AWPGA FIELD COMMITTEE CONTACT INFORMATION

Name

Email

Phone

State

Woodward, Larry

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(785) 458-9118

Kansas

Wilk, Peter

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(904) 599-5674

Florida

Upchurch, Charles

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(402) 830-5338

Nebraska

Hoth, Jay

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(580) 747-1362

Oklahoma

Granai, Ron

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(646) 302-8496

New Jersey

Foster, Vicky

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(508) 867-4821

Massachusetts

Parsneau, Philip

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Montana

DeCosta, George

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(925) 577-5928

California

       

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First and foremost a versatile working companion for the hunter on foot, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is as much at home hunting upland game birds as a pointer, as he is swimming for a waterfowl retrieve. In the manner of the Continental breeds, the Griffon is well regarded for his ability to hunt a variety of game. In some states, Griffons are used to assist hunters by tracking wounded deer. Outside of the United States, they are often used as hunters of rabbit and hare. In the off season for birds, Griffs can be seen using their keen tracking skills assisting their owners to find lost people in search and rescue.

The majority of successful breeders are also hunters who understand the important role their dog plays as a hunting companion and conservation tool. Breeders have done an excellent job of retaining the inherent hunting instincts in their stock and regularly test, hunt with and title their dogs in field activities.

It often seems as though puppies are born with their noses to the ground, tracking and pointing their prey. Nothing can match the thrill of seeing a beautifully bred puppy locked hard on point when they see their first wing.

A Griffon has a completely different hunting style than his big-running cousins; the Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer, German Shorthaired Pointer, or Setters, which have the speed and range to be hunting companions for the hunter on horseback. A Griffon is a closer working cooperative, European style of hunter, that adjusts his range to the terrain and cover. These specific tendencies dictate that the Griff is best tested in arenas where his skill, tractability, and style are appreciated.

The North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (“NAVHDA”) is the most popular venue for evaluating the inherent hunting instincts of the young Griff in the United States. NAVHDA conducts four tests in simulated hunting situations where a versatile hunting dog’s skills would be needed. Three judges score the dog on nose, search, tracking, pointing, water, desire, and cooperation. Record is made of coat, teeth, and if the dog is noted to be gun-shy, man-shy, or aggressive. These four tests consist of;

Natural Ability. The NA test evaluates inherent behaviors in a dog of under 16 months of age. This test is used to determine the pup’s potential future as a successful hunter. The dog is tested in the field, water, and tracking. Utility Preparation. Dogs that are a bit older are measured on their preparedness for the next test, the Utility test. Obedience is added to the criteria for evaluation. The UTP dog is staunch, but need not be steady. He will point, retrieve to hand on land and water, search for a duck, track, and retrieve.

Utility. Mature, experienced, fully trained dogs are tested in both the field and in the water for their skills, aptitude, and usefulness as reliable, tractable hunting companions. The Utility Dog is steady to wing, shot, and fall. He will retrieve to hand from land and water, is steady in the blind, tracks and retrieves to hand, and will carry on a sustained search for duck.

Invitational. Dogs who achieve a Prize I in Utility are invited to be tested in the “Invitational” for a chance to earn the title of Versatile Champion. The Invitational is an advanced test of hunting ability. This is the only NAVHDA test where the dogs are hunted in a brace (two dogs hunting cooperatively). As in the criteria for evaluation in the Utility test, the dog must honor its brace mate on point and in the blind, as well as perform a long retrieve in water.

The NAVHDA tests are non-competitive. Dogs are scored as individuals against a standard. Each dog that meets the numerical requirements for a certain prize level will be awarded that prize. Prize I (the highest scoring level), Prize II, or Prize III are all passing scores.

The Griffon also excels in American Kennel Club (AKC) Hunt Tests and Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) Field Tests. In a Hunt Test, the Griffon’s desire to hunt, style of running, pace, range, pattern, control, pointing, and retrieve, are all evaluated as compared to a predetermined standard of performance. The AKC Hunt Tests and CKC Field Tests simulate upland hunting, without detailed evaluation of water work or tracking. This is not to be confused with AKC Field Trials, which are designed to evaluate a dog for a hunter on horseback.

The tests in both the American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club are similar in each level:

Junior Hunter (AKC) or Field Dog Junior (CKC). The dog may point briefly and does not need to retrieve. A successful dog is awarded a suffix title of JH (AKC) or FD Jr. (CKC).

Senior Hunter (AKC) or Field Dog (CKC). The requirements dictate that the dog must be staunch on point so that the handler can flush the bird, but the dog need not be steady to wing and shot. At this level, the dog must also retrieve. A successful dog is awarded the suffix title of SH (AKC) or FD (CKC).

Master Hunter (AKC) or Field Dog Excellent (CKC). This test is for a trained gun dog who is steady to wing, shot, and fall. The dog will retrieve birds from land and water and must honor his brace mate’s bird work. A dog completing this title is awarded the suffix title of MH (AKC) or FDX (CKC).

Other field events open to the Griffon are conducted by North American Hunting Retriever Association (NAHRA) and North American Shoot to Retrieve Association (NSTRA). Field Trials (AKC, Canadian Kennel Club or American Field). These organizations hold competitive events open to all pointing breeds. NSTRA is a timed event for the competitive walking shooting dog. The Field Trials are divided into different levels of competition (stakes) and are competitive events most often designed for horseback handling. Field Trials are obviously not an appropriate event for the closer working, foot handled, Griffon.

Of course, the place that you will most often see the Griffon during hunting season is enthusiastically accompanying his human hunting partner in the search for game. Human and Canine, together preserving the ancient covenant of the hunt.

If you would like to learn more about Hunt testing, an informational guide is available here.

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