Showsight Presents the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

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

SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 2021 | 251

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