The Pointer

Grooming Advice

This beautifully balanced member of the show fraternity, could easily be dismissed as a no frills dog because of his good workability and short coat. Wrong! He has a lot of elegance and style and ought never to be expected to enter the ring without the formal rituals of good grooming.

The Pointer was the first dog, so far as we know, used to stand game in the sense in which we use the term today, and was developed as a distinct breed much earlier than any of the setters. It seems likely that Pointers came into general use in Spain, Portugal, throughout Eastern Europe and in the British Isles at approximately the same time, although the development of the English Pointer took place in Great Britain. The first Pointers appeared in England around 1650, some time before wing-shooting with guns became popular, and Pointers were often used to locate and point hares in conjunction with Greyhound coursing. However, by the 18th century, wing-shooting had come into vogue, and the “shorthair” has been considered by the majority of sportsmen the equal, if not the superior, of any of the gun dogs.

The Pointer is bred primarily for sport afield; he should unmistakably look and act the part. The ideal specimen gives the immediate impression of compact power and agile grace; the head noble, proudly carried; the expression intelligent and alert; the muscular body bespeaking both staying power and dash. Here is an animal whose every movement shows him to be a wide- awake, hard-driving hunting dog possessing stamina, courage, and the desire to go. And in his expression are the loyalty and devotion of a true friend of man. Symmetrical and well built all over, general outline a series of graceful curves. A strong but lissom appearance. Aristocratic. Alert with appearance of strength, endurance and speed. Kind, even disposition.

The Pointer standard for coat and colour states “Fine, short, hard and evenly distributed, perfectly smooth and straight with decided sheen.” Usual colours are lemon and white, orange and white, liver and white, and black and white. Self colours and tri-colours are also correct.

For maximum shine begin the bathing with Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo with henna (a colourless, no build-up extract) as this is known as the “shine” shampoo. Dilute with water at a ratio of 5:1 for show grooming i.e. 5 parts water to one part shampoo. For use on any white areas, if your dog has them, Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo well diluted to 5:1 i.e. 5 parts water to one part shampoo. Does not lighten but wonderfully tones for a pearly white finish. Again the balance for this is to give the tonal qualities to the white by removing any unwanted warm/red tones from the white.

Your standard also states the coat should be fine, short, hard & with decided sheen. No fluffy coats for this dog.! So scratch any ideas of using a conditioner as this can tend to fluffiness in a coat texture & will soften the coat. I recommend you keep the focus of shine in mind and instead use the Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil as a final rinse after shampooing diluting 1 tbspn to 1 gal/4 lt water. Pour this all over or saturate with a large sponge and work well into the skin and leave in - do not wash out. This also helps keep any scurf at bay and leaves the coat smelling wonderful and with great healthy vigour and shine. It does not make the coat oily.

Personally, I like to blow dry this coat. Cool dryer and blast all the dead hair out. I find this rolls the coat and keeps it regenerating without the holes one associates with coat shedding. He will shed, but it won’t be a moth eaten finish - it will be even. Now you have a good even surface to work with and complying thoroughly with your standards requirements.

Now let the grooming begin - if you thought this was the end of the contribution to show day - you have another thing coming. I believe in the principle of 100 small things to make a great dog rather than any one big thing. I have seen ordinary dogs turned into extraordinary dogs with the right approach and yet they were always good dogs. Unfortunately, no-one else got to see just how good they could be till taken in hand.

Trim the whiskers - this breed looks great with a clean face. Neaten his tuck up with a pair of clippers turned upside down and if you have a wobbly hand, hold your left forefinger and middle finger under the front of the clipper head just behind the blade and, keeping a loose wrist, arc the angle slightly to present a clean silhouette.

Using thinning shears, neaten the point of tail by rounding off. Proceed to neaten also the 2 cowlicks where the 2 hair patterns meet at back of stifle. This dog does call for good musculature and to appear powerfully developed with all that power pack of dog showing under the skin. You don’t want to leave any fluffy bits standing out away from the body to detract from the clean line he must present.

Whiten up his whites on show day with a touch of Plush Puppy Coverup Cream applied thinly with a barely damp piece of kitchen sponge and worked against the growth of the coat. Apply a dab of chalk block or loose chalk onto a small bristle hairbrush and allow to dry. Comb or brush afterwards for a clean finish. This gives a clean and bright finish to his whites and will within reasonable conditions last all day.

Spritz now with a spray of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb. This does not give a greasy finish but gives a great deal of lustre to the coat. Spray again just before ringtime. I also like a spray of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher for a nice clean smelling dog. It literally deodorises and gives a pleasant fragrance to the dog, negating most odours with ease. I also use it on the dogs bedding mats if I am being flamboyant and frivolous. I can be very frivolous when I am away for a cluster of shows and cannot find time nor facilities for another bathing. Keep on hand Plush Puppy Wonder Wash for those last minute emergencies too as this will clean up the whites, pronto. Just spray, foam with the fingers and towel off.

You can step it up a notch if you are ready for it, with a light dusting of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust. Gee, but I like this stuff. Applied judiciously to your cushion ½ bristle/ ½ plastic Plush Puppy Porcupine brush and brushed through, allowing the powder to settle and the shimmer to stay behind on the surface, can look very glamorous. Don’t overuse and abuse this stuff. It is not the aim to turn the dog into the glitter fairy - just to make him shine and shimmer for all to see that wonderfully balanced body of a dog all sleek and clean and shiny.

Good handling, good presentation and a good dog - what else can beat that?

- Cheryl Le Court