The first thing you notice about a Portuguese Pointer is its resemblance to the English pointer and, in some ways, to the Boxer. But when we spent the day photographing Portuguese Pointers in their native Portugal, what stood out more than anything else were their eyes. The dogs that day had the most expressive eyes we had ever seen.
Whenever Lisa and I meet with breeders of gundogs, I warn them to count their dogs before we leave since Lisa always carries a purse big enough to smuggle a puppy or two out of the kennel. Everyone knows I am joking, but when we were in Portugal, I was not so sure. I had the sneaking suspicion that if she’d been left alone for a few minutes, she just might have turned into a puppy-napper! And to be perfectly honest, I don’t think I would have turned her in if she had. We both really took a shine to the breed
Of course, the views we formed were nowhere near objective. We saw some of the best dogs in the breed running across the gentle hills of a beautiful cork tree plantation in central Portugal. We were in the company of three of the most experienced members of the breed club and we’d just been served one of the most delicious picnic lunches we’d ever had. The dogs were super-affectionate and were calm in their kennels, but all business in the field. They pointed hard, backed each other and retrieved every bird to-hand.
And those eyes! They were so striking they gave some of the dogs a near-human expression. It must be the way that the dark pigment around the eyes, nose and lips contrasts with the yellow/brown coat. Lisa said that some of them looked as if they had a “Cleopatra eyeliner” sort of thing going on.
Back at our hotel, we reviewed the photos we’d taken at the cork plantation. They were some of our best work yet and only added to the positive impression that the breed had made on us. We talked about how great the day had been. We’d seen some very nice dogs, enjoyed charming company and beautiful weather. There was only one disappointment. Somehow, Lisa had resisted temptation: there were no puppies in her purse!