The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon: solid and versatile gun dog on the inside, endearing buddy on the outside.
This series of Project Upland hunting dog breed profiles focuses on the hunting characteristics that set one breed apart from another and that individual dogs within a breed may vary in temperament, conformation, instincts, and abilities. This particular article focuses on the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.
Original purpose of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
Dutch hunter Eduard Karel Korthals created the wirehaired pointing griffon in Germany by combining spaniels, braques, retrievers, shorthairs, pointers, and several other breeds into an all-purpose gun dog that would work efficiently with the on-foot hunter. In France (the current breed parent country) and Quebec, the breed is still called the griffon Korthals.
Historically, the griffon did not have as intense a water drive as other German pointers. Excellent breeding programs in recent years, however, have significantly improved their water performance.
Hunting style and temperament
In the field, the wirehaired pointing griffon is not known to range as far as many of the other popular pointing breeds. Most Griffons work at a medium pace and distance. On point, their tails are held level or slightly downward, backs straight. Griffons are well designed for grouse, woodcock, pheasant, and partridge.
Griffons’ nose and point are comparable to that of German wirehairs. Their temperament on the other hand is a bit softer and tends towards dependency. They are biddable in training and can excel in several arenas—field trials, retriever trials, versatile hunting tests and agility trials—all within the same lines. Griffons are easygoing, lovable, and people-oriented.
Traits of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon important to hunters
Females should weight 35 to 50 lbs. and males should range between 50 and 70 lbs. Females range 20”-22” in height, males 22”-24”.
That notable Griffon coat consists of a harsh, coarse top layer with a fine but dense undercoat. Not big shedders, the griffon coat does require grooming. It can take up to three years to completely come in. When it’s full, the coat can make hot weather upland hunting a challenge. The shaggy long hair on their ears, muzzle, and eyebrows is called their “furniture.”
Wirehaired pointing griffons take to work at an early age, providing they’re handled with a moderately soft touch. They are natural trackers and willing retrievers.
Similar to most medium and large breed gun dogs, hip dysplasia is a risk factor for the wirehaired pointing griffon. Conscientious breeders will test for and guard against the genetic likelihood of passing it along. The other health risk worth noting is panosteitis, a short-lived and self-limiting painful condition affecting the long bones primarily in young dogs.
FINDING A GOOD BREEDER
In North America, the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association (AWPGA) is the official breed club currently recognized by the AKC, UKC and NAVHDA. They retain an emphasis on hunting and versatility, with pure breeding based on strong North American lines and European imports. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Club of America (WPGCA) has taken another approach by crossbreeding with Cesky Fousek lines to expand the gene pool. The history of these clubs and their division is complicated, often causing confusion to prospective Griffon owners.
Last modified: January 14, 2020