Just as a responsible breeder will ask many things of you, in order to ascertain whether a Griffon would be a good fit with your family, you should have a list of questions in your mind of things to ask a breeder. You need to be able to determine whether or not this is someone whom you feel confident has both truly quality proven breeding stock, ethical business practices, and the knowledge and experience necessary to breed sound, healthy, birdie dogs that conform to the breed standard. A responsible breeder will expect and welcome these questions.
Who are the parents of the puppies, and can I meet at least one of them? Are they registered by AKC? Beware of token “kennel clubs” who randomly issue “papers” to anyone with any dog – regardless of the dog’s background. Be aware that there are many people associated with a different organization who breed Wirehaired Pointing Griffons to Cesky Fousek (a completely different Czechoslovakian breed that is not recognized by AKC), and then present the offspring as being Wirehaired Pointing Griffons. These dogs are not purebred Griffons, nor are they registerable with the American Kennel Club, Canadian Kennel Club, or FCI. Ask to see the official AKC pedigree showing the ancestors of the puppies, along with their titles. How many of the dogs in this litter’s background are proven and titled in the field, and in the AKC breed ring? May I see the certificates for health clearances on the parents? (Do not accept answers like “my vet x-rayed their hips and said they were just fine.” or “I don’t test my dogs because I don’t have these problems.”) Even though the occurrence of hip dysplasia in Griffons is low (only 7.6% of those Griffon radiographs which were submitted for evaluation by OFA from 1974 to 1998 were deemed dysplastic) there remains a significant number of Griffs who are either not radiographed (“x-rayed”), or whose radiographs are not submitted for clinical evaluation and grading. At a minimum, look for hip clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (“OFA”) or the University of Pennsylvania’s Hip Improvement Program (“PennHIP”) on both the sire and dam. Clearances for other dogs in the pedigree, as well as littermates to the parents and/or information on results from other litters these dogs have produced, is valuable information.
Clearances from Veterinary Ophthalmologists for congenital eye problems such as cataracts, retinal dysplasia, entropian, or ectropian, are easily arranged for evaluation at local shows, and are processed by Purdue University’s Canine Eye Registry Foundation (“C.E.R.F.”). These websites also have on-line databases, where you can verify the certification yourself! Some conscientious breeders also obtain medical clearances for possible heart, elbow, and thyroid conditions. These are not guarantees that you won’t have any problems, but are the best way to greatly reduce your chances of getting a dog with problems. Similar clearances are available from dogs in other countries who are registered with reputable registries.
What are the kennel conditions like? SEE FOR YOURSELF IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. If not, GET REFERENCES AND CHECK THEM!! The only thing more rare than a Griffon is a Griff Breeder. And truly GREAT breeders of any breed are few and far between. After doing your research, you may well find that the breeder you feel most comfortable with lives on the other side of the country, or even in a different country altogether, and your puppy will need to be flown to you. Please don’t buy a dog from a broker, an auction, or a pet store – even if the dogs come with AKC or other registration “papers.” These dogs are invariably the product of puppy mills and irresponsible uneducated back yard breeders. Be very careful of buying a dog via an ad in the newspaper or on the internet. Did we forget to mention CHECK REFERENCES?
A conscientious breeder is committed to the welfare and well-being of all of the puppies s/he produces, for the lifetime of the dog. They should welcome your questions and be willing to give you advice on caring for and training your Griffon. If your life situation changes, a reputable breeder should be willing to take back the dog and re-home it. This should all be spelled out in a sales contract that each Breeder should provide. Other parts of the contract should cover health guarantees, spay and neuter contracts, and whether your dog is to be registered with AKC with either a full or limited registration.
The AWPGA does not certify its member breeders, nor guarantee their dogs or business practices. This list is provided as a courtesy to the general public in their search for a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon to adopt. Buyers are encouraged to do their research, and obtain and check references.