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CHAPTER XIII.
THE POINTER.

ALTHOUGH the Pointer is of comparatively recent introduction into this country—comparatively alongside his fellow worker the setter—no animal is more popular with the shooter. Originally said to come from Spain, a country to which we are indebted for other dogs, Sydenham Edwards, writing in 1805, says it was first introduced by a merchant trading with Portugal, at a very modern period, and was then used by an old “reduced baron,” named Bechill, who lived in Norfolk, and “who could shoot flying.” The same writer eulogises this Spanish pointer, and so good a dog was he, and required so little training that there was quite a chance of his putting the nose of the “setting spaniel ” out of joint altogether. “Shooting flying ” came into vogue about the year 1730 ; and this may be taken to be about the date of the introduction of the pointer into England. Probably, France had pointers before this time. One of our modern writers falls into a curious error with regard to a picture by Francis Desportes. The artist depicts two dogs, which the author says are examples of the “early foxhound and pointer cross in France,” of the date about 1701. As a fact, the picture is a portrait of two favourite hounds from the pack of Louis XV., Pompée and Floressant, and was painted in 1739. There is no mistaking the hound character of these dogs, and they display no trace, So far as I can make out, of any pointer appearance whatever. The pheasant and two other birds in the background are merely accessories to the picture, and are not put there to indicate that the dogs below them are of a game finding variety. However, there is extant another drawing by the same artist, of a pointer and two setters, with partridges in front of them, the smooth-coated dog being quite of modern type, but with his stern shortened. By the means of that fine old picture, “The Spanish Pointer," by Stubbs, and which was engraved by Woollett in 1768, we know what kind of a dog it was ; liver and white in colour, heavily and massively made, big of head, double nosed, strong loined, shortened stern ; a cumbrous dog, steady enough, no doubt, but as unlike our modern pointer as a Suffolk punch is unlike a thoroughbred racehorse. To one of the London dog shows, I think it was in 1891, Mr. Walter Gilbey, of Norfolk, sent up a brace of Spanish pointers. These were short, thick set, small dogs, fawn, rather than lemon and white in colour, doubled nosed, with short stumpy heads—very ugly animals indeed, and, however staunch and steady they might be on game, they would certainly be sadly deficient in pace, and of no use in competition against the high rangers we at present own. Nor could these Spanish pointers of Mr. Gilbey's compare with the one Stubbs had, over a hundred years before, given us upon canvas. As a fact, they were short and thick enough in head, and sufficiently heavy in under-jaw, to give indications of a bulldog cross. Still, they were pure bred animals so far as they went. Good as the old Spanish pointer had been, our English sportsmen required something better. The old strain tired much, and became slow at the end of a day's heavy work; and indeed, it lacked perseverance generally. So, it was said, a cross was resorted to. History tells us this was found with the foxhound, and that the celebrated Colonel Thornton, of Yorkshire, was the first man to bring the improved dog prominently to the notice of the public. This might be so or not, we fancy not; for, about the same period, pointers, far removed from the imported Spanish dog in appearance, were

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