Old Danish Pointer Temperament (Docile Indoors, Bold Hunter Outdoors)

If you are looking for a good combination family dog and hunting dog, check out the Old Danish Pointer temperament.



This breed is known in Denmark as the Gammel Dansk Hønsehund, which means “Old Danish Fowl Dog.”

The Old Danish Pointer is a versatile hunting dog that can also make a fine family companion. Its temperament is interesting because males and females have slightly different personalities.

The key to living with this dog successfully is to be sure he gets enough exercise. He is a born hunter and needs to be active.

Old Danish Pointer Temperament

1. Intelligent

The Old Danish Pointer is a smart dog that is easy to train.

2. Eager to Please

Old Danish Pointer temperament is obedient but not blindly so. He can be mildly stubborn, but generally, he is happy to please his master or his human family members.

3. Family-friendly

This breed makes a wonderful family dog for a hunting family—but only if he gets enough exercise.

4. Gentle

The Old Danish Pointer temperament is sweet and docile. He is wonderful with children.

The female is not quite as laidback. She is a little more energetic and is sometimes referred to as “fiery” and “capricious,” but she is generally good with kids also.

5. Affectionate

He is very lovable with his people and enjoys receiving affection as well.

6. Calm

The Old Danish Pointer temperament is quite mellow. They will be very good indoors if they get enough exercise each day. They will be happy to relax inside, though again, the female is a little more energetic.

If they don’t get that daily exercise, you may see some negative Old Danish Pointer behaviors. They may become destructive and hard to manage.

7. Social

The Old Danish Pointer needs to be with people. When he isn’t working, he’s happy to hang out with the family at home.

He does not like being alone for long periods of time and can suffer from separation anxiety. This Old Danish Pointer temperament trait makes him a poor choice for a home where no one is around all day.

8. Devoted

The Old Danish Pointer is loyal and devoted to all members of his family. He forms very strong bonds with them.

9. Fun-loving

The Old Danish Pointer temperament is lively and playful. Females may be more so than males when inside, but they both love to play.

They also enjoy interacting with the family in outdoor activities such as hikes and chasing games.

10. Courageous

This breed is known for being brave and aggressive in the field. The Old Danish Pointer temperament is not at all aggressive toward people, however.

11. Alert

He is attentive and aware of what’s going on in his environment. He is wary of strangers, but he is not much of a barker and very gentle. These dogs do not make great watchdogs.

12. Hard-working

The Old Danish Pointer lives to hunt. He will work as long and hard as you need him to and love every minute of it.

For this reason, the Old Danish Pointer temperament is best suited to a hunting family or one that is busy with other outdoor activities. He needs a job to do.

13. Determined

He is an exceptional all-around hunting dog, a reliable partner who doesn’t give up easily.

14. Active

Again, the most important thing to know about the Old Danish Pointer temperament is his need to be busy. He has a high energy level and is not suitable for apartment life.

Though he can be a calm and quiet family companion, he’s not likely to be content if you don’t meet that exercise need.

15. Stable

As a family companion, he has a steady and trustworthy disposition. In the field, that reliability makes him a highly valued hunting partner.

16. Prey Drive

The Old Danish Pointer will chase small animals, but he can be taught to leave household pets alone. He gets along well with other dogs.

17. Athletic

The Old Danish Pointer is known for his speed and endurance on multiple terrains.

Old Danish Pointer History

The general belief is that the Old Danish Pointer’s origins go back to the year 1710 in Denmark when a man named Morten Bak crossed “gypsy” dogs with local farm dogs.

After eight generations, the result was a piebald (having irregular patches) breed of dog that was called Bakhound. This was the Old Danish Pointer.

Most dog historians think that these farm dogs were St. Hubert Hounds (bloodhounds). The gypsy dogs are thought to be Spanish pointing dogs.

One theory is that these Spanish dogs were brought to nearby ports by soldiers and sailors coming home from war.

By the early 20th century, the German Short-haired Pointer became a more popular hunting dog in the area. The Old Danish Pointer was harder to find. After World War II, the breed was on the brink of extinction.

A breed club was established in 1947, and breeders worked hard to restore the population. In 1963, the breed was recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI).

The American Kennel Club (AKC) does recognize the Old Danish Pointer, but the United Kennel Club (UKC) does.

This breed is a much-loved hunting dog in his native Denmark, but he is hardly known outside of Western Europe.

Old Danish Pointer Training

The Old Danish Pointer temperament is well suited to training with positive reinforcement methods. He is smart and quick to learn, though he will not obey blindly.

His strong determination can come out as stubbornness at times. Training needs to be gentle but firm and consistent. You should keep training sessions short and fun. If you start to see the stubborn streak, take a break.

Because he does have a prey drive, he will need to learn early what he can and cannot chase. This instinctive behavior is not as strong as it can be in other breeds, however.

He can be wary of strangers. He is rarely, if ever, aggressive, but you should socialize him early for his own comfort and yours. You will also want to socialize him to children and to other dogs, though he normally gets along well with both.

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Old Danish Pointer Appearance

General Appearance

The Old Danish Pointer is a medium-sized breed with a muscular, rectangular build (longer than he is tall). The female is lighter and smaller than the male.

