Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Introduction | History & Health | Temperament & Personality | Breed Standard

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

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Introduction

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, also known as the Korthals Griffon, the Pointing Wirehaired Griffon, the Wirehaired Continental Pointer, the Griffon Korthals, the Griffon d'Arret Korthals, the Griffon d'Arret a Poil Dur Korthals, the French Wirehaired Korthals Pointing Griffon or simply the Griff, is a Dutch breed that is known primarily as a French breed because a large part of its development occurred in France. This is an all-purpose walking-hunter's gun dog, capable of pointing, tracking and retrieving under virtually any conditions and over any terrain. It is particularly well-suited to hunting in dense, swampy areas, where its rough coat provides excellent protection against brush, temperature and wetness. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon was accepted by the American Kennel Club into its Sporting Group in 1887.
The mature male Wirehaired Pointing Griffon stands 22 to 24 inches at the withers, with bitches being 20 to 22 inches in height. Over-sized variations are severely penalized under the American standard. Adults typically weigh 55 to 75 pounds. The unique double coat on this breed is one of its most distinguishing features. The outer coat is harsh, straight and wiry, and its undercoat is fine, thick and down-like. Together, these layers provide insulation and water resistance, as well as protection against thick brush and rough terrain. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon has an unkempt appearance, with a heavy beard and bushy eyebrows accentuating its tousled look. However, it requires little grooming. Tails are typically docked in this breed.

History & Health

History

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon was developed in the Netherlands in the latter part of the 19th century, due largely to the experimental efforts of Eduard Korthals near Haarlem, Holland. The son of a wealth banker and cattle-rancher, Korthals decided to develop a new sporting breed that excelled in working with a walking hunter, being equally adept at tracking, pointing and retrieving in all types of climates and terrain, including water. In 1874, young Korthals bought a 7-year old brown and gray "griffon" bitch named Mouche, who excelled at hunting in both forest and field. Over the next three years, Korthals acquired five more hunting dogs: Janus (who had a wooly coat), Junon (a female who had a short coat) and Hector, Satan and Banco (who each had a wooly coat). Through various crosses between and among these six dogs and their offspring, Korthals created the foundation of a breed that became known for being a slow, deliberate worker with a keen nose and the ability to both point and retrieve with equal skill.
Ultimately, Korthals moved from Holland to Germany, where he continued his focused breeding efforts. He acquired fresh stock, with different coats, types and talents, to improve the coat, love of water, intelligence and disposition of his dogs. Many authorities believe that spaniels, setters, pointers and Otterhounds were all used in the ancestral mix of the "Korthals patriarchs," as his dogs soon became known. The Griffon Hound and German Shorthair Pointer are also thought to have contributed to Korthals' breed, which he finally named the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. In less than two decades, Korthals created an all-around gun dog that could trail, point and retrieve in all weather and over any terrain. He helped write an official standard for the breed, and in 1890 he was recognized by the German emperor for his breeding successes. Later, Korthals traveled widely as part of his job working for a French nobleman, the Duke of Penthievre, promoting his dogs whenever and wherever he found a willing ear. While this contributed to the claim that the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a French breed, there really can be no dispute that it is actually Dutch in origin.
Korthals attended and competed with his Wirehaired Pointing Griffons at field events and benched shows in England, Germany and elsewhere in Europe, attracting considerable attention. The first recorded class specifically for the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon was held in 1888 at the Barn Elms dog show in England. The breed came to America in the 1800s and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1887, as a member of the Sporting Group. The American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association was accepted by the AKC as the parent club of the breed in 1991. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon debuted at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in Madison Square Garden in 1916.
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is even-tempered, highly trainable and tremendously eager to please. He makes a trusted family dog while retaining all of his hunting instincts, although he has not become as popular as many other hunting breeds in this country, sometimes said to be too slow and unstylish. However, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is one of the best close-working Continental breeds, excelling at work in small fields and close quarters.

Health

The average life span of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is 10 to 12 years. Breed health concerns may include hip dysplasia. This is a particularly hardy breed.

Temperament & Personality

Personality

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are held in high regard by hunters as sharp, reliable gun dogs who can both point and retrieve, and can withstand extreme terrain and all types of weather. As a family dig, Griffons are polite, quiet, affectionate and playful. They are alert watchdogs who will bark to let you know someone is approaching, but they are far too docile to be guard dogs. Griffons need a lot of activity, and are best suited for families who enjoy the outdoors. They get along well with older children and can be trusted around family pets when they are all raised together. For active families, Griffons make an ideal companion.

Activity Requirements

Griffons need at least one hour of vigorous exercise every day in order to maintain health, happiness and an even temperament. A bored Griffon is a destructive Griffon. They enjoy hunting and are able to work long hours in the field in any terrain or weather. They are also adept swimmers and make excellent water retrievers.
At home, Griffons like to romp and play in the yard and also enjoy long walks, hikes and jogs. If you have a pool, expect your Griffon to want to take a dip now and then, especially if there is a ball or stick in the water that he can retrieve.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are country dogs who need the outdoors and open spaces. The city can be too overwhelming for him, and he does not do well cooped up in a small apartment.

