GRIFFON WIREHAIRED POINTING
Let’s Talk Breed Education!
The Working Standard for the WIREHAIRED POINTING GRIFFON
BY VICKY FOSTER
T he American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association (AWPGA) adopted a working standard for the Wire- haired Pointing Griffon (Griffon) in early 2018. The standard, proposed by the club’s Field Committee, was long in the making. So, what is a working standard and why did the club adopt one? Griffon breeders and AKC judges are undoubtedly familiar with the breed standard. It explains the structure, physical charac- teristics, and temperament of the Griffon. It is the standard against which Griffons are measured in the conformation ring. But, the Griffon was bred for a working purpose and it fulfills that purpose in its own unique way. How it does its work in the field is defined by the working standard. By way of example, the working standard describes the ideal gait of the Griffon as a gallop. This differentiates the Griffon’s run- ning style from the Bracco and Spinone Italiano, both of which require trotting as their primary way of moving while hunting. The Griffon does not hunt, point, or have a running style like these breeds. Similarly, Setters’ and Pointers’ conformations differ from
that of the Griffon as do their working styles and characteristics in the field. The style of movement, head carriage, pointing, and working of scent vary from breed to breed. Sir Robert Martineau of France wrote: “Breed style in the field, like the conformation breed standard, is an indisputable and inherent characteristic of the breed that the Clubs and the breeders have the duty to maintain.” (1973 Bulletin, Club du Griffon Korthals). Similarly, in 1978, J.M. Pilard, a French field trial judge, told the members of the Club Français du Griffon D’Arrêt à Poil Dur Korthals that the Griffon has a distinct way of hunting, with a style differing from those of the Brittany, German Shorthaired Pointer, Setter or Pointer. He noted that field competitions allow the work of a breed to be evaluated and maintained, just as conformation shows permit the evaluation of the dogs against the conformation standard and the mainte- nance of the standard. Pilard predicted that a dog’s adherence to the typical working style or standard of its Sporting breed would increasingly influence the judgments and placements in field trials.
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*AKC BREED STATS AS OF 7/31/21
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WIREHAIRED POINTING GRIFFON
THE WORKING STANDARD FOR THE WIREHAIRED POINTING GRIFFON
In 1984, the Korthals Griffon breed club in France appointed Jacques Kerspern to write the working standard for the Griffon. About his efforts, he wrote: “Just as the conformation standard defines the essential points of the morphology of a breed, the working standard proposes to determine the fundamental characteristics of a working dog in hunting situations. These characteristics can be seen in the study of pace, the gait, and the style of the dog during various successive phases of its action in the field. Some will say that the Griffon is, above all, a hunting dog and that in the field only efficiency counts. It is true, undoubtedly true for a dog, for your dog, but when it comes to the breed, the problem is very different. The standard not only defines but it is also the guarantee, the guardian of the breed and of its conformation and working specifics. It is essential to maintain and to guarantee what makes a breed unique, not only in its conformation, but also in its hunting apti- tudes. It is crucial to remind one of the importance of field events in this endeavor. The study of the working style or the pace is not done by starting with a preconceived model that may exist or be idealized, but rather according to observations of numerous Griffons at work. Objectively, this observation leads to the discovery of certain elements that we can find among most Griffons and that constitute the true constants of the breed and its style. In addition, it is important to try to find an explanation for these constants, which find their origins in the dog’s conformation. For this reason, we can conclude the abso- lute necessity to never dissociate the conformation standard from the working standard.” The working standard adopted in 2018 by the AWPGA is based largely on the French Griffon Club’s working standard for the Korthals Griffon. The AWPGA believes that to preserve the Wire- haired Pointing Griffon, the working standard is as important as the conformation standard. The working standard is the blueprint of the ideal characteristics of the working traits the breed exhibits in the field. It serves to describe the long-established acceptable characteristics that the model Griffon exhibits in the field. The particulars of the conformation breed standard are intertwined in all the characteristics found in the working standard. Proper struc- ture, including mental stability and temperament, are essential to exhibit the ideal traits and behaviors in the working standard. AMERICAN WIREHAIRED POINTING The working standard of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (the WP Griffon) follows from the breed conformation standard to define the specific manner of the WP Griffon in the field. a. Quartering: In searching for game, the WP Griffon quarters the field or area. The distance of the cast when quartering is not related to the dog’s physical conformation, but rather is about the dog’s mental state, hunting passion and training. The WP Griffon’s cast must extend laterally and may be extensive, but only in so far as the dog remains under the handler’s control. The cast varies with the terrain and cover being hunted. b. The Gallop: The WP Griffon’s general running style is a gal- lop. The body seems to rock slightly back and forth—from front to rear—around the imaginary transverse line running GRIFFON ASSOCIATION THE WORKING STANDARD FOR THE WIREHAIRED POINTING GRIFFON through the WP Griffon’s center of gravity, which is esti- mated to be at stomach level. The gallop should be energetic but also sustained and steady. Avoid gallops that are too
