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The History of Pointer Brand's Canine Mascot
The Real Deal

These days it seems if you want to sell a product, all you need to do is slap the image of a dog on it. So an authentic—historic, even—dog-inspired label, such as Pointer Brand, stands out from the pack.

The Pointer in the Pointer Brand logo isn’t some imaginary dog conjured by Madison Avenue types to capture hunters’ imaginations. He’s Carolina Bill, the favorite birddog of Landon Clayton King. Legend has it, Bill was “very intense” and “showed excellent style and character” on point—making him the perfect inspiration for a line of tough and durable working clothes.

King founded the L. C. King Manufacturing Company in Bristol, Tenn., in 1913. He reasoned that if he could raise championship birddogs, he could produce championship bib overalls, coveralls, carpenter jeans, hunting apparel and denim chore coats. It’s a leap but there’s no denying this classic, affordable outdoor wear is well-suited to dog-centric activities. The indigo shop apron, for example, is a perfect match for grooming sessions.

Pointer Brand is seriously old school. Having survived two floods and a fire, it still operates out of its original location, with great-grandson Jack King now in charge. The clothes are sold mostly in mom-and-pop shops—as well as in über hip specialty stores, including Hand-Eye Supply in Portland, Ore. They do have a website, but they still take phone orders by hand.

The best part of the website is Pointer Brand People, an online bulletin board with photos of customers sporting the denim, duck cloth and hickory-stripe apparel, frequently with their dogs. Customers who send in photos receive either a free Pointer Brand cap or T-shirt.

This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 64: Apr/May 2011
Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com
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