agrees, with an important caveat: "I certainly hope that the breed has improved during the past 87 years, but we know happily, for certain, that photographers and the exhibitors/handlers have vastly improved." Tom doesn't mention it, of course, but I wonder what the "old" dogs would look like if modern handling and photography (including Photoshopping …) had been employed. However, Tom has concerns about the current and future Pointers as well: See a separate sidebar for his views, which did not lend themselves to be cut and pasted under each photo.
Dr. Patricia Haines, breeder, owner-handler and also on the board of directors of the AKC for some years, does not necessarily agree that the breed has improved. She makes a general comment: "I think my breed, like many breeds, has evolved to more extremes, and in Pointers grooming obviously has nothing to do with it. By many saying it is a head and tail breed, many focus there and then on more exaggerations. The standard states that the head should give the impression of length, with backskull width equal to muzzle length. Today many muzzles are shorter than wide and the backskulls are rounded. The tail section in the standard talks more on tail shape, heavy at root, tapered to fine point and faulted if longer than hock — not shorter is better. Observing the older pictures, I am drawn to the long necks, smoothly arched and cleanly springing from the shoulders, with clean toplines not exhibiting humps or dips, gentle arched loins and slightly sloped croups. The older dogs appear to have the build to achieve the desired effect of power and endurance, whereas many present dogs are dramatic but could not achieve endurance. Personally I always think Pointers are thoroughbreds, not quarter horses.
"It's obviously not unique to Pointers but applies to many breeds today: a Pointer head is appreciated without alert ears."
Breeder and owner-handler Erica Bandes says that she sees the Pointer as a silhouette breed: "One should be able to recognize the dog as a Pointer simply by its silhouette. The head should have a very definite stop, a well-turned lip and a somewhat short and fine (thin) ear. The tail should taper to a fine point and be no longer than the hock (preferably shorter than that). The top line should have a gentle rise over the loin, bottom line should have evident, but not overdone, tuck-up. Front and rear should have moderate and well balanced angulation."
Thomas H. Bradley, III
Tom began in dogs in 1954. Under his Luftnase prefix, he bred a number of Sporting breeds, including Pointers, German Shorthairs, English Cocker Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers and also Border Terriers. Breeding highlights include being co-breeder of Ch. Luftnase Albelarm Bee’s Knees, according to some rankings Top Dog of All Breeds 1981, according to others #2 (very few points separated the first two). Tom was approved to judge in 1965 and now judges all Sporting breeds and Best in Show. He was show chairman for Westminster 2002-2016 and judged BIS there in 2017.
Tom is a co-founder and current trustee of Take The Lead. His article "How I Judge Pointers" has for years been used in the APC Judges Education Program.
My involvement in purebred dogs began with Irish Setters from the kennels of Innisfail of Roy and Nedra Jerome and later from Tom Tobin’s Heritage kennel. My first Pointer champions were in the md-1960s, Ch. Shandown’s Prima Donna and Ch. Tomsueamy Sinbad. I Imported several Pointers from the Cumbrian kennel of George Holliday in England, who were the foundation my Cumbrian kennel today.
I bought a field Pointer in 1981 to show and realized at my first attempt to show him that he was not correct for the show ring. He did go on to be an Amateur Field Champion. I met Henri after writing him in search of a show-quality Pointer puppy in 1983. The rest is history!
Marjorie's involvement in purebred dogs began in 1966; in 1968 she purchased her first Pointer and has not been without one since. Marjorie had her first Pointer litter under the Marjetta prefix in 1974, and since then has bred more than 158 Pointer champions, nine Best in Show winners and a National Specialty winner. The most momentous win was BIS at Westminster in 1986 with Ch. Marjetta National Acclaim, handled by Michael Zollo and owned by Mrs. Robson. He went on to become the top stud dog in the history of the breed.