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THE WORKING STANDARD FOR THE WIREHAIRED POINTING GRIFFON
vigorous, overly excited or agitated; the dog must maintain self-control. The rocking motion may vary with the nature of the terrain and cover being hunted and is more pronounced when the dog is tired. The correct gallop is a function of the dog’s conformation. The WP Griffon’s long topline is held taut to favor propulsion. The WP Griffon’s well laid-back shoulder and long thigh promote vivacity and the bend of hock provides flexibility. The WP Griffon should have an easy and supple gait. c. Speed: The WP Griffon’s quartering should be fast, lively and sustained. However, the speed should be of the type of con- tinental dogs, meaning that the WP Griffon does not gallop as fast as a pointer or a setter. d. Head Carriage: The head must be held at least in line with the back. The head is carried slightly forward with the nose slightly tilted downwards, causing the head to make an angle with the neck; this is referred to as the “hammer” head carriage. This head carriage provides the ability to scent at a distance. When a dog catches and is working a scent, the nose is held high. e. Handling Scent: When it first catches game scent, the WP Griffon lifts its nose; then it will slow down, stop quartering, move into the scent cone, and lift its head in the direction of the game’s location. It will advance carefully but decisively, its legs bending progressively, crouching close to the ground. This phase is very stylish. f. Pointing: The point should always be rigid. The desired posture for the point is a flexed position: the body is low, the head and nose are in line with the back, the body is tense and rigid, the neck is extended, the legs are bent or crouched, and the tail is rigid and motionless. A point achieved from a full run may be a standing point and is called “short” because the scent has not been well worked. A point with the dog lying down is not acceptable, except in the case of a surprised point when the dog catches scent while turning. g. Coulé*: When the WP Griffon is moving in toward the game after the point is established, the desired motion, or coulé, is catlike. The approach is crouched, nearly creeping, the neck always taut, and the nose raised. This is the highest expres- sion of the WP Griffon’s style. The coulé should not be jerky, nervous or fidgety. h. The Tail: The tail should remain still and not wag when the WP Griffon is on point. Wagging generally indicates a point on which the birds are not pinned or the birds are not in line with the dog’s nose. Movement of the tail is a fault that must be penalized. If the tail is undocked, it must be held still on point and a tail held high or that moves on point must be avoided. Note: Hunt tests and field trials serve to identify the best representatives of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon and bring them to the attention of breeders who desire to produce quality dogs—those sires and dams that preserve the best characteristics of the breed and the passion to hunt in the inherent style of the breed. When evaluating WP Griffons in a field competition or hunt test, top scores should not be awarded to a dog that has not worked the scent. Surprised or short points are less desirable than flexed points. In addition, top scores should be awarded to only those WP Griffons demonstrating the typical manner and working characteristics of the breed. *Coulé is used in European field trials for continental pointing dogs. It is not common in training, trialing or testing the WP Griffon in the United States. It is the action of approaching the game that the WP Griffon should do without hesitation, smoothly, at the command of the handler and always in contact with the game. The movement should be fluid, like a cat stalking its prey. Both the dog and the handler move together, placing pressure on the game until it flushes. The dog must then be steady to flush, wing and shot.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Vicky Foster is a longtime owner of Wirehaired Pointing Griffons and has been a member of the AWPGA since 1991. She has served the club in many capacities, including as Vice President and Eastern Region Representative on the board of directors, and has chaired several
AWPGA committees, including the Awards, Performance Book, Field, Korthals Cup, and Working Standard Committees. Vicky was the author and publisher of The Griffonage , a quarterly newsletter, from 1990 to 1997, author and editor of the 1997 Performance Book of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon , and co-editor of the AWPGA’s published book, Top Titled and Tested Wirehaired Pointing Griffons of North America. Although Vicky has shown numerous Griffons to their conformation championships, her passion lies in hunting and training dogs to hunt. She is the owner/breeder/handler of seven AKC Master Hunters and three NAVHDA Versatile Champions. Vicky’s Griffons have also participated in and won the Korthals Cup competitions put on by the AWPGA and L’Association Québécoise du Griffon d’Arrêt à Poil Dur.
