Let's talk Old Danish Pointers

Athletic and muscular Old Danish Pointers exude a Scandinavian air of outdoorsy good health. For more than three centuries this good-natured breed has been a faithful companion to humans. They were initially bred for hunting and prized for their stamina and their pointing skills but now they’re just as likely to be a much-loved member of the family. These beautiful white and brown dogs need plenty of exercise but as long as those needs are met, they will be a calm and affectionate presence in your home.

Official name: Old Danish Pointer

Other names: Gammel Dansk Hønsehund, Old Danish Pointing Dog

Origins: Denmark

Close-up of Old Danish Pointer looking at camera in black and white

 Drooling tendencies:

Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level: Medium
Suited to apartment living?  Very low
 Physical activity needs (high, low, medium): Moderate Kid-friendly? 

 Compatibility with other pets: Medium
Can stay alone? Very low

We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches.
Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour.
Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Inline Image 15
Illustration of Old Danish Pointer
53 - 60 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
30 - 35 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
51 - 56 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
26 - 31 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight


 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 15 months
 Adult age  15 months to 5 years
 Mature age  5 to 8 years
 Senior age  from 8 years

Two Old Danish Pointers running over grass and snow


Get to know the Old Danish Pointer

All you need to know about the breed

The calm, courageous and athletic Old Danish Pointer is a great all-rounder of a breed. These dogs, developed in the 18th century, were originally prized for their extraordinary scenting power and pointing skills, not to mention their stamina.

While they’re still firmly in the outdoors camp (they need plenty of exercise to be content and healthy), they now also make great family pets, loved for their loyal, dependable and affectionate natures. They form strong bonds with their humans and should not be left alone for long periods: these are sociable animals. With one caveat, thanks to their hunting history, it’s best not to let them “socialise” with pet birds – for the birds’ sakes.

Once trained, they get on well with children although like any other breed they should not be left alone with them. Training an Old Danish Pointer should be straightforward – these devoted dogs want to please their humans. Just make sure that any food rewards come out of their daily rations to avoid them becoming overweight.

Old Danish Pointer standing in front of trees and snow


2 facts about Old Danish Pointers

1. Pointing prowess

Like other pointing breeds, the Old Danish Pointer was developed to “point”, or stand stock still, often with one paw raised, on detecting an interesting scent in order to alert their humans. The breed has retained the habit to this day. Little known fact: the Old Danish Pointer is the only Scandinavian pointing dog.

2. Weighing in

Unlike many other breeds, there is an immediately obvious difference in size and build between female and male Old Danish Pointers. The former are much lighter and more sprightly, while the males of the breed are heavier and more muscular. What they have in common however, is that impressive level of stamina and energy.


History of the breed

While pointer breeds are thought to date back to 17th century England, the specific Old Danish Pointer breed has nearly as long a history. The brown-and-white breed originated in the early 18th century, in the small town of Glestrup in northern Jutland, Denmark. There, a local man named Morten Bak began to cross dogs owned by travelling Romani people with local farm dogs and watch dogs (Spanish pointers and Bloodhounds are in turn thought to figure further back in the family tree).

As that other famous (if fictional) Dane, Hamlet, once said: “the dog will have his day” and for the Old Danish Pointer, that day came after eight successive generations of breeding resulted in this charming piebald purebreed. While the Old Danish Pointer now bears a descriptive if unimaginative name, initially the breed was named after Bak himself – Bakhounds.

They may be relatively little known outside their home country, where a club for the breed was established in 1947, but the Old Danish Pointer breed was recognised by the United Kennel Club in 2006.

Old Danish Pointer sitting with tounge out in black and white


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Old Danish Pointers

1. Coat

White coat with large brown patches or smaller speckles.

2. Body

Strong, athletic build, medium-length tail.

3. Ears

Low set ears slightly rounded at the tips.

Close-up side view of Old Danish Pointer


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Old Danish Pointer
Old Danish Pointer walking towards camera


Caring for your Old Danish Pointer

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The Old Danish Pointer has a short, dense coat which doesn’t require much in the way of grooming – a quick brush will remove dead hair and help keep the coat in good condition. You should ensure your dog’s nails are trimmed and teeth brushed frequently (daily if possible) and check regularly for any signs of ear infection. Old Danish Pointers are athletic dogs and they need plenty of exercise and space. They’re not really born city – or apartment – dwellers, even if they’re usually calm at home once their exercise needs have been met. Their strong scenting powers coupled with their stamina mean that off-the-lead runs should be in a safely enclosed space. They’re also good swimmers. Training should be easy with an Old Danish Pointer: these dogs are eager to please. Just make sure any food rewards are taken out of their daily rations to avoid excess weight gain.


All about Old Danish Pointers

Yes – Old Danish Pointers are gentle and steady of temperament and calm at home as long as they also get enough exercise outdoors. Once trained, they get on well with children though of course like any other breed they shouldn’t be left alone with them.

They have a smooth short coat which does shed, yes, but is fairly low maintenance when it comes to grooming. Just a brush once or twice a week will keep it in perfect shiny condition.


1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/