Pointer/Labrador Mixes: A Complete Guide with Pictures

lab and pointer

Breeding a pointer and labrador retriever together brings about many questions about how to care for them and what they’re like. The two fun-loving and energetic breeds combine into one mixed breed dog can definitely be interesting.

Pointer/labrador mixes are referred to as “pointerdors”. They can weigh anywhere between 50-85 pounds fully grown. Their height can range from 23-28 inches tall depending on gender. The Pointerdor’s life expectancy is between 10 and 15 years.

Understanding the personality, needs, and health problems of a pointerdor can go a long way to helping you decide whether the mix is right for you. There’s a lot that goes into a dog breed, and each one is going to be different. It’s important to understand what you’re getting into to fully prepare you for life with a pointerdor.

Pointerdors

The common name given to a Pointer/Labrador mix is “pointerdor”. They are a pretty popular breed in the hunting community because of their shared ancestry.

Breed mixes are a pretty controversial topic in the dog community, so we always want to be careful when looking for one. Make sure any breeders you go to have good reputations, screen their dogs for health problems and are licensed or certified correctly depending on local laws. This can help you to find a healthier and safer mix.

German shorthaired pointers and labrador retriever mixes are members of the American Canine Hybrid Club.

Pointerdors have the combined energy, loving nature, and hunting skills of a pointer and labrador retriever.

The title of “pointer” can be referring to a few different dog breeds such as the English pointer, the German shorthaired pointer, and the wirehaired pointer; whereas, Labrador retrievers cover one singular and strong breed.

It’s important to know what pointer is being mixed with a Labrador to really understand what you’re getting.

The table below spells out the different types of pointers that could possibly be bred with a Labrador retriever. It includes a break down of a couple of distinguishing characteristics that could be passed down to any pointerdor offspring.

EnglishGerman
Shorthaired
German
Wirehaired
Hair TypeFine; Smooth; ShortShort; Coarse;
Flat
Wiry; Strong
ColorLiver, Orange,
Lemon, Black,
White (base color)
White with
dark brown
spots/flecks
Liver, White,
Black
Hunting SkillsPointing
(possible retrieving)
Pointing,
Retrieving,
Swimming
Pointing,
Retrieving,
Swimming

German shorthaired pointers are typically the most common choice for pointer/Labrador mixes, so I’ve provided another table that compares them to Labrador retrievers on a few characteristics that will battle for the top spot when they’re mixed.

When you get a dog that comes from parents from two different breeds, it’s always going to be a gamble for what you get in terms of traits both physical and personality wise.

German Shorthaired
Pointer
Labrador Retriever
Life Expectancy10-15 years10-12 years
AKC ClassificationSportingSporting
UKC ClassificationWorking Gun DogWorking Gun Dog
ColorLiver, Brown, WhiteBlack, Yellow, Chocolate
TemperamentSomewhat stubbornEager to cooperate
Possible
Health
Problems
Hip Dysplasia,
Progressive Retinal
Atrophy, Heart Disease,
Bloat
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia,
Progressive Retinal
Atrophy, Heart Disease,
Exercise-Induced
Collapse, Bloat
SheddingMediumHeavy

You may hope for the best parts of each breed to perfectly blend together to give you the ultimate companion, but all breed mixing is going to be a gamble. The genes you want may not always get inherited. That’s just life. You never know what you’ll get.

Fortunately, labrador retrievers and German shorthaired pointers are from the same sporting/gun dog classification and, therefore, have similar traits running through both breeds.

Pointerdors can come in a wide range of colors depending on what parents are together. English pointers have liver, lemon, orange, black, and white color options to bring to the table. German shorthaired and wirehaired pointers both have liver, brown, and white options; then the labradors have yellow, black, and chocolate colors characteristic to their breed.

Three Labrador Retriever dogs on the grass

Depending on the kind of pointer mixed in and what color they and the Lab are can greatly affect how your pointerdor pup comes out. Typically German shorthaired pointers are the favorite option for mixes with a Labrador, so that’s the breed I will refer to throughout the article.

Pointerdors have the sweet-natured and congenial temperament that is characteristic of both Labs and pointers.

Both breeds love to be around their families and are best suited for active owners. Pointerdors require a lot of exercise because bother parent breeds are high energy and extremely active. They can become destructive when bored and are better off in homes with big fenced off backyards.

Both parent breeds come with their own set of possible health problems and that can cause problems for their mixed offspring. Sometimes the mixing of two breeds can make the mix stronger because of the different health issues, but pointers and labs have some similar issues that could carry over to their offspring such as hip and elbow dysplasia.

Physical Characteristics

Pointerdors are typically between 50 and 85 pounds when they’re fully grown. They can grow up to 23-28 inches tall when measured to the shoulder, and they can live anywhere between 10 and 15 years.

