Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Table of Contents

wirehaired pointing griffon portrait
Are you ready to meet the ultimate versatile canine companion? Say hello to the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, a breed that steals hearts with its scruffy appearance and lovable personality! Affectionately known as the "Griff," this energetic and intelligent breed excels in both the field and family life.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is an ideal choice for active families and individuals who love the great outdoors. With their high energy levels and natural hunting instincts, Griffs thrive in homes where they can enjoy regular exercise and mental stimulation.

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMEWirehaired Pointing Griffon
OTHER NAMESKorthals Griffon, Griffon d’arrêt à poil dur Korthals
ORIGINThe Netherlands & France
BREED GROUPSporting Group
BREED SIZEMedium
HEIGHT20-24 inches
WEIGHT35-60 lbs
LIFESPAN12-15 years
LIVING SPACELarge
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERModerate
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERModerate
GROOMING NEEDSModerate
EXERCISE NEEDSHigh
TRAINABILITYHigh
BARKING TENDENCYModerate
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYLow
SHEDDING LEVELLow
POPULARITY RANK57th

Appearance

wirehaired pointing standing on grass
Photo: slowmotiongli/Getty Images

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a medium-sized dog breed that’s known for its distinct and eye-catching appearance. Males typically stand between 22 to 24 inches at the shoulder, while females are slightly smaller, measuring 20 to 22 inches. Their weight ranges from 50 to 60 pounds for males and 35 to 50 pounds for females, showcasing a well-balanced and sturdy physique.

One of the most notable features of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is its unique coat. The double-layered coat consists of a soft, dense undercoat and a harsh, wiry outer coat that provides protection from harsh weather conditions and rugged terrain.

The coat color varies and can include steel gray with brown markings, chestnut brown, white and brown, or solid white. Their distinctive facial hair, including bushy eyebrows and a prominent beard, gives the Griff an endearing and somewhat comical expression.

The body is slightly longer than it is tall, with a deep chest and strong, well-muscled hindquarters. This build allows for agility, endurance, and power in the field, making them exceptional hunters and athletes. The Griff’s tail is typically docked to two-fifths of its original length, but undocked tails are also accepted. Docked tails are carried level with the back, while undocked tails are carried with a slight curve.

Their head is proportionate to the body, with a moderately rounded skull and a noticeable stop. The muzzle is square and straight, ending in a large, well-developed nose that is usually brown in color.

The Griff’s eyes are large, round, and expressive, with colors ranging from yellow to dark brown, depending on the coat color. Their ears are medium-sized, set high on the head, and lie flat against the cheeks, giving them a gentle and attentive expression.

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon’s overall appearance exudes a sense of strength and grace, with an unmistakable air of nobility. Their distinctive coat and rugged good looks, combined with their friendly and intelligent expression, make them stand out among other breeds.

two wirehaired pointing griffons sitting at a park
Photo: slowmotiongli/Getty Images

Temperament

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a breed known for its lively and affectionate temperament, earning them a reputation as excellent family companions.

They are friendly and sociable dogs that typically get along well with children, other pets, and even strangers. Griffs are known to form strong bonds with their human families, making them not only loyal but also eager to please. This devotion to their family makes them quite sensitive to their owner’s emotions, often mirroring the mood in the household.

One of the most delightful aspects of the Griff’s personality is their keen intelligence. They are highly trainable and respond well to positive reinforcement techniques. Their intelligence also means they can be quite curious and enjoy exploring new environments.

This curiosity, combined with their natural hunting instincts, makes them incredibly alert and observant, which can sometimes manifest in a tendency to be watchful or wary of their surroundings. However, they are not typically aggressive or overly protective.

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is an energetic and spirited breed that’s known for their playful nature. They love engaging in interactive games and activities with their family, which helps to stimulate their minds and keep them mentally engaged.

Griffs have a great sense of humor and can be quite clownish at times, which provides endless entertainment for their owners. Their playfulness and enthusiasm make them excellent companions for families with children, as they can easily match the energy levels of young ones.

Despite their high energy and exuberance, Griffs also possess a gentle and affectionate side. They are known to be quite loving and enjoy cuddling with their family members. This balance between playfulness and tenderness makes them adaptable to various living situations and lifestyles.

However, it is important to remember that, like any dog, the temperament of individual Wirehaired Pointing Griffons may vary based on factors such as genetics, upbringing, and socialization.

wirehaired pointing griffon puppy outdoors
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Ideal Environment

Ideal Owner

The ideal environment for a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is one that caters to their energetic, intelligent, and social nature. This breed thrives in an active household where they can participate in various outdoor activities and have ample opportunities for mental stimulation.

They are well-suited for families or individuals who enjoy spending time outdoors, whether it be hiking, jogging, or hunting. The Griff’s natural athleticism and stamina make them excellent companions for those seeking an adventurous and spirited canine partner.

