There is much debate about the true origins of the breed, with some believing they could have traces of Pointer, Spaniel, Otterhound and Setter in their blood, to name a few.
Early examples of similar breeds could possibly be traced back to the 16th century, but their well-documented history began in the late 19th century.
A young Dutchman named Eduard Karel Korthals, who was an avid hunter, began developing the breed in earnest in an effort to produce a supreme and versatile hunting dog for those on foot.
His dogs, from the 1870s, are considered to be the main lineage of all Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (WPG) today. They are even often referred to as 'Korthals Griffons' in parts of Europe, in recognition of this.
By the time of Korthals death in 1896, the breed had grown in numbers and popularity across Europe. They were particularly popular in the Netherlands and France. They were recognized as a reliable, hard-working and adaptable hunting dog.
The first Wirehaired Pointing Griffon was introduced to North America in the late 19th century, and the American Kennel Club recognized them in 1916.
To this day, they are still well regarded as an adaptable gun dog, but they have also grown in popularity as an affectionate and active companion breed.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Care
The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is well-suited to an active family home.
They are a very energetic breed that requires a decent amount of daily exercise. Their intelligence, hard-working nature and eagerness to please means they are well suited to dog sports like agility and scent work trials. They will slot in well with a family that has a great love of the outdoors.
They respond very well to positive training methods and, with the right socialization and ongoing training, they make excellent companions.
They are known for their laid-back personalities and tend to get along well with respectful children and other dogs. Their hunting background means they may have a higher than normal prey drive though, and care should be taken if introducing them to a household with cats or other small furries.
WPGs can sometimes be reserved around strangers, and they do have a propensity towards alert barking, so this may require some work to ensure that it does not get out of control.
While they can make good watchdogs, their gentle personas mean they are not going to be a guard dog. They may bark to let you know someone is approaching, but they tend to be big softies at heart.
Wirehaired Pointing Griffons thrive on company. They can become very attached to their family members, and it is not uncommon for them to become your shadow, following you from room to room in the house. For this reason, they are best suited to a household where they will have company for most of the day. They can develop separation anxiety when left too long, too often.
The breed does not have a high maintenance grooming regime. While no dog is truly non-shedding, with WPGs it is very minimal, and so they often appeal to people that have allergies.
Their hard, wiry outer coat has a naturally unkempt look about it, and they have a charming mustache and bushy eyebrows. They will just need a weekly brush out and perhaps an occasional hand strip to prevent the coat from becoming too untidy, especially around the eyes.
Below is our personal experience with the half dozen or so Griffs that have been part of our life.
Characteristics of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
High - We absolutely agree with this.
High - Yes, but they are not golden retrievers. It takes time for them to warm up.
High - Super. One time I walked in and saw a toddler sitting on our Griffs head petting her, she tolerated it patiently knowing we would soon remedy the situation.
Medium - Most seem to be take it or leave it towards other dogs outside of the pack.
High - Agreed, but they don't get destructive if you are unable to walk them every day.
High - Yes, they are big clowns
High - I would say, it depends on the setting. In the field, they get turned on. In the office, they will lay by my desk all day.
High - Very easy to train and eager to please.
High - Agreed, see above.
Tendency to Bark
Medium - This is reasonable based on some nights something will set them off but 98% of the time they are very calm.
Amount of Shedding
Low - Yes, but somewhat dependent on particular dog and frequency of combing out.