Before you get a Griff (or any dog)
There are many things that you need to seriously think about. All dogs are social animals that require a great deal of love, attention, gentle, consistent training, time, patience, and – most importantly – COMMITMENT FOR A LIFETIME. These are living creatures with feelings and needs that equate roughly to a three-year-old human child.
Griffons do NOT make good full-time kennel dogs. They are very active as puppies, and are very intelligent, social, tenacious, active, and physically powerful as adults. They require considerable mental and physical challenges on a daily basis, or they – like most other breeds – can become bored, unhappy, and destructive. However, a Griffon whose mental, emotional, and physical needs are met on a daily basis can be an exceptionally pleasant and easy to live with house companion and best friend.
Some questions to talk about with your ENTIRE family, before adopting a Griffon are:
Do we all REALLY want a dog?
It seems like a pretty silly question at first glance, but you’d be amazed at how many people approach breeders on an impulse after seeing a picture or visiting a show and deciding in 20 minutes that they MUST have one immediately! Some want to “get a dog for the kids.” Others decide to get a dog for themselves as a hunting buddy, then – when it is no longer a cute little puppy, they find that they only hunt once a year, or later find out that the spouse can’t STAND having a big dog in the house, or that the novelty of having a new dog or puppy wore off with the kids on the third day – they decide to get rid of the dog. Young families starting out often have lifestyle changes, including new babies, new jobs, divorces, and moves into apartments or other rental housing, where having a Griffon is not acceptable. Just ask a member of any Breed Rescue Team. They are forced to confront these sad, PREVENTABLE issues regularly. If only the owners would THINK AND PLAN AHEAD before adopting – there would be a lot fewer orphaned dogs of all breeds looking for new, loving, PERMANENT homes.
Dogs are not educational tools to teach children responsibility or “the facts of life.” They are not breeding machines to be bred for profit. They are not a status symbol to be trotted out when friends and neighbors visit. They are not a piece of lawn furniture, to be kept out in the back yard all of the time. A responsible breeder will ask you a lot of tough questions. These questions are not designed to be exclusionary, but are necessary in order to find the families who are most likely to be able to provide a Griffon with a permanent, loving family and home – where their presence is a welcome addition and they are allowed to SHINE.
Who is going to train this dog, and how?
ALL of the members of the family must be willing to commit to consistently and patiently training a puppy to be a productive member of the family. Dogs who are untrained and out of control are not welcome in the house, and are seen as obnoxious by other people. They are generally excluded from participating in the family’s social life. Many dogs’ lives have been saved by their ability to immediately drop on a “Down!” command while off lead in the field, as an unexpected car or train approached. Others have not been so lucky. Griffons are bright and headstrong, and will test each person’s limits. It is important that the entire family attends obedience classes with the dog and learns constructive and FUN ways to teach your Griff what is expected of him. And the best part is, THEY LOVE IT! Griffons LOVE to have a job that taxes them mentally and physically. They SHINE in obedience, agility, hunting, and tracking – all of which require a degree of obedience training.
Young dogs, like kids – can be pretty wild. They will run around the house and act goofy, chew up everything they can fit into their mouth, bark with joy, play in the mud and get dirty prints on the sliding glass door. They will play silly games, run into the house without wiping their feet, swim like a duck, then wait to shake until they’re right next to you….yet still need to be loved, petted, taken to the doctor for regular check-ups, groomed, have their nails trimmed, and frequently told how much they are loved. Adolescence and its accompanying hormones and instability can last two to three years. Throughout their mature adulthood, Griffons need to have a challenging job. They need to feel that they are a beloved and contributing member of the family. Toward the end of their lives – usually ten to fourteen years long – they require tender loving care, gentle helping hands, and sometimes expensive medical care. Are you up for it?
Do I have time for a dog?
Just like adopting a human child, dogs of all ages REQUIRE a lot of time and attention. Time must be used EVERY DAY to socialize, love, play, train, clean up after, shop for, train some more, groom, physically condition, feed and water, take to the vet, and….if you have spare time and the inclination – compete with your dog. The happiest and most successful Griffon owners are active people who enjoy outdoor activities. A young Griffon does not make a great couch potato. Being social animals, Griffons can be very unhappy if left home all day long, all by themselves.
Why a GRIFFON?
Before deciding on a specific breed, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Learn as much as you can about the breed – its history, its temperament (personality, behavioral traits, instinctual drives, purpose, and activity level), its strengths and its weaknesses. Go to some local dog shows, hunt tests, or obedience trials, and TALK to the owners (after they’re done competing, of course). Spend some time with some Griffons! Get involved with a local Specialty club. Read books and magazines on Griffons, pointing breeds, and hunting dogs in general.
This sweet, intelligent breed with the endearing scruffy face and keen hunting ability can be addicting to many. Others may find that a Griffon is just not the right match for them. Better to find this out BEFORE you adopt a dog of any breed.
The Board recently adopted a set of “Breeder Best Practices” for our breeders to use as guidelines in their breeding programs. This is a living document that can be modified as input is received. You can read them HERE.
For information about adopting an older dog from our rescue service, please visit, our rescue information page.