Marjorie was an AKC licensed handler and applied for her judge’s license in 1981. She is approved to judge the Sporting, Hound and Working groups and three Non-Sporting breeds. She has judged in 22 foreign countries, and U.S. national specialties for eight breeds, in addition to Pointers at the AKC Centennial Show. Marjorie is currently president of the American Pointer Club, a retired New York City intermediate schoolteacher and resides in Millstone Township, New Jersey.
Dr. Patricia Haines
Patricia Haines, DVM, has bred Pointers since the 1990s, producing top sires and dams, national and all-breed Best in Show winners, including three generations of breeder/owner/handled BIS-winning littermates. A past member of the AKC board of directors and past president of the Ohio Veterinary Association, she is the winner of previous Dog Shows of the Year awards as top owner-handler of the year. Along with her husband Thaddeus, Patricia operates a farming operation.
Erica has been breeding Pointers under the Kinnike prefix since 1979. Breeding an average of one litter a year, she has produced well over 130 champions, including the only Pointer to finish her championship with all specialty wins, Ch. Kinnike Ethel; Best in Show winners on three continents; national-specialty winners on two continents and World Winners. Kinnike has produced the top male specialty winner in the breed, Ch. Jason of Kinnike, and the top specialty winner in the history of the breed, Dual Ch. AFC Kinnike Stewart, CD, JH — all amateur breeder/owner handled.
Kinnike has accounted for seven American Pointer Club national specialty BIS wins and six Dual Champions, five of which were trained and handled by Erica (in a breed with only 15 Dual Chs). Also the breed's first champion Master Hunter, Ch. Kinnike Jameson, MH; the breed's first champion MH with a CD, Ch. Kinnike Grouse Glen, MH, CD; five Amateur Field Champions (AFC) and 2019 top Agility and Rally Pointer, Kinnike Kismet, RE, JH, MX, MXJ, MXB, MJB, OF, T2B, CAA, FCAT, CGCA, CGCU, TKI.
Erica has judged Pointers in Europe.
Tom Bradley III: An Interesting Journey
What an interesting journey you have asked us to travel with this request.
Obviously, I have never seen Governor Moscow other than in photographs. I was fascinated to compare him to Vilmar’s Lucky, a dog I knew well. His owner and breeder Mary Ann Wadsworth (later Mrs. Jerome Rich) lived not too great a distance from me, and we often attended the same shows. I admired Lucky a lot and thought he was a handsome dog. Correct-sized liver and white with a wonderful attitude.
Comparing the two photographs, they appear to be very much the same type, though 26 years apart in age. Lucky benefited with a much-improved front assembly and his “show dog” attitude. He was “the Pointer” of the time, winning our National in 1954 through 1957. For me, today, I have to say that his head was not his fortune, but from there on back he was/is as correct a dog as I would want to see.
As we entered the 1960s we had Maryjay’s Majesty and Counterpoints Lord Ashley. Both good dogs. Both big winners and again, both liver and white. Again, for me, they both lacked that tiny bit of elegance. That charisma that makes a stand-out example of the breed.
This leads me down a road that I have traveled for years. It is my opinion. Some agree, and others do not. That’s their privilege. It is my opinion that color has a lot to do with the health, attitude and well-being of our breed. These early dogs were mostly liver and white. Liver and lemon are color-linked, as are black and orange. The black and orange dogs somehow frequently carry that little gene that makes them sparkle, and along came the beautiful Ch. Cumbrian Black Pearl. The first black and white Pointer in a long history to catch on. She made it acceptable to place a Pointer first in the group, which had been dominated for years by hairy Springers, Cockers and Setters.
She also aided in permitting Ch. Marjetta National Acclaim (liver and white) as a Pointer to be considered so highly during the following two years. Breeds go in cycles, as we all know. Thus it was the time for a Pointer. The breed as a show dog became popular. They are wash-and-wear. No trimming. They were “easy” dogs.
