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.
250 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 2021
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