The French word, "griffon," is a term used to describe shaggy, rough-coated dogs with undercoat. Griffon-type dogs were known in Europe as early as the 1500's.
Griffon is a French word, but the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon was developed by a Dutchman named Eduard Korthals. Born into a wealthy family, Korthals spent his time creating a n all-terrain gundog that pointed and retrieved and was easy to train and care for. He liked the Griffon style of dog, so that is what he selected for his breeding program, which began in earnest in 1874. Korthals line bred extensively and his Korthals Griffons quickly became successful in both field trials and conformation shows.
Following Korthals' death in 1896, a divergence in the French and German styles of Korthals Griffons occurred. The Griffon became well-loved in France, both because of its hunting ability and its temperament. Unlike the "hunting machine" style of German dogs, the Griffon is sensitive as well as driven and consistent.
In the late 1970's, some members of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Club of America decided the Griffon would benefit from cross breeding with the Cesky Fousek, a rough coated dog with a German hunting style. The resulting outcrossed dogs were good hunters, but they were not and are not purebred Wirehaired Pointing Griffons.
Members of the WPGA who were opposed to tainting the pure breed painstakingly developed by Korthals broke away from the club and the hybrid "Foufons" and formed the American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association (AWPGA), which is the official parent club of the breed.
The name of the breed is the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. The name was chosen for a reason.
Wirehaired - the dog has a wiry coat. That's pretty simple and clear.
Pointing - the dog is a pointer. A pointer is a hunting dog. Again, pretty simple and pretty clear. The Griff is a hunting dog. Even while he lives in the house and is a wonderful family companion every day, a Griff should have the opportunity to hunt. Hiking and other outdoor activities are fantastic things to do with your Griff, but they don't replace hunting. A pointer is a hunting dog.
Griffon - the dog is rough coated. Simple and clear.
Medium sized with a noble square-shaped head, strong of limb, bred to cover all terrain encountered by the walking hunter. Movement showing an easy catlike gracefulness. Excels equally as a pointer in the field, or a retriever in the water. Coat is hard and coarse, never curly or woolly, with a thick undercoat of fine hair, giving an unkempt appearance. His easy trainability, devotion to family and friendly temperament endear him to all. The nickname of "supreme gundog" is well earned.
Size - 22 to 24 inches for males, 20 to 22 inches for females. Correct size is important. Oversize to be severely penalized. Proportion - slightly longer than tall, in a ratio of 10 to 9. Height from withers to ground; length from shoulder to point of buttocks. The Griffon must not evolve towards a square conformation. Substance medium, reflecting his work as an all-terrain hunting dog.
The head is to be in proportion to the overall dog. The skull is of medium width with equal length from nose to stop and stop to occiput. The skull is slightly rounded on top, but from the side the muzzle and head are square. The stop and occiput are only slightly pronounced. The required abundant mustache and eyebrows contribute to the overall friendly expression. The eyes are large and well open, more rounded than elliptical. They have an alert, friendly and intelligent expression. Eye color ranges in all shades of yellow and brown. Haws should not show nor should there be protruding eyes. The ears should be of medium size, lying flat and close to the head, set high, at the height of the eye line. Nose - well open nostrils are essential. Nose color is always brown. Any other color is a disqualification. Bite - scissors. Overshot or undershot is a serious fault.
Neck - Rather long, slightly arched, no dewlap. Topline - The back is strong and firm, descending in a gentle slope from the slightly higher withers to the base of the tail. Chest - The chest must descend to the level of the elbow, with a moderate spring of rib. The chest must neither be too wide nor too narrow, but of medium width to allow freedom of movement. The loin is strong and well-developed, being of medium length. The croup and rump are stoutly made with adequate length to favor speed. The tail extends from the back in a continuation of the topline. It may be carried straight or raised slightly. It is docked by one-third to one-half length.
Shoulders are long with good angulation and well laid back. The forelegs are straight and vertical from the front and set well under the shoulder from the side. Pasterns are slightly sloping. Dewclaws should be removed. Feet are round and firm, with tightly closed webbed toes. Pads are thick.
The thighs are long and well-muscled. Angulation in balance with the front. The legs are vertical with the hocks turning neither in nor out. The stifle and hock joints are strong and well angulated. Feet as in front.
The coat is one of the distinguishing features of the breed. It is a double coat. The outer coat is medium length, straight and wiry, never curly or woolly. The harsh texture provides protection in rough cover. The obligatory undercoat consists of a fine, thick down which provides insulation as well as water resistance. The undercoat is more or less abundant, depending on the season, climate, and hormone cycle of the dog. It is usually lighter in color. The head is furnished with a prominent mustache and eyebrows. Those required features are extensions of the undercoat, which gives the Griffon a somewhat untidy appearance. The hair covering the ears is fairly short and soft, mixed with longer harsh hair from the coat. The overall feel is much less wiry than the body. The legs, both front and rear, are covered with denser, shorter and less coarse hair. The coat on the tail is the same as the body; any type of plume is prohibited. The breed should be exhibited in full body coat, not stripped short in pattern. Trimming and stripping are only allowed around the ears, top of the head, cheeks and feet.
Preferably steel gray with brown markings, frequently chestnut brown, or roan, white and brown; white and orange also acceptable. A uniformly brown coat, all white coat or white and orange are less desirable. A black nose disqualifies.
Although close working, the Griffon should cover ground in an efficient and tireless manner. He is a medium speed dog with perfect coordination between front and rear legs. At a trot both front and rear legs tend to converge toward the center line of gravity. He shows good extension both front and rear. Viewed from the side, the topline is firm and parallel to the line of motion. A smooth, powerful ground covering ability can be seen.
The Griffon has a quick and intelligent mind and is easily trained. He is outgoing, shows tremendous willingness to please and is trustworthy. He makes an excellent family dog as well as a meticulous hunting companion.
Nose any color other than brown. Black coat.