The love affair with Pointers continued with National Acclaim's daughter Ch. Luftnase Bee’s Knees (black and white). Bee’s dam was orange and white, and Michael Zollo (who showed both National Acclaim and Bee's Knees) was smart enough to lease her and breed her to his liver and white stud dog. He was exactly the correct dog for her to be bred to. With the addition of liver, the resulting litter got soundness and good health and the correct basic things in a breed. That’s the key. Liver gives you basic physical soundness as well as mental strength. With the orange gene Michael got some elegance and that “look at me” attitude.
Unfortunately, this cross did not hold up well for the future. Part of that problem was that they were often bred black to black or black to orange or, worse, orange to orange, and this has led to the more generic Pointer that we see today.
Oh, for sure, there are a few great ones today that can do well against any competition at any time. But for the future of the breed, it is my thought that there has to be a good liver and white stud dog somewhere that will be the savior of Pointers for this generation. Back to basics.
#1 Ch. Governor Moscow
BIS Westminster 1925
Nancy Tuthill: This dog is one that in my opinion could easily win today at the breed level. I am not sure what his success would be at the upper tiers, as sadly the emphasis on structure in our breed escapes much of modern judging, and the heads are put over all else. His beautiful length of muzzle and backskull are sorely needed in many of today’s exhibits. We have other photos that show a fuller lip, and the angle here makes it appear less, as his head is pointed up. I would like more stop. His rear is strong, hocks well let down and attached to very correct feet, not the cat-footed show Pointers that have inundated our rings now. He could have more fill in front, but he may be a young dog here and that could simply be immaturity; however, on the day of the photo I would like to see chest to the elbow and a bit more upper arm. Having said that, I would rather see a chest that is slightly above the elbow versus a Pointer with an overly broad and heavy shoulder. Note the slight rise of croup that is so needed for proper drive of the rear assembly; you cannot get that with the level croups that look so fetching in stacked photos.
Henri Tuthill: A very proper head with excellent length of back skull to muzzle, clean shoulders with proper balance between rear angulation and front angulation. Good example of proper foot shape and a quality tail well placed as a continuation of the topline.
Erica Bandes: Dog #1 appears to be a well-balanced dog, a bit straight in front. Tail-set might be a bit low, and I would like to see a more defined stop and a better turn of lip.
Marjorie Martorella: This dog has a compact body and good underline and proper topline. His head lacks stop and is rather plain. His croup is rather steep. Seems to have a proper tail — carried straight.
#2 Ch. Nancolleth Beryl of Giralda
19 BIS 1932
Nancy Tuthill: My first comment on this bitch is to say that this picture I hope does not do her justice, as her career was illustrious. From the photo, to me her shortcoming is her topline, as the shoulder looks rough into the back. She has a very nice rear that is not exaggerated, good strong hocks and correct feet. She possesses a beautiful length of head and wonderful backskull.
Henri Tuthill: This specimen could use a bit more stop and less ear leather. Lacks proper angulation in the rear and complemented by an open angle in the front assembly. Low-set tail does not add to the overall requisite for flowing harmonious curves. The feet appear adequate.
Erica Bandes: I cannot comment on this one. I would not include it here.
Marjorie Martorella: Extremely short-coupled. Lacks angulation front and rear. Her head is also quite plain, lacking in stop.
#3 Ch. Vilmar's Lucky
A top Sporting Dog and 7 BIS 1956, BOB National Specialty 1954-1957
Nancy Tuthill: Oh, to have a dog of this caliber now in our times! I am not sure if I can find something not correct or functional on this one, so I will simply point out the obvious! The front is what all breeders of Pointers should aspire to. The rear is what our standard calls for in perfect illustration. In modern times, the tail may be considered slightly on the long side, but I’d have to go a long way to fault a tail that is in proportion. As a breeder I put far more emphasis on the running gear. I will point to the slight bend in the pasterns that is so overlooked today. To have an upright pastern is likened to driving a car on bad shocks, and watch how quickly the front end wears out!
Henri Tuthill: The only thing I would like to see here is a bit more stop. Note the brisket is right to the elbow, not apparent in the first two specimens. The specimen has excellent balance throughout his conformation.
