Bird dogs, with rare exceptions, are the best natured dogs in the world. They’re as affectionate as they can be, and not mean natured at all. To me, a handsome pointer or setter is one of the finest dogs in the world. Not only are they a beautiful animal, but undeniably one of the prettiest canines I know of. And their other qualities are just as attractive.
A good bird dog can’t be thrown off of a “point” until the birds are flushed out. You may lose a dog in cornfields or high cover for half an hour and find him stanch on a point in tall weeds or grass. Once a stand, always a stand until the birds rise. One of the best dogs in the South came to a point once on a narrow railway. The “bevy” being in a grass-grown ditch alongside the track. A “bevy” is a group of birds, especially quail, when closely gathered on the ground. His owner, a quarter of a mile away, saw a train bearing down and made a hurried attempt to get to the spot and save the dog. He fired his gun and did his best, but the train got there ahead of him. That dog was a soldier and “held the point” until the train ran him down.
There is nothing in hunting that is near as thrilling as a dog coming to a point on a bird. The rigid form, the wrinkled nose, the flashing eye. A few yards away is the bevy. The winds move the leaves of a near-by tree, and toward a clump of weeds at the edge of the corn the dog’s nose is pointed. He’s like a stone. They sometimes come to a “button hook” point, their heads curved round to lift or right, in the shape of a button hook. They’ll point with a dead bird in their mouth that they’re retrieving. You can lift a dog up by his tail so that his hind legs are off the ground, and once he is dropped, he’ll still hold the point.
For their thousand and one noble and splendid qualities, for their “bird sense,” general intelligence, fidelity, good temper, affection, beauty and love of hunting, the setter and the pointer are to me the finest dogs that were ever bred, bar none.