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Spanish Pointer

Nicole Cosgrove

June 9, 2021
The Spanish Pointer is a medium to large hunting dog from Spain commonly known under other names including the Burgos Pointer, Burgalese Pointer or the Spanish name Perdiguero de Burgos. It was developed to point at game for hunters to come and take them out, deer in particular but that changed more to small animals and birds. It has a life span of 12 to 15 years and while it is still primarily a gundog today it can also be kept as a great companion in the right home.
The Spanish Pointer at a Glance
Name Spanish Pointer
Other names Perdiguero de Burgos, Burgalese Pointer, Burgos Pointer
Nicknames Burgos, SP
Origin Spain
Average size Medium to large
Average weight 55 to 66 pounds
Average height 23 to 26 inches
Life span 12 to 15 years
Coat type Short, bushy and smooth
Hypoallergenic No
Color Brown/combined with brown/spottled
Popularity Not a registered member of the AKC
Intelligence Very good to excellent
Tolerance to heat Very good
Tolerance to cold Good
Shedding Average – expect some hair around the home
Drooling Moderate to average
Obesity Average – measure its food and make sure it is well exercised
Grooming/brushing Medium
Barking Rare to occasional
Exercise needs High – needs active owners
Trainability Easy for experienced owners
Friendliness Very good
Good first dog Good but best with experienced owners
Good family pet Very good with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization
Good with other pets Moderate to good – socialization is needed as it has a high prey drive
Good with strangers Good but wary so needs socialization
Good apartment dog Low – needs space and a yard
Handles alone time well Moderate
Health issues Somewhat healthy but some issues can include eye problems, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, allergies and ear infections
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic health care and insurance
Food expenses $245 a year for a good quality dry dog food and doggy treats
Miscellaneous expenses $265 a year for license, toys, basic training and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $995 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $800
Rescue organizations Help the Braques, also check local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported

The Spanish Pointer’s Beginnings

The Spanish Pointer or Perdiguero de Burgos has been around for hundreds of years in Spain since at least the early 1600s in fact, kept by hunters because of its perfect pointing and great scenting. While it is today a rare breed and not really known beyond Spain, it is in fact quite important because of its impact on how modern pointer dogs were bred after. It is thought its ancestors come from the Iberian Peninsula and but the details of its origins and development are not always clear. It is believed it descends from the Old Spanish Pointer called the Perdigueri Navarro which was crossed with the Sabueso Espanoil, a scenthound breed prized for its tracking ability.

For a long time it was considered to be a deer specialist dog. At some point breeders began to work on refining the breed, down sizing and developing it into a dog that was excellent at small game hunting and bird hunting. As a result the Spanish Pointer we see today is smaller and more agile that the ones from years gone by. Its name Burgos comes from the area of Spain it comes from. It faced difficulties in its life though, with the Spanish Civil War, and with World War II when dog breeding was too hard to do for various reasons. At this point its numbers were so low the dog was close to becoming extinct.

New Lease on Life

The Spanish Pointer was saved essentially by two breeders called Geardo Sardonil and Manuel Izquierdo. Thanks to them hunting enthusiasts got to enjoy working with the dog once more and instead of becoming extinct it is now actually a popular hunting dog in Spain. It is now two thirds as tall as its original size and is a great bird and hare hunter especially good on steep terrain, and also a good swimmer. It is not recognized by the AKC.

The Dog You See Today

The Spanish Pointer is today a medium to large dog weighing 55 to 66 pounds and standing 23 to 26 inches tall. It has an athletic and noble look to it but as with all pointers it has been developed to do the pointing bit of its job well with a long head and pointing tail. It looks to be larger than it is due to the thick skin that covers its body. It is a muscular dog with a straight topline, strong back and deep chest. The body is squared in shape and the neck is powerful and has a double dewlap. That tail is thick at the base and then tapers in and in some places where docking is still allowed can be docked to half or even a third of its natural length.

It looks different to the English Pointer in that its coloring is darker. The Spanish Pointer has more dark brown colors, there are two main coat colors, brown with white spots or brown with dark brown stains. The coat is short and smooth and dense. Its head is broad and large with a squared and wide muzzle. The nose is dark brown and large with wide open nostrils. The eyes are almond shaped, medium in size and hazel. The ears are large and triangular and hang down in a corkscrew.

The Inner Spanish Pointer


This breed is born to hunt but when it gets enough of that, and is in the right home with socialization it is usually a gentle and calm dog that can be a nice companion to have around. It signals when hunting by pointing not by barking so it tends to be quiet unless it needs to bark to alert you to something like an intruder or stranger approaching. It does not get startled easily and is not an aggressive dog. Some people assume that hunting breeds must be aggressive but that is not always the case, and when it is, it is a focused aggression towards prey.

The Spanish Pointer likes to be with its owners and forms close attachments. It does do best in rural or semi rural settings where it has a yard. With training and socialization it is well behaved and obedient, intelligent with a lot of energy and spirit. It does not like to be left alone for long periods of time though and should be included with the family and your activities not left outside in a dog house on its own. If it does not get enough exercise and stimulation it can be harder to handle and destructive.