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FORM AND FUNCTION OF THE WIREHAIRED POINTING GRIFFON
The Conformation andWorking Standards
BY MELANIE S. TUTTLE
A merican architect Louis Sullivan famously coined the phrase, “form follows function” in relation to 20th century modernist architecture and industrial design. In his view, the shape of a building or object should relate primarily to its intended purpose or function. His student, Frank Lloyd Wright, extended his mentor’s teaching by changing the phrase to “form and function are one.” These principles apply easily to the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (the Griffon). Its con- formation standard relates directly to its working characteristics and requirements in the field, and vice versa. The Griffon’s correct physical traits are essential to its ability to perform its function as a hunter in its own distinctive style. The American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association, the parent club for the Griffon (AWPGA), adopted the official confor- mation standard for the breed in 1991. It drew heavily on standards adopted elsewhere, all of which were based on the standard fixed by Eduard Korthals, the founder of the breed, in the late 1800s. In early 2018, the AWPGA adopted the working standard for the Griffon. Again, it drew on the considerable work and research done by others. In adopting the working standard, the AWPGA recog- nized that the manner in which the Griffon works and hunts is as vital and inherent to the breed as its physical conformation. This article compares aspects of the two standards and discusses how the Griffon’s physical characteristics, as described in the conforma- tion standard, are necessary for it to perform in accordance with the working standard. Proper structure is required for the Griffon to exhibit the ide- als set out in the working standard. According to the working standard, the Griffon’s general running style is a gallop. The body rocks slightly back and forth—from front to rear—around the imaginary axis that runs through the dog’s center of gravity and
perpendicular to its topline. The working standard continues: “The [Griffon’s] long topline is held taut to favor propulsion. The [Grif- fon’s] well laid-back shoulder and long thigh promote vivacity and the bend of hock provides flexibility.” In those two quoted sentences, the working standard direct- ly implicates the following provisions taken directly from the conformation standard: • Topline – The back is strong and firm. • Forequarters – Shoulders are long, with good angulation, and well laid back. • Hindquarters – The thighs are long and well muscled. Angulation in balance with the front. • Body – The loin is strong and well developed, being of medium length. The croup and rump are stoutly made with adequate length to favor speed. • Proportion – Slightly longer than tall, in a ratio of 10 to 9. The Griffon must not evolve towards a square conformation. • Gait – Viewed from the side, the topline is firm. Also related to the gallop is the length of the Griffon’s neck. The conformation standard provides that the Griffon’s neck is to be relatively long. The longer length of neck facilitates the gallop and promotes a flexible head carriage and the head’s being carried in line with, or as an extension of, the topline. A neck that is too long leads to a gallop with the head raised, which is incorrect. A neck that is too short may not have the flexibility necessary to facilitate the gallop. The flexible head carriage promoted by the relatively long neck also gives the Griffon the ability to scent at a distance. The working standard further provides that the Griffon’s quartering in the field should be fast, lively, and sustained. Well- recognized expert on the Griffon, Jean Castaing, explained that a sufficiently long croup is favorable for speed. He said, “The whole
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topline, without ceasing to be strong and sturdy, must present a cer- tain length, for a long back favors speed.” Castaing also noted that the length of the shoulder favors speed, and therefore, the Griffon’s shoul- der should be relatively long. The shoulder’s longer length and suffi- cient layback promote an efficient gallop as does a long and well-mus- cled thigh. According to Castaing, a more upright shoulder requires the Griffon to repeat its steps with greater frequency and it must make up with more frequent steps what it loses in the gallop. If the shoulder is long and slanting, all of the bones of the limbs will be long and that length will make the limbs more flexible. A short leg requires more steps, with each covering less ground, resulting in more fatigue and less endurance. In Le Griffon Korthals by Marie Lautier and Jacques Carpentier (2012), the authors explain that the back must be strong because it is the drive shaft for the movement developed by the hind legs. The back must be firm and a source of power and strength. They further state that the shoulder must be very oblique; as the well laid-back shoulder contributes to the Griffon’s movement close to the ground, particu- larly in its slow approach to the game once game scent is detected and in the coulé, described below. The musculature of the shoulder is nec- essary for the flexing of the body. The longer topline is also directly related to the conformation stan- dard’s requirement on proportion. The Griffon is to be slightly longer than tall, in a ratio of ten to nine. The standard is explicit: “The Grif- fon must not evolve towards a square conformation.” Lautier and Car- pentier explain that the rectangular configuration of the Griffon, with a long body, gives a lower construction, close to the ground, which promotes flexibility and fluidity of movement. It is that movement
