The Pointer could be defined as a gun dog waiting for the development of firearms to catch up. This excellent hunting dog has been around since the mid-17th century; English Pointer history has its first records dating back to 1650. The breed was developed to replace the slower, heavier Spanish pointers that nevertheless had the keen ability to point game. Once the Pointer breed was basically established, they were used in conjunction with Greyhounds, who went in for the kill after game was pointed.
It's believed that Englishmen exported the dogs from a Spanish-controlled territory in the early 1600s. Once home in Britain, the dogs were most likely developed to be faster, agiler and to have a superior sense of smell. This may have involved crossing the Spanish breed with Bloodhounds, Foxhounds, Greyhounds and perhaps Bull Terriers. Setters may have been later used for the purpose of calming the Pointer's unruly temperament.
These dogs may have been exported to North America when or shortly after the colonists arrived, but they weren't noted much until the mid-19th century. They were very popular bird dogs before the American Civil War. It's thought that the Westminister Kennel Club (WKC) was formed to further develop the breed. To this day, the Club is known for its silhouette logo of a Pointer named Sensation.
The WKC wanted prime Pointer breeding stock, and in 1876 they acquired "Don." The Club renamed the dog Sensation. A painting was commissioned to capture the lemon and white-coated wonder, and engravings were also made. In one form or another, Sensation has remained almost always the WKC's logo for nearly 150 years.
Pointers were formally recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1884. These dogs were among the first eight breed to be registered in the stud books of the National American Kennel Club in 1878 which later became the AKC. In 1938, the American Pointer Club was founded.