Erica Bandes: A nice, well-balanced dog. I would fix the planes of his head, as they appear to not be parallel.
Marjorie Martorella: Well-balanced dog, compact body, proper tuck-up and topline. Head lacking stop. Good croup and tail set.
Patricia Haines: Tremendous balance, strong length of leg and neck with strong topline, especially behind the withers, and underline, beautiful croup and tail set and correct muzzle and back-skull length.
#4 Ch. Maryjay's Majesty
7 BIS and #8 All Breeds 1963
Nancy Tuthill: It's hard for me as a breeder and historian (unofficial) of the breed to look at these photos and not see the generations that came forth from these dogs and the impact their genes had and simply judge them on the merits of the photos, as they are not always telling of the dog itself. Many times I rely on the accounts of those who had them in the ring or saw them in the flesh. This dog had an illustrious career and was more a breeder's dog than an all-breed winner, although he did his fair share of it. He possessed the ideal ear leather; that may seem an odd place to start, but it's something that the general population of the breed is wanting at this time. I would reward this dog on his beautiful shoulder and balance. You can never go wrong starting with shoulders as a judge in our breed; it is so very important to have correct shoulder assembly to do the job that the Pointer is bred to do. As a judge and a breeder I feel it is the most important component of any Sporting dog. Look at the balance of the front to rear ratio!
I never saw Ch. Maryjay's Majesty, as he was before my time, but I have talked to those who did and I have photos taken by a friend who saw him win the National. But in my mind's eye I can see that correct structure in action and the impact he had as the grandsire in our own program.
Henri Tuthill: Head is somewhat lacking in muzzle shape and depth. The angle of the head gives the impression that the muzzle and back skull are not representative of parallel planes. Front angulation appears proper, but the rear angulation does not complement the front. Tail appears low set. Feet are proper.
Erica Bandes: Appears to be balanced both ends, has a low tail set and steep croup. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the head looks like it could use more stop and better planes.
Marjorie Martorella: Compact, good underline. Rather steep croup. Lacks angulation. Head is plain, lacking stop. Appears fine-boned for a male.
# 5 Ch. Counterpoints Lord Ashley
14 BIS 1968-1969, #5 All Breeds 1969
Nancy Tuthill: It is becoming increasingly hard with each photo to be objective as a judge of just the photos; as breeders we have lovingly written these names a thousand times in our pedigrees. This dog could be thought of not just as a king-maker but an empire-maker! If ever there was a dog in our breed to hero worship, it is this animal. With a stroke of fate he was from the only litter ever bred by Ruth Still, and with that became one of the greatest influences in modern times of our breed in the United States. Ashley had a wonderful head with the most beautiful, thin ear-leather and an expression that is the hallmark of our breed. His movement was powerful, and although I never saw him in the flesh, Henri did, every weekend when he was campaigned in California and has described him in minute detail: I see it in my dreams.
When you look at his outline you see smooth, flowing, lithe power, shoulders sculpted into his back and a textbook croup that flows downward to those heavy, powerful hindquarters with well let-down hocks. The entire dog is a balance of elegant power, nothing overdone and nothing common, as he is full of breed type that could win in any era. If I had to point to one thing on this dog, I’d like a tail that tapered ever so slightly. If this were a contest, this would be my Best of Breed!
Henri Tuthill: This dog is exemplary throughout his conformation. If granted one minor fix, I would like to see a tail of a bit better quality. Glad I had an opportunity to compete in the same ring. The key takeaway is the topline and underline of this dog, which are smooth, harmonious curves. Compare to Dog 3 for a comparable specimen.
Erica Bandes: This dog's head appears to be very acceptable. He looks to be a bit on the big side of size and his tail set is a bit low (in the picture). His front could use a bit more angle; the rear looks very acceptable. His tail could be straighter and have more taper; it is a good length.