The difference in height and weight is really dependent on the individual dog, their parents, and their gender. Male pointerdors are typically larger than their female counterparts.

The pointerdor does take on the natural ability to point like a pointer. They can display pointing behavior at a young age.

We’ve briefly discussed the color options of pointerdors being dependent on their parents. Pointers can come in a wide range of colors including liver, orange, lemon, white, brown, and black. Labrador Retrievers can be black, yellow, or chocolate.

This gives you tons of possibilities when it comes to the color of your pointerdor. You could have a German shorthaired pointer and a chocolate lab, an English Pointer with lemon colored spots and a black lab, a wirehaired pointer with a yellow Lab, and any other combination you can think of.

Outside of the hair color, you can also have varying hair types. All forms of pointer and labradors have short fur, so that will typically be a given. The texture and amount of shedding will differ depending on the traits and inherited genes of each individual pointerdor.

The amount of grooming they need may be more on the extreme side, but it won’t be enough to cause problems.

Grooming Needs

Labs shed more than pointers do, so it’s probably safe to say that your pointerdor is going to shed a good amount.

Pointers, German shorthaired pointers specifically, do shed even though their hair is short. Labradors shed significantly more and either trait can be carried over to an offspring.

It’s safe to say that you should brush your pointerdor once or twice a week to keep hair loss under control. It’s suggested that owners get a good de-shedding tool to prevent hair build up and to encourage loose hairs to fall before it ends up in your house.

The spring and the fall are the times where shedding is heaviest for the pointerdor. It may be important to take extra care during these times to have the same success you enjoy for the rest of the year.

Amazon has some great options for dog brushes and de-shedding tools that would be great for pointerdors.

  • Here is a link for a good brush that will help control shedding.
  • Here is a link for a great de-shedder that will help get a deeper clean when it comes to brushing your dog and getting rid of loose hair.

Pointers have smooth coats and do well with a firm bristle brush or rubber mitt. Labradors do a bit better with a de-shedder tool that catches more of the hairs. Both options will work great for the pointerdor. It all comes down to personal preference.

Apart from just controlling shedding through a good and regular brushing, it’s also important to keep up with other important grooming tasks.

Grooming your pointerdor should always include:

  • Brushing
  • Bathing
  • Ear Cleaning
  • Nail Clipping
  • Teeth Care

Bathing

Bathing your pointerdor can also help a lot with shedding; however, that being said, you should never over-bathe your pointerdor. Bathing too often will cause their skin to dry out from the sudden loss of natural skin oil that keeps the skin and fur healthy.

Pointerdors should only be bathed as needed. Their fur mostly requires frequent brushing to stay healthy and clean. Because these are active and hunting dogs, they have the potential to become very dirty at times. If you feel like your dog is in serious need of a bath, don’t be afraid to give it to them.

You’re doing your pointerdor a disservice if you are bathing them weekly. It’s best to bathe them once a month or less depending on need. If you’re unsure of what to do, consult your veterinarian and they will be able to give you specific guidance for your dog.

Also, ask your vet about the best dog shampoo to use. It’s recommended to use a gentle one that doesn’t strip too many oils but still gets your dog clean. Your vet will be able to guide you in the right direction. If not, it’s best to always read the bottles and look for one that’s gentle and possibly coat length and texture specific.

A bath during the heaviest shedding months will also go a long way to helping your pointerdor and house stay clean.

Never bathe your pointerdor too often; it can strip the natural oils from their skin making it dry and itchy.

Ear Cleaning

Both pointers and Labrador retrievers have floppy ears. This causes a lack of airflow which can lead to infection. Cleaning your pointerdor’s ears often needs to be a part of your grooming regime.

If this task makes you nervous, you can take your dog to a professional to get them cleaned. This can become expensive especially since they should be cleaned semi-regularly.

If your pointerdor gets wet, make sure you dry his or her ears to prevent any ear infection.

Ask your veterinarian and other professionals about how to clean your pointerdors ears, what to use, and how often to do it.

They can give you information and detailed instructions on how to care for your individual pointerdor.

Nail Clipping

Pointerdors come from very active parents and, therefore, are very active themselves. Neglecting nail care can be harmful to your dog.

veterinarian cuts the dog's claws

Nails can split and crack when they are too long especially when on walks or runs. It’s important to keep your pointerdor’s nails short and clean. This can keep them safe and make it comfortable to run and walk.

Painful nails can cause your pointerdor to walk on different parts of their paw which can cause problems. It’s best to keep the nails trimmed and the potential problems at bay.

Pointerdors are very good at being trained and this means that you should start all grooming processes when they’re young. Dogs don’t really want to be held down and handled long enough to get their nails trimmed.

If you work with them from puppyhood and show them what you expect early on, grooming when they’re big and strong will be a breeze!