They both have a harsh, dense topcoat that is short in length. Their color is white with large patches and small flecks of brown. The tail is set fairly high and drooping, wide at the base and tapering to the end.

The head is short and broad. They have hanging ears that are fairly long and wide with rounded tips. Their eyes are brown. The nose is large with wide nostrils.

They have a muscular neck and a slight dewlap below the jaw.

Old Danish Pointer Size

There is a significant difference in size between the male and female in this breed. Old Danish Pointer weight averages 66-77 pounds for males, 57-68 pounds for females. Average Old Danish Pointer height is 21-24 inches for males and 20-22 inches for females.

Old Danish Pointer Must-Knows

Old Danish Pointer Lifespan

This breed’s life expectancy is 12 to 14 years.

Other Names

  • Old Danish Pointing Dog.
  • Old Danish Bird Dog.
  • Altdänischer Hühnerhund.
  • Ancien chien d′arrêt danois.

Hunting

The Old Danish Pointer is a favorite partner of Danish hunters. He has multiple skills, and he is excellent at tracking on different terrains.

This breed is known for a unique style of hunting where he moves quietly and more slowly than most gundogs. He barely disturbs the ground where he travels. He will drop to the ground and crawl on his belly in order to not alert the bird.

This dog has an excellent nose and a unique style of pointing. When he catches a scent, he will enthusiastically signal the hunter with his tail and begin turning around in circles. His hunting style is also unusual because he always stays in contact with his hunter.

The Old Danish Pointer is also very good at tracking wounded deer. Because of the scenting skills of his bloodhound heritage, he excels at bomb detection.

Old Danish Pointer Health Issues

Like most dogs who are not bred for show, the Old Danish Pointer is a robust, healthy breed. However, it is prone to Hip and Elbow dysplasia, like most sporting breeds.

Eye conditions are a rare occurrence in the breed: entropion, ectropion, and distichiasis.

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Caring for the Old Danish Pointer

Old Danish Pointer Grooming

The Old Danish Pointer is easy to care for. He is an average shedder who needs brushing once a week. His harsh coat is weatherproof, so he needs a bath only a few times a year. He needs a good dog shampoo to protect the natural oils in his coat.

The Old Danish Pointer is not officially a hypoallergenic breed. However, many people with severe allergies are able to be near them without serious problems.

Of course, like all dogs, he will need his ears checked and cleaned regularly. He also needs routine nail trimming and tooth brushing.

Old Danish Pointer Diet

The Old Danish Pointer should be fed a high-quality dog food. If you plan to hunt him, you may want to consider a working-dog or active-formula food.

Old Danish Pointer Exercise

The Old Danish Pointer is an active dog that needs 60 to 90 minutes a day of vigorous exercise. Ideally, this breed should be with a hunting family.

If you don’t hunt him, he needs another way to be physically active and mentally stimulated. Long, brisk walks or chase games would be great. Organized canine sports would be even better.

He should also have a large contained area to run in. He really needs to be in a rural environment.

If the Old Danish Pointer does not get enough exercise, he may become bored, hyperactive, and destructive.

Finding an Old Danish Pointer

Buying an Old Danish Pointer from a Breeder

Finding an Old Danish Pointer for sale may be challenging. This is a rare breed outside of Denmark.

At the time of this writing, however, an Internet search found one breeder in Canada and another in the US. The Old Danish Pointer is beginning to attract attention in North America, so expect to be put on a waiting list.

You may have better luck finding Old Danish Pointer breeders by broadening your search. You could try searching for hunting dog and gundog organizations. Many of these sites offer directories of breeders of several hunting breeds.

If you have no luck finding Old Danish Pointer puppies in North America, you could try the Danish Kennel Club (Dansk Kennel Klub).

They maintain an English version of their web site and may be helpful in locating a breeder. You may find one who is willing to export a puppy to you.

The Old Danish Pointer price can be $1000 or more. Of course, there will be shipping fees if you choose to import a puppy from Denmark.

Old Danish Pointer Rescue/Adoption

If you would prefer to adopt an Old Danish Pointer puppy, again, you will need to be patient. Finding an Old Danish Pointer for adoption may take time and effort.

We are not able to find any rescues specifically devoted to the Old Danish Pointer. However, an Internet search finds several rescues in the US that work with multiple pointing breeds. That would probably be the best place to start your search.

You are not likely to find an Old Danish Pointer in your local shelter, but it’s not impossible. You could alert any shelters within traveling distance from you that you’re looking for one.

If you’re willing to accept a mixed-breed, you may have a shorter wait. It’s possible to find a mixed breed with Old Danish Pointer traits without the health issues that purebreds often have.

Is the Old Danish Pointer the Right Breed for You?

Without a doubt, the Old Danish Pointer temperament makes him a loyal and lovable family dog. However, this breed is born to work.

His ideal home would be with a hunting family or one that is very busy with outdoor activities.

It may be challenging to find one. But if you are a hunter, the Old Danish Pointer’s gentle nature and versatile skills in the field make this special breed worth the wait.