Affectionate and energetic
Varies, often gray with brown markings and a brown head
Medium length, harsh and wirey
Sometimes considered the best kept secret of the sporting world, the loyal and enthusiastic Wirehaired Pointing Griffon has proven itself as a dedicated hunter and loving family pet. This breed’s hunting finesse comes from it’s ability to think independently yet still take responsive direction from it’s human counterpart. In the home, Griffs are slightly less energetic than on the hunt, but still make excellent and obedient companions for active families.
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is as gentle and affectionate with children as they are with adults. They also get along well with other dogs, but given that their hunting instinct is so strong, they should not be trusted around smaller pets such as cats and rabbits. Some individuals can be somewhat high strung or timid with strangers, but early socialization can minimize this tendency.
Intelligent and willing to please, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is easy to train. This breed possesses tremendous energy and stamina and requires an extensive amount of exercise. They make excellent jogging and swimming companions. Griffs need the companionship of their human family and will not be happy living outdoors or being left alone for extended periods of time.
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon was single-handedly developed by a Dutch hunter named Eduard Korthals. As the son of a rancher who had successfully developed a strain of cattle with unusual markings, Eduard found his passion for dog breeding early in life, and desired to develop a breed that was perfectly suited for his hunting needs. The dog needed to be able to hunt not on only on the marshlands of Holland but on a variety of other terrains. Additionally, the dog needed to be robust with unending endurance, have a keen nose for tracking, and be cooperative and soft-mouthed enough to retrieve small upland game and waterfowl. And ideally, it would have a wiry, weather-resistent coat. After less than twenty years, Korthals achieved his ideal breed (which he later named “Wirehaired Pointing Griffon”) by including various Griffons, Barbets, Boulets, Pointers, Spaniels and Retrievers in his breeding program, choosing specimens based solely on the desired end result.
The first Wirehaired Pointing Griffon was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1887.
Body Structure and Composition
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a strong, medium-sized with elegant carriage. Slightly longer than it is tall, the Griff’s topline slopes gently from the shoulder to the hindquarters ending in a tail that is traditionally docked for show purposes in the U.S. (although tail docking has been banned in many other countries). The chest is deep to allow for lung expansion on runs, but is not so wide as to impede movement. The head is in proportion to the body, characterized by long whiskers that cover the muzzle and eyebrows. Eye color ranges from yellow to brown and any shade in between. The legs of this breed are not overly long but are strong and well-muscled. This breed has round webbed feet which aids in it’s water-retrieving capability.
Like many medium and large breeds, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is prone to Hip Dysplasia, which causes the head of the hip bone to no longer fit comfortably into the cup provided by the hip socket, causing lameness and arthritis-like symptoms. A similar condition called Elbow Dysplasia also affects the breed but with less frequency. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) provides certification of breeding stock to help prevent the spread of these diseases, among others.
Various eye maladies can also affect some Wirehaired Pointing Griffons. Entropion and Ectropion (inward or outward turning eyelids, respectively) both exist in this breed. Entropion causes the eyelashes to rub against the lens of the eye causing extreme irritation; Ectropion causes the eyelids to droop, which exposes the eyes to infections and collection of debris. Griffs can also be affected by cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), a degeneration of the retinal resulting in eventual blindness.
A Wirehaired Pointing Griffon’s weatherproof coat is relatively easy to maintain and sheds little to no hair. Show specimens will need to be hand stripped periodically to keep the coat in pristine conditions, and companion pets may benefit from professional grooming 2-3 times per year. Otherwise, a good brushing once or twice per week is all that is needed. Hair inside the ears may need to be plucked occasionally to help prevent infection and infestation.
Although it’s popularity has increased in recent years, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is still a relatively rare breed in the United States. According to registration statistics provided by the American Kennel Club, the breed ranked 105th out of 157 dog breeds in 2007. (They ranked 121st in 1997.)
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