Marjorie Martorella: Compact with proper tuck-up and topline. Balanced. Head is an improvement over the previous dogs. I knew Ashley well, as I worked at the Metzes' kennel the summer after Ashley won the Group at Westminster. He was a wonderful dog. Ashley roamed the Metz property. He was also the sire of my foundation bitch, Ch. Truewithem A Taste of Triumph.
Patricia Haines: This dog has similar qualities as Dog 3 with better head planes.
#6 Ch. Cumbrian Black Pearl
14 BIS & #5 All Breeds 1984
Nancy Tuthill: As this is Henri’s homebred I will not venture to make comments and let her record speak for itself, as she broke the record that Dog #2 held for 48 years. I will mention that fate of the gods intervened again as Henri flew her dam East be bred to Dr. Parker's dog, Ch. Truewithem Abercrombie, only to find when he arrived at the specialty that the dog was not available. Marjorie Martorella lobbied Henri to breed Misty to her young double grandson of Ashley, and Pearl was the result of that breeding. Fate smiled again and that young liver-and-white dog joined Henri in California permanently a few years later.
Henri Tuthill: I would like to refrain comment on this dog, as she is one I bred.
Erica Bandes: This bitch has a nice, balanced body. Her tail could be a bit shorter and more tapered, but very acceptable. I believe her head is better than it appears in this picture. Here it looks like she is down-faced and lacking a good turn of lip, but I recollect that in person that is not true.
Marjorie Martorella: Lovely bitch. Well balanced with proper tuck-up and topline. Pleasing head, short ears, straight tail. I had the honor of awarding Pearl the Breed at the AKC Centennial Show, where she went on to place second in the Group. Pearl was sired by my Ch. Marjetta Lord Carlton, who was a Lord Ashley grandson.
Patricia Haines: Bitch 6 has, again, strong topline and underline and strong balance with length of leg.
#7 Ch. Marjetta National Acclaim
A top Sporting Dog with 9 BIS 1985, BIS Westminster 1986
Nancy Tuthill: This is more like a pictorial pedigree than an exercise. We all know this one, and the influence he had was like lightning in a bottle. Masterfully presented, he showed the world what powerful side gait a Pointer could have. With his well-let-down hocks and correct angle of croup, broad powerful hips and hard-driving rear, he pushed himself like a steam locomotive. He had a beautiful angle to his shoulder, a bit broader through the chest than is my taste, but it fit his frame, and that so important bend of pastern and beautiful neck set-on. Some would say that they would have liked a bit shorter tail, but in my opinion, if you get that far on a dog of this caliber as a judge, count yourself lucky. His half brother (same dam) was the sire of Dog #6 and grandson of Dog #5.
Henri Tuthill: Another fine specimen of the breed. Somewhat heavy in the shoulder but adequate to the breed standard. If I could change one thing, a tail of a bit better quality would round out his conformation.
Erica Bandes: A handsome dog that, for my taste, is too long overall and has perhaps a bit too much bone/substance. The tail is quite long. Front and rear angulation appears to be balanced. He has a nice head with correct stop and length of muzzle.
Marjorie Martorella: Well balanced. Proper topline and tuck-up. Good bone and substance. His finest asset was his movement, where he excelled in reach and drive. “Deputy” was a Lord Ashley grandson, and his dam was my foundation bitch.
Patricia Haines: Dog #7 is a stallion with many of the similar qualities of Dog #3, stronger in head but preferring Dog #3 in underline.
#8 Ch. Luftnase Albelarm Bee's Knees
42 BIS 1988-1990, #7 All Breeds 1988, #2 All Breeds 1989, BOB National Specialty 1989, 1991 and 1992
Nancy Tuthill: If you take Dog #7 and make it a bitch, you have Dog #8! So many of the same attributes as her sire. She had a shorter loin and little more croup, but possessed the same beautiful movement with superior drive as did her sire. Topped with a beautiful head and expression, she would be a top winner in any era.
