The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon has developed into a completely different dog than has the German Wirehaired Pointer (also referred to as a "Wirehair," a "GWP," or a "Deutsche Drahthaar"). The Wirehair is higher on leg, is more angulated, and has a more Pointer or German Shorthaired Pointer-like shape to its outline. The height at the withers (top of the shoulder blades) is two inches taller than the Griffon. The coat is shorter with less undercoat. Temperament is much "sharper" than the Griffon, demonstrating the German preference for a more aloof, protective, and aggressive hunter. One of the most significant differences between the breeds is their hunting style. The German Wirehaired Pointer is a larger running field dog with a high style of pointing. The Wirehair points with his head up and tail erect. The Wirehair has become popular as a competitor in the AKC field trials, whereas the Griffon is strictly a close working hunting dog for a walking hunter. The Griffon demonstrates the older style of pointing more commonly found in Europe - with tail either level with the back or dropped slightly. He may even crouch slightly when locked hard on point. Intensity of point is equal in both dogs but of different styles.
The Griffon is truly a versatile hunting breed. He is bred to use his mind as well as his nose in his work. He can be used as a retriever and will mark or follow directions well. A Griffon can be used on all upland birds. He works especially well in heavy cover, wooded or marshy areas. The Griffon is easily trained and excels in work that requires concentration, tracking ability, or a precise way of working. His working distance from the hunter is approximately gun range, depending on the cover. His temperament is more like a retriever with a ready willingness to please.
Griffons have a double coat consisting of a soft undercoat and a hard wiry outer coat. The texture of the overall coat depends on the abundance or lack of abundance of each of the different types of hair. A variety of coat types may be found in the same litter ranging from soft to hard. The full adult coat will not develop until the dog is about 2-3 years old. The care the coat receives and the type of dog food will affect the texture. The coat can be maintained with a regular brushing. A wire coat is a minimally- shedding coat, but must be pulled or stripped to be rotated.
As in most breeds, males are usually bigger than females. Typically, females stand 20-22 inches at the withers (top of the shoulder blades) and weigh between 35 and 50 pounds fully grown. Fully grown males stand 22-24 inches at the withers and weigh 50-70 pounds.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffons do not make good full time kennel dogs. Griffs love being with people and hate to be ignored. They are happiest if kept in the house. Most breeders look for a home where their puppy will be a house dog with a fenced yard.
Like other sporting breeds, Griffons need regular exercise. The ideal situation would be daily healthy 20 minute romps in large areas away from major roads. Because most people do not have access to places that allow dogs to roam off leash, they have to tailor their dog's exercise to their situation, especially suburban settings. Some people bring their Griffs to parks or rural areas for runs, to a lake for a swim, jog with their dogs etc. If you enjoy the outdoors, then a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon just might be the breed for you and your family.
Even though they are energetic dogs when outdoors, Griffs adapt very well to being in the house and usually settle right down and curl up for a nap.
The extremely laid-back and loving nature of Griffon mean they do very well with children. Many Griff breeders prefer to place puppies in homes where the children are older and more responsible - age 6 or older. Of course, no dog should be subjected to abusive behavior by children or people of any age.
Most Griffs usually alert the family by barking when someone comes to the door. Others would give the house away.
All breeds have some genetic problems. Fortunately, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons have relatively few, but you should be aware of the following:
Canine Hip Dysplasia. This is an inherited abnormality of the hip joint that can lead to problems later in life. Responsible breeders x-ray (radiograph) the hips of their breeding stock and have them professionally evaluated as to their suitability for breeding. There is no way to guarantee that you will not get a puppy with hip dysplasia, but you can increase your chances for good hips by making sure that both parents have been certified as clear of visual signs of hip dysplasia by either Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or University of Pennsylvania's Hip Improvement Program (PennHIP), NOT just someone's local veterinarian who saw the x-rays and felt they were "just fine." You should be able to see copies of these official clearances on AT LEAST both of the parents of the litter.
This depends on your personal preferences and what you want in the personality of your dog. In this breed, males - especially those that are neutered - are usually mellow, and get along well with other dogs (including males of other breeds). Females are also mellow but are more likely to test an owner to see how much they can get away with.
Puppies are really, really cute, but if you don't have time to devote to training and socialization, you owe it to your family and the dog to get an adult instead. If you have very young kids, an adult is probably more appropriate for you until your children are older. Do consider adopting from our Rescue Program.
Normally, a Griff who is given proper care, nutrition, and exercise lives to about 12 years of age. With luck, they can go to age 14 or 15. A Griffon's prime is about age 4 to 7.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are relatively rare. Only a small number of purebred litters are born every year compared to some of the other sporting breeds. The small number of litters may make your search a bit more arduous. If you are lucky enough to have a Griff breeder living near you can pick your puppy up at the breeder's home. If not, you will probably need to have your puppy shipped to you. It may take some time and perhaps a long wait, but it's worth it to become one of the few who own a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, a breed that is delight to live with and that turns heads wherever it goes. Be prepared to answer the question “What kind of dog is that?" on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people out there running puppy mills to sell animals to pet stores and/or on the internet. The dogs that are being bred in these hell holes are kept in horrible conditions, unsocialized, unloved, and are not cleared for genetic problems, let alone bred to the standard. Please do NOT support these operations by buying a dog of ANY breed from a pet store or a puppy mill masquerading as a responsible breeder on the internet. Check references, affiliations, titles, and clearances! Beware of ads in the local newspapers, magazines, or even on the internet. Many of these are placed by uneducated backyard breeders. Most reputable breeders have a waiting list for a carefully bred litter, and only breed dogs who have been proven to conform to the breed standard structurally, temperamentally, and instinctually, and who have their genetic clearances.