that in the last century earned the Griffon the name, “Korthals cats,” and is reflected in the conformation standard’s statement that the Griffon’s movement shows “an easy catlike graceful- ness.” Good body length, flexibility of the loins, and closeness to the ground give the Griffon an almost feline pace and effi- cient, ground-covering ability. This ability of the Griffon to be close to the ground, reflect- ed in its proper shoulder layback, rear angulation in balance with the front, and rectangular proportion, is necessary for the Griffon to approach the game once scented, point, and perform a coulé, each in accordance with the desired style described in the working standard. When handling scent, the Griffon is to advance carefully but decisively to the game, with its legs bending progressively as it crouches closer to the ground. The working standard provides that the desired posture for the point is a flexed position, with the body low to the ground. The head and nose are to be in line with the back, the neck extended, the legs bent or crouched, and the tail motion- less. In the coulé, which is a commanded approach to the game after the point is established, the movement is smooth and crouched. The proper physical structure of the Griffon and its mental stability and temperament, all as set out in the conformation standard, tie directly to the movement and behavior the Grif- fon is to exhibit in the field. The Griffon’s working manner and characteristics described in the working standard relate directly to its physical conformation and temperament. Form and func- tion truly are one in the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Melanie Tuttle and her husband, Charles, met their first Wirehaired Pointing Griffon at a fly-fishing show. Newly empty nesters searching for a hunting dog, the couple was smitten and brought their first Griffon home a month later. The adage that Griffons are like potato chips—you cannot have just one—proved to be true. Their second Griffon joined them three years later. Their Griffons introduced them to the world of dog shows, where they’ve garnered Group placements and Group wins. The thrill of a win in the show ring is wonderful, but Melanie must admit, this is dwarfed by the sight of a Griffon doing what it was bred to do in the field. The couple hunts with their Griffons and they have participated in AKC and NAVHDA hunt tests. They are also active in their local pointing breeds hunt club. They own the first Griffon bitch (GCH Fireside’s Mother of Pearl MH) to be named to both the Show Dog Hall of Fame and Field Dog Hall of Fame of the AWPGA. Melanie has been very involved in the AWPGA. She currently serves as Vice President. She has also
chaired the Legal Committee, undertaking the rewrite of the club’s bylaws, and has served on the Awards, Field, and Breed Standard Committees. Melanie also worked with the AWPGA to form its affiliate 501(c)(3) organization, the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Foundation, which she now serves as a Director and past President.
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Since then, because of its hunting abilities, sound temperament, conformation, and effortless movement, the Griffon has exploded in popularity. In the eight years between 2008 and 2016, the breed more than doubled in AKC litter registrations. Those numbers do not take into account the litters registered by the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) which is another common registry used by breeders. With an average litter size of 10 puppies (up to 14 puppies is not unusual), there are over 10,000 puppies born annually and this growth is not expected to level off any time soon. A decade ago, seeing a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon was something of a rarity. Seeing one in the show ring was even more rare. The American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
With this fast rise in popularity, many conformation judges have not previously had the opportunity to judge a good-sized entry. With more Griffons making it to the show ring, the Griffon is no longer considered a “low-entry breed.” However, a dog in the show ring is not just another pretty face. Many of these dogs also have proven performance in the field and have advanced hunting titles with both AKC and NAVHDA. Since the AKC parent club, The American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association is relatively new and did not acquire AKC recognition until 1990, what is seen in many areas of the country are a variety of coats, sizes, structure and bone.
This can be confusing to judges, breeders and owners. The following is a brief review designed to assist in judging the Griffon. AVersatile Hunting Dog The Griffon is a versatile hunting dog. It is often referred to as the 4-wheel drive of hunting dogs due to its ability to hunt any terrain for a wide variety of game in all weather.
He has the capability to track a wounded bird in the water because of his keen nose and his strength as a swimmer. And because vast, open hunting grounds are becoming more scarce in the United States, his style — which is to stay within gun range — is becoming increasingly attractive to the modern day hunter. In Europe, Griffs also commonly hunt rabbit, fox and other small furred game. Their intelligence, coupled with a moderate amount of train- ing and exposure to game, will enable the Griff to be an ex- cellent companion for the walking hunter. Their strength and bone density coupled with their confident demeanor allows them to charge through heavy cover in search of prey. The Griff never tiptoes around the edges when he hunts. Instead, he will confidently push his way through heavy cattails and underbrush with ease.
He does it all: points and retrieves and hunts upland birds and waterfowl, exactly what breed developer Eduard Korthals set out to do.
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Size The Griff is a medium-sized hunting dog. Height and proportion are important to maintain function as a versatile hunter )emales are Ý Ý at the withers males are Ý to Ý 7hey are slightly longer than tall a to ratio 7he appearance of a Ý bitch versus a Ý bitch is significantly different and Mudging height can be difficult However, both are equally correct. While the breed standard does not disqualify an oversized dog, it is to be severely penalized. Undersized dogs are also incorrect and should be judged accordingly. The Coat In judging the Griffon, you may see a variety of coat types. 7he coat is designed for protection and warmth in the field )rom the standard ³7he outer coat is medium length, straight and wiry, never curly or woolly. The coat should lay Àat 7he harsh te[ture provides protection in rough cover´ Medium is considered 2 Ý to 3 Ý in length. Coat density and harshness should be checked on the back, shoulders, loin and tail, in an area with no spots. The spots, (also called plates), tend to be less coarse with less guard hair. The Griffon has a double coat, with a softer undercoat that extends to the head and ears. The undercoat provides insulation and protection and the amount of undercoat changes with climate and hormonal cycles.