Henri Tuthill: A very proper head, good front and rear angulation and tail quality. If I could change one thing it would be a bit more loin to complement her short back: short back and moderate loin are key in the Pointer conformation.
Erica Bandes: I always liked this bitch. She had a lot of positive qualities. I would have liked her to be a bit more feminine with a more tapered tail. Her head and complete outline made you realize this was a Pointer.
Marjorie Martorella: Beautiful-headed bitch. Well balanced. Proper underline. Good bone and substance. “Bees” was sired by Ch. Marjetta National Acclaim.
Patricia Haines: Strong top behind shoulders, length of head with marking shortening the length of muzzle.
#9 Ch. Cookieland's Life of Leisure
20 BIS & #9 All Breeds 2002
Nancy Tuthill: Again, the positive traits are evident in this bitch, showing lovely rear angulation, strong topline and the outline that makes our breed a Pointer. Any judge or breeder could count themselves lucky to have seen or laid hands on any of the Pointers you have chosen for your narrative. Thank you for asking me to be a part of your exercise.
Henri Tuthill: I’ve seen better photos of this dog. That said, she possesses an excellent head. I would prefer a bit less ear leather. A proper front and rear assembly in tune with the breed standard. Tail of enough quality and feet consistent with the breed standard.
Erica Bandes: This bitch’s picture does not do her justice. She looks to be over-angulation behind, but she was not. She was a bitch with good Pointer type. There was no way to mistake her for any other breed. The picture makes her look long and thick in body and short-necked, but I do not believe that is the case. Pictures can be very deceiving.
Marjorie Martorella: “Daisy” was a lovely bitch. Pretty head and expression, excellent mover. Proper topline and tuck-up. I was pleased to have awarded her two Bests in Show.
Patricia Haines: Lovely forechest and underline.
Pointers known to have placed in the Top 5 Sporting Dogs 1956-2020. Not necessarily a complete list, since records for a few years are unavailable.
1956: Ch. Vilmar's Lucky, #5 Sporting Dog, 7 BIS
1962: Ch. Maryjay's Majesty, #5 Sporting Dog, 4 BIS
1963: Ch. Maryjay's Majesty, #2 Sporting Dog, #8 All Breeds, 7 BIS
1964: Ch. Crookrise Danny of Muick, #5 Sporting Dog, 3 BIS
1967: Ch. Heywood's Gay Diamond, #2 Sporting Dog, 3 BIS
1967: Ch. Silver Ridge Crackerjack, #4 Sporting Dog, 3 BIS
1968: Ch. Counterpoints Lord Ashley, #3 Sporting Dog, 6 BIS
1969: Ch. Counterpoints Lord Ashley, #1 Sporting Dog. #5 All Breeds, 8 BIS
1973: Ch. Shandown's Touch O'Kings, #5 Sporting Dog, 4 BIS
1980: Ch. Beagood Saturday Night, #4 Sporting Dog, 3 BIS
1984: Ch. Cumbrian Black Pearl, #1 Sporting Dog, #5 All Breeds, 14 BIS
1985: Ch. Marjetta National Acclaim, #3 Sporting Dog, 9 BIS
1986: Ch. Karolina Sir Red, #4 Sporting Dog, 2 BIS
1988: Ch. Luftnase Albelarm Bee's Knees, #3 Sporting Dog, #7 All Breeds, 12 BIS
1989: Ch. Luftnase Albelarm Bee's Knees, #1 Sporting Dog, #2 All Breeds, 19 BIS
1996: Ch. Albelarm Bee Serious, #2 Sporting Dog, 7 BIS
1997: Ch. Albelarm Bee Serious, #4 Sporting Dog, 8 BIS
2002: Ch. Cookieland Life of Leisure, #2 Sporting Dog, #9 All Breeds, 20 BIS
2003: Ch. Tahari's Bee-Witching, #3 Sporting Dog, 9 BIS
2008: Ch. Cookieland Seasyde Hollyberry (above), #1 Sporting Dog, #2 All Breeds, 96 BIS
2018: GCh. Chesterhope Never Ask Why of Daykeyne, #2 Sporting Dog, #9 All Breeds, 30 BIS
2019: GCh. Chesterhope Never Ask Why of Daykeyne, #2 Sporting Dog, 28 BIS
How I Judge Pointers
By Thomas H. Bradley, III
A good Pointer when he enters your ring has a bit of an attitude — a little bit of arrogance — with his head held high and his nostrils large and flared. A good Pointer is moderate in size — not too big and overdone (males 25-28” and females 23-26” at the shoulder) and not too refined. From the tip of his somewhat upturned nose to the tip of his shortish tail, he fits. He has good balance. He is in proportion. I judge good Pointers on the premise that shorter is always preferable to longer — EVERYWHERE. Shorter-backed is better than too long. Shorter loin is much better than too long. Shorter ears are way better than too long, and they should be somewhat pointed — never round — with thin, thin almost see-through, soft leather. Not Foxhound-like — not ever!