Teeth Cleaning

Cleaning a dog’s teeth is not as widespread a practice as nail trimming and ear cleaning, but it’s just as important. Lack of oral hygiene in dogs can lead to disease and infection just like in humans.

Make sure to use a gentle brush and a dog-specific toothpaste when going through this task. Human toothpaste can be toxic to dogs. This is another thing that your veterinarian can give you specific instruction on and recommendations for.

Grooming your pointerdor will go a long way in keeping them happy and healthy. Starting them out when they’re young will also be the key to worry-free and easy grooming throughout your dog’s life.

Temperament

Pointerdors are a mix of two agreeable dog breeds. Pointers are loyal and loving, and labrador retrievers are eager to please, gentle, and cooperative.

They get their traits of independence from their pointer side. This means that they are headstrong and want to do things their way. This is only a little bit of a roadblock because they also have an agreeable nature and are relatively easy to train.

Overall, pointerdors are:

  • happy
  • gentle
  • loving
  • energetic
  • intelligent
  • trainable
  • affectionate
  • loyal

Pointerdors are prone to wander and get distracted easily. Be careful when doors are left open or they’re off the leash outside. They could get one whiff or sight of an animal running away from them and they’ll give chase. The prey instinct is alive and well in pointerdors.

They don’t mean to run away or wander far, but their instincts can get the better of them sometimes. Pointerdors have the traits of two very loyal dog breeds. This means that it’s very typical for them to connect with and form strong bonds with their owners.

This also means that they don’t do as well when they’re left alone for too long. They can get anxious and bored which can lead to destructive behaviors.

They are very social and friendly and need to be socialized from a young age to make them comfortable.

They are definitely a good family pet. Pointerdors want to be inside with you during the evenings and playing with you at every other moment of the day. They need a lot of exercise, but once that need is satiated, they are very congenial house pets.

Kids and Other Dogs

Pointerdors have very gentle personalities. They love kids and want to be around the family.

It’s interesting to note that labrador retrievers are very family friendly and come highly recommended for families with small children; whereas, the pointer isn’t recommended for homes with small children because they’re so energetic and strong.

Pointers have long tails that whip around and can knock things over when they’re happy or excited. They are also very hyper and jump around with all that energy. This makes them ill-suited for families with very small children just because it’s likely that small children can get knocked over or jumped on.

It’s never malicious because pointers love children, but their energy and flailing bodies can sometimes get the better of them.

In pointerdors, these children-loving personalities come together but so does the pointer energy a lot of the time. It’s probably best never to leave pointerdors alone with small children.

Each pointerdor will carry different traits inherited from their parents, so you may have a pointerdor that is unusually calm and self-aware of what’s going on around them. It’s best practice to always watch children and pointerdors, though.

When children get older and a little more firm, pointerdors make great playtime companions. They will go outside and play fetch for hours! They also love to cuddle and be petted.

Pointerdors need to be socialized with other humans, children, and other dogs and animals from a very young age to be comfortable and agreeable around them.

Especially when talking about other dogs and pets, pointerdors can sometimes be standoffish if they haven’t been exposed early in their life. Overall, they do well with other dogs and are very friendly.

It’s probably safe to not have pointerdors and cats or other small animals in the same house because both breeds do have such strong prey drives from their hunting backgrounds.

Sometimes they can be good around smaller pets if they’re exposed to them and trained from a very young age. Just be careful because prey instincts are strong things.

Child with down syndrome hugging Labrador retriever on the floor

Sometimes you can find a clash in small parts of their personality which can be disappointing to some hopeful breeders and owners which I discuss more below.

Clash of the Personalities

Labrador retrievers are always eager to please. They want so badly to cooperate with you (most of the time) and are very easy going. Pointers, on the other hand, want to cooperate but are rather stubborn. They respond very well to food rewards but will get hard headed if they don’t want to do something or get yelled at.

Pointer and man

What this means for a pointerdor is that the temperament is going to be hit or miss. In general, they are very sweet and affectionate and want to be around their families. They are good-natured, train well, and are very intelligent.

What you sometimes lose in a pointerdor is the coveted temperament of the Labrador retriever always willing to cooperate. The slightly more stubborn pointer genes can overpower that and make this mix breeds general personality more pointer-like. The difference isn’t huge, but it can be a bummer for owners hoping for a pointer/Lab mix with a purely Labrador spirit!

Other than that small fact, pointerdors have very agreeable personalities. They have oodles of energy, and they are loving and loyal.

Exercise Needs

Each individual parent breed (the pointer and the Labrador retriever) was originally bred to be hunting dogs. Pointers were meant to run around and search all day long on the hunting field tracking prey and pointing it for the hunters.

Labrador retrievers are also helpful in the hunting field by flushing out birds and other prey and then retrieving it once it was downed by the hunter.

