There are a number of different types of hunting dogs, so you may be wondering about all of the differences between a setter vs pointer. While both the setter and the pointer refer to a variety of different dog breeds, they all have select traits in common. But what might setters and pointers share, and what might the differences be between them?
In this article, we will address everything you need to know about setters and pointers so that you can have a full understanding of both types of dog. We will go over how these gun dogs differ in their appearances as well as their behaviors. We will also address their ancestry and how these dogs came to be. Let’s get started and learn about setters and pointers now!
Comparing Setter vs Pointer
|Often has long and silky fur, hanging off of their tails, legs, and bodies. Long and lean, with extra fur on their ears as well.
|Short coat that often has no extraneous fur hanging off of it. Glossy and smooth, save for a few terrier exceptions. Muscular and slender body.
|Originated in the 1300s and bred to hunt a variety of game
|Originated in the 17th century and bred to hunt a variety of game
|Obedient to their owner; “sets” body down in tall grass when hunting so as to not alert prey
|Uses their whole body to “point” at prey or whatever they are hunting; very obedient and diligent
Key Differences Between Setter vs Pointer
There are a few key differences between setters and pointers. Setters have longer and silkier fur compared to the short and smooth fur of the pointer. The pointer dog originated in the 17th century for hunting, while the setter dog originated in the 1300s. Finally, the setter lays or “sets” down upon finding prey, while the pointer uses their entire body to “point” at whatever they are hunting.
Let’s discuss these differences in more detail now.
Setter vs Pointer: Appearance
While it depends on the specific dog breeds found under either category of hunting dog, there are some general physical differences between setters and pointers. For example, pointers have smooth, glossy coats that are short, while setters typically have long and silky fur. Not only does the fur of the setter hang off of their bodies in various places- it also tends to have a wavy texture, making it very different from the smooth coat of the pointer.
However, these dogs are generally similar in appearance otherwise. They both come in a variety of colors and markings, and their bodies are regarded as athletic and graceful. Many setter and pointer breeds are slender and muscular, likely due to their hunting dog breeding and health.
Setter vs Pointer: Ancestry and Breeding
Another key difference between setters and pointers is their ancestry and breeding. These two dogs originated during different times, despite being bred for essentially the same task. Both setters and pointers are hunting dogs, but they have some stylistic differences that we will address later. Both dog breeds are genetically predisposed to hunt a variety of game, including rodents and birds.
In terms of ancestry, setter dogs originated sometime as early as the 1300s, while pointer dogs didn’t come about until the 17th century. This means that setters are an older type of hunting dog compared to pointers, though both are relatively old dog breeds. Given the many subtle differences between hunting dogs during this early time period, pointers may have existed earlier than we first suspected!
Setter vs Pointer: Behavior
The final difference between setters and pointers lies in their behavior as hunting dog breeds. While both of these dogs enjoy hunting birds and rodents, they utilize different methods to accomplish this task. Let’s discuss this in more detail now.
As their names imply, pointers use their entire bodies to “point” out where their prey or game is, while setters “set” their bodies low on the ground to avoid being spotted by game or prey. While this difference may be subtle, it is key to understanding the differences between these two breeds. It is what they were named for, after all!
If you are a hunter or someone interested in adopting a setter or pointer for retrieving and hunting game, you may have a hunting style that you prefer in a dog. Both of these types of breeds are fantastic in the home, especially with young children, and both setters and pointers are eager to please and excited to learn. It all depends on what hunting style you prefer when it comes to these two types of dogs!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/alexeys
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