Our standard says that the tail is “Heavier at the base, tapering to a fine point. Length no greater than to the hock.” I find this to be fairly self-explanatory. You would be amazed at those who miss this point. It does not mean that the tail must come to the hock. It means what it says: “…no greater than to the hock.” Again, a shorter, or bee-sting, tail is better than a long tail, and it will likely be straighter. Long gives a multitude of problems. They hang, as in an unhappy Bloodhound or, as they are often set on too high or level, they curl, or worse, stick straight up at twelve o’clock. All are equally offensive.
The standard says, “Croup falling only slightly to the base of the tail.” This clearly means that the croup falls off “only slightly to the base of the tail.” The tail therefore should not come off level with the back.
As he stands there, the picture of what you believe to be a good Pointer, you become concerned about his topline. It isn’t level. Well, good! It isn’t supposed to be. If it were, he couldn’t do the job he was bred to do. The standard says, “… slight rise from croup to the top of the shoulders. Loin of moderate length, powerful and slightly arched.” This “slightly arched” gives him his powerful drive and the ability to do his work effortlessly for hours on end.
Crookrise Pointers. Photo by Ann Middlemiss.
So, now we have a moderate-sized dog that is compact — all over — and has an attitude! Now we pray that when he moves, he is basically sound coming, going and on the go-around and doesn’t pick his front feet up too high, i.e. hackney.
The standard says, “A good Pointer can not be a bad color.” This does not mean that he can be purple! He can be liver-and-white, black-and-white, orange-and-white or lemon-and-white, with associated points to match: black noses and eye rims on the blacks and oranges, self-colored on the livers and lemons. He can even be solid-colored of any of the four colors listed previously. The quality of solid-colored Pointers has improved greatly over the past years. Though still not seen frequently, there are some very good ones on the horizon. Do not be afraid to award them, though please do it based on the standard, not their color.
Most of the oldest books now available warn frequently about tri-colored Pointers carrying “too much of the Foxhound blood.” You may see one on occasion; I handle it by quietly excusing them from the ring and writing in my judge’s book, “Excused. Color not addressed in standard." Again, ears too long, tails too long.
Now, look at his feet. This is a working dog. Oval feet, not round, with well-arched toes allowing him to work all kinds of ground effortlessly.
So, now what do we have? We have a moderately sized dog that comes into your ring with his head held rather arrogantly. Your first impression is head, tail and attitude. Next, he appears to balance, is in fit condition and the correct size. We know now that the standard says he can't be a bad color and he is one that is acceptable. Always look at a Pointer from all sides — coloring or patching can easily deceive, and for some reason his “off-side” is often more pleasing to the eye.
He moves around your ring with power and grace. His tail, we hope, will lash somewhat from side to side as he moves soundly on four good legs. When he stops, he looks at you with a soft, trusting expression.
Lucky you … you’ve just judged a good Pointer. The others just won’t measure up. Enjoy.