Other Pets

Griffs generally get along well with other pets, including dogs and even cats, especially if they have been raised together. Their friendly and sociable nature makes them good companions for other animals, but it is essential to properly introduce and monitor interactions to ensure harmonious relationships.

Physical Environment

When it comes to living arrangements, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon can adapt to a variety of settings, including homes with a securely fenced yard or even apartments, as long as they receive adequate exercise and mental stimulation.

However, a home with a spacious outdoor area is ideal, as it allows the Griff more room to explore and engage in their natural instincts. Regardless of the living situation, it is important to provide a safe and comfortable space for the Griff to retreat to when needed.

Climate Adaptability

In terms of climate adaptability, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon’s double coat provides them with protection against cold weather conditions. Their dense undercoat acts as insulation, while their wiry outer coat offers a barrier against moisture and wind.

This makes them well-suited for colder climates, and they can comfortably participate in outdoor activities during winter months. However, it is crucial to provide a warm and dry shelter for them to rest in after spending time outdoors.

On the other hand, Griffs may be somewhat less adaptable to extremely hot climates. Their double coat can cause them to overheat in high temperatures, making it essential to provide access to shade and fresh water when outdoors. During periods of extreme heat, it is best to limit their physical activities and exercise them during cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening.

wirehaired pointing griffon running in the snow
Photo: PharmShot/Getty Images

Grooming

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, with its unique and distinct coat, has specific grooming needs that require regular attention to keep them looking and feeling their best. Proper grooming not only helps maintain the appearance of the Griff but also promotes their overall health and well-being.

Coat Care

One of the most important aspects of grooming a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is coat care. Their double coat consists of a soft, dense undercoat and a harsh, wiry outer coat. The Griff’s coat typically does not shed heavily, making them a low-shedding breed. However, they do require regular brushing to remove loose hair, prevent matting, and distribute natural oils throughout the coat.

A weekly brushing session using a slicker brush or a pin brush should suffice for most Griffs. During seasonal shedding periods, more frequent brushing may be necessary to help remove the dead undercoat.

In addition to brushing, the Griff’s coat may require occasional trimming and hand-stripping to maintain its characteristic texture and appearance. Hand-stripping involves plucking the dead hairs from the coat by hand or using a stripping knife, which helps maintain the coat’s harsh texture and prevents it from becoming too soft or fluffy.

This process should be done every few months, depending on the individual dog’s coat growth. It is important to learn the proper technique from a professional groomer or a breed expert before attempting hand-stripping at home, as improper technique can cause discomfort for the dog.

The Griff’s facial hair, including their beard and eyebrows, should be regularly checked for debris or food particles and gently combed to prevent matting. Trimming around the eyes can help maintain visibility and prevent irritation.

Bathing a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon should be done as needed, typically every couple of months, or more frequently if the dog gets dirty from outdoor activities. Use a gentle dog shampoo and ensure that the coat is thoroughly rinsed to avoid irritation. It is essential to dry the Griff’s coat completely after bathing, as moisture trapped in the dense undercoat can lead to skin issues.

Dental Care

Dental care is another crucial aspect of grooming for the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. Regular teeth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste and toothbrush can help prevent tartar buildup, gum disease, and bad breath. Ideally, teeth should be brushed daily, but even a few times a week can make a significant difference in maintaining good dental health.

Nail Trimming

Nail care is also important for the Griff. Their nails should be trimmed every few weeks or as needed to prevent overgrowth, which can cause discomfort and affect their gait. A guillotine-style nail clipper or a rotary nail grinder can be used for this purpose. If you are unsure about the proper technique or nervous about trimming your dog’s nails, consult a professional groomer or veterinarian for guidance.

wirehaired pointing griffon walking in a park
Photo: PharmShot/Getty Images

Exercise

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is an energetic and athletic dog breed, requiring a substantial amount of daily exercise to keep them physically fit and mentally stimulated. As a versatile hunting dog, the Griff thrives on engaging in activities that tap into their natural instincts and abilities.

Providing adequate exercise for your Griff not only promotes their overall health but also helps prevent boredom and associated behavioral issues.

Exercise Amount & Types

On average, a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon requires at least one hour of physical activity per day, although some individuals may need more to satisfy their energy levels. Exercise sessions can be divided into shorter periods throughout the day to accommodate your schedule and your dog’s preferences.

A variety of exercises can help keep your Griff engaged and stimulated. Long walks or jogs, off-leash playtime in a securely fenced area, and hiking are all excellent options for providing physical activity. Griffs also enjoy swimming, which can serve as a low-impact exercise that is easy on their joints while still providing a thorough workout.

Interactive games like fetch or hide-and-seek can be incorporated into your Griff’s exercise routine, providing both mental and physical stimulation. Puzzle toys and treat-dispensing toys can also be used to engage your dog’s mind and keep them occupied indoors.