Color is preferably steel gray with brown markings, freTuently 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. $ blacN coat disTualifie s. 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. The Head and Neck )rom the standard ³+ead 7he 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 A Griffon’s eyes are soulful and have a human-like quality. The Griffon has an eye that is more round than elliptical, unlike the German Wirehaired Pointer. The eyes should be well open and not protrude. The third eyelid (haws) should not be visible. Eye color ranges from yellow to any shade of brown )rom the standard ³1ecN rather long, slightly arched, no dewlap.” The Griffon must track and pick up large birds to retrieve. The neck needs to be long enough to perform these tasks. The Front Assembly The front assembly of the Griffon is extremely important to the breed’s function. As the standard says, the Griff should have ³shoulders that 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.” This requires pronounced.” The correct bite is scissor, with under/overshot considered a serious fault.
The facial furnishings are an extension of the undercoat. It can take up to three years for a Griffon coat to fully develop, which sometimes maNes it difficult to Mudge a puppy coat. A puppy should not have a curly or wooly coat, but it may be a bit softer than a mature adult coat. The coat on the tail is the same as the body any type of plume is prohibited 2ften the dog in the ring is the dog who e[cels in the field, so allowances should be made for some wearing of both facial furnishings from pushing through cover, and from neck hair worn from a hunt collar.
adequate length of upper arm for the forelegs to be in the correct position. The depth of chest should be level with the elbow.
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The Back, Topline and Tail Set From the AKC breed standard ³the bacN is strong and firm,
Summary These elements of breed type should not be overlooked when judging the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. They are listed in no specific order. • Structurally sound front assembly: This is critical in the field and very difficult to get back once a breed loses this functional characteristic. • Slightly sloped topline, parallel to the ground during movement, no dips. • Reach and drive: should be able to see rear pads at the trot; front legs should reach to the end of the nose. Correct movement is essential. • Coat Texture: As a sporting dog, the medium-length (2 Ý to 3 Ý in length), harsh coat is important. Check the coat on the back away from any plates (spots). 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. • Well-muscled rear with moderate angulation – Long thigh bone, angulation balanced with the front. • Size – The Griff is a substantially-built sporting dog, but being over the height standard
descending in a gentle slope from the slightly higher withers to the base of the tail. 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.” The Griffon should be well-m uscled, with good bone to effectively worN the field The Rear Assembly 7he standard reads ³7he thighs are long and wellmuscled Angulation in balance with the front. The legs are vertical with the hocNs turning neither in nor out 7he stiÀe and hocN joints are strong and well angulated.” Hocks placed close
together or cow hocks are incorrect. The Griff in Motion
As is with all sporting dogs, movement is paramount. From t he $.& 6tandard ³$lthough close worNing, the *riffon should cover ground in an efficient, tireless manner He is a medium speed dog with perfect coordination be- tween front and rear legs. At a trot, both front and rear legs tend to converge toward the centerline.” Rear drive should be evident by the ability to see the rear pads during a fast trot. The reach of the motion is indicated by the extension of the front legs to the end of the nose. The front and rear legs converging gives that easy-going gait. A Griff in motion should give you the impression of an effortless gait and that he could cover ground all day long.
is considered a serious fault. Undersized is also incorrect and judged accordingly.
This article was approved by the AKC Parent Club, the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association. Written by Lisa Durand, AWPGA Judges Education Mentor/Presenter, Breeder of Merit and Lisa Boyer, DVM, AWPGAAKC Delegate and Breeder of Merit.
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Official Standard of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
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 abun- dant, 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 eye- brows. 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, frequent- ly 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 dis- qualifies. 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 paral- lel to the line of motion. A smooth, powerful ground-covering ability can be seen. Temperament: The Griffon has a quick and intelligent mind and is easily trained. He is outgoing, shows a tremendous willingness to please and is trustworthy. He makes an excel- lent family dog as well as a meticulous hunting companion. Disqualifications: Nose any color other than brown. Black coat.
General Appearance: Medium sized, with a noble, square- shaped head, strong of limb, bred to cover all terrain encoun- tered by the walking hunter. Movement showing an easy cat- like 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 over- all 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 yel- low 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 scis- sors. 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 nei- ther 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.
