Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
Breed Group: Sporting
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a great example of a dual purpose dog. He is both a companion animal and hunting assistant. Gentle, loyal, and affectionate, he makes an outstanding family pet getting along well with children, especially when socialized with them from an early age. Well socialized dogs are polite to though usually aloof with strangers. When combined with their tendency to bark more than average, this makes the breed a great watchdog that has a reasonable protective ability too. As a hunter, they excel at pointing and retrieving birds or other small game happily working from land or water for hours at a time. But their hunting heritage results in a pet that needs vigorous exercise well beyond a simple walk around the block. Failing to get it promotes an already above average interest in barking. Well-exercised dogs are reasonably calm indoors. But even when kept primarily for their hunting abilities, this is a breed that needs human companionship. If it is lacking they tend to become restless and can easily develop separation anxiety. They are not a breed that does well being left alone at home all day. They get along reasonably with other dogs but understandably, birds and cats can be a great temptation.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are medium to large dogs growing from 20 to 24 inches tall and weighing 45 to 60 pounds. Their medium length wiry coat provides protection in all types of terrain and weather. They are average shedders that need to be brushed once or twice a week and benefit from being clipped once or twice a year. When drinking, their beard soaks up water leaving a watery trail behind them. Their ears need to be cleaned and the ear hair trimmed occasionally to avoid infections. This is especially important when they spend time outdoors in rough terrain or in warm humid climates. They do well in temperate climates becoming less comfortable in hot humid conditions.
Without socializing them with a broad assortment of people, sights, and sounds, the result can be a timid dog. Although most training is easy unless the trainer is being rough or unfair, they can be difficult to housebreak. Because of a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon's high need for exercise and companionship and the consequences of not meeting those needs, they are not a good choice for most first-time owners.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
Never bred in large numbers for the pet trade, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon has few genetic health issues and those it does have are seen less frequently than in many other breeds. This include between 7% and 8% suffering from Hip Dysplasia, and about 4% suffering from Elbow Dysplasia. Between 6% and 7% have reduced thyroid activity. Ectropion and Entropion which are problems with their eyelids are also seen. Otitis Externa is an issue, especially if cleaning their ears is neglected. Members of the breed have a life expectancy of between 12 and 15 years.
Although not very popular in the U.S., many owners consider the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon to be the best kept secret of the Sporting Group. They rank 105th in popularity with about 450 dogs registered annually.
A Dutchman named Edward Korthals developed the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon in the late 1800s. His records show he used Griffons, Spaniels, Setters, and German and French Pointers to create what many consider the perfect hunting dog. He then traveled Europe extensively showing off the new breed where it is still known as Korthals Griffon. The dog gained the most acceptance in France and is sometimes thought of as a French rather than a Dutch breed. The first breed standard was drawn in 1887 and Wirehaired Pointed Griffons started appearing at dog shows soon after. The breed gained popularity up until World War II because of its excellent hunting abilities and companionable nature.
Compared to the two similar German Pointers, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is slightly smaller, has a different pointing and running style, and is somewhat more affectionate. The National (U.S.) Breed Club is the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association.
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