Dog Sports

In addition to outdoor activities, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon excels in various dog sports and competitions, such as agility, obedience, tracking, and field trials.

These activities provide mental stimulation and offer an opportunity for the Griff to showcase their intelligence, athleticism, and trainability. Participating in dog sports can also strengthen the bond between you and your Griff, as you work together as a team.

Exercise Precautions

It is essential to monitor your Griff during exercise, particularly in extreme weather conditions. In hot weather, avoid exercising your dog during the hottest parts of the day and ensure they have access to shade and fresh water. In cold weather, the Griff’s double coat offers protection, but it is still important to provide a warm and dry shelter for them after outdoor activities.

wirehaired pointing griffon outdoors
Photo: PharmShot/Getty Images

Training

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a highly intelligent and trainable dog breed, known for their eagerness to please and strong work ethic. These qualities make them relatively easy to train, provided that you use consistent, positive reinforcement techniques. Griffs respond well to praise, treats, and play, which can be used as rewards during training sessions.

When training a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, it is essential to start early, ideally during puppyhood. Early socialization and exposure to various people, animals, and environments can help shape a well-rounded and confident adult dog.

Puppy obedience classes are an excellent way to introduce your Griff to basic commands and manners, while also providing valuable opportunities for socialization with other dogs and people.

Consistency is key when training a Griff, as they can become confused or frustrated if the expectations and rules change frequently.

Establish clear boundaries and expectations from the beginning, and ensure that all family members are on board with the training plan. Consistent reinforcement of desired behaviors will help your Griff understand what is expected of them and facilitate a smooth training process.

While the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is generally eager to learn and please their owner, they may also exhibit a streak of independence or stubbornness at times. Patience and persistence are crucial in overcoming these challenges. Avoid using harsh training methods or punishment, as these can damage the bond between you and your dog and may even lead to fear or aggression.

Early socialization is crucial for ensuring a well-rounded and confident Griff. Exposure to a variety of people, animals, and environments during the critical early stages of development can help prevent behavioral issues and promote a balanced temperament. Regular socialization throughout their lives also helps to maintain their friendly and outgoing nature.

wirehaired pointing griffon puppy standing on grass
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Diet & Nutrition 

Proper diet and nutrition are essential for maintaining the overall health and well-being of a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. Ensuring that your Griff receives a balanced and appropriate diet can help support their energy levels, maintain a healthy weight, and promote a strong immune system.

What to Feed & How Much

When selecting a diet for your Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, it is important to choose high-quality dog food that follows the guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). These guidelines ensure that the food provides complete and balanced nutrition for your dog’s specific life stage.

There are various options available, including dry kibble, wet food, and raw diets. It is crucial to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best option for your individual dog, taking into account factors such as age, activity level, and any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

The amount of food you should feed your Griff depends on their age, weight, activity level, and metabolism. Generally, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons require more calories than less active breeds due to their energetic nature. Puppies typically need to be fed more frequently – three to four times a day – while adult dogs can be fed twice daily.

It is essential to follow the feeding guidelines provided by the dog food manufacturer and adjust as needed based on your dog’s specific needs. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help monitor your dog’s weight and overall health, allowing for adjustments to their diet if necessary.

Treats

Treats can be an excellent tool for training and rewarding your Griff, but they should be given in moderation to avoid excess weight gain. Opt for healthy treats, such as small pieces of lean meat, vegetables, or specially formulated dog treats that are low in calories and additives.

Water

Fresh water should always be readily available for your Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, especially during periods of increased activity or hot weather. Ensure that their water bowl is clean and filled with fresh water at all times.

Health

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is generally a healthy and robust dog breed, with a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. However, like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Being aware of these potential problems and taking preventative measures can help ensure a long, healthy life for your Griff.

Some common health issues associated with the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon include:

Hip Dysplasia: A genetic condition in which the hip joint does not fit correctly into the hip socket, potentially leading to arthritis and pain. Regular check-ups and maintaining a healthy weight can help manage this condition.

Elbow Dysplasia: Another joint issue affecting the front legs, causing abnormal development of the elbow joint. This condition can lead to pain, limping, and arthritis. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are crucial for managing elbow dysplasia.

Ear Infections: Due to their folded ears, Griffs can be prone to ear infections. Regular ear cleaning and checking for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge, can help prevent and address this issue.

Eye Conditions: Griffs can be susceptible to various eye issues, including Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and cataracts. Regular eye exams and early detection of any abnormalities can help maintain your dog’s vision and overall eye health.

Hypothyroidism: An endocrine disorder where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, leading to symptoms such as weight gain, lethargy, and skin issues. This condition can be managed with medication and regular monitoring by your veterinarian.