Approved October 8, 1991 Effective November 28, 1991
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The WIREHAIRED POINTING GRIFFON
German Wirehaired Pointer with more hair in regard to the amount of leg to height. This creates an outline that is distinctly Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. LG: The most misunderstood aspect of this breed is the idea that they don’t need a job to be good friends and compan- ions to their families. They make terrific family members, but if they don’t have a job, they will create one... such as gnawing on the family’s Oriental rug, or eliminating the need for a garbage disposal. They are easily bored and while they aren’t super busy, they need to be engaged physically and mentally. A tired Griff and a well-trained Griff is a great member of a household. From a judging standpoint, the most misunderstood aspect of this breed is that “bigger is better”. If one takes into consideration the function of this breed and the rationale for its devel- opment, it is obvious that an over sized dog is incorrect and, in my opinion, should not be rewarded. 2. What about him makes him stand out in the group ring? DB: For me in the group ring it is the honesty of the breed-purposeful conformation, sound movement that is not “fancy” and practical coat. They look like working sporting dogs. LG: This is a question I always have mixed feelings about. A Griff, specifically intended to be moderate in every aspect, probably shouldn’t stand out in the Group, but somehow it does. In a Group which encompasses so many striking breeds, to me those aspects of the breed which bring it to group attention are its wonderful shag- giness, balance and movement. It can be an intensely happy dog in the ring and that, as with any breed, can single it out. A not-overly groomed, well-moving, coarse- coated shaggy beast is a joy to behold, at least for me. I believe that the Griff’s superior hunting instincts serve him well as a pet only with an active and engaging family (there’s that word engage again). By engaging I mean allowing the dog to use its natural gifts, if not for hunt- ing, then for analogous activities. For example, Griffs are amazing trackers... enter them in tracking events. Or let
I live in Pennsylvania on 14 acres. My interests outside of dogs are gardening and traveling. I started in dogs in 1977 (38 years) and I started judging in 1999. My dogs (Chesapeake Bay Retrievers) were always expected to be good hunters and I take that view in my judging of all the Sporting breeds.
LINDA GAGNON I live in Massachusetts with my husband, a trainer and hunt test judge, on 27 acres, mostly wooded, with acreage cleared and fenced for dogs to run and “ex”. Outside of dogs, I do... dogs! I’m retired and spend much of my free time involved in dog club activities: chair a show, assistant chair another and serve on boards of three kennel clubs. Before retirement I was a Senior Counselor in Vocational Rehabilitation for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I’ve been showing dogs since 1973... help! I started with Dandie Dinmonts and my husband and I obtained our first Griff in 1992. She was shown to a Championship, was hunted to a title and bred very suc- cessfully. That was our beginning. So, I’ve been showing for 42 years (God, am I really that old? Do I look that old?). I’ve only been judging for four years and currently judge Griffs and Dandies, with applications for more breeds “coming soon to a dog show near you”. 1. What is the most misunderstood aspect of this fasci- nating breed? DB: The most misunderstood is what is correct size and proportion. There is a tendency to see this breed judged ignoring its size and that it is not to look like a
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“The misundersTanding is To ignore The size sTandard. if The biggesT is The besT, use iT, buT if There is a dog of equal qualiTy which meeTs The size sTandard, use iT.”
them use their nose in barn hunts. Bring them on hikes and/or long walks. Do not let them become couch pota- toes and do not, ever, let them be in charge. A Griff can take over in a heartbeat and a spoiled Griff, like any dog, is not a pretty picture.
“slicks”. These latter resemble GSPs more than Griffs. Not a good thing!
6. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? LG: I think new judges misunderstand several things about this breed. As the former Judges Ed Coordinator and Chair, I always advised to put up the best dog in the judge’s opinion. If it’s the “big one”, so be it. The misun- derstanding is to ignore the size standard. If the biggest is the best, use it, but if there is a dog of equal quality which meets the size standard, use it. Another misun- derstanding is re: the coat. The breed should not be over groomed. Much of the Griff’s charm is the result of its “bed head” appearance—neatened, bathed, combed/ brushed, appropriately trimmed. Period. And the coat should not be soft. Please. No matter how good it can be made to look, if it’s not correct, it won’t “throw” correct. 7. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? LG: What I’d like to share about this breed would be an entire article, and I’m sure that’s not your intent. To judges: Please consider the dog’s purpose when award- ing. The standard is there for a reason and use your best judgment. To owners: Give these dogs the opportunity to be the best they can be. Give them limits and jobs (if not hunted), so they can be the best companions and friends possible. Use their minds, their innate talents and their hearts! 8. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? LG: OMG, as they say. I am the world’s worst handler, so the funniest thing I’ve experienced at a dog show involves... me. This latter doesn’t even involve my very first show where I entered the ring with a dog lead in my left hand and my purse in my right. Or asking the judge, who had just awarded my puppy and me a five point major, “Are you sure?” I guess it’s the time I wore thigh high stock- ings in the ring and as I gaited my Dandies, they began to roll down. I finished the round with my legs together from hips to knees. (At least it’s not an underwear story. I don’t actually have one of those.)