These jobs both required a lot of stamina and long-lived energy. These characteristics have carried over to the breeds today. This means that they are extremely high energy and need a lot of exercise to burn it off. The pointerdor definitely inherited these traits and exercise requirements.

Pointerdors have a ton of energy that they need to burn off each day. It’s vital that this cross-breed be taken out at least twice a day for a minimum of one hour. They make very good running companions and can even be taught to run alongside a bicycle.

Some owners are known to take their pointer mixes to a big open field away from cars and the public to let them roam, explore, and run around for a while. This can help satisfy their curiosity and allow them to free roam for their own amusement.

On top of giving them the physical workout they require, you also want to find ways to stimulate their minds. A good game of fetch or a hide-and-seek spin-off game with toys and treats can allow your pet the time to problem solve and think.

Both the labrador retriever and the pointer are very intelligent, and these exercises can be very beneficial for them.

Something else that you may want to consider is using your training as the way to keep your pup thinking. Pointerdors, like their working dog parents, need to be trained early on in and consistently throughout their lives

This will help them focus, keep their minds and bodies healthy, and keep them happy.

Obedience training is always beneficial and should be done frequently, but hunting specific training can also be great for these superb trackers and athletes.

Whether you want to use your labrador retriever/pointer mix for hunting or not, you need to exercise and train them each day to help reign in that excess energy and create that foundation that their behavior will grow off of. The better the relationship and handle you have on your pointerdor, the better off you’ll be as you take them through different aspects of life.

If your pointerdor does not receive the appropriate amount of physical exercise each day, they can easily become bored and destructive. This destructive behavior takes a few different unpleasant forms:

  • chewing
  • barking
  • digging

They need some sort of outlet for their pent up energy, and that usually results in some kind of damage you won’t be happy about. All in all, exercise, training, and games are the key to life with a happy and healthy pointer.

Once pointerdors have been exercised for the day, they are much calmer and make very congenial companions for a home. They love to cuddle and find it easier to rest and relax once they’ve received their fill of exercise. Now they’ll definitely crave your attention and won’t let you stop scratching behind their ears for anything.

Working/Hunting Dogs

As was briefly discussed above, pointer and labrador retrievers were bred as sporting dogs. They are very commonly used in hunting today.

Pointers have been used for centuries as a tracker; they would locate and point the prey until the hunter would arrive. Pointers were important at first because of how long it took to load and reload guns back in the day. This means that the pointer would need to locate and point the prey so that the hunter could get ready and then get the bird once it was flushed out.

Labradors and other retrievers were used as the flusher. They would flush the birds and other small prey out once it was found and then retrieve it once it had been shot. They are very gentle and were very good at not squishing or eating the prey once they picked it up.

Pointerdors can certainly function as the best of both worlds!

If you have an English pointer, they are typically only pointing for a hunter and will have another retrieving companion there to flush and retrieve the bird. English pointers aren’t very fond of water either, so water retrieving is pretty much out of the question.

I bring up English pointers because if you breed an English pointer with a labrador retriever then you’ll have both of those natural instincts combined. This makes a more well-rounded hunting companion.

It doesn’t make too much of a difference in terms of hunting when you cross a German shorthaired or wirehaired pointer with a Labrador retriever. German shorthaired and wirehaired pointers are pretty good natural retrievers, too. It’s not always immediate, but they’re definitely more susceptible to the retriever training than English pointers are.

This means that a cross between a German shorthaired or wirehaired pointer and a labrador retriever will just help to enhance the retrieving abilities rather than compensating for a lack of them.

Health Risks

When you are discussing possible health problems in a mixed breed, it’s important to take a look at the parent breeds individually. Having a mixed breed can sometimes be beneficial if they have different health issues because they can strengthen the other; however, if they have similar problems then they will almost always be a risk in the offspring.

Let’s take a look at pointers and labrador retrievers individually, to begin with.

Pointer Health Risks:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Heart Disease
  • Bloat
A vet is examining the dog's heart.

Labrador Retriever Health Risks:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Heart Disease
  • Exercise Induced Collapse
  • Bloat

Common health problems between breeds can be what carries over to the offspring mix. For the pointerdor, there is always a risk of hip and elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, heart disease, and bloat because they have been seen in both breeds separately.

Labrador retrievers are notorious for obesity when given too much food. Because this breed is so susceptible to this condition, it’s important to never overfeed your pointerdor. Don’t leave food out all day for them. Make sure to feed them only twice a day. 2-3 cups of good quality dry food each day is best for pointerdors.

This will, of course, differ slightly from dog to dog depending on size and health problems. Consult your veterinarian about what kind and how much is the best dog food to give your pointerdor.

Consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your pointerdor’s health. They will be able to diagnose, give advice, and prescribe the right medication for any problem that may arise in your pup.

Elaine Walker

A dedicated dog lover who likes to hike and be outdoors!

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