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What do you want to know about owning a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon?


Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
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Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

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Frequently Asked Questions

We are always pleased to answer questions. I have selected a few of the more frequently asked questions for our webpage, if there is a question that you do not see answered here, please feel free to ask.


Griffons are a spirited and rugged sporting dog. Athletic and energetic, at the same time they are affectionate and eager to please. Griffons have a classic appearance, with their eyebrows and beard lending to their unkempt visage. Their wire coat does not accumulate burrs and other vegetation.

Their trait of being eager to please makes them great candidates for training in both traditional and non-traditional uses. However, the instinct of a Griffon is so strong that even if he is not used for pointing, retrieving and tracking, he will still display these inborn talents. He may point at a robin instead of a ruffed grouse. He may retrieve a tennis ball, instead of a duck. He may track you in a game of hide and seek, instead of trailing a deer. The Griffon will use his instincts, whether he is actively used for hunting wild game, or not.

Griffons are best suited to active families, who want a dog who is a talented and versatile hunter, and a great companion. Whether hunting, swimming, sledding or sitting by the fire, a Griff is right at home.

Griffons are the closest working dog we have ever seen. They gauge their distance from you by the type of cover. A Griff likes to keep contact with you, and when he gets out of sight, he will "show" (get into a position so he can check your location). They will naturally quarter in front, in your direction of travel, however a Griff is not adverse to going behind you if you walk past a tight sitting bird.

Some people find the Griffon to be too close ranging.  A Griffon is not as close ranging as a flushing dog (as a lab) but not as far ranging as a German Shorthair Pointer or English Pointer. And, for hunting, that is one of the things that I like about them. This tendency to range closer makes them easily handled by voice and hand signals. Known as a waterfowl and upland dog, Griffons can also be used for hare, and for tracking deer. The Griffon's heritage includes use for fox and wild boar hunting.




NAVHDA, NSTRA, NAHRA and CKC/AKC Field Dog Tests are appropriate for evaluating the Griffon in the field.  As a dog that is suited to the on-foot hunter, the Griffon does not do well in Field Trials where big running dogs are favoured. 

From our research into the breed, the Griffon has the same lifespan as most sporting dogs his size (apx. 10-14 years). It is said that a well bred Griffon will "age well". In other words they stay happy and usually do not get snappy or surly with age. Another major consideration is the vigor of the breed. We have been selecting for genetic health and vigor. Our Griffs hardly ever have to be seen by the veterinarian (except for shots).

We have found that Griffons mature later than most other breeds. It is shown both physically (i.e. late eruption of teeth, difficult housebreaking) and mentally (i.e. mischievousness, mouthing). Like all dogs, Griffons enter an adolescence period that is trying and can drive you to books and trainers for help outsmarting your dog. Once on the other side of the "teenage stage" well raised Griffons are a pleasure to live with.

Most Griff owners find that when their Griffon is about two years of age he emerges from his rascally puppyhood as a dependable, couragous and gracious companion.

This would depend upon the height and type of your Griff. The average 20 inch female weighs about 45 lb.. The average 23 inch male weighs about 60 lbs.  However, if you have a dog with a lot of bone or muscle, he will likely weigh more. Females are generally 19.5 to 21.5 inches, Males are typically 21.5 to 23.5 inches at the shoulder (whithers). As well as being a bit taller, males typically carry more muscle than females.

Hip Dysplasia:
Dysplasia is not eliminated yet. However it has been reduced to an estimated 7.2%   Dysplasia. This could be due to the fact that most of the people who breed Griffons also hunt with them, and it is unproductive to breed dogs who are not up to the task. Be sure that the parents of your pup have been evaluated normal by OFA (Orthopaedic Foundation for Animals) or PennHIP. This will provide you with a  grade on the dogs' hips, compared to the normal for the breed.

Hereditary Problems
The Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon is a fortunate breed, most bloodlines have few problems. Presently some breeders readily share genetic information; we urge all breeders to come forth and provide this vital information - for the good of the breed.. Visit the Griffon Health Page

The problems that we have heard of or seen in various lines are: Entropian, Ectropian, Cherry Eye, Umbilical Hernia, Cataracts, Hip Dysplasia, Heart Murmurs, Allergies, Thyroid and Autoimmune Disorders.

