The Breed History
In the Netherlands, initial breed development was undertaken by Eduard Korthals starting in 1873-1874. From there, breed fanciers in France continued to evolve the type. Otterhound, German Griffon, German shorthaired pointer, French pointer, Spaniel and Setter may have contributed genes. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffons look a lot like a German Wirehaired Pointer or the Czechoslovakian Cesky Fousek, but this latter breed is not closely related, and the other characteristics of the Fousek more closely approximate the German Wirehaired Pointer breed. When the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is compared with the German Wirehaired Pointer, these pointing griffon dogs are smaller, less sharp in temperament, their coat is longer, and the pointing style is lower than the point seen in the German Wirehaired Pointer dog. AKC recognition occurred in 1887.
Breeding for Function
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is somewhat slow and deliberate in his way of going during the hunt since these dogs were developed to accompany a hunter on foot. They have an excellent nose and make an excellent pointer and retriever, particularly for upland birds. Their harsh coat was developed to provide protection in close bush, especially in thorns. A strong swimming talent and the endurance to withstand a long day in the field were selected for.
Height at Withers: female 20-22" (51-56 cm), male 22-24" (56-61cm).
Weight: females 35-50 lb (16-23 kg) males 50-60 lb (23-27 kg).
Coat: The double coat consists of an undercoat of lighter colored soft dense hair overlaid by a very coarse wiry straight haircoat that is medium in length. Black is not allowed, but brown, steel gray with brown markings, roan and white, and orange or brown are accepted.
Longevity: 10-13 years
Points of Conformation: The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is characterized by a very strong constitution, a medium size, and is built slightly longer than he is tall. The head is square in shape, the stop is not well pronounced, and eyebrows, moustache and beard are well developed. Eyes are rounded, large and have a friendly expression; many eye colors are accepted including brown and yellow. Ears are flat lying, medium sized and the nose is always brown with wide nostrils. The nictitans should not show. The neck is long and not throaty, and is slightly arched. The topline descends slightly towards the rear. The thorax is deep with moderately sprung ribs. The tail is carried horizontally or a bit higher when active, and may be docked to about 1/3 to 1/2 of the normal length. Limbs are straight boned, and the dewclaws are removed in America. The feet are round; the toes webbed. The gait is smooth with ground covering strides, and lots of natural agility.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
Reported breed characteristics include: Devoted, low grooming needs, though even after brushing, the dog may appear somewhat unkempt. Need to hand strip twice a year for best coat condition. High trainability, even tempered, willing to please, and calm. Adult haircoat does not finish development until 24 to 36 months of age. Needs human contact, and a fenced yard if off leash. Moderate exercise needs. Fairly quiet around the household. Not considered suitable for apartment life. Good with children, may alert bark but not a guard dog. Need to carry out early obedience and socialization.
Normal Physiologic Variations
Hip Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing degenerative joint disease and hip arthritis. OFA reports 7.8% affected. Reported at a frequency of 4.4% in the AWPGA National Health Survey 2002-2003.
Elbow Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing elbow arthritis. OFA reports 4.6% affected.
Patella Luxation: Polygenically inherited laxity of patellar ligaments, causing luxation, lameness, and later degenerative joint disease. Treat surgically if causing clinical signs. Too few Wirehaired Pointing Griffons have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Otitis Externa: Chronic or intermittent ear infections. Reported at a frequency of 22% in the AWPGA National Health Survey 2002-2003.
Umbilical Hernia: Congenital opening of the body wall at the umbilicus. Should be closed surgically if large. Reported at a frequency of 3.3% in the AWPGA National Health Survey 2002-2003.
Allergies: Inhalant or food. Presents with pruritis and pyotraumatic dermatitis (hot spots). Inhalant allergy is reported at a frequency of 2.2%, and food allergy at 2.7% in the AWPGA National Health Survey 2002-2003.
Hypothyroidism: Inherited autoimmune thyroiditis. 2.4% positive for thyroid autoantibodies based on testing at Michigan State University. (Ave. for all breeds is 7.5%). Reported at a frequency of 2.2% in the AWPGA National Health Survey 2002-2003.
Cataracts: Nuclear punctate and anterior cortex intermediate cataracts are reported in the breed. Identified in 1.39% of Wirehaired Pointing Griffons CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005. Reported at a frequency of 1.6% at a mean age of 2.5 years in the AWPGA National Health Survey 2002-2003. CERF does not recommend breeding any Wirehaired Pointing Griffon with a cataract.
Corneal Dystrophy: The endothelial form of corneal dystrophy is seen in the breed. An abnormal loss of the inner lining of the cornea causes progressive edema, keratitis and decreased vision. Identified in 1.39% of Wirehaired Pointing Griffons CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Cryptorchidism (Retained Testicles): Can be unilateral or bilateral. Reported at a frequency of 1.1% of males in the AWPGA National Health Survey 2002-2003.
Idiopathic Epilepsy: Inherited seizures can be generalized or partial seizures. Control with anticonvulsant medication. Unknown mode of inheritance. Reported at a frequency of 1.1% in the AWPGA National Health Survey 2002-2003.
Entropion: A rolling in of the eyelids that can cause corneal irritation and ulceration. Reported at a frequency of 1.1% in the AWPGA National Health Survey 2002-2003.
Recurrent Flank Alopecia (Seasonal Flank Alopecia): Characterized by episodes of truncal non-scarring alopecia (and often hyperpigmentation) that usually occurs on a recurrent, seasonal basis. Diagnosis is by clinical signs and biopsy. Responds to melatonin treatment, or waiting until the next season.
Isolated Case Studies
Hypothalamic Hamartoma: Identified in a 10-month-old female, Wire-haired Pointing Griffon dog with a 7-month history of increasing episodes of sudden flaccid collapse.
Tests of Genotype: Direct tests for coat and nose colors, nose are available from HealthGene and VetGen.
Tests of Phenotype: CHIC Certification: Required testing includes CERF eye examination (after 12 months), and hip and elbow radiographs. (See CHIC website; www.caninehealthinfo.org). Recommend thyroid profile including autoantibodies, patella evaluation, and cardiac examination.
- Breed name synonyms: Korthals' Griffon, Griffon d'Arret a Poil Dur, Griffon d'Arret Korthals, Pointing Griffon, Griff.
- Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC, NKC (National Kennel Club).
- AKC rank (year 2008): 105 (419 registered)
- Internet resources: The American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon: Association www.awpga.com
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Club of America: www.wpgca.org
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