Showsight Presents the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

FORM AND FUNCTION OF THE WIREHAIRED POINTING GRIFFON

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.

252 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 2021

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