The Griffon has a coarse outercoat and a soft undercoat. He also sports characteristic eyebrows, moustache and beard. This protective coat allows the Griffon to be an effective hunting dog in cold weather and harsh cover.

Grooming is simple. A quick brushing with a slicker brush will remove any loose undercoat. A comb is used for the eyebrows and whiskers. Stripping (pulling out) the outercoat a couple of times a year will keep your Griffon's coat healthy.  Stripping does not hurt the Griffon and most Griffons enjoy being stripped.

Griffons do not shed like a retriever or spaniel. Instead the coat is stripped before it matures. There are a few different ways of stripping, in fact just taking your Griffon hunting will strip out some hairs.

Stripping (pulling the outer coat out) of a Griffon can be done by hand (a little coarse grained grooming powder will help to improve your grip), with a stripping knife (available at any kennel supply store) or with a corn remover (Pharmacy?). If it is your first time stripping a Griffon, try to have someone show you the technique.

One method of stripping is to "Roll" the coat. In this method, only the longest, most mature hairs are removed. The shorter hairs which are still growing are left in, allowing the dog to keep his Griffonish appearance.

Griffon ears needs regular attention. Griffons have hair inside the ear which must be removed and the ear cleaned to prevent infections. The removal of ear hair does not hurt the Griffon, in fact, most of our Griffons moan  with pleasure when getting their ears done, it appears to feel good.  To manage a Griffon's ear hairs, lay the Griffon on his side, in the submissive position. Sprinkle some ear powder over the hairs to be pulled, and proceed to carefully remove the hairs from within the ear canal. Next take a cotton swab and moisten it with ear cleaner. Clean the ear canal thoroughly, removing all wax. When the ear is clean, sprinkle more ear powder into the canal. Under no circumstances cut hair near the ear, as it may fall into the ear canal and cause irritation.Try to have your veterinarian show you how to do this procedure.

Griffons are a sporting dog, and have been developed to withstand routine daily hunting. Griffons do best when they have rigourous consistant daily exercise (20 or 30 minutes, twice per day is normally needed). A Griffon that does not have a good exercise routine may not settle as well when in the house.

A well fenced, Griffon-proof yard is a must. We also have fenced kennel runs, where our Griffons can do their digging, chewing, and other entrpreneurial activities, keeping the gardens and shrubbery safe.

An all-out run after a tennis ball will take more of the edge off than a slow paced walk. If you get a Griff with a more relaxed temperament it might demand less exercise.

Griffons are considered by many to be superior hiking and jogging partners. However, a young Griffon must not be "jogged" or "biked" or inadvertent joint damage may result.

Mainly, you will find that your Griffon just wants to do things with you. So whatever your favourite activity, soccer, fishing, or gourmet cooking, hanging around with you will make him the happiest.

A bored Griffon puppy is a disaster waiting to happen. Crate train, and use some of their immense mental energy up with some obedience training. Even 10 minutes at a time, twice per day of real fun obedience training will satisfy this need. Of course adult Griffs can be trained for longer durations.

A Griffon's life is centred around his human family, and he is happiest when with you. Companionship is an aspect of Griff ownership that you must consider seriously, as this is an intelligent breed which will flourish with it but without it is in anguish. They do not make a good "fulltime kennel dog". If you cannot plan time for a Griffon, you should get a more aloof breed.

Keeping the above in mind, however, we have been selecting dogs who can be content when alone. Not all Griffons can bear isolation. It is not uncommon to hear of Griffons who become destructive. We have brought in Griffons that we have had to place in new homes because they became despondent without constant human companionship.

The Griffons who live here with us are intelligent and are mentally stable. Though each of our Griffs get daily contact and training, each one can only be a housedog a couple of days a week.

We have been selecting bloodlines that are very trainable. Griffons in general are recommended for novice trainers. If you acquire a quality Griffon, you will be able to rely upon the dog's natural hunting ability to do much of the work. Remember the Griffon wants to hunt with and for you, and this desire keeps him in range and checking back, producing a very tractable partner.