3. Describe the breed in three words. LG: Unkempt, goofy and joyous.
4. Are there any traits in this breed you fear are becoming exaggerated? LG: Exaggeration of traits is an easy trend. I think size, if considered a “trait”, is an issue. There are some great Griffs that are, in my opinion, too large. Those dogs are rewarded and, therefore, bred to. So, oversized dogs become the norm. Again, keeping in mind the dog’s origi- nal purpose, the latter is a problem. Also, softer more “groomable” coats are becoming prevalent. Think again of function as opposed to pretty. A soft coat is no help in the field and, very fortunately, this breed still retains its original purpose and is shown frequently during the same period. So, please folks... reduce size and work toward coarser coats. 5. Do you think the dogs you see in this breed are bet- ter now than they were when you first started judg- ing? Why or why not? DB: Over grooming of the coat and—horrors—some clipping. The breed is much, much better than when I started judging them. There is more consistency to the look of the breed—proportions especially. When I started, you would see leggy GWP type and short, dumpy legged dogs. Breeders are doing a good job on structure and soundness of movement, which goes with that. LG: I only started judging 4 years ago, so I don’t think I can answer this question from a judging standpoint. From a breeding standpoint, I think Griffs, in large part, still resemble the “progenitors”, the gaggle of Griffs that were used in developing the breed. I think the quality of what is being bred is still high, but among those few who still breed only for field or only for the pet market (fortunately a rarity), it is compromised to a degree. Some who breed for field only are producing what I consider
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Judging the WIREHAIRED POINTING GRIFFON By Mary Kiblan
I t is a Sporting Breed that has languished in the shadows of the “big running dogs” for years. Now it is a breed newly discov- ered in the fi eld and in the home. And it is a breed poised on the edge of a popularity explosion. Th e Wirehaired Pointing Gri ff on was bred to be versatile—and he is. He was bred to hunt any terrain for a wide variety of game in all weathers. He has the capa- bility to track a wounded bird in the water because of his keen nose and his strength as a swimmer. And because vast, open hunt- ing grounds are becoming more scarce, his style—which is gun range—is becom- ing increasingly attractive to the modern day hunter. Th e Gri ff on has the capacity to go into heavy cover and retrieve a bird where other breeds cannot. Th is dog is also a “clean-up man”. He will often track and fi nd wounded game when the larger rang- ing dogs do not. When you take your fi rst look at this dog in the ring, you should see the symme- try and balance that spell power. You may also see a variety of type. Remember, this is a relatively new breed in this country; the Parent Club AWPGA did not acquire AKC recognition until 1990. Prior to that there was a Wirehaired Pointing Gri ff on Club in the US but it outcrossed dogs and was not recognized by the AKC. In the last few years, the American breeders have produced some very com- petitive, very nice dogs—included in which are several Best in Show winners. At our National Specialties almost every dog in the Best of Breed ring has at least two legs on an AKC, NAVHDA or NASTRA Perfor- mance title in addition to its Champion- ship. Th e Judges are “wowed” by this. Not very many breeds can make that claim. Th is is a medium-sized breed. Th ere are two hallmarks of the WPG. One is size and proportion, the other is coat.