To keep your Wirehaired Pointing Griffon healthy, it is essential to provide them with a well-balanced diet, tailored to their specific needs and activity levels. A high-quality diet can help maintain their overall health, support their immune system, and prevent obesity-related issues.

Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for early detection and management of potential health problems. Your veterinarian can also advise you on appropriate vaccinations and preventative care measures, such as heartworm, flea, and tick prevention. Regular dental check-ups and teeth cleaning can help maintain good oral health and prevent dental issues.

wirehaired pointing griffon coming out of a lake
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History

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is a versatile and unique dog breed with an interesting history. The breed originated in the late 19th century, primarily in the Netherlands and France, where it was developed as a skilled hunting dog capable of pointing and retrieving game in various terrains.

The breed’s development is credited to a Dutch breeder named Eduard Karel Korthals, who sought to create the ideal gundog that could work in both water and land environments. Korthals carefully selected dogs for his breeding program, focusing on qualities such as intelligence, stamina, and a keen sense of smell.

He started with a group of rough-coated dogs, believed to be a mix of various breeds, including the Otterhound, Dutch Smoushond, Belgian Shepherd, German Griffon, and possibly some pointers. Through selective breeding, Korthals successfully developed the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, a breed that embodied the characteristics he desired.

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon quickly gained popularity among European hunters for its versatility and excellent hunting abilities.

The breed was known for its strong pointing instinct, exceptional scent-tracking skills, and ability to retrieve game from both land and water. Their wiry, weather-resistant coat made them well-suited for harsh conditions, allowing them to work effectively in various terrains, such as marshes, forests, and fields.

In the early 20th century, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon was introduced to North America, where it also gained recognition as a skilled hunting companion.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) first registered the breed in 1887, making it one of the earliest breeds recognized by the organization.

Today, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon continues to be valued for its hunting abilities as well as its qualities as a loyal and affectionate companion. The breed has also found success in various dog sports, such as agility, obedience, tracking, and field trials, showcasing its intelligence, athleticism, and trainability.

Parent Club

The American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association (AWPGA) is the primary breed club for the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon in the United States. Founded in 1991, the AWPGA is dedicated to promoting responsible breeding practices, providing education about the breed, and supporting Griff owners and enthusiasts.

The association’s official website, which offers information on breed standards, events, and resources for Griff owners, can be accessed here.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed.

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

You can check the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon’s breed standard set by the American Kennel Club (AKC) here.

three wirehaired pointing griffons at a park
Photo: slowmotiongli/Getty Images

Acquiring

When considering acquiring a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, it’s essential to be prepared for the responsibility of dog ownership and understand the breed’s specific needs, such as exercise and grooming.

Instead of buying from a breeder, consider rescuing a Griff in need of a loving home. The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association (AWPGA, can help connect you with Griffs available for adoption.

Before bringing your new Griff home, ensure you have the necessary supplies, including food, water and food bowls, grooming tools, toys, and a comfortable bed. Also, research local veterinarians and obedience training classes to help your Griff adjust to their new life.

FAQs

Are Wirehaired Pointing Griffons good family dogs?

Yes, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons make excellent family dogs. They are known for their friendly, affectionate, and loyal nature. Their high intelligence and eagerness to please make them suitable companions for families with children. However, it’s essential to teach children how to interact safely and respectfully with the dog.

How smart are Wirehaired Pointing Griffons?

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are highly intelligent dogs. Their ability to learn quickly and their strong work ethic make them highly trainable. They excel in various dog sports and activities, such as agility, tracking, and field trials.

Are Wirehaired Pointing Griffons rare?

While the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is not extremely rare, it is less common than many other breeds. Due to their unique appearance and versatile abilities, they have a devoted following among dog enthusiasts and hunters.

Do Wirehaired Pointing Griffons bark a lot?

Griffs are not known to be excessive barkers. However, like any breed, individual dogs may vary in their tendency to bark. Proper training, socialization, and mental stimulation can help manage any excessive barking.

How much exercise do Wirehaired Pointing Griffons need?

Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are an energetic and active breed that requires at least an hour of regular exercise each day to maintain their physical and mental well-being. Daily walks, play sessions, and engaging in dog sports or hunting activities will help keep your Griff happy and healthy.

What is the grooming requirement for Wirehaired Pointing Griffons?

The Griff’s wiry coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and maintain its weather-resistant qualities. Brushing should be done at least once a week, and occasional hand stripping may be necessary to remove dead hair. Regular ear cleaning, nail trimming, and dental care are also essential for maintaining your Griff’s overall health.

Are Wirehaired Pointing Griffons hypoallergenic?

While no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon’s coat produces less dander and sheds minimally compared to many other breeds. This characteristic may make them more suitable for individuals with mild allergies. However, it’s essential to spend time around a Griff before committing to ownership if you have allergy concerns.

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