Our first two Griffons were not trained to hunt. We simply took them hunting and they hunted. We were surprised when we found out that dogs are supposed to be trained to hunt. About 5 years ago, we started "training Griffons", a term which I still don't understand as I think that I am the one being trained. We start with early conditioning for hunting. A lot of Griffon training is tied to the deep human-animal bond that most Griffons establish. A bonded Griff will try to move heaven and earth to please his master.

As well as for hunting, we have trained Griffons to compete in obedience and agility. We have three Griffons in our orchard, trained to keep deer away from our young trees. Two of our Griffons pull sleds. One of our Griffons is trained to track. Another of our Griffons loves to show off his "circus tricks". There is no limit to the fun you can have with your Griffons. All of our Griffons are trained to "settle" in the house.

At Griffonpoint, we use lots of praise when training our Griffons. Griffons like to have eye contact with their trainer, and confirmation that they are doing what the trainer has asked. Even a young puppy will perform impromptu "sits" or "downs" so he can receive praise. Try to ignore mistakes and praise successes. The more you can tell your Griffon he is doing what you want, the harder he will work to do more for you.

Griffon puppies are active, mischievious, and determined. They can be talented escape artists and destructive renovators of house and garden. Be sure that you are equipped to handle an intelligent and imaginative addition to the household. Equip yourself with a crate to help with housebreaking. Especially if you are a first time Griffon owner, plan to enroll in both puppy obedience classes, and household obedience classes.

Griffonpoint puppies are available to approved homes only. Prospective owners will be sent an information package and detailed questionairre. Reservations are recommended.

Our puppies are home raised with children. Exposure to a stimulating and bright home and outdoor environment ensure proper socialization. Puppies are sent to their new homes with to date shots, deworming and a Veterinarian's Health Certificate. We have a written sales contract and guarantee for genetic health.

Tails and Dewclaws:
We dock the tails on our Griffons to prevent injury and discomfort to the dog. This has nothing to do with aesthetics, our main concern is for the dog's comfort.

Historically, the Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon has been a docked breed. Griffons have a very long, thin, weak and sparsley coated tail. Because he is a docked breed, breeding stock has never been selected for strong tails.

As the Griffon is normally docked with a fairly long tail, he can readily communicate with it, but his tail is short enough that it can't be injured in the home or field.

We also remove dewclaws, as experience has shown us that they are easily torn back while going through dense windfalls and a ripped dewclaw will bleed profusely.

Griffon Guard Dogs:
As protection dogs, Griffons are lousy. Though they might bark convincingly and are excellent watchdogs, some Griffs will happily make friends with an intruder. However, because the Griffon is so unusual looking a breed, many people are leary of them.

Our Griffons are perfect sentries. They are alert and are trained to be quiet unless there is something going on (knocking at the door, strangers in the yard, out of place noises, cougars in the river valley). We don't rely upon them to physically defend our home in a guard-dog role.

Other things:
Griffons are sloppy drinkers. Water will soak their beard and a dripping trail follows them to their destination, usually someone's lap. We know some Griff owners who shear the beard, to avoid dribbles and puddles, but if you don't want to loose that beard, and don't want a messy drinker, a Griff is not for you.

Keep your Griffon's mind busy, they are wonderfully intelligent, joyous dogs, with an extraordinary drive and ability to perform and please.

Keep this desire and you will never have a better companion. Loose it or abuse it and your dog will only cause you frustration. Griffons can be persistent and stubborn, but can be motivated easily by a caring, knowledgeable trainer.

One last thing, have you noticed that very few people own only one Griffon? Perhaps it is because Griffs are so much fun to live with. Or maybe it's because once you have an understanding of this rare breed, you truly appreciate them.

Be firm, consistent, kind and have fun with your Griffons!

I hope that this helped you to get a further glimpse at one of the best kept secrets in the world of hunting dogs. Overall, the Griffon is a co-operative, hardworking, versatile companion with plenty of talent. We would have no other breed.





Thank you for visiting.

For further information, contact

Griffonpoint Kennel

Katy Steuhm katy@griffonpoint.com
California - USA

Shannon Ford shannon@griffonpoint.com
Alberta/British Columbia, Canada


e-mail info@griffonpoint.com

All Rights Reserved. Copyright ¬© Shannon Ford 1997 - You may copy this page for personal use only, providing it is not changed, and that credit rests with the author, Shannon Ford.. ¬©Shannon Ford 1997