Proportion is very important. Th e Gri ff is slightly longer than tall: as 10 is to 9. Height in the bitches is 20"-22" and the males 22"-24". As you can see, this is not a big dog, but you must see good substance. Oversize is to be severally penalized. Th e coat is a double coat. Fine, dense undercoat and wiry outercoat. Th e coat lays fl at and is never curly or wooly. It is of medium length. When you put your hands on the body, the coat should feel harsh. Th e hair on the head and ears is an exten- sion of the undercoat with some of the feel of the outer coat. In Europe the head is commonly stripped somewhat close leav- ing abundant eyebrows and moustache. You will see this in this country and it is entirely permissible. Th e Standard says “unkempt look” but this does not mean unclean, uncombed and unbrushed! Th is is a wire coat and as such requires mainte- nance. Th e coat should be rotated or rolled to keep it healthy; this can sometimes be done with just a fi ne comb, sometimes with stripping. Th e Gri ff on is not to be stripped in a pattern; but neither should it look neglected. Th e judge should see and feel a healthy, harsh coat of medium length. It should be noted that when judging the WPG you will frequently see a less than ideal coat in your puppy classes. An
old adage in this breed is that it can take three years before the correct coat devel- ops. In a puppy one should not see a curly or woolly coat, but may see a rather soft coat. Th is should not be penalized. Th is coat will change over time. Th is may be one area in the Gri ff on ring where it is appropriate for a judge to ask a dog’s age. Best areas to check coat texture are over the loin, shoulders and tail. Th e dark, solid patches are not appropriate as those areas are actually undercoat. Th e Gri ff on has a noble head. Viewed from the side it is square; not rectangu- lar! Th e distance from the occiput to the medium stop is the same as from the stop to the end of the nose. Viewed from the front the head is moderately broad and the top of the skull is slightly rounded. Th is head must not have a narrow look. Th e Gri ff on has a round eye unlike the GWP which is more elliptical. Th is gives the Gri ff on an owlish look. Th e eyes should not protrude nor should haws show. Th e eyes of a Gri ff on should be visible. Th is is not a Bouvier head! Eye color ranges from yellow to any shade of brown. Nose is any shade of brown. A black nose or black coats are disqualifying faults. Th e bite is scissor. Undershot or over- shot mouths are to be severally penalized.
A versatile hunter excelling in both upland game and waterfowl.
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A well developed under jaw should be easily discernible. Th e ear is of medium length. It sits high on the head. Th e fold of the ear is eye level. Th e ear lays fl at to the skull. Th is breed possesses a noble bearing and is not aloof. He is an outgoing dog and should never show shyness or aggression. Anything other than sound temperament should be penalized. When you go over the dog, remember this dog was bred to work in all terrain— mountainous, rocky, fl at, dry and swampy. He has a moderate spring of rib. Th e chest extends to the elbow to allow good lung capacity but at the same time a complete, correct movement of the upper arm. Th e loin is moderate of length and strong. Th is is important as a strong loin transmits the rear leg drive through the back.. Th ere is good balanced angulation front and rear—neither over angulated nor under angulated. Pasterns are slightly sloping, neither upright nor 45° as in the Shepherd. Th is is important as the pastern absorbs much of the shock of rough ground. Shoulders are well laid back. Neck is rather long, slightly arched and well set in to the shoulders. Hocks are perpendicular. When viewed from the front, the chest is moderate. Shoulders are never loaded. Front legs are perpendicular to the ground. Cow-hocks are a fault. Neither should the hocks turn out. Feet are round, well arched and tight. Pads are thick. Toes are webbed. Feet are an important feature often over- looked by the Judge. A hare’s foot is incor- rect in the Gri ff on. Th e croup is level with the topline. Th e tail is an extension of the topline and is car- ried level or slightly higher than the topline. A gay tail is undesirable and is an indication of a faulty croup. Th e tail is docked by ⅓ to ½ . Any type of plume is prohibited. An undocked tail is not permitted. Th e Gri ff on should show good mus- cling in the fore and rear quarters and over the loin. Th e thigh is broad. In motion the back should be fi rm and level and one should see beautiful reach and drive, never hackneyed. No wasted motion; moving
close in the rear is a fault as is any wasted motion in front. At a trot the front and rear legs converge to a center line. Remem- ber, this dog must be able to move in an e ffi cient, tireless manner. He must search, freeze when he fi nds his quarry, he must carry everything from a grouse to a goose to his owner and start all over again. He must be able to do this all day, perhaps six or seven days in a row! So now we come to the question of breed type. And type, to me, is as much a matter of the eye as it is a summation of parts of the Standard. It is a concept that is on the one hand concrete and on the other hand de fi es description. Th e good Gri ff on has beautiful bone and substance. He is not a “reedy” looking dog. He has an iron hard level topline, a level tailset, is beautifully, powerfully balanced, front and rear and has a harsh coat. You should see a beautiful headpiece and neck. He is noble of bearing and sound of mind. Th ese are the points on paper. Th e part that de fi es description is in the eye of the beholder! With some people it is a gift they are born with. Th at indescrib- able something. A gift that enables one to spot the “ideal”. With others it is a marvel- ous ability to study a Standard and proj- ect it on to every dog in front of them in the ring. However you arrive at it: “Type” truly is a concept of all that is correct. Hopefully this discussion will leave you with a better understanding and apprecia- tion of the Wirehaired Pointing Gri ff on. BIO Mary Kiblan lives on a farm with two Dobermans, three Wirehaired Pointing Gri ff ons and Black Angus Cattle. She has been in Purebred dogs since 1956.
Top: Correct movement in a Griffon; Middle: The eye is round with good fill underneath; Bottom: A correct head, eye, ear and furnishings.
This article appeared in ShowSight Magazine February 2012. Reprinted with permission from the author.
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