Trainability

Wireharied Pointing Griffons are slightly difficult to train, as are all pointing breeds. They have minds of their own and don't like being told what to do. It's not uncommon for Griffons to just walk away from a training session if they see something more interesting going on around them, or if they don't like the way they are being handled. Keep sessions short and always maintain an upbeat, positive attitude. Treats can be a good motivator as well. Always be consistent with rules and boundaries. Griffons will test boundaries every day, and if you slack off on the rules just one time, the dog will see that as license to break all rules.

Socialization should begin early in a Griffon's life so that he understands that new people and new situations are nothing to fear. Though they are fearless and focused in the hunting field, they can be less self-assured at home or about town. If a Griffon is too sheltered, he can become fearful which is very difficult to live with and causes the dog unnecessary stress.

Behavioral Traits

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are prone to separation anxiety when left alone too often. This breed is not well suited for people who work long hours, and are better off on farms or homes where there is a stay at home parent. When you do leave your Griffon, it is important to wear him out beforehand so that he is too tired to become anxious.
Neat freaks may want to rethink adopting a Griffon. These dogs are messy, as food and water gets caught in their beards and they track dirt throughout the house.

Breed Standard

General Appearance
Medium sized, with a noble, square-shaped head, strong of limb, bred to cover all terrain encountered by the walking hunter. Movement showing an easy catlike gracefulness. Excels equally as a pointer in the field, or a retriever in the water. Coat is hard and coarse, never curly or woolly, with a thick undercoat of fine hair, giving an unkempt appearance. His easy trainability, devotion to family, and friendly temperament endear him to all. The nickname of "supreme gundog" is well earned.

Size, Proportion, Substance
Size--22 to 24 inches for males, 20 to 22 inches for females. Correct size is important. Oversize to be severely penalized. Proportion--Slightly longer than tall, in a ratio of 10 to 9. Height from withers to ground; length from point of shoulder to point of buttocks. The Griffon must not evolve towards a square conformation. Substance medium, reflecting his work as an all-terrain hunting dog.

Head
The head is to be in proportion to the overall dog. The skull is of medium width with equal length from nose to stop and from stop to occiput. The skull is slightly rounded on top, but from the side the muzzle and head are square. The stop and occiput are only slightly pronounced. The required abundant mustache and eyebrows contribute to the friendly expression. The eyes are large and well open, more rounded than elliptical. They have an alert, friendly, and intelligent expression. Eye color ranges in all shades of yellow and brown. Haws should not show nor should there be protruding eyes. The ears should be of medium size, lying flat and close to the head, set high, at the height of the eye line. Nose--Well open nostrils are essential. Nose color is always brown. Any other color is a disqualification. Bite scissors. Overshot or undershot bite is a serious fault.

Neck, Topline, Body
Neck-- rather long, slightly arched, no dewlap. Topline-- The back is strong and firm, descending in a gentle slope from the slightly higher withers to the base of the tail. Body-Chest-- The chest must descend to the level of the elbow, with a moderate spring of rib. The chest must neither be too wide nor too narrow, but of medium width to allow freedom of movement. The loin is strong and well developed, being of medium length. The croup and rump are stoutly made with adequate length to favor speed. The tail extends from the back in a continuation of the topline. It may be carried straight or raised slightly. It is docked by one-third to one-half length.

Forequarters
Shoulders are long, with good angulation, and well laid back. The forelegs are straight and vertical from the front and set well under the shoulder from the side. Pasterns are slightly sloping. Dewclaws should be removed. Feet are round, firm, with tightly closed webbed toes. Pads are thick.

Hindquarters
The thighs are long and well muscled. Angulation in balance with the front. The legs are vertical with the hocks turning neither in nor out. The stifle and hock joints are strong and well angulated. Feet as in front.

Coat
The coat is one of the distinguishing features of the breed. It is a double coat. The outer coat is medium length, straight and wiry, never curly or woolly. The harsh texture provides protection in rough cover. The obligatory undercoat consists of a fine, thick down, which provides insulation as well as water resistance. The undercoat is more or less abundant, depending upon the season, climate, and hormone cycle of the dog. It is usually lighter in color. The head is furnished with a prominent mustache and eyebrows. These required features are extensions of the undercoat, which gives the Griffon a somewhat untidy appearance. The hair covering the ears is fairly short and soft, mixed with longer harsh hair from the coat. The overall feel is much less wiry than the body. The legs, both front and rear, are covered with denser, shorter, and less coarse hair. The coat on the tail is the same as the body; any type of plume is prohibited. The breed should be exhibited in full body coat, not stripped short in pattern. Trimming and stripping are only allowed around the ears, top of head, cheeks and feet.

Color
Preferably steel gray with brown markings, frequently chestnut brown, or roan, white and brown; white and orange also acceptable. A uniformly brown coat, all white coat, or white and orange are less desirable. A black coat disqualifies.

Gait
Although close working, the Griffon should cover ground in an efficient, tireless manner. He is a medium-speed dog with perfect coordination between front and rear legs. At a trot, both front and rear legs tend to converge toward the center line of gravity. He shows good extension both front and rear. Viewed from the side, the topline is firm and parallel to the line of motion. A smooth, powerful ground-covering ability can be seen.

Disqualifications
Nose any color other than brown.
Black coat.

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