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.
248 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 2021
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