Living with a Spanish Pointer

What will training look like?

In general the SP is an obedient dog when you are firm and consistent with it and make it clear you are the pack leader. It is eager to please and intelligent so training should be easy or at least moderately easy as long as you keep it positive and interesting. Keep sessions short and fun, praise it, encourage it and reward it. Treats are a good motivator. Start socialization from a young age and it will learn how to react in an acceptable manner to different places, animals, people, sounds, situations and so on.

How active is the Spanish Pointer?

Spanish Pointers are an active breed so really need to be with active owners, preferably with ones who will hunt with it. Without enough physical and mental activity it can be harder to live with and may develop behavioral problems. If it is not out hunting then it needs at least an hour a day that covers a couple of long walks, some play time and some off leash run time somewhere safe. This is not a dog suited to apartment living, it needs a well fenced in yard. It is also more of a rural or semi-rural dog, not a city dog.

Caring for the Spanish Pointer

Grooming needs

The Spanish Pointer has moderate to average needs in terms of grooming and care. It sheds an average amount so there will be a small amount of hair to deal with in the home. Brush it twice a week with a firm bristled brush and give it a rub down with a chamois or towel to get that gleam all shiny. Give it a proper wet shampoo bath when it is gotten itself really dirty or smelly. Doing it when it is not really needed can have a negative impact on the natural oils it has and needs. Always use a product that is made for dogs only. After coming in from hunting give it a rub down to stop it from being chilled and also check its feet for thorns and small scratches to prevent infection.

These dogs need to have their nails clipped when they get too long, they should not be clicking on the hard floors! Use clippers or scissors made specifically for trimming dog nails and do not cut too far down. If you nick into the blood vessels and nerves there it will cause pain and bleeding. If you are unsure you can have a groomer do it for you or have a vet demonstrate it. Its teeth need to cleaned at least two to three times a week by brushing with a dog toothpaste and toothbrush. Its ears need to be cleaned and checked for infection weekly especially being pendulous rather than erect. Use a damp cloth or ear cleanser and avoid pushing anything like a cotton bud into the ear.

Feeding Time

The Spanish Pointer will eat between 3 to 4 1/2 cups of a good quality dry dog food a day, split into at least two meals. How much exactly depends on metabolism, activity level, health, age and size. Also make sure it has access to water that you change for fresh when you can.

How is the Spanish Pointer with children and other animals?

This breed is quite patient which makes it good with children with socialization especially when raised with them. It is a tolerant dog in general so would even put up with the rough handling that usually comes with toddlers but supervision in case the dog needs a break from the ear pulling is still a good idea! Together they can help burn off energy with their play and adventures and it tends to be protective towards them. Make sure you show children how to touch them and play nicely with them. It can get along with other non-canine pets when raised with them but it is a hunting dog with a high prey drive so it may chase strange small animals and may not be the best dog to have around pet birds. It is quite tolerant of other dogs and is in general not aggressive.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

These dogs have a life span of 12 to 15 years and is somewhat healthy but there are several issues that could develop at any point. These include hip dysplasia, skin problems, eye problems, allergies, epilepsy, hypothyroidism and heart problems.

Biting Statistics

Spanish Pointers are not a common breed in the North America, it is even rare in Spain where it comes from. Finding one coming up in reports of dog attacks is therefore extremely unlikely. In reports of dogs attacking people in the last 35 years in Canada and the US there is no specific mention of the SP but there was one mention of a Pointer but it did not lead to any maiming or death. The Spanish Pointer is not aggressive, especially towards people. However all dogs have the potential to react in a way it might not usually. Be sure you socialize, train and look after your dog and give it plenty of attention and exercise and choose a breed that suits your lifestyle. This can lessen the chances of an incident.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

Spanish Pointer puppies will likely cost around $800 for a pet quality dog but finding a breeder is harder and most experienced ones may be in Spain. Always use a respected and experienced breed when you are looking for a new dog, avoid places like pet stores, back yard breeders or puppy mills. There is also the option to check out rescues and shelters and adopt a deserving dog that needs a new home and owners to love them. While you will probably not find a purebred Spanish Pointer you might find a mix that will make a great companion. Adopting a new dog or puppy tends to range from $50 to $400.

There will then be items needed for your dog when it comes home such as a crate, collar and leash, carrier and bowls and these will cost about $200. Take it to a vet fairly soon after it comes home and those initial health needs such as a check up, shots, deworming, micro chipping, spaying or neutering and blood tests will come to about $290.

Annual costs will have another impact on you to be aware of. You can expect to spend about $995 a year as a starting figure. $265 will be for miscellaneous costs like basic training, license, miscellaneous items and toys. A good quality dry dog food and dog treats will then be about $245 a year. Finally expect to spend around $485 on basic health care like flea and tick prevention, shots and check ups along with pet insurance.


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The Spanish Pointer is a breed developed to hunt and needs ideally to be in a home where it has owners who take it hunting, or at least are very active with it. It needs strong and confident owners, a home with a yard and good training and socialization. It is a sweet, tolerant, kind and loyal dog and it can be a great companion along with being a great hunting partner.

Featured Image Credit: sunlight19, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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